Blood Bowl

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The box art. Showing that Blood bowl is about fightin and winning.

This game was created by Jervis Johnson. 'nuff said.

Blood Bowl is a game for Old shitbags that cannot let the past go, a money grabbing game, set in an alternate timeline of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle universe. In-universe, it is a sports game somewhat like American Football but with a level of violence more akin to Canadian Ice Hockey. The in-universe explanation of the game is that during a battle between Dwarfs and Night Goblins, they found a chest of rulebooks, magazines, and brochures detailing "Amorikan Footbowl" and after the Dwarf sage interpreted them (going mad in the process) they played the game to settle the battle, the game then growing in popularity and entirely replacing war in the Warhammer universe during seasons. Otherwise it's pretty much the same setting as Warhammer Fantasy before Age of Sigmar changed everything. It is played by teams from each of the major factions who set aside their differences for the duration of the season. Out-of-universe, it is a game where each player manages a Blood Bowl team as they accumulate experience and injuries.

Jim and Bob as seen in Blood Bowl 2.
Jim and Bob from the old Blood Bowl art.
Jim and Bob miniatures, named the wrong way round, which can be purchased here.

During seasons all wars in the world stop since Blood Bowl takes precedence above all other facets of life, even in the Warp. There used to be multiple leagues, but now only one survives. High Elves and the wizards of the Empire maintain crystal ball networks similar to television stations that show programs filmed with Campaigns for Real Arcanery (or Camras) with recorded images and sounds sent via a spell called Cabalvision. Each station is named with the same acronyms as real world stations with them meaning more humorous things (NBC=Necromancers Broadcasting Circle, Channel 7 CBS=Crystal Ball Service, and so on), although only one (ABC=Association of Broadcasting Conjurers) has the rights to broadcast Blood Bowl games. The announcers of all league Blood Bowl matches are a vampire named Jim, and an Ogre retired player named Bob Bifford. In the vidya the two talk CONSTANTLY to the point of annoyance. On the tabletop, they do absolutely nothing but had little minis you could buy to make your playing table look more complete (although with the advent of the vidya players sometimes imitate them to mock the opposing player, resulting in a well deserved mini down the windpipe).

It was originally produced by Specialist Games for a long time, but Games Workshop has since released a new Blood Bowl box containing basic Human and Orc teams in November 2016. Additionally, there's a couple of computer games based on it that are almost the exact same as the tabletop (going as far as to use the Blood Bowl tabletop handbook for the rules in the vidya), and a card game by Fantasy Flight Games.

The Game Itself[edit]

A NEW EDITION HAS BEEN LAUNCHED, SO PLEASE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE LET'S START WORKING ON THAT, IT CAN BE AWESOME!

Blood Bowl is a game where the player assumes the role of a team manager and trainer. The objective of the game is simple on paper: score as many "Touchdowns" (that's reaching the rival's deepest row of squares with a player controlling the ball) while you try to not let the opponent not score any. The reality is a crappy mess. With the abilities of the different players, the high risk of losing turn (even a bad pace that makes your player kiss the field WILL make you lose your turn) and the match random events (you thought that Daemons are random? THINK AGAIN) which can muck your plans in no time. Even with that, Blood Bowl is a long favorite and awesome, because of the sheer levels of humor in the rulebook and the aforementioned random events that will either fuck you, your opponent or both.

The game lends itself well to a continued campaign or "season", not just individual matches. With A LOT of abilities (including mutations) and a streamlined but good promotion system it's quite easy and fun make your own league between friends, while accumulating "Star Player points" (exp. points) and injuries.

Da Teamz[edit]

There are a CRAZY HUGE (21 in the board game, 23 in the Vidya) selection of teams out there. While many of them are mere variations of other teams, some have their own play-styles and players. Almost all are races of Warhammer Fantasy, so little surprises there. All teams have cheerleader options which can influence the random events, and are purchased like players.


The new version of the tabletop is set to make a few name changes to some of the race names, presumably to make them easier to differentiate to new players trademark. These are presented in brackets after their classic names.


Amazons: They may not get even mentioned in Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but the lovely ladies of Lustria get their own Blood Bowl team! Their armor is pretty low and they're below average in speed, but can dodge better than Dark Elves. Otherwise they play like Humans, including their player choices (except Lineman is Linewoman). Dwarfs can bash them up royally but otherwise they're a pretty good team. Probably one of the strongest teams to start with and hands down the easiest for new players to learn the game with. Amazons tend have problems when the Tackle skill becomes common, or when any member of their team takes a permanent injury as they have decidedly average stats and are considered the defining midrange team: They play heavy bashing against elves, skaven and goblins but play passing and running against Chaos or Khemri.

Chaos Dwarfs: As Dwarfs, they're very slow. They have stronger players than the Dwarfs as well as some much less skilled, fragile, and cheaper players if you need them. This mix makes them more like Undead, though they have more starting skills and more highly armoured players. They have low agility and have trouble getting or keeping the ball. The Minotaur likes to do whatever the hell he wants. That said they can do some crazy stuff like run a heavy line of Chaos Dwarfs that will mess up the enemy line and then make what would otherwise be a crazy mad pass and dash using the Hobgoblins and Bull Centaur.

Chaos ("Chaos Chosen"): The rulebook states that Chaos teams only worries about scoring touchdowns when more than half of the opponent team are either unconscious, injured or dead; and the reality isn't far from that. Maybe one of the heaviest-hitters of the game, Chaos is focused in crippling the enemy team and has the potential to do so. Their players are the Beastmen(crossover between meatshield and hitting support) and Warriors of Chaos (multipurpose, but better in defense and hitting). Their big guy is the Minotaur, who will ignore you unless you order him to crush someone's spine or crack open his skull. Often the terms Claw-POMB, Murder Chaos and Blackbox Chaos get thrown around with Chaos, it refers to a powerful build (both player and team) that Chaos can easily get that translates to making mildly bruising hits into brutal executions on the pitch, they come from one particular online community that has a special Bloodbowl league that functions as a fight club for Blood Bowl fans. Notable is that their original cheerleader mini was a Daemonette with 4 boobs wearing a Commissar hat.

Dark Elves: All four Elven teams share some common traits: they're squishy, even more than the Humans; and are extremely agile (read: ANNOYING). It's hard to keep an Elf stopped, but when you do most surely they will end in the medical tent. Dark Elves are not the fastest Elf team, but they have the agility scores to ensure it's unlikely you'll get to actually hit or even touch them coupled with armor making it unlikely you'll damage them either. Their passing is kinda bad, so it's more of a running and avoiding game. Dark Elves share a fair bit of commonality with Amazons, despite being wussy elves they can hit very hard with their Assassins and Witch Elves when played right, though they still tend towards a more nimble game to the team of psychotic lady warriors.

Dwarfs: Highest armor. The dwarfs like to keep their pace, which is a nice way of saying they run slower than snails. They're not fast or agile, but strong and resistant. They favor defensive or conservative tactics, and have the prowess to stop Chaos on their tracks. With that said, they're not agile or fast so any Elf can outflank them and ignore them as if they weren't even there. Their players are the Longbeard (meatshield? and defenders), Runner (the guy who get the ball and toddle along a bit before snails catch up to him), Blitzer (offensive) and Slayer (HIGHLY offensive). Their big guy is a Dwarf on a Deffrolla, which is illegal according to the rules but since the rules actually make a point of saying that there's a system for referee bribing and how much illegal weapons you can bring onto the field don't expect the Dwarf players to leave it at home. Refs won't look the other way for too long though, so it can be an ace in your sleeve rather than a Bloodthirster on the field.

Elves ("Pro Elves", "Elf Union"): The Elf team from older editions that survives to the current day, often referred to as "Pro Elves" to differentiate them from the other flavours of elfness. Representative of all the Elves being in one team, they have low armor, high speed, and high dodge. Cheap as far as Elf teams go. Best catching in all the Elf teams due to their catchers possessing the Nerves of Steel skill, allowing a decent pass to be caught in the middle of a crowd of Ogres. Generally held to be the best elf team as they are suited for a variety of plays that elf teams can run without being wholly dependent on any one style. Except bashing. Not even "Pro-Elves" can run bashing teams.

Goblins: In addition to being present in the Orcs team, Goblins have their own team too. Terrible at literally everything other than catching (fat lot of good catching without knowing how to pass does you). They get two Trolls (which can throw a Goblin, resulting in a one-turn touchdown at times), and they get to bring weapons to the field. Goblins bring chainsaws onto the pitch. Reread that a few times. They also get to bring in a lot of replacements, making them second to Undead teams for tournament play. They also benefit from being small and hard to tackle. Goblins work well in smaller leagues, that aren't filled with Murder Chaos, by pretty much stopping any player from having a highly developed goal scorer by dint of focusing with that chainsaw upon said player's spinal cord.

Halflings: The halflings of the Moot in the Empire (AKA mini Ogres) are the hardest team to play. Terrible at literally everything, other than the same small bonus Goblins have as well as having a lot of replacements. They also get more Treemen than Wood Elves do, similar to Goblins getting two Trolls. If you are playing Halflings its because you do not care about winning.

High Elves: The Humans of the Elf teams in the sense they have the more moderate numbers, and hence less outright weaknesses. Campaigns and tournaments where money is a thing have them with the most starting funds of any team. If you're playing High Elves, you're probably doing a LOT of passing and running. (Or, in other words, playing actual football.) High Elves are the best of the elf teams for newcomers to play as they have the most reliable passing game and decent stats for elves. That said you should never let a newbie play them right out of the gate as they will never learn what blitzing and throwing blocks are.

Humans: As in almost all other games, the humans are the "medium grade". Not good in anything, but not bad either. This versatility makes them good for every tactic you imagine, but watch out, they WILL be bested in the preferred style of the rival. Their players are the Blitzer (for melee fighting), Thrower (the passing guy), Catcher (the guy who receives said passes) and Lineman (meatshields). Mostly these guys represent the Empire, but since Bretonnia has no Blood Bowl equivalent it's not a far throw to paint them in heraldry either. In the videogame they also have an Ogre as their "Big guy".

Khemri ("Khemri Tomb Kings") INSANELY tough mummies, cheap skeletons, and they regenerate. HORRIBLE agility, if they lose the ball your only hope is to kill the sneaky git who picked it up and hold it by his severed hand. Khemri boasts some of the best big guys on the basis that they do not spend three quarters of the match staring blankly into space, Tomb Guardians are reliable, except for when they get the ball, then you should do whatever you can to get them to score as they cannot be trusted with the ball. On the plus side, the odds of your opponent being able to tackle the ball off him are practically zero as you have full control over your big guy and he will need to seriously stack bonuses to avoid the dread "Roll block dice and defender chooses" outcome. Also because of this boon of 4 Tomb Guardians, Khemri can form cages that are almost impossible for some teams to break. Another funny thing is the Thro-Ra, which you would assume throws passes, as there is no one able to catch and your Thro-Ra is AG2 for a dedicated ball handling role, you should be using it as a Run-ra, preferably with Tomb Guardians caging him.

Khorne (Videogame only): One word: BLOODTHIRSTER. The Khorne team is more Daemon oriented than other teams with only the Linemen equivalent (Pit Fighter) being a Warrior of Chaos. Team stars Heralds, Bloodletters and BLOODTHIRSTERS. Also Marauders, but are over shadowed by the Daemons. About on-par in power terms with Chaos, but uncontrollable and bad defenders. Only if you want to go full offensive. Did I mention BLOODTHIRSTER? Just to be sure that you get the picture. They've also got decent armor and speed. Best team to play if you don't want to win, but would rather surf (knock opposing players into the crowd who promptly beat 17 kinds of snot of them for leaving the pitch) opposing players and then try to win when their opponent has only 4 players on the pitch. Against other bashing teams they're usually forced to surf and use Frenzy blocks to gain position advantage instead of trying to headstomp their way forward.

Lizardmen For some reason, the Slann cared enough to put together a team (or maybe the Skinks do?). Lizardmen have very specialized players, with the Saurus being high damage speedsters akin to little mac trucks, but should never touch the ball as they have no ability to do anything with it. Skinks are badass runners who are as hard to hit as Goblins or Halflings, but if they lose the ball it'll stay lost. Kroxigars can barely move, but god help you if you get too close. You've got to have a plan (or hope the Old Ones had one you can dust off) to use this team.

Necromantic ("Necromantic Horrors") Ordinary Undead. Kinda old school gothic horror with zombies, werewolves, skeletons, and a flesh golem. Flesh golems are your Treemen who block like gods but can barely walk, werewolves are high damage high speed blitzers. It's basically the Undead team but a bit better on offense and faster to boot. Tends to play more blitz-down-and-hand-off-the-ball than regular Undead, though if you leave werewolves open your opponent's heavy hitters will start the second half with a nice set of wolf fur coats. Necromantic teams without their werewolves are just gimped Undead teams.

Norsemen: The lighter armored Warriors of Chaos. Much like the vanilla humans, but more expensive and better in fighting. Don't expect them to be Warriors of Chaos entirely; they have lower survivability than even regular Humans. They have also all the kinds of player of the humans (albeit under different names, Norse Lineman, Runners, Throwers, Berserkers, Yhetee[Snow Troll], Ulfwerener), which makes them better that their southern cousins if you want a combination of tactical genius and melee power. They're the best blockers in the game. Norse teams play best on the offence but run into problems against better bashing teams where they are forced to pass the ball.

Nurgle: Nurgle flavored Warriors of Chaos. Less hitter and more conservative than the vanilla Chaos. They have almost every player in Chaos teams, but also a few exclusive: the Rotter (Defensive and in middle of beastmen and CW in def/atk), and the Beast of Nurgle (an ugly bastard "Big guy" who can stop any player too close to him just by being ugly and awful... and stupid). They regenerate and have abilities to make anyone too close to them into muckups, which is nice. A good team if you like to make formation plays. A bad team if you want to try anything dynamic or mobile.

Ogres: A team of the best overall players in the game, rounded out by snotlings which are cheaper than goblins OR halflings. Problem? Stupidity to the last. They do whatever the heck they want, and you're not a coach as much as a 2 foot tall shepherd with a weak cattle prod trying to get them to do something, anything useful. Good for shenanigans, bad for competitive play. Can work okay against bashing teams as they aren't easy to bully, but the trade-off is that you're going to be drawn more often than any kind of result that will net you star player points. Can fling snotlings about the pitch, either to use as potential one-turn touchdown scorers or (because they cost a measly 20k and are easily replaceable) as pieces of artillery to be hurled in the direction of enemy players, often as a desperate gambit to break open cages.

Orcs: Orcs and Goblins team. Somewhat reminiscent of the humans, but much more focused on fucking the shit out of your opponent. Somewhat versatile with Orcs as your slow hitters and Goblins as your fast runners, but focused in fightin' and winnin' more than anything (as it should be). Their players are the Black Orc Blocker (defender and heavy-hitter), Blitzer (as humans), Thrower (as humans, again) and Lineman (once again). Recently they have also Goblins (sneaky and squishy). Their Big guy is the Troll, who has to be babysitted because it's so fucking stupid that he won't even know where he is half of the time. Luckily, he can throw Goblins (who in turn can throw the ball). Overall they're actually a little easier for newbies to pick up as instead of everyone being pretty average, the team has a few guys who are just specialized enough various areas to be effective.

Skaven TACKLETACKLE THE MANTHINGS! Highest speed in the game, fairly cheap too. Lots of ability upgrades too. Finally, bonuses from being small to avoiding harm. But they get hurt very easily if they do get hit, so when you get a nice tough star player you're considering making his own unique mini gets into the next match, an Elf sits on him and pops his intestines out. So now the undead team has him... Infamous for being able to run the 1 turn touch down play in its purest form; Gutter Runners being among the best players in the game and well worth taking in their maximum allowance of four. Letting Skaven have access to your backline is bad news. All Skaven players have access to Mutation skills as double on leveling up, leading to all manner of crazy potential configurations. Skaven teams have sole access to the Rat Ogre big guy, who provide a bit of valuable muscle to the team, but whose Wild Animal skill makes him unreliable for anything except blocking and blitzing, and is extremely hard to get back on his feet should he be knocked down (and at Armour 8, he is also comparatively fragile for a big guy).

Undead ("Shambling Undead"): The old school Warhammer Undead, where Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts were one army. The undead are better in leagues and campaigns than sole matches. Their players are not very agile (which does not suit them for throwing and catching, even less for escaping) and lack strength and armor. So they more or less suck at everything other than moderate damage dealing. On the other side they're often cheap. But their true strength is that they can recover from injuries and death (they're undead, after all) and stand up next part like nothing happened. That said, this improved ability to handle setbacks does not make them newb friendly, as they struggle to play the more obvious plays to beginners without a few stat boosts.

Underworld ("Underworld Denizens"): It's just Goblins and Skaven in one team. They mutate on the drop of a hat and gain lots of fun abilities, they're pretty cheap, they can benefit from being small. That being said, they have shit stats and the team infights so passing is difficult. The upside is that you get to combine a lot of nastiness with a lot of speed, if you want to play a team like goblins but actually have a chance to win a small league, Underworld fits that niche better.

Vampires: Badass Vampire players with fun exclusive abilities (hypnotic gaze being one of the best cage-breakers in the game) and regeneration, and cheap Thralls who are stats- and points-wise identical to Hobgoblins. Crap blocking and difficulty passing or catching as the team starts with no core skills. In addition, whenever activated they have a chance of succumbing to bloodlust and having to drink the blood of a Thrall (causing them to be either stunned, KO'd or badly hurt, but not causing any permanent injury); if unable to do so, your Vamp instead runs off the pitch to feed on the crowd causing a turnover and said vamp to go into your reserves. That said, if you can get used to planning for the bloodthirst (most obviously by moving a Thralls first to where the vamps need to be) Vampires are pretty effective bordering on being overpowered; if they get any stat boosts you're going to be looking at players that score more goals in a game than the number of yards they run. Seeing Agility 6 vampires is not unheard of and in terms that people who don't play BloodBowl would understand this means that you cannot expect to stop them from scoring without completely surrounding them and not allowing a single vacant square.

Wood Elves: Highest speed in the entire game. But you could blow on one and crack a few of their ribs. They get Treemen as a giant blocker, but they don't tend to do much good. That being said, literally ANY of your players could score next turn and that makes them a very unpredictable opponent. They handle the ball like gods but you really don't want them to be close to anything tougher than a snotling. A lot of the official writings for Blood Bowl say that Wood Elves like the long pass playstyle, this is utter nonsense, as they literally have no benefits to long passes compared to safer close passing and running which they do much better without risking losing the ball.


Slann(Not in the Vidya): Ancient leapy space-frogs. The Slann team are kinda squishy, but the entire team starts with Leap and Very Long Legs, meaning that they can more-or-less ignore most defensive plays you can make to stop them. Wall of Dorfs with tackle? Leap. Cage? Leap. On offence, again, they're just going to jump all over the place to bugger you up. Downsides is that there is no inherent re-roll for leap (barring Pro), so they live on the 2+/3+s. Also, no one starts with block, but everyone (minus kroxi) has access, so not much of a problem.

Chaos Pact ("Chaos Renegades")(Not in the Vidya): A massively underrated team. Some of the best linemen in the game, Marauders, have average stats (6338), but what makes them amazing is their skill access. They can take any skill on a normal roll except agility, including mutations, so with a few levels you can build them into anything. That's not even the best part. They have 3 big guys (a Troll, an Ogre and a Minotaur), plus they get a Goblin, a Skaven, an Orc and a Dark Elf. Everyone can mutate on at least a double, most on singles, so you essentially have a hugely diverse team that's very hard to counter. When you have to deal with a Big-Hand Two-Heads Nerves of Steel Goblin picking up a ball in a cage and pass to a Very Long Legs/Leap Dark Elf, you will know how tough these guys are. Also, three fucking big guys with mutations. Damn.

Bretonnians (Blood Bowl 2 only): Bretonnians aren't tabletop official yet, but make an appearance as one of the starting races of Blood Bowl 2 by Cyanide and are basically humans with shittier linemen and better blitzers. Knights with 7338 and Catch, Block and Dauntless as standard make interesting players, and everyone else starts with either wrestle or fend. Downsides is that the Knights are the crux of the team: start losing them, and you're going to fail. That, and their skills are a bit all over the place. There aren't many situations where you'd want to use both Dauntless and Catch. Also, not amazing skill access.

Kislev (Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition only): At the moment, it appears as if Kislev will be a stand for the Slann roster.

Video Games[edit]

In 1995, an MS-DOS version of Blood Bowl was released. In 2004, a French vidya company made a game called Chaos League which was a real-time ripoff of Blood Bowl. Games Workshop sued them, as GW is wont to do from time to time, and they settled out of court for GW to have partial rights to Chaos League, making it an official Blood Bowl game. It was re-released in 2009 as Blood Bowl officially and used a turn-based system. In 2007 the Chaos League turned Blood Bowl game was released for Nintendo DS, PSP, and Xbox 360. In 2010, Chaos League turned Blood Bowl was re-released for computers only as a legendary edition on Steam and had all the races of the tabletop game. It was then re-released on Steam (so the 2004 game Chaos League is now up to 7 re-releases if you were keeping track) as Chaos Edition which brought non-tabletop teams of Underworld, Chaos Dwarf, and Khorne teams as well as having a graphics bump. In 2013, a sequel to the game was (finally) announced. Graphics are HD quality, the Bretonnians have their own team, and the animations are beautiful while Jim and Bob get much less repetitive. The single player campaign is also now fun rather than a chore, and involves taking the Reikland Reavers on a comeback (which Bob joins, in his enthusiasm). While many were butthurt disappointed by the lack of races at launch, others were quick to point out Blood Bowl 1 is a heap of former DLC and Expansions bundled into the main game now while 2 is just starting out how 1 did. Blood Bowl: Kerrunch is an iPhone and Tablet game, which is like Blood Bowl 2 with only five players on each team and unlockable player rosters.

The Great Backstabbing[edit]

Way back in the early 90's, Blood Bowl 3e was released, the first recognizable edition from today's point of view in terms of mechanics, teams and RPG elements. Shortly afterwards, we got an expansion box called Deathzone (back in the days, GW in its unending wisdom made their players pay twice for stuff one would consider optional essential corebook material today, like magic rules and wargear). And for a while everything was good.

Some time after 2000, with the introduction of the eventually doomed Fanatic section, 3e was updated and JJ announced that from now on, Blood Bowl's rules would be constantly updated and optimized with significant player input in the form of the Blood Bowl Rules Committe (BBRC), consisting of JJ himself, Doubleskulls and GalakStarscraper among other neckbeards. Many brix were shat in face of the sheer awesomeness of this decision. The Living Rulebook (LRB) had arrived and for a while everything was awesome.

LRB 5 came and went, LRB 5+ came and went, FUMBBL came and stuck around even in times of Cyanide's vidya, Galak had taken over the de facto role of Blood Bowl's lead designer without pay in his spare time, when in 2009, with the long anticipated release of LRB 6 (lots of players were unsatisfied with LRB 5+) suddenly this:

Oh my God ... that is what I gave up 5 years of my life for ... wow.

Werewolves with 2 different stat lines (they could have gone with a Bear ... they still sell bear figures)

Page references where the pages are not present.

The Rat Ogre one was my typo ... and damn I really thought I had triple checked all of that ... have no idea how that got through as a typo ... so don't blame GW for that one.

The credits page is gone ... so GW won't even acknowledge the folks that gave up so much time to bring this.

And the idea that folks should play LRB 1.0 because its less cut-throat ... that's lawyer speak for Jervis being told that we don't want to push these rules over the ones printed and in the boxed set (so all you should feel free to go back to LRB 1.0).

Jervis should be ashamed (I have no other word) for what he's allowed legal to do to him.

Galak

GW, big lying megacorp they are, had stabbed everyone in the back: Promises of including LRB 6 in the base game box were broken. No credits for the actual game developers (ie Galak, who also got kicked out later, and the BBRC) to be found anywhere. Waterboarding and blackmailing JJ with threats of giant dildos until only an empty husk was left. And worst of all, a LRB 6 that was merely a skeleton rulebook without everything that made Blood Bowl awesome - no fluff, no Did You Know... boxes, no artwork. Of course, players instantly realized the huge amount of fail that called itself the Competition Rules Pack and immediately saw to it that a proper LRB 6 was made available but the damage was already done.

The Card Game[edit]

Oh and Fantasy Flight Games released a card game called "Blood Bowl: Team Manager - The Card Game". Its not bad if you think of it less as an adaptation of Blood Bowl to a card game format and more of a game based around the concept of being a weekly wrap up and/or highlights of the week kind of sports show and the coaches are able to decide what kind of amazing plays of sporting prowess happen on Cabalvision. Only the sport in question is Blood Bowl and the highlights are considered brutal acts of (mostly) unarmed assault or murder in most sane legal jurisdictions. Very true to the humour of Blood Bowl and more inviting for newcomers, play a few games with them and they are much less likely to be put off by the steep learning curve and random fuck you nature of actual Blood Bowl.

Glossary of Blood Bowl Terms[edit]

  • Bashy/Bashing Teams: All Blood Bowl teams can be described as existing on a specific place on a spectrum of combat focused to ball play focused. The term "Bash" is used to describe teams that are closer to the combat side and frequently when two of these teams are matched an important distinction is which is the better bashing team as the other will have to play around the fact that they are not hitting as hard or taking hits better than the other team. Bashing teams tend to be very intimidating for teams that are ball play focused like Elves as they have lower AV and ST which means they cannot deter Blocks and are more likely to suffer injury rolls from successful armour break rolls.
  • Blitz: While any standing player is allowed to throw a block at an enemy player standing in a square adjacent to him, you are allowed to declare a blitz action with one player a turn who can move before and after throwing a block at the cost of one point of movement. While blitzers are often the best players on a team to do this, the action is not restricted to them only, although it is often good practice to try and skill up a player with a number of blitz-focused blocking skills (block/wrestle, juggernaut, horns, etc.) to use as a dedicated blitzer, ball-sacker or killer due to only one player a turn being able to declare a blitz action.
  • Cage: A very standard formation play to protect a ball carrier, the cage is organized with the ball carrier in the centre and friendly, preferably beefy, player standing on each square diagonally adjacent to the ball carrier (forming an X with the ball carrier at the centre of it). No other players should be adjacent to the ball carrier to avoid chain-pushes opening cage and the cage should not end its turn with enemy players adjacent to the corners. This formation is popular because opponents must waste time taking out the corner players or try and blitz the ball carrier by moving through the tackle zones of two players and being forced to make a dodge roll.
  • Chain-Pushing: When during a block the attacking player chooses a result that pushes an opponent (Defender Pushed, Defender Stumbles, Defender Down) and there are no free spaces for them to be pushed into, the attacking player may choose to move them into an occupied square and then they may choose to move the occupant of that square into any available squares in the direction of the push. If there are no free squares, the chain-push continues until a player is moved into an unoccupied square. Chain-Pushes punish players who just blob around their ball carrier instead of spacing players and using proper caging formation, as with correct placement, the opponent attacking the blob can expose the ball carrier or get their own players adjacent to the ball carrier which is a very undesirable result.
  • CPOMB/CPOMBer: A combination of three skills (Claw, Pile On and Mighty Blow) that makes a player highly effective at injuring or killing enemy players and the particular province of Chaos teams. A controversial skill combination that a number of tabletop leagues house rule away; the 2016 version of the tabletop game having gone through a number of different rules changes in playtesting (some of which made it into the actual rulebook and had to be errata'd out), finally settling on making the Piling On skill both optional and requiring the expenditure of a precious Team Re-Roll to use.
  • Dub Skulls: The 1-in-36 chance a player has of being knocked the fuck over by an opponent of lower strength after throwing a block at them. So called because this requires rolling two "attacker down" results, represented by a skull on a single side of the block die. Get used to these, as they always happen at the most inopportune times and often as the first block you throw after running out of re-rolls.
  • Elf Bullshit: The propensity for the various elf teams (Wood Elves and Pro Elves in particular) to use their high agility, movement and mobility/passing skills to get themselves or the ball around even the best defence to score truly bullshit touchdowns. The main reason why coaches go out of their way to foul the fuck out of elves whenever they get the chance, in particular Wardancers.
  • Elf Screen: Setting up your players in two-man columns when defending against agile teams like elves so that they are forced to dodge through a number of overlapping tackle zones (causing additional penalties to their dodge rolls) in order to get past you. Of little use against "stunty" players like skinks, goblins and snotlings as, while they still must make dodge rolls for leaving tackle zones, they do not suffer any additional penalty for the number of tackle zones they are moving through.
  • Foul/Fouling: While it is against the rules of Blood Bowl to throw a block at a player who has already been knocked down, an underhanded coach may opt to declare a foul action once a turn by moving a player to the unfortunate prone opponent and then sticking the boot in, assisted by any friendly players around the enemy player and receiving a penalty by any enemy players who try to prevent this. As this player has a chance of being seen by the ref and sent off pitch for the rest of the game (in dice terms, this occurs when you roll a double on either the armour roll or injury roll) this is best done by a cheap linemen player (especially one who has been given fouling skills like Dirty Player or Sneaky Git) to try and take out a more expensive or dangerous enemy player, so is of particular use to goblin teams (who even get cheaper bribes to try and make the ref look the other way!). Doing this in the last turn of the game is generally referred to as "Spite Fouling" and may be looked down upon or considered bad manners as it does not award SPP so rarely serves any purpose but to potentially maim or kill the player for future games.
  • Going For It (GFI): Players can move up to 2 extra squares (1 if injured, 3 with the Sprint Skill) beyond their normal Movement value at the risk of tripping and falling down (D6 for each square, trip on 1), which causes the Turnover and can potentially injure the GFI'ing Player. Beware of Touchdown GFIs, for despite being mechanically no different than normal GFIs, Players attempting to score with GFIs have a bad habit of falling over and dying just as they reach the end.
  • Pixel Hugging/Pixel Hugger: Becoming overly attached to your players, often to the point of conceding or wasting apothecary rolls to try and keep even bad players alive. Generally a derogatory term thrown out by coaches who use CPOMB teams like Chaos, who are generally the ones killing players, but rarely on the receiving end.
  • Secret Weapon: Certain sneakier teams and star players bring illegal weapons onto the pitch, from bombs and chainsaws to a giant steamroller in the case of dwarves. While highly effective and capable of causing massive damage to the enemy team (or themselves!) the ref is only so lenient and will send these players off at the end of the drive (either the end of the half or when a touchdown is scored) unless the coach opted to bring a bribe to try and convince the ref to look the other way.
  • Star Player Points (SPP): The experience points gained by performing certain actions, leading players to level up and acquire new skills or increased stats. You receive 1SPP for a completed pass to a friendly player, 3 for scoring a touchdown, 2 for intercepting an enemy pass, 2 for causing an enemy to become badly hurt as the result of a block action and 5 for being nominated as that team's Most Valuable Player (determined randomly at the end of the game in older editions and in the videogame, but between three players of your choosing in the 2016 tabletop game). For reference, it takes 6SPP for a rookie player to get their first skill up.
  • Stunty: An Extraordinary Skill (that means you can't take when you level up but players can start with it) that makes players adept at dodging and avoidance but suffer with passing or throwing blocks, it also describes teams where all or the majority of players possess this trait and how it defines their playstyle where they can no longer make standard plays and instead need to play very specific strategies to win or at least draw (All Stunty teams are joke teams).
  • Surf: As in to "Crowd Surf", to knock an opposing player off the field and into the crowd removing them for the drive and having the crowd beat them (sometimes to death) for their cowardice and unamusing play. Highly effective as this beating bypasses armour and causes an instant injury roll. Using the skill Frenzy (where a player has to follow a successful block with a second block if able) a skilled coach with good positioning is even capable of forcing two players off the pitch with one move.
  • Team Value (TV): A numerical indication of how good or experienced a team is. A standard team where you spend all of your starting gold on players, re-rolls, fan factors, etc. is 1000TV. As your team grows and acquires skills or you add more re-rolls and coaching staff or acquire more fame your TV level will rise. When facing a team with higher TV than your own you are given an equivalent amount of free gold that you can use to make a one-time purchases of bonuses called "Inducements" such as hiring star players or mercenaries, getting some extra re-rolls or maybe even a wizardly fireball to cast on your opponents or some Bloodweiser babes to help coax your KO'd players back to health. Consequently, it is in your best interest to get the most bang for your buck from your TV so as not give away free Inducements to your opponents or miss out on some yourself; to this end it is worth trimming "TV bloat" such as an injured linemen who has acquired a few too many skills in order to keep your team efficient (although it's definitely possible to go too far with such min/maxing). Many teams have a certain TV sweet spot where they play at their best and this is generally why any discussion of what tiers different teams fall into often specifies what TV level this is talking about.
  • Vanity Pass: A pass performed for no strategic benefit, but to try and acquire the 1SPP awarded for completing a pass. Most often performed at the end of a half by a team in possession of the ball but with no chance of scoring a touchdown.

Obtaining Miniatures[edit]

Since Blood Bowl, like all of Games Workshop's GOOD games Specialist Games, is under renewal by the new Specialist Games Team!. The first advice for someone wanting Blood Bowl minis is to check eBay and Bartertown, but many model companies have stepped up and produced various "fantasy football" lines.

Just kidding, it's available now! With Orc and Human teams in the box. Skaven, Goblins and Dwarves are also out in plastic. Other teams that are confirmed are all the versions of Elves and Nurgle. Apparently the normal players and the starter box teams' Big Guys will be made in plastic, with the other Big Guys and the Star Players released in resin by ForgeWorld.

Games Workshop are also a-ok with you modifying their own miniatures from Fantasy or 40k into Blood Bowl teams for those who haven't got models yet and have actually put out a number of videos giving advice on how to do this (e.g. converting Harlequins into Pro Elves).

There's also a fan made Sigmarines team. Don't like it. Nobody should.

External Links[edit]

The Specialist Games of Games Workshop
Warhammer 40,000
(Classic):
Battlefleet Gothic - Epic - Gorkamorka
Inquisitor - Lost Patrol - Necromunda - Space Hulk
Warhammer 40,000
(New):
Aeronautica Imperialis - Assassinorum Execution Force
Betrayal at Calth - Shadow War: Armageddon - Necromunda
Warhammer Fantasy: Blood Bowl - Gorechosen - Man O' War - Mordheim - Warmaster
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Warhammer Underworlds
Board Games: Chaos in the Old World - Relic