Blood Bowl is Games Workshop’s fantasy football game of violence and mayhem. A curious blend of grid iron, football, and fantasy that comes together in a perfect storm of gaming. This game also straddles the world of board games and miniatures games. The game is played on a board (representing the pitch) and teams are represented by metal or plastic figures you can paint up just like any wargame.
Your first task in Blood Bowl is to pick your team. The boxed game comes with your choice of either Humans or Orcs. The current rules of the game include many more teams including Goblins, Ogres, Elves, Dwarfs, Undead and more. To start with though the game gives you two fairly well balanced teams. The Orcs are harder to hurt than the Humans, though the Human players can move faster on the pitch, keeping themselves away from the green fist of the orc.
The objective of the game is to score more touchdowns than your opponent in the allotted number of turns. The game is divided into two halves, each of 8 turns per player. You can have 11 players on the pitch during the game. If you use the teams from the box, you will also have a single reserve player ready to use is someone gets badly hurt (and someone usually does!).
Each team has a limited number of specialised players, including throwers, blitzers, and catchers. Not all teams have access to the same specialists, so each team requires a different style of play. Goblin and Halfling players can even throw their smaller players up the field, ball in hand!
In your turn each of your players can either move, pass the ball (once per turn) block – that is hit – an opposing player standing next to them. A single player on your team may blitz, meaning move and then block. A well-timed blitz can set up an important touchdown or just remove a key player from your opponent.
Should you fail in your attempt to do anything – picking up the ball, passing or catching, or get knocked down yourself during a block, you turn ends and play passes to your opponent. For this reason it is best to do the low risk activities first.
Blood Bowl can be played as a series of one-off games, but play really shines in a league format, where you keep the same team from match to match, and your players grow and improve their skills and stats over the season.
A copy of Blood Bowl (complete with painted miniatures as shown) is available in the LXG club library.
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