You take American Football. Then you mix in fantasy races such as elves, dwarves, orcs, and ratman (Skaven), then you throw in the casualties of a small war. You get Blood Bowl. I started playing it again, because quite frankly, this is a game I’ve played for approximately two decades. And it runs longer than that..
The first version of Blood Bowl was released in 1986, and it didn’t exactly set the world on fire with testing, in fact, they had to reprint it because a misprint of the stats of one of the races (Dwarves) made them invincible and unbeatable. Of course, this being 1986, you couldn’t exactly release errata on the internet.
The game was popular enough to get a second edition in 1998 (with expansion rules in the next three years covering star players, all the different races that populated the Warhammer world, and even strange weapons that teams could “sneak” on to the pitch (sneak being a manner of degrees when we refer to things like a STEAMROLLER.. the ref would simultaneously try to send it off the field and NOT get squished by it), and foul mutations. (Half the fans were there to see the foul mutants stamped out, the other half was there to see the strange mutations their favorite players had picked up in the off season), and then a 3rd edition in 1994.
The 3rd edition even spawned a 1995 video game from MicroProse that featured some of the top teams from Blood Bowl History, such as the Gouged Eye, the Reikland Reavers, and the Chaos All-Stars. They also featured a Halfling team for folks to beat up on.
That 1994 rules edition has gone through a LOT of revisions, but the core of it still stands firm today, and so does the video game editions. We all know that Games Workshop isn’t above turning out its properties for a quick buck, so since 2009, Cyanide games has released the following for PC
Blood Bowl (8 Races)
Blood Bowl: Dark Elves Edition (added Dark Elves, free for BB1 owners)
Blood Bowl Legendary Edition (Full price Release, added 11 new races, to make it 20 in total)
Blood Bowl Chaos Edition (Full price, but you got like half off if you owned Legendary edition, added 3 new races, and Legendary and Chaos could play against each other)
Blood Bowl 2
And believe it or not, Blood Bowl 2 reset the amount of teams to 8, but has added five new teams as DLC, but under the loosest possible terms possible (if you owned the game before a race was released, you got the DLC for free. You only had to pay for DLC if you wanted to play as races that were released before you bought the game).
Between tabletop, official game releases, and unofficial clients such as FUMBBL and OLBBL, I think I’ve spent something like 5000 hours of my life playing Blood Bowl.. and the game can be cruel (players can die very easily on squishier teams like elves, but death is always a chance on any team).. and any ability that requires a die roll has at least a 1 in 6 chance of failing.. so.. it’s quite possible to pull off spectacular interceptions, then just need to move one extra square to score the game winning, only to make a series of unfortunate rolls that sees your player trip on a unseen rock, fall, break his neck and die. Not that it’s happened to me, more then like five or six times.
There’s a new iteration of the main board game coming out this month, and I may see if I can save up and get it just for old time’s sake. Nuffle hasn’t released his hold on me yet… and probably won’t for some time to come.
David "SirFozzie" Yellope is the operator of the "An 8 bit mind in an 8 Gigabyte World". (an8bitmind.com) While not QUITE yet at the stage of waving his cane and telling the kids to "get off his lawn", he does admit he owns three canes.