Blood Bowl 2020 (and BB3 online)

Last year BigBen (who bought out Cynide – the makers of the online BB game) released a tweet saying that BB3 had been delayed so that it could coincide with the new release and new rules of the upcoming board game. It was quickly deleted but gave everyone a heads up that we were likely to get a new version this year and perhaps a bit worryingly for some of the community, updated rules.

A few days ago there was a massive leak of the new rule book with excerpts in English, German and French. The artwork was a real throwback to earlier editions (I loved it) and it looked genuine. This was confirmed as within 48 hours warhammer community released an article confirming it:

BB 2020 box
There is a sub-reddit started by a solid member of the BB community (The GRGN Noob – who also has a wordpress account) that has listed out all the changes that can be noted from the leaks and if you’re a fan of the game, it’s well worth checking out (see below extract).

As a game, very little has changed in the core rules since 3rd edition (when they introduced the block dice) back in 1994. This new edition will perhaps see the most significant changes since the step from 2nd to 3rd. None of the changes by themselves are really significant but there are a lot of changes and when looked at as a whole, they will definitely change things up. I love blood bowl and have played it since 2nd edition. Its the one game that I continued to play, even when I took a hiatus since fantasy. I’m of two minds on the changes. On one hand the current game works well and i feel if it isn#t broken, don’t try and fix it. On the other, I like a number of the changes they have made. It will add a whole new level of tactics to the game, really shaking it up (the ability to leap over prone players by just taking an agility roll, passing now being a separate skill from agility, niggling injuries only effecting the injury roll not the casualty roll so the player has more chance of staying on the pitch but if they are hurt, they could be in trouble and they can pick up multiple niggling injuries, making the likelihood of more serious injuries ever more real. All of these are great tweaks.

The biggest fear is that they are making changes for the sake of it and shifting new copies and that it will fundamentally mess up what is a solid rule set. Based on the below and having scoured the leaked images, I think there is a good chance that it will retain the feel but change it up enough to create a new experience. Whether it is better or worse, we’ll have to see but i’m feeling cautiously optimistic.

The new box also has a new human team/’race’ confirmed (Imperial Nobles).

BB 2020 - Barons

In terms of release date, I’d expect around Christmas.

A full list of the changes from the Reddit sub thread:

The Big Change:

A new stat: PA has been added.

This is assumed to be “Passing”, as it matches the Blitz bowl rule abbreviation.

This appears to allow separation in terms of how good a player is at dodging and catching vs. throwing.

2) Agility, “Passing” and Armour Value have been changed to a target number.

e.g. Agility three becomes 4+, AV 7 becomes 8+

3) Passing action has been altered.

The new passing table is:

Quick pass = 0

Short pass = -1

Long pass = -2

Long Bomb = -3

AND Passing happens before Interception roll now

AND 4 different pass results, accurate, inaccurate ( 1 scatter?), wildly inaccurate, fumble.

Passes can be intercepted or deflected (no data on deflections yet).

4) The passing stat is improved for throwers vs other positionals, and reduced for positionals less suited to throwing. examples from one team:

Skaven Thrower = 2+

Skaven Lineman = 4+

Gutter Runner = 4+

Skaven Blitzer = 5+

Rat Ogre = – (This is assumed to mean it cannot throw)

These make it look like the Skaven Thrower has AG 5 (old rules) but when you consider the passing table has lost the +1 for quick pass, it is roughly equivalent to AG4 for throwing. Clearly though, the big deal is the Gutter Runner is now really bad at throwing, kinda a current AG2 equivalent.

5) Kick off table changes

Possibly the biggest reveal here is that it seems FAME is gone (also supported by the ‘Ooligan losing “Fan Favourite” as spotted by the Bonehead podcast)

Blitz!, Perfect Defence (now Solid Defence) and Quick Snap only works on D3+3 unmarked players

Changing Weather and Brilliant Coaching swapped around. Makes Assistant Coaches a bit better

Throw rock replaced by officious ref. Chance for a player to be stunned or sent off (on a 1)

Pitch invasion changed to d3 stunned on the team losing a roll off.

Riot now “Time-Out” but it is almost the same, lose a turn unless the kicking team is in turn 6, 7 or 8.

In totality the changes seem to be less extreme, and faster to do the bookkeeping for to me. Big win.

6) Skills, some changes and lots of new ones

• Catching a bomb is now riskier. Explosion works like Mighty Blow for the +1s. (Might always have done this…Cannae remember)

• Some skills have values of +1. Assuming these will be different for Star Players. Great idea

• Traines Trolls (Goblin team) are more likely to be able to use re-rolls (Loner 3+ instead of 4+). New skill for Trolls, Projectile Vomit, sounds delightfully disgusting

• Pro now on a 3+ Note that Pro works on 3+ BUT only rerolls one die, not all of them! ( Specifically excludes armour, injury and casulty dice).

• Shadowing and Tentacles work on a natural 6 roll, as well as usual rules

• Claws doesn’t work with Mighty Blow. Only works on blocks u make, not defensive blocks.

• Iron Hard Skin cancels Claw

• Cannoneer sounds good for Long Passers

• I can see myself using the Fumblerooskie skill. Dropping the ball for someone else to carry

• On The Ball combines Kick Off Return and Pass Block

• Running Pass looks STRONG for Elven teams. Passing and being able to move afterwards

• Weeping daggers gone from Gutter runners

Safe Throw now completely prevents Fumbles. Cloud Burster is a new skill that has the same effect as the old Safe Throw, but only on Long and Long Bomb passes.

7) Player cost changes 5K increments added

• Oooh, costs that aren’t multiples of ten. I will need a new abacus

• Some players are more expensive, like Skaven Throwers and Halfling Catchers

8) Improvement costs have changed

One of the French pages has four costs for skills:

Primary skill determined randomly: +10k

Primary skill chosen: +20k

Secondary skill determined randomly: +20k

Secondary skill chosen: +40k

And the costs for stat increases are:

AV: +10k

Movement or PA: +20k

Agility: +40k

Strength: +80k (Some debate if this is actually just a fuzzy 5)

So random skills are apparently a thing, and the cost of strength increases may have spiked. Passing seems to be a really cheap stat to upgrade, which is nice.

9) Casualty rolls have changed

First, stunties have their own injury table, that reflects the current rule.

D16 Casualty Chart! 1/8 chance of death vs 1/6 1/8 chance of stat reduction vs 1/6 3/16 chance of niggle 3/16 chance of just miss next game 3/8 chance of badly hurt

New nigglings affect the CASUALTY roll (d16) instead of the INJURY roll. SO nigglings no longer affect the player staying on the pitch, which is a HUGE change in exp league settings. Therefore, a player with 1-2 nigglings can be worth keeping in roster instead of firing. That player will get less BHs, more MNG, more nigglings, more stat penalties and is easier to die over time. The rate of getting a niggling injury is also seriously boosted, so it’s a very common casualty roll now.

Extreme example: If a player gets 6 nigglings, that player has 50% RIP, 50% MNG and 0% BH in the casualty table.

10) New box set and new team race(s)

It seems to be at least one new race in the starter box, and at least one big guy (the plastic troll).

potentially Griff oberwald and Varag in plastic in the starter set.

Human team in the box is “Imperial Nobles” might be like an app team from a few years ago, and also a substitute for bretonnians which GW never officially made.

Talk of savage orcs in the ether.

11) Miscellaney

Crash Landing segment reads like you can throw prone players…Nice

Rushing is new name for GFI

Rules on Take Backs is a nice addition

Halfling Chef now tells you when to roll for it, which is better

Bugman looks well worth the inducement for Stunty teams as they often end up with less than 11 players

There’s a new Jump movement option to skip over a Prone or Stunned player. Unlike Leap it appears to not need a skill, it’s just a modified Agility roll (see Very Long Legs skill in the leak).

On one of the German pages there is a definition for Stalling, which is considered “running out the clock”. Whatever that means. The bonehead podcast discussed possible rules to prevent stalling. Others say it is a tactics discussion page. This page is low res so might be hard to find out.

Too many men rule, if you accidentally have 12 players on the field after kick off, one is randomly sent off.

5 thoughts on “Blood Bowl 2020 (and BB3 online)

  1. “Weeping daggers gone from Gutter runners” I don’t know why, but that kind of makes me laugh. It was such a small change but received so much criticism.

    Nice post and I’m looking forward to seeing how the changes work out. What do you think about the two included Star Players in the box? I would hazard it’s just an option, and a nice way to form a complete boxed set. But some have speculated that the Stars are built into those teams. It’s also weirding me out that the team leaks so far, haven’t listed any Star Players. Maybe there is an appendix table like in some of the other books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s a nice touch to have the star players in the box as it’s like have a hero in the 40K/warhammer boxes sets. You are right about it being an option though as both teams sheets have been leaked and the star players aren’t on them.

      Since I wrote this, the wood elf team has leaked and all their team bar the thrower now pass on a 4+, just like quite a few other teams. It seems that that will be the best a non-thrower can now manage. Not sure how I feel about that (and I rarely took elf teams). On the other hand, I’ve seen enough Vampire teams used l, so that the vamps did a succession of quick passes between them in order to level up quickly and that just seems a bit of an abuse of it.
      It also seems that all throwers no matter what race, will pass on a 2+. This means no advantage for former AG4 throwers (like elves). I can see that throwers will become much more of a target. They also might now be taken more. I always used to take one in my Norse starting lineup anyway as I love the throwing game but I know, especially in that team, that they were mostly skipped.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Seems weird for all Throwers to be 2+, despite race. You’d think Elf Throwers would be better. The changes are going to take some time getting used to.

        I do like that they are upping the Passing game regardless. In my very first game, I tired to make a Pass, thinking “It’s football, right?!”. Of course I failed and my dislike for the game just grew from there. Took me quite awhile to get into the game after that initial turn off.

        Liked by 1 person

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