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    jp's Blood Bowl (PSP)

    [February 27, 2012 05:04:26 PM]
    I've had to force myself to stop playing this (in order to move on to other games) which is sort of a shame. I was definitely having fun, but I realized that in order to finish the game entirely (as in, the whole league) I'd have to play an insane amount of matches. Fun, for sure, but maybe not all that productive. I'd much rather play this with friends, to be honest. I'm sure I'll get back to it at some time though...since I really enjoy the process of playing this game.


    I've been thinking a lot about this since this game has a lot of chance (and dice rolls) and I'm generally not a fan of luck-heavy games. It's mostly the planning under uncertainty that I like, and what I think makes this game a real classic in my eyes. Curiously, it boils down to a single rule that, apparently, didn't make its way into the game until the 3rd edition. At least according to what I recall reading on Wikipedia.

    Blood Bowl is a turn-based game with players taking turns moving and planning all their actions. The game has a set number of turns and, generally speaking, each of the players (I'll call them characters from now on) on your team can't do more than one action per turn. The actions performed by each character occur in whatever order you (the player) want them to be and it's really important to coordinate them in order to execute your strategy, set up plays, and so on. For example, you might want a catcher to run ahead so that the player with the ball can throw it to him. Alternately you might want to throw the ball first and then have the catcher run with it down the field.

    This part of the game is engaging and fun. But it's only the beginning.

    Blood Bowl has a "turn-over" rule. When something goes wrong on your side (as in, while you're playing), you can forfeit the rest of the turn and the turn goes over to the opposing player. "Turn-over" triggering events include things like having one of your characters knocked over or failing to catch the ball. The "turn-over" rule, IMO, is what makes this game great (rather than simply good).

    Now, rather than simply plan and coordinate your plays, you need to take extra care to sequence them appropriate (determine in what order you want to do things) such that you minimize the risk of a turn-over while at the same time ensuring you make progress in the game (e.g. get closer to score, prevent opposing player from scoring, etc.). Generally speaking, you'll want to start doing those things that have zero risk of turn-over leaving the high-risk actions for the end. However, you also want to try to make sure that in the even t of a turn-over, you haven't let yourself completely exposed! This can happen if, for example, you have to move a bunch of characters around to protect the character you hope will catch the ball only to have something go wrong leaving you with everyone on the wrong part of the field (because the ball never made it over there...). Furthermore, there's a time limit to how long you can take to perform your actions. So, you want to avoid leaving the really important ones for the end (when you have less time on the clock) when you'll have a lot of extra pressure to "do them right".

    For me, it's a great sort of interesting tension. The danger of the turn-over looms all the time, making it so much more engaging: especially when the opposing player is facing the same tension! If that rule didn't exist, the game would become much drier in the sense that you'd always work on the "optimal" plan rather than try to come up with an "optimal" that you know will go awry at some point. Ultimately, things will depend on dice rolls, and while you can be really unlucky at times, it's managing that risk that makes the game particularly exciting and interesting for me. It's a strategy game that forces you to deal with the fact that you may not be able to do everything you wanted to during your turn. May not. So, given that "may" what do you do?
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    [January 16, 2012 04:39:33 PM]
    I'm really digging the game!

    As a "fan", I'm quite curious as to which rules they're using because I've run into a few things that are either mistakes I used to make when I played with my group (pretty likely, but at least we were consistent for everyone), changes between 3rd and 4th edition, or mistakes in the game's implementation. I really don't feel like trolling forums to find out what the fans of the game have to say, so I'll just have to live with it.

    In the meantime, I've been working my way through different tournaments. Yes, the game is the same each time, BUT I'm enjoying playing against a reasonably competent AI as well as teams/races I hadn't ever played against before. It's interesting how they're all quite so different to play against (including how to win/defend yourself). I have always played humans...which are quite flexible but don't stand out...and it can be quite tough against opponents that are REALLY good at certain things (e.g. Dwarves are super tough to knock over, Elves dance circles around you, etc.)

    Another thing I'm curious about, and might have to do with the fact that it's getting harder to win games, is how the AI works. Mostly, I'm curious to know if the AI is getting better, if its the same but the teams are tougher, or if the AI is cheating (for example, is the dice-rolling becoming increasingly biased against me or in favor of my opponent?). I don't really have a good idea of how to figure it out (just by playing the game and without sucking up huge amounts of time)... so for now I'll just blame cheating whenever I lose. He!
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    [January 6, 2012 03:30:27 PM]
    I currently own 3 copies of Blood Bowl! The original (well, I have the 3nd edition) tabletop game in addition to the most recent PC version (and the PSP one as well). Why? Because I love Blood Bowl!

    I was looking forward to playing the videogame versions HOPING that they would either faithfully recreate the boardgame or improve it. So far, I'm happy and pleased to play Blood Bowl as I remembered and enjoy it.

    I haven't played the tabletop version of the game in more than 10 years. My memories may be rosy and warm, but my grasp of the details was definitely not what I would have hoped for. However, I decided to start the game up "out of the box" without using the tutorial or reading the manual. I assumed that I'd play a match, fail miserably and then have to slink over to the tutorial. I was surprised to find that after a few games not only have I picked up many of the details I didn't recall but have in fact maintained my "ability" to play the game (I haven't lost a game yet...) Ok, I don't exactly remember what ALL the skills do, or what the base stats are for each of the characters, BUT I remember enough to do well. Thankfully, the game's interface is good enough to help me figure out those things I don't quite recall. In particular, I've enjoyed reading the "text" descriptions of in-game events (that you can turn off, but I actually enjoy them).

    According to the back of the box, the campaign has 15 championships (I've only just won my first). I seriously doubt I'll play them all, but so far I'm really enjoying the game.
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    jp's Blood Bowl (PSP)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Something better came along

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 4 January, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Monday 27 February, 2012

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    If you love the boardgame as is. You'll love this game. Probably best if you're familiar with the boardgame, but maybe not.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

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