Hi! Its Chris from @voodoo_conversion, and to quote Jim Johnson; “Greetings sports fans!”
I was given the privilege of unboxing Asgard Wargames store copy of Blood Bowl: second season edition!
While the new box art is different from the previous edition it is following the now long established Spike! Magazine style. I felt a huge amount of excitement over how heavy the box is too! Opening it up there is plenty of plastic to keep any hobbyist happy, a nice chunky hardback rulebook and the new design of pitch and dugouts.
The first thing to notice is the colour coded sprues, which has been fairly successful in attracting the non-hobbyists to the game in Underworlds, hopefully this will be reflected in blood bowl too. The more players the merrier! Another thing I noticed with the star players is they are roughly the same dimensions as the big guy sprues which made me, wonder if they would be the same price point upon release? Pic of stars sprues Another nice surprise was awaiting when looking at the teams. These are not snap fit models; they are the same as the team boxes you would pick up off the shelf. Some alternative heads on the sprues for some of the models means you can have more individual players rather than mirror imaged models. Pic of team sprues The dice are the standard blood bowl red gem set for the nobles; the black orcs get a nice green gem set too!
I was surprised to find the dugouts are substantially smaller than in the previous edition. Which makes me wonder what size the team specific pitches will have? Smaller core box size or larger traditional? Either way, I’m not sure I will fit all my dead or injured stunties in the new size of dugout!
The pitch designs are also really nice, the quality of the prints seems to have improved since 2016. The pitch is double sided with classic green grass effect, very similar to the computer games pitch with the centre now taken up by a skull logo. The flip side is a “new” astrogranite pitch and is a homage to the polystyrene pitch from 2nd edition (bit more industrial almost “necromunda ball”)
Now on to the rules! A nice big, chunky, hardback rule book and Cheat sheets! The cheat sheets are great for quick referencing during play, they summarise prematch charts, player actions (the correct order of dice rolling for throw team mate is a nice inclusion), with the injury rolls on back alongside black orc and noble team reference rosters!
My favourite part of the book has to be the artwork, there are so many inspiring little bits and nods to various races and models across the Warhammer range. (I particularly love the Pop Khorne and the Spirit host fans below) Pic of artwork mentioned The style of book very much in following with Spike! magazines, with quotes and snippets of information and background littered amongst the rules themselves. The discovery of Nuffle and Bloodbowl is explained at the start alongside the foundation of the NAF, which is always nice to reread!
Flicking briefly through the book there are some welcome changes to terminology, in particular the Marked vs Open which will help massively when learning to play (and explaining assisting for blocks).
While there are no doubt many rules changes I will highlight a few here;
- The weather table – sweltering heat now effects d3 players rather than a whole team.
- Kick off table has been overhauled to affect less players (usually d3 again) so pitch invasions and blitz! Are noticeably less devastating for both sides.
- Interceptions are no longer an automatic catch, you now have a “deflection” then a chance to catch “interception.”
The prayers to nuffle table is awesome; lots of chances for the underdog to gain extra SPP during the match. Although I feel “14. Throw a rock” should be a permanent addition to the game (when a player stalls on a 5+ the fans throw a rock knocking the player down). Stalling is when a ball carrier could score a touchdown but the coach decides not to, effectively stalling or delaying the touchdown, while a tactic in tournament play, for league play it is hardly exciting for both players! ( its a bloody awful tactic – ED)
Player progression is now more in keeping with necromunda. You can spend (a lot) less Star Player Points (experience) to randomly roll for a new skill or save to select your skill. Characteristic improvements are still random but offer a choice of stats.
The big rules change has to be the passing skill! Traditionally higher agility teams excelled at dodging and passing while low agility teams were bashing. With the addition of the passing stat this has really mixed up the abilities of a few teams. Humans were once the middle of the road team, ok at everything but masters of nothing.
Now they really excel at the passing part of the game with the high numbers of throwers and catchers they can field! Whereas wood elves have lost out, they can still dodge around and have the best starting player (looking at you wardancer!) but their ability to pass the ball has been nerfed to a measly 4+ for the majority of the team.
This change will force coaches to consider the thrower positional in their rosters (you never saw a thrower in wood elves or skaven for example), any change to a system that forces a player to make different choices is great! A final little note on the rules; Throw Team Mate now awards SPP!
The final pages of the rules book cover inducements, stars and team rosters. The team rosters are unchanged in layout (barring the addition of the PA stat) and Team Special Rules. Pic of team roster layout The team special rules are a nice addition to mixing up the inducements and star players. There is a list of standard inducements and star players, access and discounts are applied by the team special rules (for example, bribery and corruption gives discounted bribes and biased refs), then race specific stars access such as Badlands Brawlers. I feel this is to future proof star player access and inducements to new teams as the rules writers won’t have to reprint the same stars or rules access.
Finally, I didn’t mention that there’s been a fair few player skill changes (too many to mention!) so I will just select my favourite player skill…. Fumblerooskie!
Now I’m off to build some teams!
“So, Bob, we’ve seen a fantastic week of Blood Bowl with some great teams kicking the stuffing out of each other – and sometimes even kicking the ball too!”