GTM #205 - Blood Bowl (2016 Edition)
Reviewed by Thomas Riccardi

For some people, Sunday is a day of rest and relaxation, but for others it’s a day to shout, scream, and yell at the television. Gladiators face each other on the gridiron as they jockey for position and try to score against the opposing team. Of course, I’m talking about the great American pastime of football, and Games Workshop grabbed the pigskin and ran with it to create Blood Bowl! It’s been years since Blood Bowl first appeared, and now Games Workshop is bringing it back to its former glory. But, is this a game you’d want to play rather than watching the NFL on Sunday kickoff?

This latest edition of Blood Bowl is jam-packed full of goodies to get two players onto the field of play straight out of the box. The base set comes with two teams (and their miniatures) — humans and orks — each with twelve players per side consisting of six linemen, two blitzers, two throwers, and two catchers. These miniatures are highly detailed and are easy to snap together, complete with a guide showing how to assemble and paint ‘em. There’s also templates included to measure distance for throws and scatters crafted of the same sturdy plastic as the figures. Also, included in the boxed set are dice (one for each team), a double-sided, cardboard playing field, and a 56-page rulebook.

Blood Bowl is played similar to that modern football is — but more brutally. The object is to not only score touchdowns, but to incapacitate as many players on the opposing team as you can. There are sixteen rounds and the team with the most touchdowns at the end of those rounds is declared the winner.

The rules of Blood Bowl are pretty straight forward, and if you’ve played a Games Workshop game before you’ll pick up on the rules rather quickly. However, if this is your first introduction to gaming don’t be intimidated, as the rules are broken up and easily explained with concise, step-by-step guidance. First, the playing field needs to be set up, sides chosen, and one team designated the receiving team while the opposing team kicks off. Once the ball is in play, the teams can move across the field in their designated rounds. During each round, you can move, blitz, tackle, and throw the ball, and once an action is selected you roll for success or failure. During play you’ll be rolling the dice to either evade a tackle or catch a pass. Failure to do so might result in a fumbled ball or a player that you need succumbing to injury. And once a player is KO’ed he’s removed from play, so you need to play smart if you’re going to win this gruesome game of gridiron combat.

The rulebook also includes a few additional rules to make the game more interesting. Some of these cover everything from weather and imposing time limits on turns, to interceptions, fumbles (which happen often in this game), and assisting in a block. Rounding out the rulebook is a bit of history behind the grueling sport of Blood Bowl, including how it got its start to some of the MVP’s and key teams. While the core teams are the Reikland Reavers and the Gouged Eye, you can introduce other teams (for example: The Marauders for the human player) or create your own team name and color scheme.

One of the things that I love about this introductory game is that it has a very appealing price point — $99.00. There are more teams as well as star players coming soon, however, you can play the basic game with everything that’s in the box. Whether you’re a newcomer to the sport or a diehard veteran, this latest edition of Blood Bowl scores big! For more information on this and other games head over to www.gamesworkshop.com and get ready for some football!

  • Number of Players: 2
  • Age: 12+
  • Time: 45-120 minutes
When not writing or playing games, Thomas Riccardi can be found in Sacramento preparing for the day when zombies, vampires, or aliens invade.