IN what has now become a firm fixture in the 6 Inch Move gaming calendar we descended upon the Servitob wing of the floating citadel (recently upgraded with a spiffy new conservatory) for some Wednesday night gaming action.
As you can see from the cunningly placed image and post title last night was a foray into the Warhammer Fantasy world with one of GW’s stand out games from the mid nineties. Blood Bowl, for those too young to remember it, was a game encompassing most of the Fantasy races and took the form of a corrupted American Football game. The rules replicate passing, rushing and ferocious, bone-crunching tackles, that, in true Warhammer style, may mean more than a quick exit to the showers, where morticians are in greater demand that physicians.
We played with all the rules from the Core box, although I do have the Death Zone expansion waiting for later. We also used the plastic teams that came with this set. The usual suspects for the night’s entertainment were myself, our host Servitob and “no longer really qualifies as a gaming noob” nBreaker. I played referee for the first half and let the other two have at it. Servitob took the Humans while nBreaker took the Orcs.
The first half was actually rather tame as the two teams squared off, Servitob kicked off the half and the ball landed deep in the Orcs backfield where it was retrieved by a Lineman. The Humans blitzed, the ball came loose and they ran it into the end zone to open the scoring. The Humans then kicked off, this time the ball was picked up by an Orc Thrower, the Orcs on the line of scrimmage then did an awesome job of beating down their Human opponents to open up a rushing lane and the Thrower basically ran the length of the field and into the end zone. All square at the half!
In the second half nBreaker relinquished control of the Orcs to me. I stacked the line of scrimmage with as many Orcs as I could and left the secondary as purely the two Orc Throwers. Servitob used some nice positional play to open up one of his catchers to receive a throw at max range. Being the flukey bugger that he is he rolled the hard six needed for the pass to be accurate, The catcher grabbed the ball deftly out of the air.
What the poor catcher didn’t count on was a blitzing Orc Thrower that pushed the Human off the field and straight into the dugout. In following turns the Thrower picked up the ball while a Lineman made his way into the opponents half of the field. At this point my Offensive line of Blitzers and Black Orcs was pummeling Humans into the ground with a massive rate of success, this allowed me to get my thrower in position who chucked a pass to the Lineman who ran it into the end zone for the Orcs second touchdown. With only two turns left to go we finished the game as there was no chance for the Humans to get the ball and run it, not even if they’d have tried something similar to an on-side kick.
All in all a fun time was had and the league rules might come out in the future.
What is good about Blood Bowl is that the rules are very simple but leave a lot open to player strategy. You have one of four actions that each player can take in a turn, Move, Block, Pass and Blitz. Only one player per team turn can make a Pass or a Blitz (blitz combines a move and a block) which means you really have to think about what each member of your team is going to do and what impact that will have when the game goes to your opponents turn. Each half is a maximum of 8 turns and while that may seem like a lot there are many actions which cause a turnover so you might find that if you start off the turn with a Block that goes badly all of a sudden your opponent is having his go and you are out of position, so planning your turn is paramount.
Even with the fact we were checking on a lot of the rules (I’d read them through but as anyone knows that’s no substitute for actually playing) the game was pretty swift. It’s great that something that is almost 20 years old still plays so well and with no disputes about how things work. I know it has a huge following online and there are a number of companies who produce models for the same kind of games elsewhere. It’s certainly a solid game and I look forward to getting Gribblin and Carabus into a game soon. For our regular mid-week session this game seems solid to fill those few hours.
It gets a big Two Thumbs Fresh from this undead buccaneer!