Oak Wolf
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We've been playing this game for a while and tested these house rules quite a bit.

While there's alot of text written in this thread, the house rules are not complex to implement at all. In the case of the Sprint and Foul skills, we thought that their mechanics were not satisfactory; a player should affect a match where it is played...not the team roster. So these house rules aim at making the skills more useful where the player is at. Sprint was too much of a game-maker skill in the first place, so we wanted to keep it very useful, but to be less of necessary mechanic to be competitive. In the case of the Foul skill, we found that it was not fun at all for the targets of this skill and...just like sprint, the action was not "on the pitch" ennough for our tastes.

1. Sprint : Optional skill. The sprinting player rolls 2 block dice.

Possible results:

1. Success: If any of the dice result in a (POW), the player adds 1 to his star power at the beginning of the scoreboard phase (2 POWs don't add 2, just 1). Place a team counter (or any marker) on the sprinting player to remember that bonus.

2. Trip over: If the dice result in 2 (X)s, then this player is downed or injured (representing him tripping over during his effort). (Note: the most common reason for injury would be a player using sprint as a Downed Skill)

3. Failure: Any other results (Blank+X, Double Blanks) does nothing.

So this means that some players will be worth more if left around at the scoreboard phase, even if downed. It represents their ability to be threatening due to their speed, no matter the odds. The added risk to sprint is relatively minimal (1/36), and has 3/4 of adding a +1 star power to win the match up. (and 1/4 to have nothing happening).

Example: A Wardancer successfully tackles a player, then uses the Sprint skill, rolling two dice. A double POW comes in, so she will now be worth 4 at the start of the scoreboard phase if standing.

I evaluated that the former sprint skill was worth more than 1 Star power point per Sprint skill used, so while at first you may be surprised to see the value of some players at the end of a round, imagine back what it was when that Lineman (1) turned into a Treeman (4) every turn. So this gives a new tactical incentive to injure sprinting players or protect downed sprinters with the Guard skill.

Using this house rules greatly benefits from house rule number 2:

2. Changing Plans!

Coaches of Dwarf, Vampires and some non-sprinting teams know what it is to get 6 players then the 6 others in turn, for the whole match unless they spice it up with star players...leading to some predictible alignments. With our variant of sprinting rules, all teams are now equal in this affair, and so in order to keep things interesting and players on their toes:

Normal Roster shuffle: No changes there. If for whatever reason, you exhaust your roster deck, reshuffle as usual as soon as the last card is drawn.

Mandatory Roster shuffle: After every 2 complete turns (so typically, at the end of turn 2 and 4), the whole team roster is reshuffled (discard and deck).

What this means is that unless you have more than 12 players in your roster, all players will get to play before you recycle again, yes including your linemen whoe will finally play the game, and then it's new hands. This will also ensure that if you're fielding a crap hand while your opponent has his top notch group, it doesn't bog down into a I-win-you-win affair for the five turns (like it can currently happen when vamps and dwarves play vs each other). It also means that no one knows what's going to happen for the Blood Bowl itself (5th turn).

Star players and some other team upgrades spice things up slightly, and sometimes an odd thing will occur, like having a player not participate in the 2 round bouts, due to more than 12 players being on the roster). So this means that star players are not just a bonus now, they can sometimes "overshadow" your normal stars, but there's more chance of it taking the place of a weaker player, and there is always a shuffle before the Blood Bowl (in a 5 week game)

2. Foul : This optional skill can only be used on a downed opposing player in the same match up as the fouling player. Roll 1 block dice.

Possible Results:

1. Success: On a (POW), the targetted player is injured.

2. Spotted!: On a (X), Eject the fouling player and draw one penalty card. (note: if you're not playing with penalty cards, simply eject the fouling player). Remember, penalty cards drawn this way are kept face down until later in the scoreboard phase as normal.

3. Failure: On a Blank result, the foul has no effect and the ref doesn't react to it.

The result is highly cinematic, you can imagine the gang trample action that goblins like to do. Basically the big thing going for it is that it affects the match up and not the opposing coach's ability to play the game. The risk vs reward factor is interesting here, penalties are very nasty, but getting rid of some downed players can also be very useful. Fouling a treeman is always nice, but you do have to get him down first! It's a very dangerous skill and teams with it will be feared for it, but they will also pay a price if they are a bit too enthusiastic at the task.

3. Time Out!

The game's randomness is often what makes it fun, and unpredictable, but there are times where things go really one-sided and makes what would have been a close game end up in distaster. Typically this occurs when a coach rolls two double X in a row or close to each other.

Whenever a team roll a Double X result, they get a Time Out! until the end of the next turn. Simply hand the coach a token to represent this. A player can use a Time Out! to ignore the results of any one of their dice roll result. If unused by the end of the turn after the time out was given, it is removed.

4. Race-specific Star Players

We've been using a different way to play star players. Given our background with the tabletop game, each team has its list of star players it can induce.

At the start of the game, shuffle your 5 team's star players in a pile beside your team upgrades. Flip the top card face up to see what Star player is available for hire for your team for now.

whenever you get a "Star player" star icons from a match up payout, you collect a "Star player point" for each icon. During the reveal improvement pile step, instead of revealing star players, you can induce one by spending your "star player points" equal to the value of the available star player from your deck. Simply add him on top of your roster deck as usual for a non-freebooter card, then turn the next card from your star player deck face up.

If you cannot hire the star player, or if you would prefer to turn down his contract offer, you may return his card to the bottom (still face up). Then flip the next card at the top of the deck face up to see your new available star player contract for next turn. If all your star players have been cycled this way (i.e. the next star player is already face up) reshuffle your deck.

There's an additional benefit from using this house rule, and that's free'ing the "freebooter" Ogre team. We designed the house rules for it, but we need more playtesting before posting them out.

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Andrew Hebert
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I'm going to have to give this a try. Any rules that increase the likelihood I pull out Lord Borak the Despoiler are A-OK in my book!
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Oak Wolf
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Let me know how this goes.

Played a game this week-end. Went really smooth. And yes it allows you to aim for particular star players to fit your favorite team tactics, or just grab an opportunistic boost as it is offered.

Goblins vs Orcs. The goblins sky-rocketed off to get a 20 point lead by the 4th turn, yet dramatic stuff occured on the Blood Bowl, allowing the Orcs to nearly catch them up on the very last turn (47-42). Awesome game. We realized how close the game was afterward, as there had been some orcish mistakes and insane luck for Goblins on the first turns.
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