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Pale version of a classic board game
Games Workshop's legendary board game of fantasy sports violence hits small screens in this adaptation which retains the feel of its inspiration but which unfortunately lacks its gleeful sense of dark humour and simplifies proceedings somewhat. It remains fun for those who have never played the board game and for anyone looking for a more strategic version of Speedball, but is far from a classic. The basic premise is straightforward enough and sees two teams of fantasy creatures taking part in an American Football-style contest where the goal is simply to score more points than the opposing side. The twist here is that violence is encouraged with injured players an alarming, but highly amusing, regular feature of most games. Each race has its own skills and style of playing and with the game itself playing out in turn-based fashion, with each player having a certain number of action points per turn, which are used to move, tackle, pass or use other special abilities. Games are viewed from a top-down perspective which takes some of the board game's personality away, as the overhead sprites are lacking in detail and character, rendering the game somewhat colourless. The computer version also removes or changes some important features, like the special cards which added in some random entertainment to proceedings, while the new abilities which are available to players are assigned randomly which does prove frustrating. Blood Bowl is by no means a disaster, and is certainly fun for a while, with some tactical gameplay and with the league providing some challenge. However, it pales when compared with the original board game and must be considered something of a wasted opportunity. The similarly themed Brutal Sports Football and M.U.D.S are worth playing, but are likewise lacking in excitement.
The first game in the series
Blood Bowl is a fantasy American football type of game set in a very bloody and dangerous universe. The game started its life on the board under the guidance of famed Games Workshops studio, but its real life began on the PC. It's the violence and at the same time the strategic and tactical intricacy of the game that makes it so much more interesting to play on a PC and the 1995 Destiny Software team did a pretty good job. The simulation and parameters portion of the game is really well done. All of your players are the result of an entire roster of skills, abilities and so on. Each race has its advantages and disadvantages, and each particular match will have to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of your team pitted against your adversaries. The perspective on the field is top down, not isometric and so you will have a direct and unimpeded view of each match, while the graphics themselves don't look that bad, while not being too pretty either. Try this game if you want to see how Blood Bowl on the PC first started out.