Saturday, November 13, 2010

Played Lately: Blood Bowl

  • I'm a big fan of games played with miniatures. I've bought countless rulebooks, stacks of minis, and enough paint to, well, maybe fill a coffee mug. Those bottles are pretty small. But I don't play any of them. I have a nice shot glass rack to display my painted minis, but that's as far as they go. Except in one case. I have always been a fan of Blood Bowl from Games Workshop. My brother and I have played off and on ever since the second edition. And since we live several hours apart, it tends to be a while, maybe years, between matches.

  • When Cyanide Studios released the video game version of Blood Bowl in 2009, I picked up a copy as soon as it became available on Steam. I didn't play it for very long, but I did enjoy it. But now that the Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition is out, it is all I want to play.

  • For those of you who don't know, Blood Bowl is a fantasy version of American Football, played between teams of different races drawn from the Warhammer universe. They are not the same universe, so you'll never see Blood Bowl in the lore or implemented in WAR, but they are mirrors of one another. The game is styled like football, it plays like a tactical battle. The goal is still the same, though. You only win by scoring touchdowns.

  • When I started the new game, I went right for the campaign option and bought a human team. As you would expect, the humans are pretty boring. But they are also quite versatile. Here are a few highlights from the games I've played so far:

    • The first tournament, The Clean Cup, I faced a Vampire team, a Khemri team, and an Elf team in the group round. I was able to squeak by the Vampires and Elves, but the Khemri had my number. I ended up taking second place in the tournament, the only one I haven't won so far.

    • The second tournament was stranger for me. Between losses and ties, I ended up last place after the group round. But my team recovered and I actually won first place in the tournament. Crazy.

    • One of my most memorable games was against an Undead team during a rainstorm. The entire game was a comedy of errors. Rain makes the ball harder to pick up, throw, or catch, so neither team was able to hold on to it for very long. I ended up winning 1-0 by scoring on the last turn, but that was just because of luck.

    • I've had a couple games against weakly armored teams like the Elves and the Halflings where I have almost completely cleared the pitch of opponents. I kind of feel bad about it. At least, I did until one Halfling team ran a ball for a touchdown against me due to bad rolls and bad strategy.

    • I've had my fair share of casualties in the game. At least one blitzer, one lineman, and one thrower have all been killed in action. On the other hand, I still have both of my starting catchers and they have scored so many touchdowns that they're almost star players themselves. And one of my best blitzers got that way even through he sat out two games due to injuries.

    • I have only fielded one Star Player so far. I took Griff Oberwald in a match against the Dwarf Giants. (I love getting to play against famous teams from the lore.) Those stunties were hard, but Griff took me to a win anyway.

    • And although I've won plenty of games and built up quite a team, I just lost the most recent match I played against a Necromantic team. They wiped me out 3-0. As I tweeted recently, you have to embrace the randomness or you won't enjoy yourself.

  • I can't say enough about how much fun I've been having with this game. Sure, the commentary can get repetitive. (It's keyed off the races playing the match. Since your race is always the same, half of all the comments recycle every match.) And the AI may not be the best. But this is a great and colorful implementation of a game that I have loved for years. Although the prior edition did not catch me quite the same, I can't imagine that I will stop playing this time until I've won the Blood Bowl itself.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

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