Maim, Threat And Match: Blood Bowl 2

By Adam Smith on April 15th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

As far as I’m concerned, the important tasks for any new Blood Bowl 2 trailer to accomplish are as follows:

1) Show me which races will be available so that I don’t expect to be writing about an Ultimate Skaven Edition in three years time.
2) Attempt to convince me that the camera movement and turn-flow will be as smooth as a freshly shampooed dwarf beard.
3) Go some way toward showing that turn-based tactical trouncing is a bigger draw than ‘comic’ commentary.

The video below does not accomplish these things.

Just two races shown then – the obvious choice of orcs and humans – and while I admire the fact that the players look a bit like animated miniatures, the footage is far too dramatic to inform as to how the interface and camera control will function. And then there’s the commentary. Zing.

If the league mode crams in a proper management feature set, all will be forgiven.

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33 Comments »

  1. Sorbicol says:

    Also 4) At no point will you even have to consider opening or forwarding any ports whatsoever…..

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      frymaster says:

      That’s fine, except that basically means multiplayer would have to go via a central service, with all that entails. If you want direct player-to-player comms, at some point at least one side has to forward a port

      • Everblue says:

        They have said that games will be stored server side, which means that network desyncs and disconnects should no longer require a replay from scratch. Hopefully they’ll still allow direct IP games though, as there is a thriving direct IP scene (such as the very wonderful OFL, where they have modded in all the star players, two extra teams and player trading between teams).

        http://www.shalkith.com/bloodbowl/

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    El_MUERkO says:

    As above but in any career management mode I want the option to have mixed race teams, I care not a jot for any ‘lore’ this might go against.

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      RedViv says:

      It’s not the lore, but the balance that would suffer. The teams are separated into specialties for their factions. Swift skaven, powerful orcs, crafty dwarves, and so on. For mixing abilities you have the star players.

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        El_MUERkO says:

        which is why I asked for it in a singleplayer mode, I want to experiment to find the ultimate team, Bloodbowl Barcelona :)

        • Nenjin says:

          I’d keep hoping, because what you want has happened in zero GWS computer games.

  3. Shieldmaiden says:

    This is such a hard sell. I mean, it’s Blood Bowl. Other than spangly new graphics, how is it going to meaningfully improve on the previous Blood Bowl, which was a spot on conversion of Blood Bowl? “Buy Blood Bowl 2! It’ll play exactly the same as the game you already have, but with fewer teams!”

    • Hunchback says:

      Well, i for one have never really played the original Blood Bowl, not more than some 15 mins or so. Not that i am not interested in it, i just found out about it a bit too late and i am not willing to spend money on a relatively old game. So making a new one, with souped up graphics and maybe some more RPG/Management features might just sell it.

      Just sayin’, not everyone’s played every game, and i am not that young either (turning 30 this September :( )

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      cpt_freakout says:

      I would hope Cyanide/Focus won’t make the stupid mistake of just giving us an update in graphics with just the basic teams… this ought to have at least all the teams #1 super ultra chaotic empire edition has, plus a few more experiments perhaps, not to say a full roster of Star Players and a manager mode that maintains the satirical spirit of the board game. Cyanide’s games are hit or miss, but they do show potential in every one, so I hope this is one of the good ones.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        The races they’ve got have already been confirmed. From memory it’s 8, which is…subpar to say the least.

      • UmmonTL says:

        There are eight teams announced but while I’m not sure it is the final list, I think I heard something along the lines of them trying to keep the game accessible by keeping out the weird races that need to be played completely differently. These races are:
        Humans, Orcs, High Elves, Dark Elves, Dwarfs, Skaven, Chaos and the new Bretonian team
        (http://www.gamekult.com/actu/zoom-blood-bowl-ii-A128505.html)
        French article, use google translate or find another gaming news site that covered it.
        If Cyanide didn’t design a new team the Bretonians were apparently some weird team published in a magazine but never included in any official rulebook and they are pretty much humans with a lot of fend.

      • sinister agent says:

        It’s not a mistake when fanboys will buy it at full price regardless, then again for the next two revisions adding more teams and pitches but doing nothing about the game-ruining bugs and abysmal netcode. Cyanide are pretty much crooks, frankly.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        It’s most likely going to be ‘second verse: same as the first.’ I just hope they’ll make improvements to the UI, add all star players eventually etc. If they don’t there’s very little reason for me to switch over (cue Cyanide switching off all servers for the original once the second game has landed).

        And don’t add too many unofficial teams (Khorne and Bretonnia) instead of official teams.

        • Edgar the Peaceful says:

          No, no it’s: ‘Here comes the second verse: a little bit louder and a little bit worse’

    • frenz0rz says:

      While I mostly agree with you, the current iteration isn’t quite a spot on conversion. Aside from the obvious (no Slann or Chaos Pact), there are certain abilities that either don’t work as intended or are very fiddly to use effectively.

      For instance, Diving Tackle and Shadowing, a core pair of skills for any man (or orc) marking player, cannot be used together due to a hard-coded sequence of play. On tabletop you would roll for Shadowing first, and if that failed (the opponent therefore dodging away) you’d then opt to use Diving Tackle. In Cyanide’s game, it checks for Diving Tackle first… but if that fails, your player falls over and you can’t use Shadowing anyway.

      Likewise, Hail Mary Pass is a very useful skill for lobbing the ball long distances, but choosing it as a skill renders your thrower utterly useless as it cannot be switched off. Even setting it to ‘optional’ before the match or unticking it in the player menu both (last I checked) result in a short pass flying wildly off-target due to Hail Mary activating.

      If Cyanide were simply to fix all of these little issues (there is an extensive community list of them on the main forum) whilst improving the UI and updating the graphics – and, most importantly, keeping all current teams – Blood Bowl 2 would be a worthy successor and a guaranteed hit with their current fanbase.

      But they won’t do that, because they’re Cyanide. I fully expect a moderate graphical update with 1/4 of the current teams, a slightly updated UI and a host of new gameplay ruining bugs.

      • UmmonTL says:

        Yeah, there are a lot of little rule problems which need to be fixed. Another example is that break tackle will always be used on the first dodge even if you roll a 6 and could have used it to attempt a second dodge. Anyways, they probably hardcoded the entire ruleset in BB1 making any changes a huge pain which is why any updates came along with completely new versions of the game. At some point it is better to just dump the messy code and start fresh, for BB1 that point was probably before it was released.
        We can only hope they do make the new game less of a mess, improve the UI even more than what they showed in screenshots and give us a lot of league management options for private leagues. There is no reaseon to let people completely warp the game rules for private leagues as long as those teams can’t just join other leagues. Playing all-star teams or allowing everyone to pick mutations, random-skill leagues and more are huge fun.

    • Houghtezo says:

      They basically made a too perfect conversion of the game – right down to the fact you still need to refer to the manual to check if you will make dice rolls. I’m really hoping they make it clear what dice rolls you need to actually succeed, which it seemed to do for some things, but not others.
      Also, improved interface, camera, and better pitch overlays (why show only opponents tackle zones? That is so frustrating!)
      TBF, I only have Legendary edition, so don’t know if any of those things were improved in Chaos edition

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      Saul says:

      I think it’s an awful conversion of the game. I adore the boardgame, but gave up on the digital version after mere minutes. The menus were unbearable and the interface was atrocious, to the point where performing the simplest actions felt like a chore. I have no idea if they can improve on this in the second version, but here’s hoping.

  4. MiniMatt says:

    Ooh I remember your series of Skaven posts convinced me to buy the first game all those years ago when we were both younger, less jaded, men.

    Then some fecker’s Chaos team killed my star players :)

    edit: Just checked, ’twas Kieron’s Skaven team posts rather than Adam’s. He’s now a jet setting comic book hero. I can’t help but feel I’m under-achieving.

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    Screwie says:

    Elsewhere, it has been confirmed this release will have 8 teams in it. (Human, Orc, Skaven, Dark Elf, High Elf, Dwarf and Chaos, plus one new team.)

    As for the other 13+ teams, they will no doubt arrive some time down the line, although whether they go the expandalone route as with the first game(s) or with something else like a microtransaction dealy, is completely unknown.

    I wouldn’t mind paying just for the teams and star players I want to use, in principle.

  6. Vinraith says:

    The only feature of any importance to me in a new Cyanide Blood Bowl release is a massive improvement in the AI. Everything else is fine as-is IMO.

  7. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Is it complete sacralige to say that I hope they don’t completely recreate the boardgame’s rules? I didn’t especially enjoy the first one, mainly because playing a “heavy” team (for want of a better term) I got properly fed up with the fact that my players kept falling over because you can only skip past a defender, not barge. And the short number of turns per half meant I couldn’t bash my way upfield, and generally couldn’t score more than one touchdown per half anyway (so if the wood elves got two ahead it was game over as I’d never have time to rumble upfield twice).

    I dunno, I’m probably just terrible and someone that played dwarfs/chaos/etc. will explain how to do it, but I found the first one pretty unenjoyable unless I was playing teams that could do long passes and/or dance through the opposition. So I hope this one changes the mechanics a bit, however much that might upset people; we’ve already got a game that faithfully recreates the boardgame’s mechanics.

    • Shieldmaiden says:

      Basically, you pummel the crap out of the opposition until they don’t have the man/elf/goblinpower to stop you scoring.

    • NathanH says:

      With bashy teams against agile teams, your goal when receiving is generally to score on turn 8, having hurt as many players as possible, while making essentially no dice rolls that aren’t 2d or 3d blocks. Your goal when returning is generally to oblige the opposition to score as early as possible.

  8. redd says:

    Blood Bowl Simulator 2015

  9. Nenjin says:

    I won’t be going near this if Cyanide still hasn’t learned what an expansion pack is. Charge whatever you want for them, but FFS, don’t put greed above keeping your playerbase unified in the same game.

    Ah who am I kidding. There’s no way in hell I’ll ever buy another BB game from Cyanide.

    • pepperfez says:

      Putting greed above treating your player base humanely in any way is necessary to get that genuine Games Workshop flavor.

  10. Warduke says:

    Agree with many of the previous comments… from the start this has the feel of “Look we made new cut scenes and prettier graphics” when all people really wanted was for them to fix all the bugs in the first game. Blood Bowl is primarily played by those that care about the fidelity of the gameplay vs the core rules. Save the pretty stuff and give me the board game in a reliable (and complete!) computer version

  11. tinkergoth says:

    I’ll be keeping my Chaos Edition leagues running for a good long while after this comes out, until sufficient time has passed for three things to have occurred:

    1. I actually have the time, energy and money to build myself a PC that can handle current games (as it stands I can’t play much that’s been released in the last couple of years, but given that I only really play Blood Bowl, a bunch of point n click adventure games and turn based/real time strategy games, that hasn’t been a huge problem).
    2. I’ve seen evidence that the worst of the inevitable game breaking bugs have been patched
    3. I’m positive that they’ve got the whole Dark Elves/Legendary/Chaos/Whatever edition update every year or so issue out of their systems.

  12. Gothnak says:

    I want better AI, a more interesting single player league system, and a better market for star players and transfers between teams, not just build up your own, more of a football sim.

    I’d also love it if they could have more spells and stuff from the original Death Zone. the problem with the last iteration of Blood Bowl was that due to the limited players and options on each team, you stuck with a tactic and that was it, i want to be able to chop and change what i have available.

    The Chaos All Stars were the best team as they had different races in one team, who didn’t always get along but you could bring in pretty much anyone to fill a role.

    I’m like one of the chaps above, a tweak here and there to the lore to make it a more viable long term play single player rather than Blood Bowl itself which is designed to have a single match a week perhaps with a mate for 2 hours.

  13. bill says:

    I just started playing the Chaos edition that I got in a bundle a few months ago.

    It seems a pretty good conversion, except for not explaining anything about how the game works. (there’s an awful tutorial with some limited easy-to-miss info from the commentators, but nothing to tell you what the different colored dice icons mean. I had to find that out online – only the most important thing in the game.

    The AI is blood hard for beginners, but apparently very easy for experts. This seems to be more down to Blood Bowl being a game that has a lot of ‘unwritten tricks’ to it, rather than a game that follows clear rules.

    (and I used to play BB back in school, though I think the version I played had different rules for blocks, etc..)

    But the multiple-editions thing was what put me off buying the game for years. I don’t know why they don’t go for a DLC type of deal. F2P game with orcs and humans, plus DLC for all other teams and their star players. If any game would fit that system, this is it.

    Anyway, I have to get back to working out how to get my Elf team to actually win a game.

    Oh, and why is the ‘design a team’ option greyed out?? who knows…