Wot I Think: Blood Bowl 2

I love Blood Bowl. By that, I don’t necessarily mean Cyanide’s digital adaptations of Blood Bowl – I mean Games Workshop’s violent fantasy-sport and the finely poised ruleset that drives it. But we’re here to talk about the latest digital adaptation so, with consideration for the boardgame and its rules, here’s wot I think of Blood Bowl 2 [official site].

At its base, the sporting theme stripped away, Blood Bowl is a turn-based tactical game set in a restrictive and crowded arena. Two teams are attempting to fulfill an identical objective at opposite ends of that arena. Matches are about control of space, locking opponent units down by moving into adjacent squares, and protecting the ball while attempting to move it upfield by passing, kicking or running.

Although there are obvious similarities to American Football, Blood Bowl doesn’t have the Sisyphean quality of that sport, in which a gain of inches can be cause for celebration. In fact, an entire half of Blood Bowl play often feels like a single play in American Football, or a couple of downs at most. That’s because the ball isn’t particularly mobile and is rarely handed automatically to a specialist player – there’s nobody in the mould of the quarterback, commanding and controlling the game at the beginning of each play.

The fundamental difference in the ruleset is that a turnover – the handing of control from one team to the other – doesn’t take place when the ball hits the floor in Blood Bowl; turnovers happen when opponents hit the floor. And that’s usually because one of your players has hit them square on the jaw. It’s not uncommon for the ball to sit on the ground, surrounded or guarded behind a defensive line but untouched, as both teams maneuver into a position that will allow them to play with maximum efficiency.

This opens up a different avenue of offense. Where American Football playbooks divide neatly into running or passing plays, Blood Bowl also incorporates aggressive plays. Attacking another player is referred to as ‘blocking’, which is a bit like calling Hannibal Lecter a serial dodger and fussy eater. A block can function as a defensive response but it’s more likely to be an assault, delivered to move a player out of position or take him or her out of the game entirely. The exact result of any risky action – whether a dodge, block, throw, pick-up, catch, sprint or use of a unit-specific skill – relies on a roll of the dice. In essence, the better your chances, the more favourable the result is likely to be but there is always a risk of failure.

And that’s Blood Bowl. A smart, condensed, cramped and sometimes claustrophobic tactical game in which you stack the odds as strongly in your favour as possible and then roll the dice. It’s beautifully constructed, thematically flavoursome, and supportive of high-level play. The nuances of the individual races ensure that they all require drastically different approaches, from the hard-hitting well-organised defensive units of a dwarven line to the improvisational counter-attacking gutter-running of a Skaven squad.

All of the above is present and correct in Cyanide’s Blood Bowl 2. A few slight niggles apart – currently, you can’t choose to opt out of skill-based reactions even though letting an opponent slip by can (rarely) be beneficial – the rules have been adapted accurately to digital form, and the UI is much-improved as compared to the prequel. Taken as a whole, the game is more welcoming to new players, partly because feedback before and after actions is clear, and partly thanks to the singleplayer campaign/tutorial.

It’s a full rags-to-riches story mode, that campaign, which makes it a little unwieldy if the intent is simply to teach the game. However, a newcomer would only have to play through the first handful of matches to learn the basics of the sport. Preparing for online competition is slightly more daunting. Some of these people have been playing Blood Bowl in its various forms for decades. I can’t comment on how well the matchmaking tools place players with similar ratings against one another because the pre-release version was likely populated with die-hard fans. Needless to say, I mostly had my face stomped into the turf.

It’s possible to join or create leagues and tournaments, and you can play or construct competitions populated with AI teams as well as braving multiplayer matches. The AI is uneven, occasionally putting up a good fight but just as likely to concentrate all its efforts on marking a single player and leaving a clear route to the goal line for one of his team-mates. Frustratingly, I feel like it’s almost there, capable of understanding and reacting to various tactics but completely blind-sided by others.

Experienced and dedicated players are probably going to run rings around computer-controlled teams, able to exploit their weaknesses as soon as they spot them. For me, the AI is wonky and capable of throwing a game away, but just about interesting enough to enjoy playing with. For a while at least; it’s entirely possible that the AI limitations will leave too much of a hole sooner rather than later.

For those looking to upgrade from Blood Bowl 1, the question is whether the improved graphics and infrastructure are enough of a benefit to outweigh the reduction in available races. There are eight races available at launch, each with their own playstyle, unique units and star players, with more planned as DLC. The final edition of Blood Bowl 1 included 23 races.

I’m torn. Partly, I want to support Blood Bowl so that it can have 23 races of its own eventually. There are genuine improvements, in both the persistency of teams (which age and can take part in a transfer auction market) and the ease with which leagues can be created and joined. It looks great as well, although after a couple of weeks playing I’m already praying for the addition of a button to skip or speed up animations. Not cutscenes for injuries and turnovers, to be clear, which can be switched off entirely, but the basic animations as players run across the pitch. They can make what would be a ten minute match last twice as long if both players are proficient.

Quite how the player auction system will work out, I can’t say. It relies on a playerbase willing to sell off developed players. The offline player purchase system is a basic exchange of in-game winnings for a player in a certain category while the online auctions allow you to buy and sell players that have honed their skills and levelled up through a series of matches. It’s a neat idea, encouraging and rewarding squad-wide growth, but I’d prefer a more involved simulated offline world. As it is, leagues and tournaments take place in bubbles.

The interface works well using either a mouse or a controller. I find the mouse preferable and a launch patch adjustment of the end turn button has removed almost all of my complaints about the UI. In fact, somewhat spotty AI aside, I don’t have many complaints at all. It feels great to be playing Blood Bowl again and I haven’t felt restricted with just the eight races. They’re a great selection and I challenge anyone to become expert with Skaven, Orc and High Elf teams before the next races are available.

There’s no word on price for future races yet but almost anything would be preferable to the new editions of the game last time around. For some, the game won’t be up to scratch for a couple of years, when its roster might come somewhere close to matching Blood Bowl 1: Chaos Edition, but I’ve already been sucked back in and there are just about enough improvements to keep me here.

I wish there were more, particularly relating to team management and the persistency of the world, but this will do. It’s not as clean and clever as fellow fictional ball-handler Frozen Cortex, but the messiness and violence really do add something. There’s nothing quite like recognising that you’re not going to score in the last turn of a half and concentrating all of your efforts toward obliterating the opponent team instead. Especially when they’re High Elves.

Blood Bowl 2 is out now and available through Steam or direct from the publisher.

65 Comments

  1. DarkFenix says:

    It honestly doesn’t sound like BB2 has very much to offer to BB1 players at all.

    • Artist says:

      Definatly! Its just Cyanide recycling themselves once again – without improving on the shortcommings! (Shouldnt the AI have improved significantly since BB:Chaos Edition? It hasnt!)
      BB1:Chaos Edition offers more bang for the buck!

      • Flavour Beans says:

        Without improving on the shortcomings? So, the greatly improved UI, the revamped multiplayer system that actually works and doesn’t need you to go through a hundred hoops just to get a pick-up game going with a friend, the nicer and more visually-distinct models grouped together with better presentation and sound is a good step up, the stadium customization…

        Yep, played plenty of the beta, and walked away feeling like it was just another rehash…

      • braven5 says:

        I actually think your missunderstanding the Article, for start AI has drastically improved, its far from perfect and has clear flaws but lets face facts, since when has AI been superior to a smart human being.

        Everything in BB2 is superior to BB1 apart from the number of races, which we will get eventually anyway.

        • Voodoo says:

          The AI is still a pile of Nurgle droppings, you actually become a worse player playing against it, he same as BB1.
          It is nowhere near mediocre level, It’s the level of a player who has played less than half a dozen games

        • jonahcutter says:

          Chess AIs are quite strong. Not that Blood Bowl’s should be as strong as the better chess AIs of course (what with all the years and resources put into chess AIs), but there is no inherent reason an AI can’t be strong enough to beat even a skilled, intelligent player in a particular game.

          Single purpose AIs are quite capable of surpassing even the most intelligent humans, in that particular purpose.

          • ersetzen says:

            Eh, many games are a lot more complicated than chess. There are a couple
            research teams working on ones for starcraft, for instance. Starcraft is really
            ridiculously complicated and has a lot of different fields going into it. Not
            really fair to compare it to blood bowl but there still is a hell of a lot more
            going on each round than in chess which makes it way harder to do a truly
            proficient ai.

  2. wraithgr says:

    For someone who bounced off frozen cortex a bit hard (mostly due to the lack of a proper tutorial), do you think I should give this a try?

    • Montavious says:

      If you liked cortex even a little, i think you would have a blast with this series. very fun game.

    • Palimpsest says:

      You should give Cortex another chance. Initial confusion and effort has a big payoff.

    • TheOneFlow says:

      The game is terribly fun and I think it offers something different from Frozen Cortex, though based on the first part, I would have to say the tutorials/feedback aren’t that great. Seeing as that was your stumbling block I can’t really say that BB1 is going to serve you much better, though according to the review BB2 is handling that a lot better.

    • raiders says:

      tl:rl – You will definitely enjoy BB, just read the competitive rulebook first!

      OMG…I love Frozen Cortex. I got whooped pretty good for a while. But with patience and understanding, I became a beast at that game and still enjoy it. BB1 Chaos Edition was my first go around with Blood Bowl, EVER!

      But I didn’t go into it like I did FC. I watched videos, read the complete competitive rule book, re-watched videos, then read the manual before playing my first game. Again, it took a while to learn the basics but I’m a fan of this game now. It actually plays much better than it looks.

      However, FC and BB are two completely different games that you can enjoy on their own merits. To me, BB is more like Battle Chess with a football while FC is an all-out tactical assault disguised as a sports sim.

    • Admiral Snackbar says:

      Cknoor (a very experienced blood bowl player) has a good series on youtube explaining everything if that interests you.

  3. Elusiv3Pastry says:

    Err…no mention of how the the cost/benefit of spending hard earned cash on upgrading your stadium instead of players/cheerleaders/coaches works?

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      Yes, I always read WIT’s for their detailed analyses of the upgrade mechanics and am alarmed when they are not present.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I have devoted the seconds of time and effort required to log in simply in order to signify my approval of this comment and notify you of the mirthful effect it has produced produced.

  4. Foosnark says:

    My experience with Blood Bowl 1 was a confusing, buggy mess. The tutorial (if it was that) made no sense to me whatsoever and I gave up in frustration.

    • Tenner says:

      I played the table top game about 15 years ago but I needed the tutorial in BB1 to bring it all back. I played 5 games in the campaign and hated it because the AI teams had 2-3 levels over me. I stuck with it though and it ended up being a lot of fun.

    • hygroovy says:

      The tutorial on BB1 was appalling. There was no excuse for it at all. Fails to cover a load of basic concepts, commentary of actions that haven’t taken place yet, awful. But….it is a brilliant game. Hugely satisfying and frustrating. Watch cknoor’s youtube beginners guides for a much better rundown. I just got BB2 for the animations basically, going to give it a proper go tonight!

    • Flavour Beans says:

      This game has a single-player campaign that serves mainly as a tutorial, introducing game concepts over time, from the basics early on to the more specialized stuff later. It’s akin to how many modern tabletop war-games come with a serious of scenarios that starts out with basic terrain and foot soldiers, and then slowly works in advanced terrain, special weapons, vehicles, and so on. As far as being a buggy mess, I was playing the beta of BB2 and it was a much, much smoother experience in every way.

    • raiders says:

      tutorial-shutorial. this is a table top game with a competitive rulebook. the only thing you need to learn in the digital version is what buttons to push. the rule book is the key because, afterall, this is a dice/RNG game. no tutorial is gonna explain this in its complete detail. it’ll only show you, movement, the “results of” a roll and what the “consequences” of that roll are. that, in itself, is a horrible way to teach a newcomer the game.

  5. EhexT says:

    “A few slight niggles apart – currently, you can’t choose to opt out of skill-based reactions even though letting an opponent slip by can (rarely) be beneficial – the rules have been adapted accurately to digital form, and the UI is much-improved as compared to the prequel. ”

    No the UI isn’t improved. Jesus H Christ, please stop spreading something is simply objectively false. The UI is worse. The Dice log is worse. The in-match helper features are gone. The between match UI is worse (more inbetween screens, and less information displayed).

    The only thing about the UI that got better is that it tells you dice roll chances in percentages instead of rolls – and that’s not even a straight improvement, it’s just stating the same information in a different format.

    And apart from the crucial not being able to choose which skills to use, which is gigantic bad change there’s tons of small stuff that’s missing but was in BB1. Like player models changing as they level up for example.

    • lordcooper says:

      Subjective opinion is subjective.

      • Flavour Beans says:

        Subjective opinion is subjective. I, for one, love the new UI.

    • hygroovy says:

      I’m really surprised the player models aren’t changing as they upgrade. Nicer graphics is pretty much the major change in BB2, and you get upgraded models in BB1…

      • MisterFurious says:

        I heard that that feature will be in the game, it just wasn’t in the beta.

    • Everblue says:

      Agreed, as someone with over 2,000 hours into Blood Bowl 1 over the years the new game is much much worse than the original. All you need to know is that none of the large internet leagues are moving over. Not a single one. Yes there are side competitions etc, but the main leagues are not shifting.

      • gwathdring says:

        This by no means invalidates your opinion, but I hope you understand that after spending 2000 hours with a specific interface, you’re probably less qualified to identify if it is a clearer, easier to use interface than someone who can count their investment bias in 4 digit numbers.

        That is of course complex–you also have more experience in terms of knowing what UI bits are actually useful during play. Still.

        • gwathdring says:

          *who can’t

        • Everblue says:

          Fair enough, but it’s not the UI that’s the problem.

          – There’s no chat lobby out of game
          – Some skills have been removed
          – Random pointless changes to rosters
          – Inability to turn skills on and off removes a major tactical element of the game.
          – Player and team stats are not collected
          – Dice stats don’t appear to be collected
          – Player models don’t change as players level up (makes it almost impossible to tell your players apart)
          – League interface is a nightmare and the process of validating games has had another step added (why??)

          The big USP of the new game was supposed to be that games were handled server side so you could restart from the same spot after a disconnect. This was the single biggest thing we wanted in the community because having to replay games multiple times because of net sync disconnects is horrendous. That doesn’t appear to be in – it’s been tested and it’s apparently still peer to peer. The disconnect timer is now three minutes instead of five and there’s been no way to reconnect as yet.

          This is ignoring the fact that the teams are not there yet and there are concerns about the DLC strategy they used for Dungeonbowl being repeated here.

          • The Mad Welshman says:

            I hate to be “That Guy”, but… A lot of the things you mentioned are UI. For example, the League Interface is riddled with UI problems, and even team building has the unnecessary extra step of “Click ‘No, I don’t want to buy players before Rerolls, ta'” before you can build a team without having a pre-plan ready. The chat in lobby is a UI feature that… Is missing. Even choice in whether you want to, say, Fend (Not always) is a missing feature in every sense *including* UI. Lack of namespace is a missing UI feature, lack of camera rotation, the way passing is handled now… A lot of that is UI, because the UI isn’t just “Is it clear what I’m doing?” it’s “Can I actually do this in an intuitive way?”

            So yeah, UI is distinctly a problem, and… I’ve been hella confused by some of the choices made. Definitely didn’t recommend this one myself, and, while I’m sure a devoted segment of BB players will soldier on with this release (We have four previous “Editions” to prove that this happens enough for the series to continue), reckon it’s gonna be a while before it’s widely adopted compared to Chaos Edition… Because BB2 is clunky in whole new ways… o.O

        • Everblue says:

          An anecdote – The UKBBL is setting up a side competition to test the new game along side the main Blood Bowl 1 league. The admin team has already resigned in protest at how painful the new league is going to be to operate.

  6. Hunchback says:

    I am quite interested in this, since it’s based on Warhammer which i really like in terms of aesthetics, style etc and it looks like a decent alternative to MOBAs (of which i am getting really sick) in terms of a competitive multiplayer game. However, i am totally clueless about american football, all i “know” is based on movies i’ve seen… And as it often happens with me and sports-based games, i am afraid i’d just bounce off it hard because of lack of basic knowledge and interest in said sport. *ponder*
    (I am one who’s tried playing FM multiple times, just for the “manager” part, knowing that i really can’t stand actual football but i can’t resist a management game. And yes, eventually the fact that i know close to nothing about the sport made me quit because i couldn’t understand or evaluate situations, make decisions etc)

    *ponder some more*

    • lordcooper says:

      I have no interest in any real world sport and am loving this game so far. As far as I can tell it has as much in common with American Football as Rocket League has with Actual Football.

    • hygroovy says:

      You don’t need any knowledge of rugby/american football beyond the basic concept of “get the ball over the line to score”. Its more like a brilliantly violent version of chess. I had the same experience trying FM years ago. But because you control the players on the pitch in Blood Bowl, you learn quite quickly why you want certain skills/attributes on certain players, and move towards tailoring them for your playstyle.

    • Flavour Beans says:

      What few things this has in common with American football are just some terms that are mostly self-explanatory. It’s better to think of this as an abstraction of football rather than a game of it. It’s inherently a turn-based tactical game put in the context of a football-like sport, rather than war or alien invasion or whatnot.

  7. Gothnak says:

    ‘I wish there were more, particularly relating to team management and the persistency of the world’ – This x 100… the Board game would require so much dice rolling and pen & paper management to run a decent world outside of each match, on computer this stuff is EASY. I want Blood Bowl Manager (And no, not the card game), a fully fledged management & game combination.

    That would sell loads!

    • vlonk says:

      A similar game exists. It is called M.U.D.S. Mean ugly dirty sport. I loved this game so so much.

    • wodin says:

      I’d by Blood Bowl Manager on day one. Something like Football manager. Ooooh yes please.

    • Everblue says:

      You can already get that in Blood Bowl 1 from some of the peer to peer leagues. They do player transfers, an annual pro-bowl with the best players from all teams, basically they replicate the NFL.

  8. Hydro134 says:

    Just wanted to come out of lurking and point out some links saying dlc price spotted on Xbox market place. Looking like 7$ a team still no word from cyanide on pricing or packs.link to xbox.com

    • Flavour Beans says:

      I’ll be interested to see what the prices will be on Steam. Either way, selling the teams piecemeal means that you only need to buy the ones you’re especially interested in early on, and then buy out the rest during Steam sales.

  9. Jenks says:

    Would be pretty stupid to buy it now for full price, and not get the free DLC that everyone got before today.

    • Flavour Beans says:

      The free DLC kinda serves as the reward for taking the risk of trusting a game and company with a mixed reputation. People who wait until now lose out on the free DLC, but know they’re getting a pretty darn good game.

      • wyrm4701 says:

        My experience is that Cyanide can’t be trusted. They released three version of BB1 without fixing crucial bugs, among other things. Suggesting people pay full price now for even less of a game is, uh, somewhat silly.

        I’ll wait until BB2 is deeply discounted with all the DLC, thanks. Anything else is just a waste of money.

      • Jenks says:

        There’s not much difference between buying 2 days ago to yesterday, there were a ton of hands on previews on blogs from the beta. If you didn’t pick it up then, it’s stupid to do so now.

        My reward will be the game and all the DLC at a hugely discounted price for waiting a year, since I didn’t pick it up a few days ago.

  10. Brosecutor says:

    I like it very much, having zero experience in Blood Bowl or American “Football”.

  11. Ashrand says:

    “finely poised ruleset” you sir, have never played a halfling team

    • vlonk says:

      We always assume that rules are a grey, boring, tedious afair that are aimed at striking a fair balance. The Halflings in BB follow a different approach. They proof that one can put pure unmitigated hate (against halflings) in a ruleset. Like the death of Teemo is cheered for around the world, sometimes, it seems, people want to see something cute and adorable hurt badly.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        URGH HALFLINGS

        My Undead team, the Rotters, tangled with the Tumbledown Tumblers repeatedly over years. I finished every match with dead halflings stacked like cordwood in the dugouts, and usually lost 0-4 as the dreaded Halfling Fling put ball carrier after ball carrier into my endzone. That’s not to mention the horrific mauling my front line took EVERY GAME from the angry treeman that holds up the whole halfling line.

        • Ace Rimmer says:

          The Bree Cheesemongers may not have won a lot of games per se, but I’ve enjoyed losing with them much more than with other teams.

    • iucounu says:

      I am terrible at Blood Bowl, but it stays installed because of the unofficial game mode which I exclusively play. In this mode, I build as terrifyingly overpowered a team the editor will allow me, and then unleash them on a custom team of Level 1 Halflings called The Bloody Sausage. The goal of this mode is to kill as many Halflings as possible in one game.

      It’s surprisingly difficult to murder more than a couple of them before time runs out, so any tips would be gratefully received by current Halfling Murder champs the R’lyeh Rovers.

      • Horg says:

        Nuffle smiles upon coaches who stack assists for tackles. The tackling player brings glory to Nuffle through claws, mighty blows and piling on to shred the targets armour. Should the target be stunty, and/ or carry a niggling injury, Nuffles wrath shall surely fall upon them. Nuffles sacred number is 11, but through his divine generosity, will grant death with a +/-1 margin for error for a roll of 10-12 on the injury table.

    • GrinningD says:

      Logged in to say I cackled so hard the cat legged it off my bed and tried to run out through a closed door.

      Going to have to call the carpenter again.

  12. Ejmir says:

    What bothers me the most is that they communicated about the AI. They said it would be greatly improved, and more precisely, that it would depend on the team and on the adversary.
    I you play even only 1 or two matches you’ll see that’s almost the same AI as in BB1. It still make weird choices and doesn’t seem to adapt at all.

    If that’s not false advertising, I’m a Snotling wearing a petticoat.

    • hygroovy says:

      My Orc Team in BB1 is undefeated against the AI. Worst I’ve achieved is a draw. In BB2 I got a 0-2 trouncing against the squishy humies last night with my new Orc team. Anecdotal evidence that the new AI is better, but hey, that’s all I’ve got…

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    >>>like calling Hannibal Lecter a serial dodger

    cereal dodger?

  14. bambusek says:

    I would buy this, but certainly not now. Sorry, watched a dev live stream, it feels too much like BB 1 with new graphics. For me it looks like BB 2 is mostly a second attempt on console market with PC version being a safeguard that is suppose to provide money if (and I assure it will happen) console version fail. So, not money from me till there is either a edition at least comparable in team rooster with BB: LE or a large discout.

  15. Titler says:

    This proves once more the problem with internet discussion; fans, or those sympathetic to a game are the worst people to review it for those outside looking to get a sense of whether to purchase. Obviously games you love are going to be loved, but how you came to love it matters. And there’s two points in the review which suggest to me the game is still badly designed from the point of view of those who don’t, like the resulting comment section, love the game just because it’s Blood Bowl. Blood Bowl, in the form of Living Rule Book 6, just is an atrocious game for online competitive multiplayer.

    I can’t comment on how well the matchmaking tools place players with similar ratings against one another because the pre-release version was likely populated with die-hard fans. Needless to say, I mostly had my face stomped into the turf.

    This is the first one, and this WIT doesn’t seem aware of the wider why; Unless matchmaking takes your player rating, based on your individual TEAM performance, it’s irrelevant. Blood Bowl is designed to be deliberately imbalanced, to supposed give “Levels of difficulty” challenges in normal play. The designers of the rules have openly stated this is built in. That means that you can have a player ranking of Elventy Billion and if you take an inferior ranked team, you’re going to get stomped by people vastly inferior at the game to you, unless you get lucky; because your team isn’t designed to be able to win.

    This goes even if the team value (their roster, spent money) is identical to any comparative one. As someone who took a Goblin team to 2200 Team Value in open play, over nearly 200 matches automatched that way, the vast majority were against Chaos, Ork, bash teams in general who tried to kill your players and protect their own, thus allowing them to eke out wins again and again from decimating your team. My own Grottingham Forest in the end had to be retired because I couldn’t even get enough in game actions done, let alone matches drawn, to replace even a roster of 6 goblins because they’d get killed again and again. A normal starting roster is 11, and Team bankruptcy is expected in the rules too, but it’s just no fun online.

    There’s nothing quite like recognising that you’re not going to score in the last turn of a half and concentrating all of your efforts toward obliterating the opponent team instead. Especially when they’re High Elves.

    Spot the reviewer himself proving my point? Who’s going to play High Elves in that environment, eh? Especially if you have to pay extra money for DLC to get them in the first place. The above is a perfect example of how short sightedness strangles the long term future, even if the starting conditions are perfect. And in Blood Bowl, they’re deliberately imperfect by design. They’re designed to reward the above behavior. Fine in a fun game over beer and pretzels with friends. Online, with sociopaths out to win at all costs, BB 1 was a eventually a miserable experience unless you were utterly dedicated to roleplay and the Warhammer themed roleplay in particular.

    (cont’d)

    • Titler says:

      The second quote which seems to show nothing has been learned from BB1 is this;

      Quite how the player auction system will work out, I can’t say. It relies on a playerbase willing to sell off developed players.

      The easiest way to build a killer team, and avoid TV bloat was to keep a few core ultra-skilled assassins, and use them to to take down key members of the other team. You’d put largely untrained players everywhere else as cannon fodder, and thus ambush teams with everyone at a medium improved level who couldn’t compete with your individual lethality.

      Thus the market seems based on the complete opposite of what players want to do; They aren’t going to be selling their own heroes. They might sell the cannon fodder who randomly skill up for others to turn into killers… but here’s where the awful “difficulty level” design comes in again. Weaker teams have no use for those, because high skilled individual goblins etc are automatic targets for the LULZ killers on the other side. And when half your team is dead, and needs replacing every match, you can’t really afford to pay extra cash for superstars anyway. Weaker teams are based on low TV, low income, and never ever winning.

      And the market assumes anyone else can even get a star Goblin them survive long enough to be worth putting on the market in the first place. Mr Spiky Face Smusher isn’t going to be on there because who’d sell him? Mr Runty Superstar isn’t going to be on there because no one has him. And no one is going to buy extra players, and thus bloat their TV, unless they need to fill in gaps in their own roster.

      Offline it works because there’s no limit to how many times named Superstars can be sold as a temporary 1 match hire. Online… It honestly seems like a lot of huge fans got the IP and are utterly incapable of seeing the rule book itself needs updating for the new environment of massive matchmaking and player psychology.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against players dying or real life players beating each other silly in Blood Bowl. But it has to be treated as a computer game in a computer game environment, not slavishly follow a board game designed by and for hyper-partisan people who would be doing it face to face. It should be more like an RTS where you can get an absolute hiding one game, but then start from scratch the next match without losing the ability to at least compete…

      • Replikant says:

        I agree that Blood Bowl (with it current rule set) is not particularly well suited for infinite leagues. The kill-stack build of (Claw)/MightyBlow/PilingOn is grossly overpowered and, even worse, has a very favourable risk/reward ratio: You usually don’t have to worry about your killer going prone because of how bad fouling has become.
        Of course, the killer build was introduced to counter the orc/dwarf-team dominance at high team-values, which it manages to do. Unfortunately, combined with rigorous min/maxing, it now tends to make the online leagues somewhat boring and one-sided from moderate team values upward.
        Of course, this kill-stack build is also quite attractive for the aforementioned internet sociopaths which primarily play to destroy other teams. Unfortunately, just trying to kill everybody in the other teams requires almost no skill at all: Create a two or three-dice block, and if the other guy is not KO or hurt, pile on. Rinse, repeat.

        That said, the CRP rules tend to work OK in finite leagues, preferably with a controlled playerbase.

        • Everblue says:

          Agreed that TV matching in anonymous public leagues is a terrible way to play blood bowl, and the game was not designed to work that way.

          That said, to say that infinite leagues will be dominated by claw bash is just not correct. In the largest leagues it is generally fast teams that win. The OCC, one of the biggest leagues, has been going for 28 seasons now (252 matches) and the last three seasons has been won by Necro teams (part bash part agility). We’ve had high elf winners, lizard winners, dark elf winners, all in recent seasons. Yes hard bash has its place (and you need it to kill off the uber elf teams that would otherwise dominate) but it’s generally too slow to win regularly.

  16. hygroovy says:

    If you bought it on pre-order with the promise of either Lizardmen or Wood Elves, you actually now get both, Cyanide have decided. So that’s nice…

  17. AleighS says:

    I have never played the first game…I was hoping for a more typical sports game with a zombie gore-fest theme like mutant league hockey or football…those games were great…I played a few campaign levels and very quickly they made it obvious how random the outcomes of actions can be…as levels get harder…83% success simply goes from just that to probably 20% to suit the level the of the game…same thing that became annoying about x-com…online may always be fun and exciting…but offline I can see becoming a huge one-sided mess just as x-com…the last level is where I noticed his most…I still won…but the whole last half was just 6 of my players getting KO’d or knocked down while 0 of theirs did…I have no interest in playing a luck based game…

    also, to those of you feeling there is no benefit to version 1…I really agree with you…I am not sure what blood bowl 1 looks like, but I doubt this game is a HUGE improvement visually..the textures are about as complex as a cell-phone game and no more…This game looks like a first year xbox 360 title released on a 1080p scale…so if this has 8 year old quality graphics…its not worth upgrading for…