In late 2015 when Games Workshop announced they would start releasing new boxed sets, one of those on the list was a new version of Blood Bowl. After a wait of a year they have finally confirmed a release date of 25 Nov.
I started playing Blood Bowl in the 2nd edition in 1988, which was the first boxed set with 28mm miniatures and a foam board representing astrogranite. At this point you started with orcs and humans, all the same model and had to add coloured rings to the bases to represent the different positions (white was a thrower, red a blitzer and yellow a catcher if memory serves me correctly).
I immediately fell in love with the game and of course purchased the next boxed set in 1994 where the miniatures had evolved to actually have different models! (and I still think they are great molds – with perhaps the exception of the human blitzers). This version streamlined gameplay a great deal and introduced dice for blocking. The pitch also become quite a bit wider (in 2nd ed you could almost block it completely with your team – you could still do so here but one successful block could leave your lines wide open).
Note: the human team below was lifted from the net. It isn’t my painting.
Around 2001 Jervis Johnson released the 4th edition living rulebook and this was updated approx once a year to 2007 (small updates were done after this).
By this point I had drifted away from tabletop gaming onto PC’s and consoles but got heavily back into Blood Bowl when Cyanide released Blood Bowl on the PC. The game itself was excellent but the multiplayer suffered terribly due to massive issues with connecting to the servers. This was later fixed but the company was and still is terrible at communication with the fan base to let them know of issues and fixes, in fact just about communication on anything. This rolled over and has continued with the 2nd release for Blood Bowl 2. An infinitely inferior version to the Chaos Edition of the first PC game (at least for the single player mode).
Having rambled on a bit you can see why I might be quite happy with a new release of Blood Bowl and I was lucky enough yesterday to get a sneak peek and half a game in.
So what did I think. I’ll start with the rules (and caveat that I didn’t have a chance to look at anything in depth). They actually haven’t changed a great deal. If you played the 3rd/4th editions you can pretty much pick up the game and continue where you left off. Some of the skills have been streamlined and categories renamed but I didn’t notice any other significant changes. I didn’t get to see the Deathzone rules so can’t comment on them.
The models are multipart (3-4 piece) and in the main look good (see below). I think they have again dropped the ball (excuse the pun) with the blitzer models for both the humans and orcs. In both cases almost the only way to distinguish them is by a greater crest (humans) or plume/hair (orcs).
The basic game costs £65 with the Deathzone supplement an additional £15 (and you will be getting that as it provides the additional team and additional rules such as mutation skills etc). Though you will be able to pick it up cheaper through your local 3rd party retailer. One thing they have appeared to have done is merged the Elf teams into one, though I don’t know what made the cut or not.
GW will also be selling at least 1 new additional team at the launch, the Skavenblight Scramblers (keeping the tradition of naming the teams sold after the most famous of the teams).
So will I be getting the game? More than likely and it will give me an excuse to dig out my favoured Norse team that I actually have out of storage (though they are not a team in the initial release, GW have stated that further teams will be released in the future, so fingers crossed).
I’ll have to see if I can drum up any interest at the club and then find time to actually play it!