Blood Bowl has been part of the Games Workshop stable for over 30 years. During that period, the company has supported the game to a varying degree, but the arrival of a new version 4 years ago, rehabilitated it from the gaming wilderness. Since then it’s had regular new additions, and now it’s been updated again. Blood Bowl Season 2 is here!
Blood Bowl is available for preorder now. And will go on general sale Saturday 21st November. Preorders will be eligible for a free Steam code for the Blood Bowl 3 closed beta. I’m not sure if this offer will continue after Friday 20th November.
What is Blood Bowl Season 2?
I must confess, I’m far from being a Blood Bowl aficionado but this set might convince me to get back out on the pitch on looks alone. This review is written, as most of my GW reviews are, from the point of few of somebody new to the hobby/game or for parents who find the Warhammer world bewildering.
First up, the models are something else. I really like the quality of the new teams. The rules are supposed to have been streamlined, though, on the box the time for a game is still given as 1-3 hours. These days, for me, 1 hour is fine for a game but 3 is waaaaay too long.
Nevertheless, when there are models like the new Necromantic Horrors arriving, it’s hard to resist getting into the game just for the pleasure of painting the teams. If this level of quality is what we can expect for future releases, Blood Bowl is going to be the finest looking game GW makes, and that’s beating off some pretty stiff competition.
What’s in the Blood Bowl Season 2 Box?
As I’m talking about the teams. Lets’s start with them. New Blood Bowl comes with the traditional humans and orcs, that I think have come with every core set. They’ve been given an entirely new flavor though. The human team are “Imperial Nobility.” For those of us who are nostalgic for the Old World, these models will bring a tear to the eye. These guys scream Graf Boris Todbringer from every pore. The new Orc team are the Black Orcs, which, as they were always the more brutal members of the old orc team, is more than a little terrifying for potential opponents.
One of the changes to rules sees Star Players become more relevant to the game, which means you’ll soon have the chance to field the amazing Varag Ghoul-Chewer and Griff Oberwald models. If that wasn’t enough a large Ogre and Troll model come as standard and you get a pair of referee models included too. The models in this box are, quite simply, amazing.
In the rest of the box, you’ll find everything you need to play a game of Blood Bowl.
- Range rulers and scatter templates.
- Thick cardboard double-sided 36″x21″ pitch.
- Double-sided dugouts.
- Hardback rulebook.
- 2 Cheat sheets.
- Assembly instructions.
The new art style in the rulebook emphasizes the fun aspects of playing Blood Bowl. There’s nothing grimdark here and the slightly comic book art style of the book’s illustrations very much epitomizes that.
Blood Bowl Season 2 costs $140 in the US and £85 in the UK direct from GW. Don’t forget you can often find these products cheaper at your FLGS.
What’s in the Blood Bowl Season 2 Rulebook?
Much like the models, the rule book is a thing of beauty. GW has applied the full extent of its production values to the book. For some reason, the bookmark ribbon is particularly pleasing. As I’m not at all familiar with the original rules, I can’t comment on what’s changed in the rules since the previous edition.
The Rules are broken down into several sections:
- A fun potted history of the silly background of Blood Bowl.
- A description of the pitch, zones, measures, scatter templates, and dice used in the game.
- The Basic rules. General principles of the game. Player stats, game states, and the many types of dice roll.
- The Full Rules. 30 pages of everything you need to know about how to play Blood Bowl.
- The post-game sequence. Only 2 pages and mainly used when running a league.
- Inducements: I could tell you what these are, but only if you make it worth my while.
- League and Exhibition play. A couple of different game modes to get your teeth into.
- The Teams. Everything you need to know about how to play each of the available Blood Bowl teams.
- Star Players. The lowdown on over 20 different star players that you can hire to boost your team.
There are noticeably few other ways to play. And by few, I mean none. I can’t help feel like this is a missed opportunity. I think if you play Blood Bowl and love Blood Bowl, you’re going to love this box. If you are diving into the game and have time to delve into its minutiae, you’ll love this box. If you’re like me, and you’re sitting on the fence, family life on one side and all the miniatures games in the world on the other, you may struggle to find your incentive to pick Blood Bowl.
These observations are coming from the perspective of somebody who knows little about the game. It looks super-fun and a work of beauty, but it also looks very complicated. There appear to be a number of additional rules that, whilst they add to the immersion of the Blood Bowl experience, don’t add much to an actual game of Blood Bowl. Especially the first few times you’re playing
Perhaps in the long term, these rules aren’t truly optional, but rules like the weather roll, praying to Nuffle (the Blood Bowl god), and the kick-off event table, are definitely something you don’t need for your first games. For ease of access, a quick start, slimmed-down ruleset would definitely help lure me in. I talked, in my recent review of Bardsung, about designer Mat Hart’s “Christmas Test.’ Looking at Blood Bowl, I’d be worried about finishing a game before Easter.
I also feel, and this is entirely personal preference, that GW should have taken the opportunity to realize that many people enjoy games like Warhammer Underworlds and Warcry because of their ease of accessibility and fast playtime. There are unofficial 7s rules for Blood Bowl and it would have been great to see the short-form game being given an official outing. It may have given rise to some logistical issues, but GW already has a great “fast” version of the game in the form of Blitz Bowl; I’d love to have seen that given a run-out here too. A buy one get one free, if you will. Blood Bowl feels like it should be the ultimate in fast-pick beer and pretzels miniatures gaming, but it’s too complicated for that.
More About Those Lovely Models.
Whilst it’s true that the models are great, a quick note about how they go together. First up, they’re not “push-fit” which GW has moved to on some of the boxed games. This, again, is an indicator that the company doesn’t see this as a beginner box. You will need some polystyrene cement to put the models together and some sprue clippers to cut the models off their sprues.
Secondly, they’re not that easy to put together. I’m not very good at model assembly. If I can do it wrong, I will do it wrong and the few models I have assembled so far drove me crazy. The instructions are more than adequate but the Imperial Nobles, in particular, are quite fiddly. I recommend putting them together at a measured pace and not in haste to get a photo out before publication of a review!
Finally, the models come with “slotta” bases. i.e. they have a big rectangular hole across them. The models (bar one) don’t need slotta bases. i.e. they don’t have a big rectangular peg to fit in said hole. This isn’t a big problem, but it is a little frustrating, as you’re going to have to fill the gap for every single model.
Perhaps, without having rolled a single dice, my analysis is unfair. The Blood Bowl box is a thing of beauty, but it very much feels like a game for existing players. It’s definitely enticing, but whether there is enough here to get newbs like me over the line, I’m not sure.
If you want to check out more about Blood Bowl: Season 2 check out the Warhammer community website.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.