Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bloodbowl: The Video Game


There are two Games Workshop games that I will always be willing to play, if only I had enough free time for them. 

My first favorite is Mordhiem.  It is a great mix between a tabletop miniatures game and a roleplay light system that really shines in the campaign mode so you can grow your little force of 10-15 troopers as they plunder the remains of the wicked city of Mordhiem.  Great stuff.  Bart and the gang up in Sioux City have a great table they would put together for Mage Con and I've seen some other great terrain layouts for the game around the intertubes. 

The second favorite is Bloodbowl, the game of true fantasy combat.  Nothing says Football like the Orkland Raiders! :)  The game plays pretty quick, especially with the 4 minute timer running.  Like Mordhiem, in the campaign setting, your team grows and gets new skills between match and you have injuries that can hamper your team as well.

I had seen that a Bloodbowl knock off was in the works sometime last year, then GW IP lawyers got involved and it looked bad, but a license agreement was made and the product hit gold earlier this week.  I hesitated at first, do I really want to plop $49 down for the game?  I usually don't pay full retail for a game, waiting until it hits the $29 mark in discount bin before I'll take the leap…  But this was Bloodbowl.  So I broke.  Don't tell The Other Half and if you are The Other Half and you are reading this…  Sorry!

Not being an uber video game guy, this is my short take on it.

At first I was really upset.  My new HP system that we just bought six months ago was just chugging trying to run the game.  I was like, 'Oh My!', but once I got into the options and I turned off all the extra stuff that I really didn't need (Who needs to see the grass waving in the wind?) and dialed down the details, it seems to run just fine.  The game comes in two modes, traditional, following living rule book version 5 and real time that takes a more twitch factor approach to the game.  Can you guess which one I like?  I'm not big RTS player, I like the concept, but I play too slow, like I'm playing Civilization, and I quickly get overwhelmed with the swarming tactics from the IA.  I suck, so I'm not sure how I was going to like the real time Bloodbowl, and to be honest, I can't give you a good review as I've been having too much fun playing the traditional mode!

Here is what I like:
- Campaign system - You have a bunch of tournaments that you have to unlock with prestige.  Your finish in tournaments grants you prestige.  The first tournament I went to was the "Clean Tournament" had my team of Lizardman (Joropa's Boys), Dwarf Grudgebearers, a Human team (Crusaders?) and a Skaven team (Wayfair Runners?).  I went 1-1-1 in the tournament and placed in the playoffs (all four teams placed for this tournament) and won the tournament beating the Humans in the first round and the Grudgebeares in the final.  Next up, I'm going to try another 4 team event followed by an 8 team!

- Games are pretty quick.  Taking around 40-45 mins for a match and you can save mid match if you need to.  I've played two nights to finish up the first tournament and that included downloading the game, install, and rebooting a few times the campaign as I was trying to figure some of the stuff up.  Each player gets 8 turns per half and you only have four minutes to complete your turn, so you can't over strategize your actions or you will be done.

- The graphics are nice.  I think a bit of more variety between the players would be helpful within the same race.  They do have additional skins, but you have to work with that during team purchase and I kept forgetting.  I found I had to hover over a player to see a quick look on the stats to determine which had been promoted and which had not, especially with the Skinks.

Things I wish could be changed a bit:
- I would like to speed the opponents actions…  Just a tad, to help move it along.  Also the cut scenes between halfs and starting a match could have the ability to cut past (which they do, but I couldn't figure it out until the last match…  Just hit Esc.  Duh!)

- The TD celebration…  I know this is minor, but would have it been too hard to add more then one for each race?
- A little more clarity of how the funds are used from round to round.  I 'think' I've lost some petty cash since I couldn't spend it and I'm not sure that is right.  They have a PDF manual…  I guess I ought to look at it.

- MVP - I 'think' it is random.  Doesn't seem to correlate with who did the most stuff on the field with tackles, injuries, etc. 

Things that are cool, but tick me off:
- Boneheaded Kroxagor
- Double Skulls.  (Haven't seen a triple skull yet!)
- Double Skulls with no re-rolls!

Anyways, it is a fun game at the traditional level and I think well worth it as my $$/Hr rate is already down to ~$8/hr and sure to keep dropping.  (I'll post more on that theory another day).  Hopefully, GW will allow someone to do the exact same concept for Morhdhiem too.

Go Boys!


Ellros said...

They made it an RTS? That blows and makes my decision easy.

Adam said...

Yeah I saw some footage on Game Trailers the other day. It piqued my interest.

As for Mordheim, I've always thought that was a cool concept (both story and gameplay). WM is the first (and only) tabletop I've played but Mike Y keeps me up to date on the many, many games he plays.

If PP ever decided to do something similar I could see it being a Five Fingers/High Captains gang-war type thing (With a sprinkling of Cults and Infernalists mayhap?)

Ah well, looking forward to the tournament John!

- Adam

Tony said...

I didn't think that you would pick up Blood Bowl...I will try to get it over the weekend and see if it'll run on my PC. Maybe we can get a game going via the net.

Did you happen to see that they're turning Grind into a boardgame? Smart move moving to plastic. I'm looking forward to seeing the game.


Ellros said...

Just re-reading your review...

about the MVP being random... that's how BB has always done it... randomly. I've seen house-rules for awarding it to a random selection of players who scored a TD, but by the rules, it goes to a random member chosen from the entire team, even if they did not play.

JP's RPG Blog said...

Rob - I think you missed some of the review. The full living rule book is in place for the standard game. Turn based just like the regular one. I enjoy that. If you want, you can do the twitch mode, but isn't required.

TJ - If you do get, let me know and we can give it a go.

Adam - I agree. I think a five fingers gang-war using a campaign system would be a lot of fun. In fact I drafted up some rules for that at one time...