Blood Bowl is very soon to step into season 2. With the release of a new two-player starter set and refreshed and updated rules. Luckily I don’t have to remember the differences as this is my first foray into Blood Bowl!
From its First Edition release in 1986 Blood Bowl has seen a lot of love and neglect from Games Workshop. Being kept alive in between by its ardent supporters. Since 2016 however it has firmly been in a lot of love camps. One thing that always stopped me getting into Blood Bowl was I was already playing quite a few ‘Sports Based’ miniature games. Now a slot has opened up so let’s see what I have been missing out on.
Inside the Season Two Box
Cracking open the box and we are greeted with all the smooth finishes one has come to expect from games workshop. A nice hefty tomb of rules, a cool piece of art, some really cool looking miniatures, a handful of dice and accessories as well as a double-sided pitch to play on.
Starting with the board for Blood Bowl its a pretty straight forward double-sided board. This is where you are going to duke it out in the name of Nuffle. Its pretty standard for Blood Bowl and doesn’t look like it has changed all that much. The included dugouts for each team make managing the game a lot easier and tracking scores and injuries is a breeze. The templates are pretty much the same as I remember from when Mark gave me a quick demo game in 2016 as well. So at least I think I can remember which end to point where.
Looking at the teams we have whole new teams in the box, the human Imperial Nobility. Nice and clean with lots of shiny armour to polish and also Black Orcs which is a mix of Orcs and Goblins. Like all games though its possible to go beyond a starting team. In a hugely inspiring move, we also have a Star Player for each team as well as a Big Guy. I will be the first to admit I was somewhat left a little bemused by the term Big Guy. But then on reflection what else can you call Orgres and Trolls without getting smashed into the pitch.
Coupled with two biased refs and the teams are all there and ready to go. I think this is a great move because straight out of the box you have some extra depth to the game. This is usually missing, and all for the cost of adding four models to the box.
Having built the two teams from the box I have to say by far my favourite was the Black Orcs. Pretty much each player has a different head so although the bodies and poses are the same they still look slightly different. Unlike the human team where there isn’t any variation on the poses, without attacking with a knife.
Changing a few of the plumes looks like it should be easy enough so each player is distinct. This shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for even the newest of people in the hobby. As a starter set, I think perhaps it is a small oversight from Games Workshop. That being said the sculpts all look very good. With plenty of flair on the humans and slightly less flair on the Black Orcs. But then I don’t think Orcs are overly bothered by flair. Unless its covered in blood at their feet.
Despite finding the rules a bit daunting at first for a new player, they were quite easy to get to grips with. Luckily Blood Bowl comes equipped with two handy cheat sheets. These cheat sheets have pretty much everything you will need to look up quickly during a game. Including page references as to where to find the full rules in the book. A few changes have been brought in obviously with the new rule book. Passing Ability is a new stat which means as it is separate from agility you can develop players a bit differently. The rules now differentiate between a failed pass and a fumble. So a hopefully opening up the passing game instead of the turtling up and smashing through an opponents line.
At its core Blood Bowl is designed for league play with teams growing with every game. To represent this there is an ample amount of experience and skills that players can gain and learn. This turns each team into a much more organic individual entity instead of a carbon copy of 100 other teams.
Blood Bowl Staff
In addition to special rules and traits that can be gained by teams, there are various staff that can be hired. Either permanently or on an adhoc basis which could spice the game up even further. Providing a different root to victory. Bribing the ref or hiring a wizard to chuck fireballs onto the pitch seems the funniest ways to drop a lot of cash. But cheerleaders and assistant coaches and other more mundane footbally themed staff are available as well.
21 teams fill out the Blood Bowl rulebook from the diminutive goblins to the shambling undead and most races in between. Each has its own style and flavour to play straight out of the box. The teams can be customised even further to fit the coaches (that’s you) taste. With Star Players and Big Guys rounding out the rule book, there seems little reason to need any other book. Of course, as season 2 carries on I am hoping we will see more team boxes which will come with the same sort of content as the starter set. But there is a reasonable chance that that is just wishful thinking. I would expect more card packs to be released to bring things in to line with the season 2 rulebook.
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