On the face of it, Games Workshop’s Blood Bowl is about as niche as you can get.
A fantasy board game that’s a parody of American football, thanks to lashings of humour and violence it’s an absolute blast to play. And it has way more appeal than you’d give it credit for.
There’s been a couple of Blood Bowl videogame adaptations over the years, but 2015 saw the release of the latest and greatest, Blood Bowl 2, which has just been on the receiving end of an expansion that adds a considerable amount of content.
For a videogame, Blood Bowl 2 is very faithful to the board game. It’s not your typical American football game re-skinned with orcs and other exotic races, it’s a turn based strategy game with a sporting twist.
After picking a team – or creating one of your own – you take the action to the field, and after a coin toss the match gets underway. Like American football, your aim is to take control of the ball and reach the zone at the opposite end of the field to score a touchdown, but how you do that needs to be considered carefully.
You can run with the ball, throw it to one of your team mates or even perform a hand-off, but your movement and any subsequent action is always limited by your character’s stats and the element of luck. Try and run past a member of the opposite team, for example, and there’s a chance you’ll be tripped up, perhaps fumbling the ball in the process.
To try and clear the path for a touchdown, or to defend when the opposition is on the attack, you can move team members to block other players’ paths. If you’re feeling lucky, you can even initiate a blitz attack, of which the outcome depends on the roll of one or more dice.
If you’re lucky you may end up socking your opponent with an almighty hit, sending them reeling backwards and knocking them out for a turn or two. There’s always a chance that the manoeuvre may backfire, however, with you ending up on the receiving end.
It’s strategic and it’s fun, although matches can admittedly feel like they’re dragging on at times even though they’re limited to 16 turns. Unlike American football, the scores are rarely high in Blood Bowl 2, usually ending with only one or two touchdowns.
If you’re a fan of turn based strategy games, Games Workshop, or the Blood Bowl board game itself, Blood Bowl 2 is certainly worth trying out, and the new Legendary Edition that was launched earlier this month is the best way to do so.
Blood Bowl 2 Legendary Edition includes the base game plus all the DLC released for it to date, saving you a considerable amount of cash in the process. You get access to 24 races including Vampires, Amazons and Ogres, a new challenge mode, and much, much more. You can even create your own team from scratch, including players from multiple races.
This is already in addition to an extensive campaign mode in which you take control of a disgraced team and try to once again take them to the top, and online multiplayer so you can try out your team and your skills against real human opponents. Blood Bowl 2 really does have a lot to offer, so if you think you’ve got the patience for it, why not give it a try?