Blood Bowl

Looking at creator Games Workshop's impressive legacy, it should come as no surprise that Blood Bowl was originally a tabletop role-playing game

Focus Home Interactive Blood Bowl
  • Focus Home Interactive Blood Bowl
  • Focus Home Interactive Blood Bowl
  • Focus Home Interactive Blood Bowl
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Crazy mash-up of Warhammer fantasy violence and football strategy, plenty of RPG goodness, dwarfs look silly when kicking balls.

Cons

  • Tutorials both lacking in content and presentation smoothness, feels like a somewhat sloppy PC port

Bottom Line

Games Workshop's Warhammer franchise doesn't immediately seem like the most ideal fit for an American football game, but if Mega Man can have a soccer game, why can't Orcs and Lizardmen toss on some shoulder pads and throw around a pigskin laden with spikes?

Would you buy this?

A fantastical rendition of one of America's favourite pastimes, Blood Bowl is significantly more RPG than it is a sports game. The moment I began looking through its playable teams I knew this game wasn't about to apologise for being what it is: a crazy turn-based fantasy RPG set in a universe where wizards, warriors and apothecaries attend football matches and go berserk. Whether you're levelling up one of your players -- each team gets various "classes" that represent a position on the field -- or rolling dice to see how a tackle turns out, everything oozes that classic tabletop role-playing essence.

Looking at creator Games Workshop's impressive legacy, it should come as no surprise that Blood Bowl was originally a tabletop role-playing game of its own. As someone versed in the world of tabletop gaming, I instantly recognised where the game borrowed various pen-and-paper concepts such as dice rolls that determine passes, tackles or interceptions. From classical role-playing conventions to rowdy audience members that will openly disrupt your game by casting spells, all sorts of cool fantasy mayhem can, and usually does, occur.

Unfortunately, as fun as the game can be when you're aware of all that's happening, I found the tutorials to be severely lacking. Basic concepts like game flow are assumed to be known by the player and explanations of important visual cues are missing as well. It's really a shame, because a few more tutorials with better implementation would've gone a long way towards making Blood Bowl a delightful experience. Take the concept of a turnover, for example: a turnover, as the name implies, ends the player's turn, and trades off to the opposing team. Typically, when you make a die roll to attack, pass an enemy or do anything with the ball and fail, it results in a turnover. This is a core rule, but the game doesn't communicate to the player why or how a turnover takes place.

Whether the insufficient tutorials have to do with the restraints of development time or actual developer oversight is a moot point. The effect is that any RPG fan (or even tabletop fan) approaching Blood Bowl is bound to come away slightly confused and potentially frustrated -- the same thing likely goes triple for someone assuming the game is more football than fantasy role-playing. Of course, Blitz mode feels more like a traditional football video game, but the real meat of Blood Bowl feels like it lies in the turn-based mode.

This learning curve isn't entirely without merit. If you're able to get past the near opaqueness of certain game mechanics like game flow and can handle the several sub-menus found throughout the game, there's plenty of fun to be had. I'm talking about the kind of fun where your friends are wondering why you're yelling at a television about Elves and turnovers at three in the morning. Come to think of it, considering the lacking AI, it isn't a bad idea to get a friend or two to play with you. After you've got a grasp on the game, you'll be looking for an opponent that doesn't roll over from the most obvious of aggressive tactics.

Blood Bowl is like two good flavours henceforth combined into a sloppy sandwich: even if the sandwich looks tasty, and you can't wait to enjoy it, it's still a little hard figure out exactly how you're supposed to eat the thing. Tabletop fans will probably enjoy playing it when a flat surface and friends aren't available for the pen-and-paper version. For everyone else, it's best to go into Blood Bowl understanding that it's best played with others, and largely a brow-furrowing affair when played solo.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: games
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?