What’s this all about then? Well, Blood Bowl team manager is a ‘deck building’ card game from Fantasy Flight Games (LINKETY LINKETY) based on Games Workshop’s ever popular and hyper-violent fantasy ‘grid iron football’ game.
Here’s the thing, it’s not actually BloodBowl. The sooner you realise this the quicker you will start to enjoy this fun-as-fuck game; the internet seems full of people who’s view on this comprises solely of “It’s crap, it’s not Blood Bowl. Don’t bother”, these people are dicks as, firstly, they can’t get their heads around the notion of taking the narrative (or theme) from a game and lending it to a different system and, secondly, they clearly can’t fucking read. IT CALLS ITSELF BLOOD BOWL TEAM MANAGER, OF COURSE IT’S NOT BLOOD BOWL!
Both Dwalin and I are Blood Bowl fans and I wanted to try a game with a deck building mechanic; hitting my local bay of E store I could not resist throwing a bundle of gold coins at this game when it appeared in my ‘you’re a Geek, buy this shit’ menu.
SOOOOOO…. Un-boxing this beast. Fantasy flight make really good quality stuff, (no shit sherlock- Dwalin) and this game is no exception, great quality cards and counters with very thematic art. In the box you get six teams (Orcs, Humans, Skaven, Chaos, Dwarf and wood elves ). Oh FF
games we love you; they always put a load of different races / armies / decks in a game starter box, meaning loads of re-playability without having to buy loads of supplements straight away. The (aforementioned) company FF have the licence for a bunch of their games from should take note… just sayin’.
Enough of the fannying around. Let’s get to the game!
Played over five turns, teams of bloodthirsty psychopaths battle over a series of ‘highlights’ (think of those post sports season ‘these were the best things that happened in the previous few months’ shows/articles you see in real life). Winning these will give you bonuses, extra players for your team, upgrade cards or, importantly, extra fans. Why importantly? Well, the way you win the overall game is not by scoring touchdowns or winning actual matches but by accumulating the most fans, which ever coaches team has the most fans at the end of the game gets all of the glory. Think of Blood Bowl Team manager as a wicked indictment on the financially driven, hyper corporate, sports world we accept as being the norm in the 21st century; the manager’s job ain’t necessarily to win as many games as possible but, rather, to make as many piles of cash as possible for a team’s owners. More headlines = more fans = more moolah.
So is it any good? Hell yeah. Dwalin and I first played this when we were a little inebriated on some seriously good home-brew (https://sfjy.wordpress.com/this-is-the-end-for-now/) we played a couple of games having watched this how to vid on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNCQFcwxl4g) and had a laugh. We played our next set of games whilst mostly sober during our most recent brewing session (https://sfjy.wordpress.com/brewdessey-2-1-after-the-end-there-is-often-a-beginning/) and do you know what? Still fun. The game has a surprising amount of depth and complexity, but it’s fast paced enough to give a slightly frantic edge to the play. As a caveat, we’ve only played it as a two player game; with any luck we might get a three or four player one in really soon, we think this will really enhance the experience further.
Issues? Not many. My main issue with this game is that Fantasy Flight seem to write bad rule books. The rules themselves are relatively simple and intuitive but when I first open the box (of pretty much any of their games) I am always slightly daunted by their rulebooks. Bearing in mind that I play Warhammer, which is a much more complex game, and have no issues with GWs rules I think Fantasy Flight could explain their rules better. This is why I have taken to seeking assistance from fellow Geeks on YouTube; to be honest I love feeling less alone, trawling the myriad of tutorials and playthroughs for pretty much any game you care to think of…. it feels so good to not feel alone. Sigh…
Bollocks, daydreaming… back on track I have to say that, other than the very manageable rulebook issue, BBTM is an incredibly enjoyable distraction that I am likely to keep going back to. Dwalin loves it, it fits well in the ouvre of our gaming and it’s quick enough, and small enough, to crack out whilst brewing up a storm… fuck it, I might even consider picking up the supplement for it in the very near future (I’ve been really tempted to splurge with my post Christmas Amazon vouchers…link included as hint- Dwalin)…
So, in short, THIS GAME FUCKING RULES!
Freud Judges those who do not charge recklessly for the endzone…