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I’ve never played the board game nor have I ever been a fan of football. Despite both of these things I still felt intrigued by the concept of Cyanide Studios, Blood Bowl. This title is a mix of American football and elements heralding from the Warhammer series. This blend of reality meeting fantasy is done really well and is shown through its gameplay and visuals. While I’m sure the developers’ main goal was to recreate a faithful PC adaption to the board game  they also did a wonderful job with the conception.

Upon starting a campaign you are presented with a large selection of different teams to play as, such as your typical Humans and Orcs, but also more unique choices like the Skaven, a race of ratmen. I chose to play as the High Elves and entitled my lineup, The One Percent, thus beginning their long road to Blood Bowl Champions. Or so I thought.

They have absolutely no idea what’s in store for them…

This game, like football, is a team sport. Upon first playing Blood Bowl, I only used a few of my guys leaving the rest of them standing around being useless. I found the one blitz (the act where a player can “attack” an opposing player that is 2 or more squares away) per turn was frustrating. That was until I learned to use my players more effectively. For instance  to have them shadow opposing teammates to intercept a pass or to create a formation to block the opposing ball carrier forcing them to run through my tackle zones.

Despite taking a lot of their guys out of the match they still won in the end…

Strategy of the game is further broken down to the skills of your players and the teams. Some of the abilities are pretty standard such as Block, which allows the player not to get knocked down in the event of a “Both Down” roll, or Sure Hands, which gives the player a re-roll if he fumbles the ball. What if the player had Leap though? Then that player would be able to get around all your tackle zones. Or if the opposition brought a person that had a “Secret Weapon”? It’s the skills that adds in a lot of the variation and strategy for the game and also the satisfaction when your own players level up high enough to gain these abilities.

The many races you can play as, or against, also adds flavor to the Blood Bowl. They are not just added in merely for diversity, also for the strategy surrounding each team. Teams like my High Elves, for example, are a bit more basic in play style relying on their good agility to pass the ball back and forth to get it down the field. Tactics gets deeper when you choose a team like the Ogres which only consists of Ogre players and little goblins called Snottlings. For them to score effectively they need the Snottling to pick up the ball and have the Ogre toss the Snottling across the field.

Man, this is going to be close…

Yay! I made it!

Like any form of media, it’s not perfect. I wish there was more of a musical soundtrack to the game to accompany the epic-sounding main screen. Also, the commentators, while fun to listen to at first, become really annoying to the point that I just shut them off. However, if you’re looking for something unique or if you were interested in a spin on the tactical-turn based genre then I would definitely recommend this game to you.