The year is 1993. At the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia, a group of gaming dorks have formed a league for the fantasy football game Blood Bowl. That’s American style football, not European football (soccer) or either of the Australian football variants (Rugby or Aussie Rules). The Nuclear Postmen have had a good season, but Uther Elf-Maimer has led the Bifrost Guardians to victory after bloody victory, ably assisted by ogre blocker Little Timmy Witherspoon and chainsaw-wielding halfling lunatic Teapot Rutherford III. This match was going to end in carnage one way or another…
… and over the course of my university career we played through five seasons of Blood Bowl, each with 8 or more players, a round robin roster and finals, monthly newsletters with match reports and player interviews, and other such self-indulgent nerdery. Between the leagues and casual games I was lucky enough to play almost every team available at the time, but the Bifrost Guardians (Norse), Loftwyr Wyverns (Wood Elf) and Barnyard Banditos (Beastmen) were my favourites. Sadly, I can’t remember what my Chaos Dwarf team was called.
Query for relevance? While there was no new edition of Blood Bowl for 15 years until the new edition was released in 2016, Games Workshop has announced a new core set with Season Two on the schedule to be released later this year.
The core set will stick with the classic Humans vs Orcs format, but the teams have been upgraded from the previous edition. The humans are the much fancier Imperial Nobility, and the orcs are the more-orcier-than-thou Black orcs.
Given that the models in the 2016 core set were fairly basic (though still pretty darn cool), upgrading both teams to more specialized concepts allows for much more characterful sculpts. This means more fun painting, though it may be a little more daunting for someone new to the hobby.
Of additional interest is the announcements of the additional teams on the way. The Black Orcs announcement included reference to the return of the ever-losing-but-ever-entertaining Snotling team, what with its pump wagons and complete inability to actually handle the ball at all, and the Necromantic Wolfenburg Crypt-Stealers.
Given that my primary concern when they released the last edition was the lack of available teams and the incredibly slow pace at which they were released (heck, there are multiple elven teams in the rulebooks, but it was over a year before we had models released for -any- of them), it looks like this edition will be in a much better place with the bulk of the teams having been released over the last four years. The Necromantic team, with its Flesh Golems and Werewolves, gives me hope for a new Norse set, or maybe the Chaos Dwarves and Beastmen may see a little love.
Personally, if there’s interest in the new year (and we can actually get together to game, I might be able to parlay this into impetus to get my Un-Renaissance team finally painted. Niccolo and his friends have been sitting in the pile of shame for quite some time, it may be time fo rthem to finally see some colour…