All right fans, it’s time to take a look at the new version of Blood Bowl. I just picked up my copy this morning from Pegasus Games here in Madison for their Black Friday, shop in your pajama’s sale. There were plenty of Games-Workshop games players this morning all looking for the black friday shopping discount. Having been mostly away from buying of models from GW in a while, I have to say looking at the pricing that I can see why they were in the store.
Rant aside, I love Blood Bowl since I was introduced to it probably 12 or so years ago. I am an Orc player primarily and my standard team of old is 4 Black Orcs, 4 Blitzers, and 3 line Orcs (well, my base team anyways) with a couple of re-rolls and whatever is left is turned into fan factor. Well, that’s my starting team anyways and then we go from there. I also have a dark elf team, but I built that when dark elves still had throwers and no assassins and I remember a few years ago that changed which disappointed me a little since I had converted up a thrower. Oh well! That’s the way these things work sometimes.
So what’s good
Well, it’s Blood Bowl and that makes it good. I think recent video game versions have seen some tweeks to the rules for some of the special things in this set which make it a little more streamlined. For fans of the old Blood Bowl game, this is the same feel and play style of that game. It’s great and anyone familiar with the old game, or has old figures and block dice are set. Probably the best thing in the two player starter though is the models. Wow! These models are sharp. I really look forward to building up a new orc and human team for Blood Bowl and I will likely buy a second starter box just to get the figures to build out another set. Having a second pitch and other stuff should be just handy to have if we get some league gaming going or something. In fact, all of the graphics have been given a face lift and I have to say wow. The art on the pitch and dug outs really stands out. It’s even been brought into the redesign of the dice.
The other thing I really like with this starter is that it’s really meant to get a new player into the game. The rules cater to just buying the game and playing it the way it is out of the box. The models are snap together and come on green and blue plastic, so someone who isn’t into miniatures can pick this up and go with it as if it is a normal board game without issues. The D16 included with the set is also a nice bonus since a team will max out at 16 players making it easy at the end of a match to determine a star player.
The not so good
Let me start, that this is Blood Bowl, which out weighs all of the bad. Still, there are some things that I would have preferred they hadn’t have done with this set.
First, The size of bases, pitch, dugouts and everything are bigger. At first glance, you wouldn’t think that would be too bad right? Well, when I played Kenny Lull from Combat Phase on his copy we played on my kitchen table (I imagine a lot of us doing that) and found that the pitch took up almost the entire table and that the dug outs had to hang off the table. This meant we were bumping into the dugouts quite a bit and knocking things all over. This is not an issue with the smaller pitch and dug outs from the previous version of the game. Most board gamers will likely have this same problem, because unless you are a wargamer you just don’t have 4 foot wide tables laying around to play board games on! That being said, the new 32 mm round bases give you more to do with the poses of models and large models that were on 40 mm bases before will fit into these squares without issue. Now, I don’t believe there is a large model out or shown as a preview currently in the re-designed game, but I suspect they may be moving up to 50 mm bases.
Next, the templates. The design and look of them is pretty cool, but I really liked the clear plastic templates from the old box. These new, hard plastic templates work and look cool, but this really worked in the old box. Not a big thing, and I think most of you will find this not a big deal.
Finally, while I really like the fact that they are doing season book expansions to the game, the fact that I have to buy a supplement to take the game into league play or have the rules for the other teams is a little disappointing. When I first saw Kenny’s copy I went straight to trying to look at league rules or see what other team rules were included in the box and was a little let down. That being said, the season supplement book is really well done, doesn’t cost that much as an add on and is a must buy for anyone serious about this game! Now I will also say that the season one supplement book does NOT have all of the teams from Blood Bowl. There is no undead team, which I think is a big loss in this first season and fan favorite teams like halflings aren’t in the book either. The big one, not seeing undead coupled with the fact that there are four elf teams in the book kind of stinks in my opinion.
Well, you would think with all of the not so good thoughts that I might not actually like this box or the game, but in reality that’s exactly the opposite. In fact, I am very likely to pick up a second just so I can have all of the orc models I want and have that extra pitch for league games because not everyone that will play Blood Bowl will have a pitch. The quality is ace and I love, and I mean LOVE, the fact that this game is set in the classic old world with a very classic look, just upgraded with the new art. Not that there is anything wrong with Age of Sigmar, but I for one miss my old world where elves and orcs were a thing and the fantasy theme was a thing. The orcs look a little more orcish, the humans look like the old human team, just sharper. Everything just is awesome! This is like Star Wars Episode 7, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting or hoped for, but it has so much of that feel for the original that it is just awesome.