Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blood Bowl: The Video Game

Way back in the 90s I bought the old Blood Bowl board game. We played it a few times and I have to say...I loved it.

The years marched on, I still have (most of ) the parts and pieces for it, but had not played it in years. When I heard it was coming out for the X-box 360 I was jacked. Really looked forward to playing it.

Still, I showed patience. It came out, I waited, the price dropped...I sprung on it. Bought it. Salivated. Planned to play it as soon as I got home from work.

If you have read this blog for long, you know how it goes for me when I look forward to a new Warhammer-related endeavor. Wardancers with the charge get routed by Night Goblin Spearmen, my power-mages get crushed by scroll caddies, my Dragon Ogre Shaggoth gets killed without getting into combat...

So yeah. I crank up the game, sit down to play the Orcs. The game starts well. I am putting together a great running game, causing mass casualties to the humans, and decide to blitz their guy to clear up a better running lane...only to find out I threw an interception because, without HD tv, the resolution on the tv is not good enough to actually see what is going on.

A couple days letter, I accidentally discover it is also out on the PSP. I ended up selling my DS and games and picking one up. And in the last few days I have been playing the game a lot.

For all the criticism Warhammer receives over balance, there is one critique I seldom hear; lack of fun.

And fun is certainly delivered by this port-over.

The variety is excellent. I read that Chaos is supposed to be a very difficult team as a starter and on the early levels, but narrowed my choices to them or the Orcs. Ultimately, I went Chaos because...uh...well, I just did.

And quickly I found why they are difficult. In the first game my opponents were the Wood Elfs. They scored on turn 2 after making a succession of dodge rolls with 2 and 3 tackle zones on them. Ouch.

I received the ball, marched down the field nice and slow, pummeling my opponents into submission as we went. I scored easily and was smiling. I would get the ball in the second half and do the same...

Except just before I reached the goal line, they got off a successful, if unlikely, blitz and knocked the ball loose. No problem, I had 4 turns to pick the ball up and move two spaces, and only 3 Wood Elf players were vertical.

4 consecutive turns I could not pick up the ball and the game ended in a tie.

It was gorgeous.

Since then, I have won the first two cups and only suffered one other tie.

Along the way, I have faced every type of team and am really enjoying the variety of tactics I face.

Games against the Orcs tend to be brutal, who causes the most casualties affairs.

The Wood Elf, Skaven, and Lizardmen armies are tough early as their incredible speed and ability to dodge through the most tackle-zone areas with ease allow them to threaten to score on any given turn.

Conversely, the Lizardmen Kroxigor, Orc/Goblin army Trolls and even the Skaven Rat Ogres can cause the Minotaur problems.

But perhaps the best games are mirror matches. Who developed their team better? Can I overcome the 420,000 GP "inducement" money granted to them to make the game more even? Will they have more than three players uninjured by the end of the game?

But enough of my gaming ramblings, lets get down to the review:

Pros:
The graphics are outstanding. The game play is a very real throw-back to the board game, except you always have an opponent. The tournament schedule allows you to play the same team for a long time, allowing you to advance the players and develop a pretty specialized team.

The variety of team make-ups definitely allows for a nice variety. A game against the Skaven plays different than against the Wood Elfs, even though both are speed based, whereas the Orcs and Chaos provide different power-based options.

Cons:
The AI is sometimes not too sharp as the Skinks in particular run backwards with the ball, though otherwise it seems fine. Occasionally they will make SPP-building throws, and apparently for that specific reason.

Also, it is hard to modify your set-up to get specific players where you want them in the initial set-up. The first guy is easy, but moving a second is still a mystery to me.

Those are very minor quibbles though.

Overall, if you liked the board game and want a chance to play a fun-filled football board game of mayhem and death, I strongly recommend picking this up on your platform of choice. It comes with a heavy dose of fun.

7 comments:

Kuffeh said...

That's a great review dude. I picked it up when it came out on the X-box and really enjoyed it. I do agree that the text doesn't show up well on the screen, I have struggled to see details because I cannot read the text.

I went with an orc team and loved playing with them. I had some great games, including a cup final that went on for 36 turns. Against wood elves, he has two war dancers left. =D

The only problem I have had with the X-box version is that you cannot be involved in leagues or tournaments with other people. A big shame there, would have been great fun to play other people.

I need to play this game more...

Darth Weasel said...

Wood Elfs are tough because they can get from end to end in one turn almost...but soft and squishy, so good to beat down.

After I wrote this, I encountered the Dwarfs for the first time (in the THIRD cup challenge!) and that was fun...they try the same meatgrinder running game. Did not work for them...I could not keep them off the field by injury, but I could get in front of them and just keep knocking them down. Lol been playing it so much I actually ran the battery down. I have NEVER done that with any other game...

Kuffeh said...

Yeah, that is sort of why my game went on for so long. I scored near the end of the second half and thought I was safe. They then proceeded to prance over my team and score. I then went on a beating odyssey and left them with a couple of players who just refused to stay down until I finally managed to get my ball carrier away from them and get the touch down.

When I played dwarfs they had hired the star player 'Grim Ironjaw'. I got him injured in the first block of the game. =D



Also, on an entirely different note. I am doing a fantasy blog hub (if you hadn't seen) and wondering if you'd like to be involved? Each week I promote a single blog with a small Q&A on my blog, and getting them more viewers. If you're interested then drop me a line a thetradingpostblog@googlemail.com

Also, we are just kicking off a new series in which I send a topic out to folk and they reply in emails and/or blog posts. If you fancy getting involved in that let me know. (http://the-tradingpost.blogspot.com/)

kennyB said...

Nice ^^ To adjust the setup of other players push the shoulder buttons when you have the first player selected. Left shoulder button moves down through the numbered players, right moves up. Good luck!

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