Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Three Times the Blood...Bowl

Pretty much on a whim, I'd say about a six hour notice, we broke out the Blood Bowl stuff and cranked out an interesting game, a three-way match. Andy's already posted on it, but I thought I'd follow up as well. As much Blood Bowl as I've played over the past seventeen years I can say this was actually a first, and it worked rather well.

The pitch itself is a geometric gem of a grid. From any point on the line of scrimmage to any point to one of the three end zones you have exactly thirteen hexes, nothing more nothing less, just like on a regulation pitch. Of course you have the three end zones, which is crazy to say the least but also a lot of fun.

Three times the teams means three times the mayhem, and also made for some very interesting mechanical differences from a regular game. Andy played Humans, a very good all-around team. I played the Dwarves, a first for me, and something of a challenge as they are slow, not very agile, but tough as stone. Biscuit was playing for the first time and coached the Orcs, another excellent all-around team. For added fun we added in a Troll 'big guy' and a Goblin as well. This is a great combo because the Troll has a skill that allows him to throw small team mates with the 'right stuff' skill, which the Goblin has!

It may have had three end zones, but it was still in-your-face Blood Bowl

One interesting by-product is what you see above. The ball has scattered deep in Orc territory and both a Human Blitzer, and a Dwarf Slayer are trying to get to the ball. That's the interesting catch, the Orc end zone is fair game for both Dwarves and Humans, meaning the Orcs are now defending their end zone from two teams!

Andy's suggested maybe having assigned scoring end zones per team. At first I wasn't sure, thinking the more scoring the merrier, but having slept on it, it does make more sense, and keeps the gameplay more balanced and solid.

Here's another curious example. When throwing a block against a foe, you can get an assist from a fellow team mate, most of the time giving you a second blocking die. Having a buddy team mate near you can cancel out your opponent's dice superiority.

In the center up above, the two Humans are about to get a two-die block on the Orc. If the Dwarf up there was an Orc instead, he would cancel out the two dice. However he's is a Dwarf, he's not on either team so his area of influence doesn't matter at all when it comes to the hit. Why does he care if the Orc is about to get bowled over?

More three-way pitch action...

Three teams, three different sets of dice

The classic post-game looks cool in this version!

My Dwarves

Andy's Humans

My Orcs (drawn from two different teams) on loan

So there you have it, a fun match out of the blue, and a very different kind of match at that! I gotta say, Blood Bowl is one of those games universally recognized as simply all-around great. Just this one match (and we only played a single half) was enough to really get my Blood Bowl juices flowing again. I think there was inspiration all around too and now there's talk of a possible 'friendly' league of sevens. We'll see!


  1. I've played a couple of four-player games, using the older foam board, and I can attest to the manic fun of multiplayer Blood Bowl.

  2. We used to play four-way games of BB back in the day. It was crazy!

    I played goody two shoes elves that wouldn't start fights and tended to score a lot but not get many kills on the other teams.


  3. I can only hope my blood bowl posts have spawned your renewed interest :)

    4 players ends up being 2x one on one games, so this looks new to me, but lots of fun! I would recommend you check out the updated deathbowl rules my buddies have done for their updated deathbowl boards (moved line of scrimmage so bash teams have a chance) - if you're interested Mik shoot me an email to remind me.

    I would also love a "copy" of whatever you guys finalize your 3 player ruleset on - I would suggest you allow the "odd man out" to decide whether or not he wants to assist - and which team (backstabbing is fun :) )

  4. @Tristan: Of course! Your BB adventures as of late have happily coincided with the renewed vigor here. Stay tuned for a big team roll call post! I'd be interested in those rules too. The copy we're using is evolving, but we played another 3-way game just tonight and had some more quirks get smoothed out in the process.

    @Eli: It's a great game isn't it? I'm really floored at how popular it is even today. I favor Elf teams, I may have to go that route for a longer term development league situation.

    @KGreen: Indeed! It's a lot of ups and downs just making it through the match, but it is so much fun, end of story!

  5. Blood Bowl is hands down my favourite GW game, and may be the best thing they've ever produced. It's brilliant, and I wish I could play it more often.

  6. I Echo Kelvingreen's comment. I'd go further and say that it's probably one of the best 2 player board games that generates actual suspense turn after turn. It's only downfall was the campaign system breaking down after a while. Tremendous fun though, and having especially hated overpowered or lucky players on various teams just added to the atmosphere.
    At least once a week I think about trying to make a skirmish game using the blood bowl ideas.

  7. Just got pointed to this blog as I'm making a 3 player pitch. Just what I was looking for, and some great other articles too!