Blood Bowl

BladeVenom

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Today the boxed version of Blood Bowl has finally been released in America, even if it's been available from many sources including Steam earlier. While Mass Effect 2 is the popular game of the moment, some people also like a nice turn based tactical game. Blood Bowl is the video game version of Games Workshop's famous board game. For those who haven't played the board game, it's a turn based tactical fantasy football game with some RPG elements, player improvements and team building. Not that it's actually much like football other than you have to get the ball to the other side of the field.

I think the fairest review I saw said something like, "it's an A level game with a C level interface." Everyone who likes the board game should like the computer game. Bad points include SecuROM with limited activations, worthless real time mode, poor tutorials, and a weak AI. The good points are that it's a reasonable re-creation of the board game. The rules are close to the board game, but there is still some work needed. For multiplayer you have challenges, match-making, one off games, and can even set up your own leagues. They are even going to have a world championship tournament with $8000 in prizes. One thing that definitely makes it better than the board game is that you can always find matches. Something that you can't say about many strategy boardgames.

Games can be played in an hour. Team building is a rewarding feature of the game. The graphics are decent, while nowhere near Crysis, they far better than any previous version of Blood Bowl. They are better graphics than most turn based strategy games. The music and sound effects are decent. The announcers are fairly good, but they do get repetitive quickly. The board game still has a following after 20 years, so the computer version should still have an active community years from now. Overall it's a great tactical game with some minor flaws.

One thing that makes Blood Bowl unique among strategy games is the turnover rule. When one of your players fail an important action, it's a turnover and your turn is over. Which means mistakes are punished harshly. So it's usually a good idea not to take any risky actions after all your other players have moved. This can definitely frustrate new players. The first thing a new player may try to do is pick up the ball, which if he fails means the end of his turn without anyone else getting to do anything. A safer thing is to stand up fallen players, move players who aren't in tackle zones even have one of them move next to the ball to guard it, make safe blocks, and then try to pick up the ball. Risk management is an important part of the strategy.

Since the tutorial isn't going to be enough to learn to play well, read the rulebook so you know the game mechanics and the odds of success. One of the basics is blocking so also read the Art of Blocking. You'll want to be playing Classic Mode since that is what the board game and all sources for it are. It's also what almost everyone plays online. Ignore the real time version, and Blitz mode. For more check out their website and their forums for more info. Basic guides on strategy have been posted on their forums.

Site: http://bloodbowl-game.com/
Living Rulebook 5.0: http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA.../m1310002_BB_Complete_Blood_Bowl_Rulebook.pdf
Art of Blocking: http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1310006_BB_Art_of_Blocking.pdf

It's also out for the 360, but the 360 version is a clearly inferior port of the PC version. Since MS wouldn't allow them a dedicated server, there is no online team building or leagues. Some graphics had to be cut to meet certain 360 loading time requirements. And there are just more bugs in the 360 version.
 
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dogbyte_13

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sweet i have to get it, i had the original Dos verison back in the 90s, it was kinda hard to play so hopefully its better than the original.
 

x_MaGiuS_x

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I was thinking about picking this up but the lackluster reviews and $39.99 price tag scared me off.

Someday steam will sell this game to me for $4.99 and when that day comes I'll bite.
 

BladeVenom

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I was thinking about picking this up but the lackluster reviews and $39.99 price tag scared me off.

Someday steam will sell this game to me for $4.99 and when that day comes I'll bite.

Who takes game reviews seriously. The best way to get a good review is a big advertising budget, and impressive graphics. This game didn't really excel in those two areas. The match making has improved dramatically since the first reviews came out, and they've added the Dark Elves.

The game itself is good if you enjoy this kind of game. Looking at user reviews, it looks like people either love it or hate it.
 
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BladeVenom

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i want to try it, just did not want to spend a lot for it.

It's $35.00 at Amazon. And Go Gamer had the import version for $28.90, although that version is out of stock at the moment.

I kind of doubt the publisher will discount it a lot since it's a niche game that will have slow but steady sales. At least not until an expansion pack comes out.
 

x_MaGiuS_x

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Ive never played tabletop Blood Bowl despite wanting to. I've never met anyone that played.

I'm guessing this game is going to be catered to the diehard fan. I have to wonder how accessible it will be to newcomers like me.

This game needs a demo if there is any chance they'll get $39.99 from me.
 

Darth Bobo

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I bought it online and have been playing it quite a bit (To the point of having a Blodging Minotaur in the singleplayer campaign). It really is a lot of fun IF you're into that kind of thing...
 

Capfarland

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Turn based? Looking at it on steam I thought it'd be like that old Pig Skin football game for the Genesis... darn
 

BladeVenom

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Ive never played tabletop Blood Bowl despite wanting to. I've never met anyone that played.

I'm guessing this game is going to be catered to the diehard fan. I have to wonder how accessible it will be to newcomers like me.

This game needs a demo if there is any chance they'll get $39.99 from me.

That's why I put links to the Rulebook and the Art of Blocking. The tutorial isn't very good. There is a learning curve, but if you play strategy or RPGs it won't be that difficult for you. There are plenty of resources for learning how to play. Their forum is a decent source of information and people have posted several strategy guides.

While there are a lot of die hard players, there are plenty of new players also.

If you just want to try some Blood Bowl there are some simple free Java versions that have been made, Java Bowl and BOTOCS. Of course the graphics aren't very good on those. Java Bowl also uses the out of date LRB 4.0 rules. Also they don't have a single player component. FUMBBL.com uses Java Bowl, and most of the players you meet there will be long time die hard fans. Not nearly as many new players there.
 
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BladeVenom

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It does have a real time mode, but it's not very good. It's only worth getting for it's classical turn based game play.
 
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