Strictly for existing fans only.
Now I’ve never been a table top gamer myself but I’m aware of its existence. Sure I may laugh as I pass by the games workshop store in the mall but I can’t help but wonder what those quirky lads are doing in there so with the new PC, and therefore more acceptable to me and my digital nerd kind, release of the Games Workshop classic Blood Bowl I was able to catch a glimpse into the high stakes adrenaline fueled world of dice rolls.
Now I can’t give any insight into how well developers Cyanide captured the spirit of the table top game because I’ve never played it but I can rant in my own way about it as a stand alone video game in the way that my decades of wasted afternoons gives me license to do so. The premise is simple enough; its football with your typical fantasy creatures (Orcs, Elves, Dwarves and such) and the only real rule is to put the ball in the end zone either by skill or by brute force. There is a turn based mode as well as a real time mode. At first I was convinced that the turn based mode would feel too slow and dull for me, especially considering that I was supposed to be playing a fast paced sport, and that I would focus mainly on the real time mode. I started with the turn based style just to experience the game as it was meant to be played by the table top faithful and found it painfully difficult with a host of subtle nuances that were a complete mystery to me. I attempted to play it like I would any football game but quickly found myself losing match after match. Frustrated I went to the real time mode and all of a sudden I was winning matches by scores in the double digits, keeping in mind most of my turn based matches ended in 1-0 or 2-1 conclusions. While the real time mode was vastly easier it felt like it was lacking. There was hardly any strategy involved apart from stacking up my players and smashing them down the field. So I went back to the turn based mode and haven’t looked back. The turn based mode offers a deeper level of strategy and planning than most games I’ve played recently. Apart from that it provides for a more dramatic experience with touchdowns coming far less frequently, thus giving them a much greater sense of accomplishment.
Gameplay on the surface seems simple enough but the more you play it the more you realize how deep the game goes. If you’re like me and generally just go with the assumption that “my guy is bigger than the other guy so my guy should knock him down” it comes as a steep learning curve to pay attention to all the stats to decide the best course of action. If you’re someone more accustomed to this type of game then I’d imagine you could slide quite comfortable into Blood Bowl and start running up the score on people like myself.
The graphics are the main area where Blood Bowl disappoints. They’re not very crisp and detailed to begin with and once the camera pulls out for a match they look even worse. Also, for a game that really doesn’t have an abundance of information to keep track off in any match the loading times feel longer than necessary. Granted, this may all have been done to cut down on the system requirements for the release but at the same time they could have made it to look better and then let people with lesser machines turn down the settings.
All in all it’s a fun game and one that I’ve found has gotten into my head and I keep playing to see how I can refine my playing and win matches (as of writing this I’ve only won 1 turn based match so far) so it has a high replay value, especially when you factor into it the career mode which adds in even more stats that I haven’t had too much time to check out yet. However, it costing 50$ feels a little much and you can’t help but feel like you’ve been cheated out of a few dollars. Had Blood Bowl cost 30$ I’d absolutely recommend it, but as it stands now I’d save it for people who know the game and are into turn based strategy.
By Ryan S - Systemlink Blog