It's odd to think that Blood Bowl is such a regular fixture on PC now that we've got side-games quietly coming out, but that's exactly what Blood Bowl: Death Zone is. Exiting early access today, it's a budget-priced real time spinoff of Cyanide Studio's tabletop adaptation series. Two players, RTS-style controls and fast, five-minute four-a-side matches. You set the plays, then micro-manage one player at a time. It reminds me of Chaos League, the Blood Bowl-alike that got the studio assigned to the series in the first place. Still, the fantasy (American) football scene is a busy place now.
While I admit that I wasn't there at launch, Cyanide reckon they've bulked up the game a bit since its debut, and it only took the finest of troll steroids. There's new teams to play as, new character skills and a full single player campaign mode. While arguably a game built for multiplayer, being a relatively unknown spin-off means that you'll probably be stomping the comps unless you can rope in a buddy to play with. The game at least doesn't require scads of DLC to get the full package. Here's hoping it does a little better than previous spin-off game Dungeonbowl.
Death Zone's problem is that it's caught between a rock and a hard place, and both are apparently humanoid and ready to tackle it. It's sandwiched between Cyanide's own mainline Blood Bowl games, with two out now and another in the works. On the other side there's the well-regarded Mutant Football League, spiritual successor to EA's '90s Mutant League Football. MFL offers not only a faster and more arcadey take on American Football With Orcs (and robots and aliens), but it even has a full management mode now. What once was a clear field is now a furious scrum.