Blood Bowl

Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t like sports. I don’t like to do sports, I don’t like to watch sports and I don’t like to listen to people talk about sports. I don’t even like sportswear.

So it was with mixed feelings that I went to Virago’s to play Blood Bowl. This is one of Virago’s all-time favorite games, so naturally, he wanted to share his enthusiasm.

BBBox

Now back in the day, my brother owned the second edition of this game and I guess we must have played it. I vaguely remember painting some Orcs, but I have no memories of how the game works.

Sigur had brought his own team, Orcland Raiders, while Virago let me chose between the different teams he had. I took Wood Elves, mainly because I liked their look, but I realised soon that they are a very strong team.

 

So it was Sigur’s Orcs against my Wood Elves in a game that saw the elves in their best form. Before you get wrong ideas, I had the great advantage of having Virago as my coach, who couldn’t hold back and gave me a lot of tactical advice. The elves played fast and nimble, while the Orcs relied on brutal strength, and at first it looked like they might massacre my whole team – I made the first two touchdowns, but each cost me about three figures injured or dead. However, I could hold my advantage and win the game!

Now, as I said, sports games are not my cup of tea. I can see, however, how this is a good game if you like the theme. It is very thematic and it seems perfect for tournament play – after all, tournaments and organised competition are what sports are all about, so it really makes sense in that context.

touchdown
Touchdown!

One thing we realised was that this is not a fast play game. Although it looks like it would be quick, it took us more than three hours to play it. This, of course, is something that was pretty standard at the time, when games usually took 3-4 hours to finish. By today’s standard, this is already considered long – many modern games claim a playing time of 1-1,5 hours (which is not always true, of course).

Why did this change? I often hear that people have less time today, but is this correct? Did people really have more time back in the 80s and 90s? Or was it just us that had more time, as we still went to school or university? I think that at least one reason why contemporary games are less time consuming may be that the target demographic is different: Back in the 80s and 90s, the target audience was kids and students, while today, it is (or significantly includes) 30- or 40-somethings, and those are the people who have little time (and probably didn’t have much more time back then). Or maybe I’m wrong – what do you think?

3 thoughts on “Blood Bowl

  1. Faust March 15, 2018 / 5:59 pm

    Those classic color Orcs are so cool! I always wanted to paint mine up like that, but never finished them off.

    Anyways, “Game Length”. I feel like attention spans are less nowadays. Many kids grew up on video games or nowadays App games. Most of these games are short, quick, filler.

    When I was a kid, video games were not widely available, and so D&D (and other RPGs) took its place. RPG games require a lot of time, and a big investment in learning the rules. Early video games had similar requirements, you often had to learn the interface and read the rulebook to figure out how to play. I don’t think newer gamers are quite used to the amount of time it used to take to do these things.

    In some ways, this has been a big improvement, and given us more time…to do more things.

    The developers on the latest version of Blood Bowl however, chose to leave the rules mostly the same. This was a bit of a surprise to me, as the game does run long. We tend to play half game sessions. But they usually run 1.5-2 hours per half. That’s still on the long side for a game.

    So for modern game-makers, cutting down the time to play (and learn) a game, is a good way to make sure it is getting played. Which is probably why they leaked info on Blitz Bowl: https://www.warhammer-community.com/2018/02/19/new-games-new-york/

    In closing, I think it’s a combination of more time (I know I didn’t have to check my email every minute back in 1980!) and a more focused attention span that made the game length seem just fine back in the day.

  2. thegngrnoob May 2, 2018 / 6:46 pm

    Fantastic looking models!

    I’ve found that with practice, admittedly a lot of practice, my usual games last about an hour and a half on the tabletop.

    Sevens is a great game to play for a fast paced version of the game too (https://www.thenaf.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/NAF_BB7s.pdf)

    There is a wide range of player ages in the local tournament scene. Although a lot do fall in the late 20’s-40s in league play

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