What’s up sports fans? Looking for a bite-sized serving of Blood Bowl action that you can scarf down during your lunch break? Blitz Bowl may just be the game for you! Many thanks to Games Workshop for providing an advance review copy.
Since its first edition back in 2018, Blitz Bowl has built up quite a cult following. There have been numerous tournaments, several fan projects for legacy teams & balance, as well as an excellent podcast: The Crush! I have been around since the beginning as well, press-ganging friends & colleagues to “just give it a shot”. If you aren’t familiar with Blood Bowl, it’s a zany fantasy take on American football. For this smaller version – Blitz Bowl – your team of 6 humans, Orcs, Elves, & etc smash their way up a small field to score touchdowns and win side challenges. It’s fast-paced, and once you get the hang of it a game can be knocked out in less than 30 minutes.
What’s in the box?
The Reikland Reavers Human team
The Skavenblight Scramblers Skaven team
Each of these is a single sprue of six models – half of a standard Blood Bowl team kit.
19 team cards. These contain the team lists, stat lines, and abiliites. Ultimate edition contains rules for all of the Blood Bowl teams currently available in plastic (except for Norse)! The majority of these follow the same pattern (all you need is a single sprue / half of a kit), though there are some notable exceptions. The teams are:
- Black Orks
- Chaos (Chaos Chosen)
- Dark Elf
- Elf (Elven Union)
- Goblins* (six goblins and a troll)
- Halflings* (six halflings and a treeman)
- Wood Elves
2 standard D6, 3 D6 “block” dice, and 2 D8
2 dugout boards – where your injured players rest up. Also has helpful references for block die faces and Actions a model can make.
1 Throw ruler which helps you to determine how far your player can chuck the ball.
40 Challenge Cards. Along with scoring touchdowns, challenge cards allow you to rack up points if you can complete specific actions. The reverse side contains Bonus Plays, which are beneficial actions that teams can perform after completing the associated challenge.
7 Drill cards that teach game mechanics.
1 Rookies to Watch card. This is for more experienced players to give to an opponent who is just getting started – it’s a free reroll for a failed skill check. This being a physical object in the box is a nice touch.
1 game board. Previous seasons have had at least one “tame” board side that had a few less… deadly decorations. Both options in this box are pretty spicy. Have fun!
Playing the Game
Coaches roll-off to see who goes first and alternate turns for the rest of the game. Challenge cards are drawn and the ball enters the playing field! Coaches finish a pre-turn upkeep sequence and then have three player actions before turning it over to their opponent. Players who are “open” can run, mark (tie up an opposing player by charging in/by) or throw if they have the ball. If a player is marked they can attempt to sidestep or block the opponent that is stepping into their zone! Rolling the block die is where the magic happens in Blitz: with results raging from a whiff, to a shove, and even a devastating KERRUNCH! Players who have been laid out prone or bashed back to the dugout only have one option – either standing up or stepping back out into their end zone.
Players keep going until one coach is over ten points or all the challenge cards have been dealt out. Touchdowns are worth four points, challenges are worth 1 or 2. Humans vs Skaven is an interesting matchup for this box as in my first handful of Ultimate games, the two teams actually feel pretty similar to pilot. Having a near mirror match isn’t a real negative here, these teams are great for learning the ropes!
Adding some extra Kerrunch
I could legitimately just write “they added fouling” and call it a day here. It’s a staple of Blood Bowl and after playing exactly one game with fouling in Blitz, I firmly believe it belongs in this one too. Block dice are used to determine if you get caught in the act, or if you send them back to the dugout. Additionally, Throw Team-Mate has shown up in Blitz as well. If your teammates are terrible at throwing the ball, why not just hurl them across the pitch! Lastly, Regional League arenas are also in play here. Players roll a D8 to see where the game is being played and apply quire rules for each. For example: The Badlands Brawl adds additional block dice (to a maximum of three), all but insuring that the game is going to be a whole lot bashier.
How does this stack up to other editions of Blitz?
While some fans may lament the loss of the league and special ball rules from season 2… nothing is stopping an enterprising fanatic from porting those systems over. If you have a previous season and only the teams that come in that box, you aren’t really missing out on anything drastic here. If you are new to the game or want to run a variety of teams, this is the way to go! GW has released the core rules for free, so you could always try it out with an older edition.
With NINETEEN teams and a grip of players, there is too much to dig into here. Many profiles were shifted around a bit, but the big change is with Halflings and Goblins. Halflings were head-scratchingly powerful as a 6 body team before. This edition makes that six plus a treeman, which makes way more sense to me. Similarly, the new Goblin team is six with a Troll. It does seem odd for bonus teams in a boxed game to suggest buying a big man… but it actually makes sense if you are looking to graduate your team up to full Blood Bowl eventually.
Is Blitz a good gateway game for Blood Bowl?
At the end of the day, Blitz Bowl is a very different game than Blood Bowl, or even 7s. An apt analogy I have heard is that Blitz is to Blood Bowl as Warhammer Underworlds is to Age Of Sigmar. Many of the core concepts are here, but it is executed wildly differently. A game that gets players painting up teams and swearing at Nuffle will surely convert at least. The Goblin and troll changes seem to make the opposite scenario appealing: bringing your Blood Bowl teams to Blitz! I still love Blood Bowl and dabble in 7s, but I have played far more games of Blitz than anything else on that list. The appeal of being able to knock out a game or two over a lunch beak is certainly what keeps me playing!
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Blitz Bowl: Ultimate edition. It’s a neat little game with a surprisingly cavernous amount of depth if you are willing to experiment with additional teams and rules. Everything fits in a small box and the reworked instructions make it easy for new folks to learn the rules! I’m looking forward to more lunchtime Blitz in the future!
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