I have chased dragons around the planes, I’ve put my life in the hands of a dice roll, created teams of superheroes to do battle with their arch enemies, and more, all from the comfort of my kitchen table. But now, now I had to lead my forces of Elves against a legion of Orcs…in a game of football? Having grown up playing card and board games, I was quite surprised when my friend told me about this game called Blood Bowl 2. Truthfully, with the first game, I only saw screenshots. Not being much of a sports fan, I didn’t pay it much thought. I didn’t look into it, I simply assumed it was a sports game with a fantasy motif. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Today, thanks to the good folks at Cyanide Studios, fans can play the game on their Playstation 4, Xbox One, or computer. Blood Bowl 2, while played on a sports field, is more akin to a strategy role playing game than to a game of football. Taking place in an alternate version of the Warhammer fantasy universe, you are able to select from 8 different fantasy races, including Elves, Dwarves, Humans, and Orcs. Wood Elves and Lizardmen are available as preorder bonus, split between the Xbox One and the Playstation 4. The original tabletop Blood Bowl game was first released in 1987, with multiple editions having been released since then.
Before I started up Blood Bowl the first time, I knew none of this, and instead jumped head first into a couple of friendly matches with fellow Dashing Nerd, Greg. To say we were both lost would be an understatement. Not due to any fault on the game’s side though. The interface was clear, and easy to use, but we simply weren’t familiar with the mechanics. Shame on us! As we played through the first half, we figured out why some squares were highlighted with a -1, or -2 on them, and why others had an image of a dice on them. We realized that the units had skills, and that their player stats mattered. Crazy concept, right? When we got to the second game, and had a basic understanding of the systems, we were able to take into account individual unit stats and abilities to develop strategies to beat one another. Frustration from having no idea what was going on turned into the fun we were used to from board game nights. The banter back and forth and smack talk all began to flow. Though, I must say, I seemed to fail a lot more “83% Success” rolls than I should have…
Since that night, I have spent a bit more time with Blood Bowl 2, specifically its “Campaign” Mode. I quickly realized this would have been a much smarter mode to start with with, being new to the series. In Campaign Mode, I was able to get better descriptions and direction on the mechanics of the game. I was pleasantly surprised by the team creation mechanic and that it actually had a campaign. Oddly though, this seems to be the only sort of “tutorial” that I could find, which is out of place for a game that is based on a strategy board game. The game would certainly benefit from a dedicated teaching mode to explain all the mechanics found within Blood Bowl.
I look forward to spending more time with Blood Bowl 2 and really exploring the game. I long to develop strategies, tactics, and my perfect team. With great voice acting from the announcers, and gory fantasy violence, I can certainly see this game becoming a fun addition to my “Games to Play with Friends” list.