In January I may go offline

Oh, not from the computer going down or my economic situation. No, I just found out a game comes out in January. I shall kick my daughter off the Xbox360, lock my wife out of the room, and play and play and… Well, no, I won’t get away with doing that, but I will be tempted.

Blood Bowl. Wheeeee.

Now it turns out it’s already out for M$ boxes that are powerful enough (mine isn’t), and it got released just the other day for Xbox360s in Europe. So when I get it I’ll be behind the curve. I don’t care. Let me tell you about this game, just a bit.

I hate GW – mostly. The miniatures are waaaay to expensive, they change the rules of the core games every handful of years… Oh, they’re also very, very successful at staying in business. Thing is, to play their serious games you have to spend some serious money. (A ‘small’ tournament army of 2000 points is probably going to run you $60 or so for minimal rulebooks plus another $150 for the figures you want. Main rulebook plus a dozen or so races each with their own rulebook plus some special rulebooks… yeah, you’re getting the idea.)

Thing is, GW also made these… for lack of a better word, small games. Not quite beer and pretzel games, but games for which the rules were (relatively) short and (ahem) simple, and for which you only needed one week’s salary instead of a second mortgage to have the figures. Necromunda, Space Hulk, GorkaMorka, ManoWar,… and Blood Bowl.

On the surface it’s boring. American football. Oh, gee. Except it’s kinda crossed with Rugby. And one way to win is to ensure the other team is all in the infirmary (or morgue) — or at least enough of them that you can do as you will on the field. Buy a wizard to cast a fireball on your enemy’s ball carrier (not very often, but it’s still fun). Bribe a ref to not look while your goblins pass bombs for interception (not in the current version, and I exaggerate. A little. Not about the bribing, but goblins are too weak to pass bombs. They have to settle for wielding chainsaws.)

For a pencil neck geek the game was a lot of fun. Stepping outside, however – EVERYTHING seemed to need a dice roll. One in six chance of something going “oops” multiplied by just about every player you moved needing at least one and up to a dozen rolls every single turn meant everyone got to go “oops”. A lot. Good coaches made sure “oops” was echoed by swear words from the other team. But I digress.

There’ve been a few attempts to bring this game to the screen. Mostly they sucked. Not least for the suckage was a lack of other players, though the graphics lacked a little as well. Oh, they solved (for the most part) the die roll issue – they just happened, no need to roll and look up the result – but other than that, bleah.

I have seen the graphics of this game. With the wide connection ability already offered by the XBox Live community, opponents will not be difficult to find. I’m psyched – and there’s a bit of a possible bonus.

For the PC and XBox (it is and/or will be available on other platforms) there’s a bonus play method. For all intents and purposes, real time. Chaos, chaos, utter chaos – over 5 to 10 minutes. It allegedly works fairly well. Even if it doesn’t, the turn-based system does: faithfully and completely.

I’m looking forward to it.

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