Editorial: How To Fix Bloodbowl

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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~Would you make any changes, or is the game perfect?

Chilvers Industries 

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  • Wonderdog

    I saw the article title and was ready to shoot it down in the comments… But i have to admit, these are all valid points…

  • ForgottenLore

    Whooo boy, am I going to be unpopular with this post.

    The number one thing that needs changed about Blood Bowl is the godaweful turnover rule. Back in college, the most fun I have ever had in gaming was a 2nd edition blood bowl league. The addition of that single rule has kept me from playing BB again for 20 years. It is probably the most unfun rule I have ever seen in ANY GAME EVER.

    Blood Bowl is supposed to be about trying amazing, silly, hail mary plays. Sure, there is only like a 16% chance that your goblin will successfully land in the end zone with the ball, but just trying it is cool, as long as it doesn’t cost you the game. But with turnovers occurring for failing virtually any roll the game just becomes a statistics exam. “OK, I have 11 players, which one can do something with the lowest chance of forcing me to skip my entire turn, do that one first, and so on. Instead of playing fast and loose and trying to take down that Ogre with an Elf you have to just play the numbers because if your elf fails an armor check you loose the rest of your turn and leave it the opposition’s turn with the ball deep in their territory, virtually guaranteeing that you give up a point.

    Also not crazy about timed turns, but I could live with that if I was allowed to have fun during my turn.

    The other change I would make is to bring back Throwing Skill (TL) and Cool (CL). The core mechanics of the game are pretty solid, but Agility is used for far too many things, a high agility makes you great at, well, everything. If you added back those two stats and had them function just like Agility for throwing and catching respectively you could diversify the teams more and make them easier to balance. Skaven could be super good at not getting tackled but only mediocre at passing, Elves the other way around, Dwarves could have crapping Agility and throwing ability but be OK at catching the ball once they get to it, and so on.

    As for the points in the article, all valid issues to one extent or another. The “win more” effect once a team starts to do well is a problem with any campaign system. I can’t remember if it was in one of the 2nd ed supplements or a house rule, but that league I played in in the early 90’s had a system where the more games a player participated in (and more skills they acquired), the larger a salary they demanded and the more likely that they would retire from the game. That made it so that the teams that were doing better were more likely to loose the players that allowed them to do well, and made them consider whether they wanted their super star to even play against the #300th ranked team or sit that one out and only bring them in for the match against the #3 ranked team, or vice versa and only field rookies against the powerful teams so that you weren’t risking valuable players and the less experienced guys could get some valuable XP. Worked really well to keep the power teams in check.

    • SYSTem050

      Suggestion of allowing cool random things to occur will not go down well here on BoLS it play to win/crush your opponents or go home. Play for fun pfft what’s that 🙂

      PS incase of any doubt. I applaud any rule structure that encourages doing the most bananas thing first

    • Ben_S

      I never played 2nd edition, but I think the turnover rule is integral to the game now. It forces you to balance risk and reward – i.e. whether to do the safe thing or the important but difficult thing – and that’s a huge part of the strategy.

      • JPMcMillen

        There was a turnover rule in 2nd edition, but it only applied if you threw a pass that wasn’t caught.

        But I’m sorry, just because one player botched a block on one side of the field shouldn’t cause every other player on the field should lose their turn. To me it’s like playing 40k, losing an entire unit to a deepstrike mishap, which then costs you the rest of your turn. It’s a stupid rule and if it’s in the new edition like it was in 3rd on, I have no intention of buying it. My elf team will just have to just languish in storage (not high, wood, or dark, the original elf team).

        • Ben_S

          You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. But why should a dropped pass cause players to lose their turn but not a botched block or dodge?

          • JPMcMillen

            It was to keep the player from passing to (or near) a mini that hadn’t acted yet, who could then just scoop up the missed pass off the ground if it wasn’t caught.

            The general strategy was to do everything else first, then throw the ball at the end of your turn. Sure, you could throw it earlier during your turn, but then you put any other plans of yours at risk.

        • Horus84cmd

          The whole game play to fluff idea is that the turnover represents that the “team’s play” going wrong at instantaneous moment in time.

          You have to imagine all the moves/actions you made and going to make all happening in the a set moment. The move that makes it all go wrong causes a imaginary collapse in the play before everything happens. If you’ve ever watched a game of American Football and you see this happen all of the time when something goes wrong in the offensives play.

          • JPMcMillen

            Well, over the last 30 years I’ve actually watched football, I’ve also seen plenty of times where a problem on one part of the field had absolutely no affect on the rest of the play. Or instead of ‘losing their turn’ because the offensive line blew their blocks, the QB scrambles and makes a clutch pass. Of the running back bounces outside instead of running through the middle because the hole he was looking for didn’t open up. Sometimes a play that starts to look like a train wreck turns into a miracle.

            Plus, when you don’t have to worry about a non-pass roll possibly ending your turn you don’t waste time trying to figure out what’s the optimum order to make your rolls. You just crank them out and deal with it as you go.

          • Horus84cmd

            Oh yeah, indeed, plenty of the time in American Football what happens in one place does not affect another part of the play. But that’s why BB is not a direct carbon port of Football but more of an homage to the essence of it.

            You take much of the tactical depth and thinking if as a gamer you don’t have to consider the options and consequences. Planning for the failure of a roll is a whole layer of the game. BB would lose something without that.

      • kobalt60

        I’ve played both, and i prefer 3’rd. like you say, it adds the strategic element to the game that 2’nd lacked. If the hail mary play has no risk to it, it’s less impressive when completed. That said, Bloodbowl has been a great game, in any edition, and it’s always been a mystery to me why GeeDub ignored it for so long

    • euansmith

      The runaway feedback loop of “Winners keep winning” is always an issue in campaign. I like the idea of star players demanding more money to play. Another alternative it to make winning affect something off the pitch rather than on it.

    • ForgottenLore

      A thought that occurred to me after I posted this,

      If, instead of a team loosing almost an entire turn from a turnover and virtually guaranteeing that they are giving up a point, what if the opposing team was allowed to interrupt and gain a free activation of one figure. That would allow for the other side to potentially capitalize on the error, but it wouldn’t cripple the fumbling team by not letting them react at all to the goof.

  • Ben_S

    Problem 1 – teams vary in power, but you don’t actually think that’s a problem. Right.

    Problem 2 – teams are metal, except none of my 4-5 teams are. Areas of the board can get a little congested, particularly when players are lying down, but the new larger board should fix that, assuming the figures don’t get too much larger.

    Problem 3 – teams that win more tend to do better in leagues. I agree that this is the case, but it’s a general pattern in most campaign style games. I don’t think it’s that big a problem, though it may depend on how you play. Round here we tend to play relatively short leagues (6-12 games per coach) rather than long perpetual campaigns.

    Problem 4 – in a short league at least, I do tend to find most of the advances get concentrated on a few ‘star’ players, like my Blitzers, but I like the option of developing a more rounded team too. I’m not really convinced that this is a problem. The only issue is if you can’t keep track of which player is which and that’s not too difficult with numbering and/or skill rings.

    Personally, there’s very little that I’d change. I’d probably want to tweak Apothecaries to make them a bit more useful, bring back the option of using retired players as Assistant Coaches, and stop misusing ‘prone’ to mean face up when it actually means face down.

  • benn grimm

    Your first ‘problem’ isn’t a problem at all; different teams have different power levels and different skill caps, all are capable of winning in the right hands. Imagine if this was the case in 40k how much better of a game it would be, player skill rather than faction choice deciding the outcome. Imagine CSM or Orks murderising Eldar and Tau….nice image right? Also it’s important to note that these weaker teams are signposted as such, unlike in most games where you need to be familiar with the meta for a while before you work it out.

    Your second is just wrong, I played with plastic Orcs for years. As to the problem with chipped noses etc, they’ve invented this wonderful thing called varnish. Use it.

    The rules for league play work fine as long as you play with guys who understand that games from the early nineties break when
    you power game. Hell, most games now break when you power game. If this is how you find your fun, go play another game; like 40k… Losing in Bloodbowl is unavoidable at times, it’s a dice game, losing well is an important social skill that goes along with it.

    In any system that rewards success and penalizes failure the gap between losers and winners will grow over time. That’s unavoidable, but understanding how it works, accepting it for what it is and adding in small tweaks (like retiring players/teams when they get too strong etc) is the way to make it enjoyable (ime). Taking claw/mighty blow/piling on on every player is not.

    If you’re playing Dwarfs mid season it’s fairly safe to assume that most of them have guard, if you really struggle to remember which team members have which skills (you probably aren’t playing regularly), just keep your roster handy and write the name of all the players on the bases, always worked for me.

    • Horus84cmd

      Lol just read and your thoughts are a close vibratum for the ones I typed haha.

      • benn grimm

        It’s testament to the longevity of the game that it’s still so popular after so long, despite its minor flaws. I think you can also see the benefit of a lot of play testing and positive community feedback/involvement over time. As you said in your post, no game is perfect, but Bloodbowl definitely comes close at times.

        • BT

          The computer game really helps IMO. When you have a game that has all of the teams and rules and the option to play it turn based and it /hasn’t/ killed the board game, maybe someone should take note.

          • benn grimm

            Definitely, it’s a great game, buggy as hell, but a characterful, faithful reproduction of the board game. I think the financial success of the video game also probably paved the way for this new physical version from gw. It’s funny how for years they said they’d never make video games that were carbon copies of the table top games, now we have at least 3 and probably more to follow. With warhammer total war, and the upcoming DOW3 modders will have everything they need to create turn based versions of the big two, I’d say it’s only a matter of time.

          • BT

            Totally agree. Heck, if they can just see it as a hook to get folks into the game, it will be a win for brand recognition alone. And if some current players go ‘Ok, so I run CSM and I /really/ want to see how cheesy Eldar really are without having to buy the army. Oh, this is actually kind of fun, maybe I /will/ buy some Eldar.’

            I mean, it can be a win-win if GW brings the right attitude to the endeavor. Don’t think of it as a replacement for the game, but as a tool to make the game better.

        • Horus84cmd

          For sure – exactly. I feel its the simplicity of the basic mechanics that make it such a winner. Something a whole lot of tabletop games are fail to be. GW’s been guilty of this on and off*; for them that pattern seems to be cyclic. A cycle that appears to be restarting with the release of AoS – only a good thing from my point of view. I feel if you can’t learn (get) the fundamentals of a game in 30mins, from reading the rulebook,then something is wrong. This is probably why I can’t get in to X-Wing or WM – there are so many little things to keep track off.

          *As an aside: When GW games begin to get complicated in the amount of rules needed alway confuses me. As often, in interview (and over the years) to people like Jervis Johnson or Phil Kelly regularly comment on how the “simple” rule option is always by far the most elegant and best solution for a given rule mechanic. So when we reach a situation where WFB was or 40K currently sits. It makes me wonder how it got there.

          • benn grimm

            40k is a mess, can’t argue with that, though I do think there is a space for complex and intermediate games, if they were all too simplistic it would be boring. Some historical wargames bend my brain, but I respect their existence. For me WFB was an intermediate, it was more complex than 40k, but with a pay off, which was greater tactical depth. It was still far less complicated than many old school ‘proper’ toy soldiers games.

            I think the perfect balance would be a system which allows for complexity and depth, should the player so desire, but has a simple and elegant (as you suggested), core mechanic. I think in the last twenty years WFB and 40k have both definitely gotten near to that several times. And fingers crossed for the future 🙂

          • Horus84cmd

            Oh don’t get me wrong a variety of choice in how complex a game is healthy – spice of life and all. Whilst I’ve not played them, a lot of the historic games I’ve glanced over the core mechanics are simple and it’s the armies that add the flavour, complexity and tactical depth. As you say, a system that allows or gives the player that choice is, perhaps the ultimate “holy-grail”.

            Again another phrase banded around is “easy to learn and hard to master”. It is this yardstick that I personally/typically measure how much I like a game or how “good” it is (be that board, computer, card etc…).

          • BT

            I understand where you are coming from and I agree with what Benn says about complexity. I am sure you understand where Benn is coming from as well, but I want to give a different example from a different genre. I like to use Dungeons and Dragons as a example of the war between simple and complex.

            I played D&D from the first box sets, where you played a ‘dwarf’. Rules were super easy, but the game evolved as folks wanted more. Hey, maybe Dwarves can be more than just a Dwarf. They could be Clerics and Mages and Rogues and anything else people in other races could be. Now this is where you could run a game set around dwarven culture, where humans are something rare and exotic. I think that line of thinking lead to 3.5 D&D. But folks at that point were saying the game was to complex and there was to much to keep track of… or heaven forbid it was to restrictive and just wasn’t powerful enough (*cough*Pathfinder*cough). This lead to a ‘dumbing down of rules and to 4th Ed, the video game of D&D.

            I am sure 4th and Pathfinder can be enjoyable games, but I never felt they gave me something I couldn’t get out of 3.5. 4th saw sales drop and the game suffered. WotC did the quick turn around to bring in 5th Ed, which harkens back to 3.5 by making the game a touch more complex. I still feel 3.5 is still the superior game, but that is just my opinion. I am someone who wants that complexity so I can create that vision of my character and make him that unique Snowflake that most players crave. I like the fact that in 3.5 you can make a Fighter interesting and playable with either multi-classing, prestige classes, or select feat and skill picks.

            All I am saying is that sometimes you can dumb a game down to much, and I feel people really want that touch of uniqueness that complexity can bring a game.

          • Horus84cmd

            I’d would postulate there is a great difference between “dumbing” down a game and “simple” rules. Simple rules don’t equate to a game lacking complexity or to some degree uniqueness – a dumbing down.

            Card games like Bridge or Poker both have very simple rules and eloquent but high degrees tactical complexity. Similarly strategy games such as Chess, Go, or Backgammon all have incredibly simple basic rules but huge complexity for experienced players.

            Consider some of the most popular traditional board games such as Monopoly, Ludo or Cluedo (I think called Murder in a lot of countries?); and more modern popular traditionals such as Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan. Now these are simple games at their core but offered great variety and a degree of complexity.

            In computer games there’s a reason that: “traditional platformer” style e.g. Mario; “traditional beat-em-up” formats e.g. Street Fighter; or “traditional 1st Person shooter” ala Doom, are fun, accessible and continued to be stables of the industry.

            The trend across all these platforms of games is they are “simple” are their core without being “dumb”. Heck you may even place child games like “Hide and Seek” or “Stuck in the Mud” in with these

  • euansmith

    Square bases could solve the lying minis down issue. Even painting status on to the relevant side of the bases.

    • Ben_S

      I have some of my teams on square bases – not so much for this reason as they were what I had to hand and I think they look better – but some people regard this as heresy.

      • euansmith

        Given that the board has a square grid, it seems eminently sensible 😉

  • Horus84cmd

    I’ve alway felt that BB is one of those tabletop games always circling “perfect”. Personally there is no such tabletop game that could be described as a “perfect” one. All tabletop games have dodgy/wobbly rules and tactics.

    As for the thoughts above I feel there’s an element of personal skew to three of them. I talk the other first.

    Problem 2: Is not really a issue with the “rules” per say, but with miniature design for the game and one that is easily rectified through considered design. I personally can’t say laying down miniatures has ever ruined a game. Chipping is annoying but if you take care with handling, again, not a issue – given them a good varnish and you also give yourself a little leeway.

    Problem 1: I would argue that the teams are wonderfully balanced, 95% balanced. Some teams are “easier” to play with – great for a new player. However, the “weaker” teams are simply the ones that are require a lot more experience to play with. One of my gaming group has been scary good with a Halfling team in the past – frustratingly so.

    Problem 3+4: I’m lumping these together as really they are in the same Bloodbowl ball park. In league you tend to see the disparity of the top and bottom of a league when you have a mix ability of hobbyist experience. Play a league where everyone has the same level and everything is much closer. Progression of team member is part of the skill of the game. Cultivating “starplayers” of your own is kinda the whole point, and a lot of fun when playing in a league. Avoiding the unfortunate turn over also all about the gamers skill. A game turn is all about maximising your play and reward with the chance of it all going wrong. Plus given BB is meant to be a twist on American Football, totally appropriate – there are plenty of situations that the same thing happens.

    So overall could there be improvement in BB yes – as I mention BB about 95% solid, so there is still that 5% to iron out. A little cost changes here and there would sort a lot out and a few tweaks to some of the special abilities would also help.

    • BT

      I have been on both sides of the line with league play, and player maturity is needed. Nothing hurts more than seeing your best player die or be crippled, especially because you ran that extra square or failed that block attempt. It is also ironic because the game is so entrenched by rewarding players actively trying to kill or injure other players (on the pitch)!

      But I have to say nothing is more exciting than to see players on your team get better or rolling that double or box cars on a star level. It makes the game so replayable, even with the same team because you never know who is going to get that MVP and get to be a star.

      • Horus84cmd

        Yeah, the journey of seeing players grow and die it all part of the fun. I think there must be at least 5 instances I can’t recall killing my own, home grown player, by playing the odds and going that extra action…..YEAH why not just take that extra dodge past a goblin. It will be fine…if I fall then my armour will save me and I’ll easily beat the goblin next turn…oh a 1…thats fine…right all I need to roll is the av for the armour roll…whaaaaat…dam…no worries only a one in six chance of….oh crap…dead.. :”(

        • BT

          Heh, yup. Then to fail the Apothecary roll on top of it… it will make you want to walk away from the game.

          But the fun of taking a character from a run based team and getting lucky with enough rolls to turn your team into a passing team is soooo rewarding. It is just as rewarding for some players to take that Snotling-Oger/Halfling-Treeman/ Goblin-Troll team and win with them. And if you are /really/ concerned about losing guys in a league, there is always Undead. Again, hard to play, but really rewarding when you do pull it off.

  • Morgan

    Sorry, Galak Starscraper already fixed Blood Bowl.

    But hey, good luck with Davidbowl.

    • Tom Anders

      Galak Starscraper thanks you for that Morgan.

      As the guy who was in charge of the rules re-write for this edition … suffice to say I don’t agree with David’s thoughts on changing Blood Bowl. And really feel bad that he believe #3 is true (I’ve played and seen many many many leagues across the world that have played BB for years) and definitely think #4 would ruin the game. As for #2 … most of the new teams available from multiple sources are now not metal and for #1 … the challenge of the game for a lot of players comes from the fact that some of the teams are more difficult to play.

  • Talos2

    There’s a new version coming very soon, I can’t see what the point of this is. I always found blood bowl pretty well balanced. The teams had to play they way you’d expect them to, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Chaos, dwarfs and orks are about killing you first then scoring, elves and skaven are about running through you and empire are vanilla. They are all very capable of winning if you use them right

    • Horus84cmd

      It’s interesting to discuss these kinds of things. Especially when a new edition is coming. However, I’d place the above article as mainly a list of personal grips with the game, rather than an exposition into what “actually” would be improvements to, as you point out, an already well balanced system.

      • Talos2

        If you give aggressive players ‘block’ as the first skill and dodge or sure hands to ball playing players you generally deal with the turnover problem effectively. You have to play the percentages, go for what is a good chance first and leave the trickier stuff for late in the turn. But ultimately it’s a dice based game and things will go wrong. I do wonder what some people actually think a good game is. Only if they win every time I think

        • Horus84cmd

          Exactly. I can’t agree more here. Block and Dodge is a skill I give as many players as quickly as possible! As you point out “things will go wrong” in a dice based game – the very definition of “if there’s a chance it could happen then it will happen”. The skill, typically, of the game is to minimise the odds of something happening by stacking things in your favour – the simplest and best example in BB I’d say is setting up chains of the humble block assist. On that notion, I’ve alway felt that, on some level, BB is less about killing the opponents players and more about making sure they have more on the ground at any one time that you do.

          For sure, there is definitely an element, in any game, of instances or thing that players perceive as broken, unfair, unbeatable etc… simply because they haven’t or don’t know how to tackle/deal with it.

    • Darkson

      Just to point out the “new” version is the current rules, just with a new pitch and models.

      This is a good thing, as all the “problems” raised in this (waste of space) editorial aren’t problems at all.

      • Talos2

        The campaign system needed tweaking, having new teams playing well enhanced teams really doesn’t work, similar to necromunda, you just ended up with a lot of dead players so hopefully they’ve given that some thought, but yeah otherwise it’s all good

        • Tom Anders

          If you are talking tabletop league play instead of min-max’d online play, then I disagree. The campaign system in every tabletop league I’ve heard from does work. It was designed to give the underdog a 35% chance of beating the well enhanced team and all the data I’ve ever seen says it does just that.

          • Talos2

            I’m talking about how you earn the skills and advanced your team

          • Tom Anders

            So am I. Player development is not run away. When you say it doesn’t really work .. my experience in Tabletop play is the underdog does win roughly 1 in 3 of their matches. That was deliberate. If the overdog lost 50% due to the inducement system then there would be no point to developing your team. So in my opinion … the way you earn skills and advance your team does work.

          • Talos2

            Yeah sure you could win, but damn did you pay for it a lot of the time. Stat reductions and deaths a plenty. Necromunda was probably more harsh than bb, but it was still there. But anyway, it would just be to perfect what is a great game

  • Simon Chatterley

    How dare you call my magnificent Halfling Team “The Bogglewort Ravens” a 3rd tier team. Clearly this is only due to terrible luck, a grounds keeping accident the authorities said was best left unsolved and other, clearly jealous teams, beating us with something called tactics.

  • David

    The inducements actually do help a lot. Keeping team value low to prevent inducements to opponents and to get ones for yourself is a valid and strong strategy in a lot of organized leagues.

  • Benoit Tremblay

    The fact that the teams are unbalanced is perfect. Not all Blood Bowl players are created equal. Some *skills* however are broken.

  • David Clift

    I actually worry that GW is going to take the reins again. Bloodbowl has improved without their involvement.

  • Richard Mitchell

    How to make Blood Bowl short on time and fun…make it Dreadball

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Lsb7_VfMtQ

  • 1- No. The teams are suppossed to varry in power. That is part of the fun and challenge. If they all were equal, the game would get super dull super fast. It is their varrying power and their varrying rates of development that make the game so great. Current BB players are VERY aware of this. As well, since each team is AT MOST 16 models, it is SUPER easy to have your 1 Tier 1 team, like Skaven, Norse or Chaos Dwarves, and your Tier 2 or 3 teams like Ogres or Halflings. Just know the learning curves are vastly different.

    • Chilversindustries

      Wow, looks like I really touched a nerve here. If you think it’s perfect the way it is that’s perfectly OK, the article was written based on the pictures of Games Workshop staff play testing the new edition which made me suspect that there were rules changes coming out with it so I thought I would beat them to the punch.

      • Well some community research probably would have helped. Especially since you could have learned that GW already announced via their Official BB page that core mechanics were not changing. Merely some Stat changes. Kinda hard to beat them to it when you already lost.

  • Richie Nga

    “This allows them to cultivate actual star players rather than farm an entire team of elite models.”

    Guilty as charged. If by da 4th Skill, da player still doesn’t get +1STR or +1AG, *boot* OUT U GO !!!!

  • Darkson

    What a waste of bandwidth. Perhaps play the game before you critise it, as it’s obvious from the claptrap you’ve written you never have.

    • Chilversindustries

      If you let me know your thoughts on how to improve the game I can alway incorporate that into future articles, otherwise I’ll have to post more claptrap.

      • Tom Anders

        The fact that GW is not planning any major rule changes for the new release of Blood Bowl tells you as much as you need to know about “how to improve the game”. The game does not need overhauls as you suggest. You have two points that suggest you have not really played the game. #3 flies in the face of the fact that there are so many tabletop leagues that have existed for years. The reason the US Championship for Blood Bowl had 81 players during up earlier this month is BECAUSE of long term league cultivating players and getting them to these events. The 272 players that you mention going to the last GW BB event … that is NOTHING. The World Cup last year for Blood Bowl in Italy had 912! players attend. (http://www.talkfantasyfootball.org/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=40213) Those attendance numbers are because of the fact that the league rules work and they work long term and they create leagues that grown and have fun. The fact that you posted #3 means you’ve not seen or are unaware of what league play can really be like that a game not supported for years by Blood Bowl pulls in a crowd of 912 players last year. Add to this not realizing that all the new teams would not be metal so your entire point #2 didn’t need posted. and finally .. #4 … development of your team is what makes the team … not a couple stars … but the stories that come from the lineman who has managed to skill up twice because of rolls of killing opponents who were blocking him. The inducement system manages how much you concentrate the star player of your team because you’ll give up disadvantages if you overload and if you put it all on one player … then I’m just a Wizard away from frying that advantage. I appreciate the editoral David … but it really does sound like you are not aware of what is already happening with the game and really not aware of the healthy and amazing league environments for it in the world.

        • Chilversindustries

          The league system comments seems to be generating the most hate, it’s either because the 15 or so year old rule set is utterly perfect and beyond reproach or I’ve just suggested to a group of people who consistently rank highly in leagues that the amount of skills their team generates needs to be toned down. For example if you line up a starting 11 with half a dozen skill increases against a guy who is struggling with injury problems the inducements aren’t going to fix that guys problems in a league. In a World Cup style tournament I expect the problems would sort themselves via a smooth matchmaking system. Make no mistake it’s a great game but if you had the ability would you honestly not change anything?

          • Darkson

            Back in the Vault (Jervis’s playtesting phase on the old GW BB forum he tried to push through a system where, regardless of team rating or development, each game was a 50/50 chance of winning or losing – it was roundly hated by BB players of all ilks. So no, I don’t think the league rules need changing.

            I actually argued “back in the day” for the Underdogs to be allowed more Apothecaries, but seeing as the extra one they can take now is taken less often than extra rerolls, Mercs, Wizards and/or Stars then it would have been a waste of time.

          • Tom Anders

            To the inducement system … no I would not make changes. It works and I stand by that. Below you post that teams need a way to claw their way up … the inducement and journeyman systems do that. I normally play underdog teams and have never found a problem with the inducement system. Also I really want to take issue with your suggestion that I am disagreeing with you because I’m a power gamer trying to protect my over-developed team. If you had any idea of the history of the game and the people who wrote the rules for it … you’d realize that I normally play the underdog and Tier 3 teams when I play. So please don’t try to defend your un-researched opinions by insulting me as a Timmy Powergamer.

            That said … yes there are some changes I would make … but not to the inducement/leagues rules. A few roster tweaks is all I think the game could use … nothing more. Slann Blitzers 10k less expensive … Piling On changed so that Claw and Mighty Blow cannot be used with the skill … I would have upped the Human Catcher to AV 8 for the same price (but I fully support Andy’s decision to just drop their price by 10k) … I have a list of about 12 things I change … none of them are the sweeping changes to league rules that would destroy the game that you suggest.

          • Chilversindustries

            No insult was intended my good man. Its just a suggestion that the well known human trait of loss aversion would be coming into full effect if I suggested nerfs, whereas in your suggestion of buffs would be much more palatable to many people.

            If you’re happy with the idea I’d love to publish “Galak Starscraper’s 12 changes for Blood Bowl” as an article in recompense. Let me know.

          • Tom Anders

            David … don’t need a new article (thanks for offering). I posted my thoughts on things I’d still like to change after I handed GW my final rules revision for Blood Bowl 5 or 6 years ago. The game is in very good hands now with Andy Hoare in charge and I really look forward to the edition he has been working on coming out by end of year (so it is a bit late to get changes in). If you would like to see my original list I thought would be good to test after I handed in my work on the rules you can find it here: http://www.talkfantasyfootball.org/viewtopic.php?p=608604#p608604 I still think that post is one I fully agree with … only change I’d make would be to add #9 – Slann Blitzers get -10k to price.

      • Darkson

        The game doesn’t need improving, though perhaps your knowledge of the game does.

  • John-Ross Morland

    Blood Bowl is what it is. It’s enduring popularity is partly due to it’s rules like turnovers , illegal procedures et al.

    The issue of Leagues comes in when people actually try to force it into a fixed league format as the challenge league format and Journeyman rule keeps things ticking fine.

    Limiting the number of skills actually screws over teams that rely on synergy between players as they develop. Those teams that you spoke about as being imbalanced actually progress at different rates and this means that some do well in the early stages of a league and some do well towards the end point.

    I don’t think your suggestions would work as the option to run a full resurrection league has always been there and it is generally only used for tournaments.