I’m talking about my game group’s latest obsession, Fantasy Flight Games’ (FFG’s) Blood Bowl Team Manager Card Game.
If a non-collectible card game that depicts no-holds barred, violent football strikes your fancy, then this game is it.
Players assume the role of team managers, leading different Warhammer Fantasy-themed teams out to contest in various “match-ups.” You have Orcs, Skaven (giant rat-men), Chaos, Human, Dwarfs and Wood Elves. The object of the game is to win the highest number of fans – you’ve got a cool scoreboard tracker component to track this too (left)!
The two to four player game lets you win match-ups and take home prizes – Team Upgrades (which give the various races different cool abilities), Staff Upgrades (all teams have access to this; more team-based boons) and Star Players (the “meat” of the game IMHO, with these guys being the crème de le crème of the game).
The more you win, the more boons in the form of Team and Staff Upgrades, as well as Star Players. The Star Players is really where the game excels, since your starting line-up of a dozen players can definitely use some hotshots in the team. Most give an extra dimension to you, but the downside is, just like the other upgrades, they are drawn randomly, so you will never know who you’ll end up getting.
Match-ups are fast and furious as players go back and forth, tackling, sprinting, seizing the ball and event cheating. Love how they kept the core of the original miniatures game’s spirit, ie, cheating is mandatory! But careful, sometimes, your player might get the referee’s whistle, and sent off! Other times, cheaters win extra fans, and points. Highest number of points win match-ups.
First impressions for me and my group? Mighty impressive I must say: this is FFG’s most addictive non-collectible game this year so far. It’s stand-alone and all that, but my bunch have decided to run a league with this. We might even spice things up with our own dream cards and what not. It’s worth noting that the video game adaptation last year already gave fans 20 races: with only six here, can FFG please make expansions like now?
The game components are a dream too. Great looking art, especially on the cards, and sturdy components, especially the scoreboard tracker and the tokens. The cards need sleeving though – go with the FFG-made ones, you can’t go wrong with those.
Older gaming enthusiasts would recall a similar miniatures game, also known as Blood Bowl. Yeah, this is one and the same, with FFG giving the old classic a new revamp, turning it into a fast-paced hour-long (give or take 15 minutes) game.
For now, check out the Boardgamegeek.com entry, and the official FFG home page with downloadable rules and tutorial videos, if you haven’t already. Then buy the game – best RM135 you’ll ever spend I daresay.
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