PUBLISHER: GAMES WORKSHOP | RELEASE DATE: 27TH NOVEMBER 2020
Blood Bowl is easily one of Games Workshop’s classic games and this new release is a lush and comprehensive introduction to one of the best sports board games of all time. This is fantasy football as it should be; orcs, orges and other monsters go head to head in violent ball game inspired by the likes of American Football, Rugby and Aussie Rules with a fantastic twist.
The idea is that fantastic creatures from across The Old World to appease Nuffle, the god of violent sports. Most of the setting is a thinly veiled parody of various sports organisations and adds to the fun of it all. Essentially this is a game where creatures from your favourite fantasy world kick the tar out of each other over a ball.
Rule’s wise, it’s a tactical ‘push-your-luck’ skirmish game, with a football game tacked onto the end. If that sounds too serious, well it really isn’t. The core mechanic is the ‘turnover’. You pick a member of your team and get them to do an action such as kick the ball, run to opponent’s end zone with the ball, punch a goblin or even pick up a team mate and throw them into the end zone. You roll dice to see if you succeed and if you don’t, it’s turn-over. The rest of the team doesn’t get to do anything and it’s your opponents turn. And maybe your opponent’s star player falls flat on his face in the first action and then it’s your turn again.
The tempo of this game is pretty incredible because you’ve got this constant back and forth. Knocked the ball off the board with a way too powerful throw? Don’t worry, the ‘fans’ off the board throw the ball straight back and play continues. It’s very fast and that means strategy and tactics are in constant flux. Each team member will have their own bag of tricks to deploy as well, so you’re constantly trying to figure out the most optimal way to score. Seriously the pace of this game is brilliant and fun. Takes about an hour at least to play, but you can stretch out for longer if you really want to.
The box comes with a very well written and thought out hardback rule-book. It’s well thought out and the illustrations are hilarious in a slap-stick sort of way. The rules are more streamlined than previous editions, but all the fun stuff is still there, it’s just easier to figure out. The models are exactly the sort of high-quality we demand from Games Workshop. You get two teams; Orcs and Humans. Each side comes with 12 normal players, a big bruiser and a star player. You also get two referees; an elf and a dwarf. The orc’s big bruiser is a troll and he’s ludicrously fun to paint. The models come together quite easily and the kits are a pleasure to assemble.
All the range-finders and other bits are also solid plastic and quite tactile if a little on the spikey side. Blood Bowl has always been good, but this new box is easily the best edition thus far. It’s a highly accessible game. It appeals to sports fans and wargamers alike. You get an absolute pile of models in the box and the game is quick and easy to play. We can’t think of a better game of its type on the market and we’ll be playing this for years to come.