Sorry everyone, its time to kill the sacred cow. It isn’t perfect. Or is it?
If you ever hear people talk about BloodBowl at any time between its third edition in 1993 and now (before its forthcoming re-release by Games Workshop) you’d think they were discussing the second coming of Christ in 28mm scale. If you haven’t heard of BloodBowl it’s fair to say it’s possibly the most popular out of print game at the moment. People love it. The US tournament in 2015 had 78 players 11 years after its last release. The Official UK tournament would draw around 200 players before GW canned it, in 2007 they held the record for most attendees of a GW event ever with 272 players.
Naturally I think I could do it better.
Problem 1 – The teams vary in power.
A quick look at the tournament rankings puts a half dozen teams at the top all the time, you’d think this would be a negative point but in fact this is advertised as a game were certain teams like Goblins and Halflings are much harder to win with yet people still play them. I would personally let this continue and wait for the momentous time when a 3rd tier team wins a major tournament. However the Orc team could probably do without a front row of a Troll, 4 Black Orcs and 4 Blitzers, meanwhile the Dwarf team tends to bog down the game when using its deep defence.
Problem 2 – The models are all metal and have to be placed on their side, face up or face down, after they suffer a block or fall over.
This is going to be less of a problem once they all get re-released in plastic but it always ended up in chipped noses and chest plates if you weren’t careful. The problem I always have is that the model has to be positioned so that they are clearly face up or down, sometimes with small models or models in more interesting poses they will roll around over the pitch. Unfortunately, Games Workshop has decided to “solve” this problem but positioning all their human linesmen with their arms outstretched as if they are pretending to be group of goalkeepers. I would solve it using rings around the bases to indicate their status.
Problem 3 – League Play has issues.
Here’s good joke: How do you kill all interest in playing BloodBowl in your local club? The answer is to form a league.
Ok, you caught me that isn’t a joke it’s more of a terrible waste of potential – a lot like the standard rules on how to form a BloodBowl league. Zing. The problem is that once teams start injuring other players and scoring touchdowns they will start acquiring skills that allow them to injure even more players and score even more touchdowns. Meanwhile once other teams start to lose players to injury they will continue to lose players and struggle to acquire the same skills. The bottom half of the league will lose interest in spending 1-2 hours playing a game against the top teams and almost certainly will resort to flinging their own feces at the other players until you take the electric cattle prods to them.
This issue has been “fixed” by allowing teams that perform badly to use special star players, extra re rolls and coaches for one off matches but this rarely seems to work. As the introduction of a player of fixed skill into a match rarely is exactly what a lower ranked team needs to compete with a fully fleshed out veteran team. The answer is simple but unpopular, automatically replace anyone who is killed or injured with a standard version of that player if the injury or death occurs to a player who is on 0-5 SPP so that injuries only concern the high ranked teams. Then make an apothecary require an upkeep cost so that these teams can risk games without one for a saving of gold but doing so is a risk that can come back to punish them.
Problem 4 – It’s the Players, not the game. Not people-players, the player-Players – you know…the ones on the TEAM.
The final and most controversial change I would enforce is to only allow teams to have 3 players who can have extra skills and stat increases.
This allows them to cultivate actual star players rather than farm an entire team of elite models. It will also cut down on the amount of explaining individual extra skills like that painful process of working out which player in your lineup has “Guard” in a Dwarf team or the exciting realization you have just declared a Blitz action against a player with extra Strength and are likely to lose your Blitz and cause a Turnover.
These aren’t massive changes, the game is pretty good, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But there is always room for improvement.
~Would you make any changes, or is the game perfect?
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