Blood Bowl: You need to play this!

I’ve had a bit of Blood Bowl fever lately, and once you’ve played a few games, you’ll understand why.  I think that Blood Bowl may […]

I’ve had a bit of Blood Bowl fever lately, and once you’ve played a few games, you’ll understand why.  I think that Blood Bowl may actually be nearly the perfect game.  No really, hear me out.  The game is extremely easy to learn, games are fast and it’s pretty damn cheap.  Add character advancement for leagues, plus some home brew alcohol related rules and you can only have a great time with this game.  Allow me to go into some detail…

1. Easy to Learn

The basic rules are 10 pages, advanced bring that up to 19… that’s it.  Once you’ve played a full game (if not just a few turns), you will rarely need to reference the rules anymore.  The rules are also written very clearly and concisely, I’ve never had an argument over what is and what isn’t allowed by the rules.  Models have only a few stats: Move, Strength, Agility and Armor, plus a few special rules, the most common of which are very intuitive and don’t require constant thumbing through the book.

2. Fast to Play

4 minute turns, 2 hour games, period, it’s in the rules.  That means a game will take at most 2 hours and 8 minutes, most of my games last under 2 hours including set up.  Here’s the scenario, you’re at your game club, it’s 10pm and the club closes at 12, what do you do?  BLOOD BOWL!

3. Cheap to Collect

The rules are FREE!  No really, you don’t need to steal/torrent them, that link goes straight to GW, they’re giving the game away for $0.  You could draw out the pitch on a piece of cardboard if you really wanted, or you can print out a pitch yourself, just google “Blood Bowl Pitch” and you’ll find plenty of free PDF’s to print over at Kinko’s for a few bucks.  Feel like splurging?  Have them laminate it.

Aside from the basic game being free, the mini’s are not expensive either.  If you buy the starter, you get 2 teams with 12 models, and since each team can only have 16 total models on the roster, you’re only 4 models away from the maximum size team you can even use!  If Humans and Orcs aren’t your dig, then you have 19 other teams to choose from, most of which can be picked up from GW for about $50, or if you’re creative, you can convert them out of a plastic WHFB regiment.  It only costs $35 for 16 chaos marauders.  There, after some minor converting, you have a full 16-man norse team ready to go, for Dark Elves get yourself a box of Corsairs and a couple Assassins and Witch Elves, etc.

Don’t feel like giving your cold hard cash to GW?  There are quite a few alternative companies: ShadowForge, Heresy, Goblin Forge, Impact! Miniatures, Neomics*, Greebo*, Gaspez-Arts*, plus I’m sure others I missed (* are my favorites).  Most of those companies prices are comparable to GW, but many of them have just stunning sculpts.

Other reasons

Overall, the game is extremely well balanced, probably GW’s most balanced product in their history. Every team can win, there isn’t any team that really feels more powerful than the other, even teams like Halflings, while difficult to begin with, in the hands of a skilled player can pull off some amazing plays. There are quite a few forums dedicated entirely to the strategy of the game, and whenever someone comes up with an amazing play, someone else is updating their playbook to counter it.

Something else I enjoy about Blood Bowl revolve around League Play.  It’s definitely fun to play one-off games of Blood Bowl, but one of my favorite parts is the advancement of your players through the Star Player Points.  This gives them XP for making good throws, touchdowns, tackles, etc, meaning the players who do well gain the skills to match their reputation.  Starting a league and building up your players really creates a sense of celebrity for your best players, and even among other people in your league.

I couldn’t keep going on about Blood Bowl without talking about booze.  I like to drink, but with most games, drinking drastically lowers your performance as you forget rules, forget to take actions, etc.  In Blood Bowl, with the simple rules and turn timers, it creates a definite feeling of chaos, which you could probably expect in a game as ruthless as Blood Bowl.  Now, I’m not condoning getting pissed drunk and making an idiot of yourself, but this is definitely in the category of “beer and peanuts” games.

If you really enjoy the game, you can even play it without an opponent!  I’m not talking about switching sides of the table, rolling dice and cheating yourself, instead, you can do what I do and download the game on Steam.  It’s not quite the same, but they have 2 modes, one is more video-gamey, the other is 100% accurate to the rules of the game, in every aspect.  Set up a campaign vs computer opponents (Easy mode is deceptively difficult) or go online and test yourself against the best, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your bedroom (though it is recommended).

Lastly, non-wargamers like this game.  I taught it to my roommate who never rolled a D6 outside of a craps table in his life.  he picked up the basic rules by half time and actually managed to pull off a win by the end.  He quite enjoyed it and may even participate in our next league, next step is getting the girlfriend to play…

About Adam B

I've been at this for 20 years now! You can find me playing Infinity (USAriadna and Combined) mostly, and sometimes Heavy Gear, Necromunda, or Test of Honour. Also, I love miniature board games like: Blood Bowl, Warhammer Quest, and Space Hulk, plus Aristeia and Warhammer Underworlds coming soon!