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The latest edition of Blood Bowl is out, and my verdict is that this is the best edition yet. The crown of most significant must go to either the first edition which kicked everything off, or the third edition which started to codify the rules into a sensible, playable game.
Season 2 is great though and has clearly been made with a lot of love for the game and attention to details. For the purposes of a review, I’m just looking at the rulebook here. The boxed game is excellent value and I recommend it as a purchase, but for now I’m purely talking about the rules.
Blood Bowl is a game of fantasy football, and that’s fantasy as in Tolkien, where teams of orcs and elves battle it out for the trophy. The objective of the game is to score more touchdowns than your opponent and also stomp their team into the turf while you’re at it!
The book steps you through a typical game of Blood Bowl, going through all the important things your players will do – throwing the ball, catching the ball, and ignoring the ball to clobber your opponents. It’s all there and nicely laid out with boxes which summarise certain sections. The book has been laid out such that if you simply start a game, you will basically leaf your way through the book as you play.
So far, so good. However this book is filled with extras. There’s rules for a full 21 separate teams, ranging from orcs and elves, through to humans, goblins, ogres, dwarfs and more. The teams are then divided into tiers, where a tier 1 team can expect to take on any opponent. Tier 2 teams may be trickier to get going but once they do tend to be able to match anyone. Tier 3 teams are Blood Bowl on hard mode for experienced coaches who like a challenge. Each team has its Tier clearly labelled so that you can choose a team with your eyes open. In previous editions tiers were understood but not outright stated, so this is a nice change.
In addition to the teams the book contains some short rules on setting up and running e league. League play is at the heart of Blood Bowl’s enduring appeal, and so it’s great to see this inclusion. Again previously editions have treated leagues and a kind of optional add-on, but for most players it’s the reason they play.
If you are an existing player, this book gives you a solid new set of rules, and few new tricks to play, and watch out for, and a comprehensive guide to everything from choosing your team, to joining a league and levelling up your players into superstars.
For new players this provides a great entry into the game. In terms of long term impact it’s too soon to tell, but I think Season 2 could be the most popular edition of Blood Bowl so far.