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Deathzone Season 1 is the new Blood Bowl supplement released alongside the new version of the board game. This book is a worthwhile supplement and provides good value to any coach wishing to go beyond the board game box for a deeper experience of the game.
The real value of Deathzone Season 1 is in the rules it provides that aren’t present in the boxed game – namely rules for league play and on developing the players in your team.
Once you move away from pitting the boxed game teams against each other, you’ll want the chance to tweak your team roster to suit your play preference, or even choose a different team completely. Deathzone lets you do this.
Deathzone also provides a list of skills which players can acquire as they gain experience through playing matches. Causing casualties, scoring touchdowns, passing and intercepting the ball all combine to give players star player points, which allow them to access more skills and become more effective on the pitch.
It’s worth reading through the teams and skills again even if you are experienced as some of these have received tweaks. Piling On has been changed completely. The other big change is in the way that the MVP is awarded.
The MVP, or most valuable player award is a coveted boon that gives a player from your team 5 star player points. The first skill is gained a 6 points so the MVP can often be the difference between gaining a skill and having to wait. In the previous version the MVP went to a randomly selected player who played for you in the last match, and if that player was dead, or a Star Player who would not be sticking around – tough!
Now you nominate three players form your team roster after the match, and one of those three gains the MVP.
This represents a major change. Team which rely on certain specialised players to do all the work (such as Wood Elves with their Wardancers) will see them gaining the MVP boost more often. I predict that team rosters may well expand too. Previous wisdom held that going above 12 or 13 players on a roster was rarely worth it, and would simply pull the MVP away from your more experienced players anyway. Now, having a full roster may well be worthwhile.
Dude, where’s my teams?
Experienced Blood Bowl coaches may be looking at the team lists in Deathzone Season 1 with furrowed brow. Only nine? What happened to the other teams? Worry not, for the Blood Bowl website has you covered. Other teams from the previous competition rules are still around and can be downloaded as the Teams of Legend file.
Why they weren’t included in Season 1 I can’t say. Perhaps the Season 1 list represents those teams Games Workshop intend to release first, and we’ll see a Season 2 book once these nine are out. We’ll see.
A new(ish) start
For now, Deathzone Season 1 represents a welcome return to a barely-supported but still popular game fro Games Workshop. Hopefully this is the start of ongoing support for a game that needs only a small impetus to reach for great heights.