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Subject: From the Mouth of Jormi - Battleball rss

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Michael Jordal
United States
Austin
Minnesota
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Ike Clanton painted by me for Wild West Exodus
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I played a couple of games of Battleball last night, and decided I should own a copy. I think it will be a good one to show my dad, and one that I can play with my kids someday when I have some.

Gameplay- I started with the basic gameplay, but after one half, changed to the advanced rules. Advanced play adds two things, team rules and passing. The team rules are very beneficial to the gameplay and add some depth. Passing also adds some depth to play.

The coolest part of the gameplay is the very elegant interaction of mechanics for movement and tackling. Every player’s base is color coded to match a die. The running backs have red bases to match the red D20. The linemen have black bases to match the black d8. Each turn, a player chooses one of their players to move. They then roll the color matching die and move that player up to the number of spaces rolled. If that player moves into a square next to an opposing player, that player must stop and attempt to tackle the opponent. This is done by rolling the color coded die that matches your player, against the color coded die that matches your opponent’s player. The lower number wins, and tackles the opposing player. This knocks them off of the board until the next half, unless a one is rolled, in which case they are seriously injured and out of the game. I really love the elegance of the move/tackle mechanics.

Whenever a character is tackled, a carnage token is placed in the space they were occupying. This is also a nice little integration into the mechanics to help keep the board cluttered and make movement towards the end zone a little more difficult.

The game has a large luck factor and one good or bad roll here or there can lead to a score. The luck factor can be somewhat stymied with good tactics though.

I think the game could benefit from new teams with new team rules to expand upon and broaden the gameplay.

I feel that the gameplay deserves 6 out of 10 carnage markers.

Look and Feel-This game is really fun to look at.

The board is large and looks nice. The Minis are great. The sculpts all are imaginative and give a lot of life to the characters. The paint jobs are a little lacking, but pretty good compared to other games of this style, and one can always repaint if he or she wishes. I can definitely see kids being enamored with the bits in this game.

Besides the enormous board and cool figs, you get a bunch of dice, a little zinc football for the player’s to carry and a cool football shaped die for passing.

The bits really give this game a big boost.

The game is turn based with only one player being activated each turn, so I guess I don’t feel like I am really playing a sport, because I could have all my guys stand around for the whole game and only move the one piece. This would generally be a bad strategy, but there are some points in the game where one figure will take several turns in a row.

Also the figures are given designations, such as tackle, lineman and running back, but they are not much like the tackles, linemen and running backs in today’s football. All players’ play offense and defense. It seems to be a little more on par with rugby.

The look and feel of this game earns Battleball 8 out of 10 carnage tokens.

Overall Score- 7 carnage tokens out of 10

Final word- This game is perfect for someone that wants a light game to play with friends or kids. Even if you don’t get into the game, you will probably be able to find a good use for all the cool bits.
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Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
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It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
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Yes, I always thought that while not a great game, it gets played, its fun, but that die mechanic is just so darn elegant.
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Steve Werth
United States
Los Angeles
California
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Yeah, it's a good game. I'm glad to have it. Plays well with kids, and games are short.
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Richard Campbell
United States
Augusta
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a quick point on player movement...I think the game would play better if the "coach" (player) would move all of his pieces in his turn "phase" and then resolve the other mechanics of the game after the moves are over..i.e. pick up ball..pass..hand off.. etc... and the tackling would occur simultaneously at the end of the turn..then the other "coach' would do his turn "phase"...it would speed the game up and solve the problem of only moving one piece per turn...(it would also allow the players to resolve multiple tackles in a turn)..or another idea is that each coach would alternate moving players each turn "phase' until all have moved, then resolve the other aspects of the turn.....with the tackling phase being simultaneous....
 
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