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Blood Bowl (2016 edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Game balance? rss

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Luke O'Hearn
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Hello. I've never played, but am interested.

I am wondering how well balanced the teams are. That is, if I buy just the base game and 3 or 4 expansion teams (but no star players, big guys, fancy cards, etc), will I have a relatively balanced game? Or will I be trapped into needing specialty units on order to counter overpowered teams?

Thanks for any tips!
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David Munch
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You will need more players for sure. But if you are very inexperienced, the outcome of the games will not feel unbalanced, as they will sway in either direction.
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Ron Price
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Teams in Blood Bowl are not always "balanced." Certain teams tend to do better in head-to-head games: for example, Amazons have difficulty with Dwarfs.

Some teams are by design less competitive: the "Stunty" teams (Ogres, Goblins, and Halflings) aren't designed to win much of the time against non-stunties.

There is a built-in "handicap" system to compensate for differences in the team value for having high-powered players. So, say, if you bought an Ogre mini and wanted to use it for your Human team, you'd have to give up other players to pay for him (or spot your opponent some incentives, like Star Players).

And then, as David said, buying a single boxed team will sometimes give you a less-than-optimal team. But he's also right in saying that for beginning players, the natural swinginess of the game is likely to overcome a lot of the differences you'll encounter.

Certainly starting with a box of any teams that catch your eye would be the starting point to try the teams and see if you like them enough to get more serious about the team (or the game).
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Matt R
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Speaking about the base game without anything additional, I feel that the game is fairly balanced. That being said, the human team is a bit harder to win against the Orcs since you don't have any "big guys" (like an Ogre, which can help against the physicality of the Orcs) but you can definitely win as the humans against the orcs in the base game if you know what you're doing.

Now I am not talking about "high level" or league play - I'm only talking about the base game. Just don't try to go head-to-head against the orcs as the humans and try to score early (and often) as the humans until the orcs wisen up and pummel your catchers into oblivion.
 
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Clinton Rice
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If you worry too much about balance, Blood Bowl may not be the right game for you.
On the other hand, if you can laugh even when you are losing and shake your opponent's hand at the end, then Blood Bowl may definitely be the game for you.
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Roger Bartels
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KoalaXav wrote:
Of you worry too much about balance, Blood Bowl may not be the right game for you.
On the other hand, if you can laugh even when you are losing and shake your opponent's hand at the end, then Blood Bowl may definitely be the game for you.


This is certainly the attitude you need for Blood Bowl. Without it, you'll walk away frustrated quite often. Additionally, league play with the RPG-like elements of leveling players is really where Blood Bowl shines. Again, you have to be prepared for your 4 Agi, Block Ogre to die on a GFI...indeed, you have to find the humor in that sort of thing.
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Don Alexander
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I bought the newest edition around Christmas for my 8 year old and myself. We are having a blast. I am buying a few expansion teams out of want, not need.
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Luke O'Hearn
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Lemonpips wrote:
KoalaXav wrote:
Of you worry too much about balance, Blood Bowl may not be the right game for you.
On the other hand, if you can laugh even when you are losing and shake your opponent's hand at the end, then Blood Bowl may definitely be the game for you.


This is certainly the attitude you need for Blood Bowl. Without it, you'll walk away frustrated quite often. Additionally, league play with the RPG-like elements of leveling players is really where Blood Bowl shines. Again, you have to be prepared for your 4 Agi, Block Ogre to die on a GFI...indeed, you have to find the humor in that sort of thing.

Thanks for the answers, everyone.
I'm pretty sure I will dig Blood Bowl. League play sounds great, but we might only play a few times a year. My wife and I probably just want a "beer & pretzels" smash-em-up fantasy football game; and I suspect BB will be lots of fun even playing oob teams with the basic rulebook (including the advanced tactical options - gotta have fouls). At least for now.

I don't need a perfect balance, and we will certainly be entertained by horrible random deaths! I'd just like to be able to expand the game (minimally) with a couple more boxed teams, but not find any of them to be dominant, nor a "basement" team.

From what I'm reading, it sounds like I could pick up Dwarves and Skaven teams, and be doing pretty well. Maybe pick up an Ogre or some extra blitzers for the humans. This sounds reasonable?
And extra pitches and dice packs.

Hopefully we'll get a worthy undead team soon as well.
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Clinton Rice
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On definitely. The human's and orcs are actually very well balanced and dwarves, skaven and elves are all in line with those two teams. Dwarves and skaven are nearly diametrically opposed for instance. Sturdy and slow vs fragile and fast.

Some teams are definitely more challenging to play and may have more difficult setbacks to work around. As has been said, halflings were not made to be competitive. They are underdogs through and through.

But humans, orcs, elves, dwarves and skaven are all competitive and approachable for newer players and still enjoyable for many who have played the game for years.
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David Munch
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KoalaXav wrote:
If you worry too much about balance, Blood Bowl may not be the right game for you.
On the other hand, if you can laugh even when you are losing and shake your opponent's hand at the end, then Blood Bowl may definitely be the game for you.

And if you loose to a team of elves, and jump your opponent while screaming the name of Nuffle, it is also the right game for you. whistle

crimhead wrote:
From what I'm reading, it sounds like I could pick up Dwarves and Skaven teams, and be doing pretty well. Maybe pick up an Ogre or some extra blitzers for the humans. This sounds reasonable?
And extra pitches and dice packs.

Hopefully we'll get a worthy undead team soon as well.

As mentioned above, dwarves and skaven are two complete opposites, and will add much variation to the game. Long term, dwarves are not that interesting to play, but some people like them, mostly for the theme I think.

The undead play very much like orcs, so you should only buy them for the theme to begin with. In general, basher teams play very much alike, and don't add that much to gameplay if you already own one or more of them (IMHO).

If you want the greatest experience though, get an elf team. Knocking down the opponents player carrying the ball close to your end line, picking it up while in the tackle zone of a couple of enemy players, jumping over them, dodging several more, making a long throw that gets caught while standing in a couple of tackle zones, handing over the ball, and running for a touch down - All in the same turn (8) - is the single best experience you can have in a board game ever! I promise!
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Matt R
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Thain Esh Kelch wrote:
KoalaXav wrote:
If you worry too much about balance, Blood Bowl may not be the right game for you.
On the other hand, if you can laugh even when you are losing and shake your opponent's hand at the end, then Blood Bowl may definitely be the game for you.

And if you loose to a team of elves, and jump your opponent while screaming the name of Nuffle, it is also the right game for you. whistle

crimhead wrote:
From what I'm reading, it sounds like I could pick up Dwarves and Skaven teams, and be doing pretty well. Maybe pick up an Ogre or some extra blitzers for the humans. This sounds reasonable?
And extra pitches and dice packs.

Hopefully we'll get a worthy undead team soon as well.

As mentioned above, dwarves and skaven are to complete opposites, and will add much variation to the game. Long term, dwarves are not that interesting to play, but some people like them, mostly for the theme I think.

The undead play very much like orcs, so you should only buy them for the theme to begin with. In general, basher teams play very much alike, and don't add that much to gameplay if you already own one or more of them (IMHO).

If you want the greatest experience though, get an elf team. Knocking down the opponents player carrying the ball close to your end line, picking it up while in the tackle zone of a couple of enemy players, jumping over them, dodging several more, making a long throw that gets caught while standing in a couple of tackle zones, handing over the ball, and running for a touch down - All in the same turn (8) - is the single best experience you can have in a board game ever! I promise!


Damn arrogant elves.... shake
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Luke O'Hearn
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We had a trial run through today. Just a couple turns each to get a feel for play.

It was lots of fun. My blockers kept rolling the skull, which was kind of funny. And my wife's Orc was ejected for a foul. By the end of my second turn I had 2 unconscious players and 4 of them lying on the ground. Good times!

It will be nice to play again soon and I got expect it to run more smoothly (1st play is always a bit clunky).

My wife was a bit disappointed that it plays more like rugby than American Football, but I think I prefer it that way.

Thain Esh Kelch wrote:

The undead play very much like orcs, so you should only buy them for the theme to begin with. In general, basher teams play very much alike, and don't add that much to gameplay if you already own one or more of them (IMHO).

Theme is good. There is a reason I'd always had my eyes on Blood Bowl but never the Avalon Hill pro sports games.

Although perhaps there is a case to be made for having a basher team vs basher team option. Probably less interesting than 2 teams of different styles, but still a unique play experience.

Thain Esh Kelch wrote:

If you want the greatest experience though, get an elf team.

Elves have always been my favourite fantasy race (I'm one of those), but subjecting them to a dirty, rugged, sports game with Orcs just seems indignant.
But yeah, I'll probably want the Elves along with the Dwarves and Skaven (and Undead, when available). It might also be worth picking up Goblins, precisely for the imbalance (it could be my handicap if I'm teaching newer players or younglings).

Thain Esh Kelch wrote:

Knocking down the opponents player carrying the ball close to your end line, picking it up while in the tackle zone of a couple of enemy players, jumping over them, dodging several more, making a long throw that gets caught while standing in a couple of tackle zones, handing over the ball, and running for a touch down - All in the same turn (8) - is the single best experience you can have in a board game ever! I promise!

I'm a big fan of lite war games - like A&A, Star Trek: Ascendancy, Titan, Risk 2210, Britannia, etc. There is a lot of competition in my life for epic gaming experiences.

Blood Bowl is a blast though - I'm instantly a fan. And you've sold me on the Elves!
But should I get the Elf Union Team, or wait for a Dark Elf release?
 
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Roger Bartels
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crimhead wrote:

But should I get the Elf Union Team, or wait for a Dark Elf release?


There is speculation that the elves for GW's latest Elven Union team will serve as the bases for all 4 elf teams. Some extra pieces might be sold to adorn the base models, converting them to the other types of elves. Additionally, it might be a while before they release some of these bits. If you're keen on playing elves, pick up the Elven Union team. Their catchers are superstars.
 
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Clinton Rice
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crimhead wrote:

Elves have always been my favourite fantasy race (I'm one of those), but subjecting them to a dirty, rugged, sports game with Orcs just seems indignant.


Ah you're a high elf then. They feel exactly the same on the matter.
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Luke O'Hearn
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Yeah, I could see the Wood Elves playing. Dirty hippies!


Curious, what are the 4 Elven teams? I'm kind of new to the WH universe, except maybe Heroquest and Talisman 3rd edition.
 
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Matt R
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KoalaXav wrote:
crimhead wrote:

Elves have always been my favourite fantasy race (I'm one of those), but subjecting them to a dirty, rugged, sports game with Orcs just seems indignant.


Ah you're a high elf then. They feel exactly the same on the matter.


Yeah, the elves are so elitist that they discriminate even among themselves!
 
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Kim Goldbaek
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crimhead wrote:
Curious, what are the 4 Elven teams?


Wood, Union, High and Dark.
 
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Clinton Rice
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kimgoldbaek wrote:
crimhead wrote:
Curious, what are the 4 Elven teams?


Wood, Union, High and Dark.


Hippy, hodgepodge, snobby and stabby.

P.S. Dwarves rule. Elves uncool.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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kimgoldbaek wrote:
crimhead wrote:
Curious, what are the 4 Elven teams?


Wood, Union, High and Dark.

So the High Elves will run a team despite their better judgement? Lousy sell-outs


Lemonpips wrote:
There is speculation that the elves for GW's latest Elven Union team will serve as the bases for all 4 elf teams.

A bit of research indicated EU is not a specific tribe/nation, but in fact a union of various Elves.

Sounds like the right buy to get started with Elves.
 
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David Munch
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crimhead wrote:

My wife was a bit disappointed that it plays more like rugby than American Football, but I think I prefer it that way.

Get an elf team. More running, throwing, dodging, and less bashing.

Lemonpips wrote:
crimhead wrote:

But should I get the Elf Union Team, or wait for a Dark Elf release?


There is speculation that the elves for GW's latest Elven Union team will serve as the bases for all 4 elf teams. Some extra pieces might be sold to adorn the base models, converting them to the other types of elves. Additionally, it might be a while before they release some of these bits. If you're keen on playing elves, pick up the Elven Union team. Their catchers are superstars.

It should be emphasized that the kit will likely require an unassembled Elven Union box, although it is of course pure speculation at this point. So if you buy the kit now, and use it, you'll have to assemble it with glue, making the kit useless. Or maybe they will be bundled together in the future, or maybe it will never get released.

The Dark Elves are somewhat bashy, so stick to the other three. Wood Elf and High Elf are likely what you want for you wife, for a more gamey gameplay.

There are also plenty of non-GW elf teams out there. Greebo has an amazing team on the way (I am waiting for mine in the mail!), which can me bought as Dark, Wood, or High, elf.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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Thain Esh Kelch wrote:
crimhead wrote:

My wife was a bit disappointed that it plays more like rugby than American Football, but I think I prefer it that way.

Get an elf team. More running, throwing, dodging, and less bashing.

I think she likes the bashing - she did foul me first chance she got.

It's more a matter of structure. American football is full of short plays and whistle blows. Play is constantly reset while teams trade possession and gain ground incrementally. BB is a free-for-all more like Rugby.

She still enjoyed it, and she admits it works better this way as a turn based game.

Lemonpips wrote:

It should be emphasized that the kit will likely require an unassembled Elven Union box, although it is of course pure speculation at this point. So if you buy the kit now, and use it, you'll have to assemble it with glue, making the kit useless.

Thanks for the warning, but I don't think I'll worry about that. It could be some before we want to build pur own teams - possibly never. I know that won't make me popular in the minis scene, but the game is super fun oob with the basic rulebook (treating it like a board game).

All I really want is a couple more teams so it's not always Humans vs Orc. Also, the base game plus 3 or 4 extra boxed teams is plenty of dough to spend on a game right there - particularly if I'm the sort of person who is inclined towards the extra dice and pitches (I am).

That said, there was a time when I said I wasn't going to buy MTG races either, so you never know.

Thanks everyone for helping me to cut my teeth on this. BB really ticker me.
 
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Brion Lienhart
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If you haven't bought either of the Death Zone seasons yet, you should skip those and get the Anthology that they just released. It has everything from those plus a couple extra articles from White Dwarf.

One caveat about the Elven Union. The minis are a lot more advanced than the other teams and require quite a bit of assembly. There's a couple other threads in this board about it, with some advice about how to do it (some of it from me).

With Orcs, Humans, Dwarves, Skaven and Elves you'll have a good variety of teams and play styles to choose from. I wouldn't recommend a whole Goblin team, they are much more dependent on the secret weapon players and Trolls to do pretty much anything. Although if you're going to get an Ogre, you might also want to get a Troll and the 4-pack of Goblins for your Orc team to add more fun. But alas, probably not more winningness.

Right now, I've got the main box, Death Zone 1 & 2, 2 Skaven boxes and 1 Goblin box (to make a Skaven and an Underworld Denizens team), Dwarf box, Elven Union, and a box each of Human & Orc that the FLNGS had on clearance (to make up the 0-4 positions). I've also got the Skaven/Dwarf, Goblin, Elven Union and Blood on the Snow pitches.

OTOH, I've still got almost all the stuff from the old Astrogranite BB set as well as Elves & Dwarves & Dungeonbowl. And quite a bit of stuff from the previous edition with the cardboard pitch.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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brionl wrote:

One caveat about the Elven Union. The minis are a lot more advanced than the other teams and require quite a bit of assembly. There's a couple other threads in this board about it, with some advice about how to do it (some of it from me).

Good to know. Probably worth the effort though. I can't paint to save my life (and even the Orcs and Humans gave me a little trouble to assemble). But with patience and good instruction I should be ale to get through it.

Now leaning towards Skavens first though.

brionl wrote:

With Orcs, Humans, Dwarves, Skaven and Elves you'll have a good variety of teams and play styles to choose from. I wouldn't recommend a whole Goblin team, they are much more dependent on the secret weapon players and Trolls to do pretty much anything. Although if you're going to get an Ogre, you might also want to get a Troll and the 4-pack of Goblins for your Orc team to add more fun. But alas, probably not more winningness.

I'm going to hold off on the Ogre until I he some games under my belt (and a better feel for what the Humans need to keep up with the other boxed teams. But I'm not opposed to giving the Goblins a little extra tech either!

I also will need to familiarize myself with team building rules before I add units to 1 or 2 teams but not the others. I'm sure I'll have some questions about this soon.

brionl wrote:

OTOH, I've still got almost all the stuff from the old Astrogranite BB set as well as Elves & Dwarves & Dungeonbowl. And quite a bit of stuff from the previous edition with the cardboard pitch.

Astrogranite is hilarious! I hope we he a 2016 edition release. (I assume there are special rules for increased injury potential)?

Lemonpips wrote:

There is speculation that the elves for GW's latest Elven Union team will serve as the bases for all 4 elf teams.

Is there similar speculation for the Dwarf team? It occurs to be that I would vastly prefer Chaos Dwarves - mostly just because they seem more deeply grounded in the War Hammer world. If these are likely to be their own release, I can probably wait on the Dwarves.
 
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Clinton Rice
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crimhead wrote:

Lemonpips wrote:

There is speculation that the elves for GW's latest Elven Union team will serve as the bases for all 4 elf teams.

Is there similar speculation for the Dwarf team? It occurs to be that I would vastly prefer Chaos Dwarves - mostly just because they seem more deeply grounded in the War Hammer world. If these are likely to be their own release, I can probably wait on the Dwarves.


Definitely not. While some teams have positionals in common, the dwarfs play for dwarf teams only. There's no crossover with the chaos dwarves, and stylistically they look nothing alike. The chaos dwarves will need their own miniatures.

There are a few other positional that cross over besides the elves and goblins, however.

Underworld teams can be made now using skaven, goblins and trolls. Chaos teams (not to be confused with Chaos Dwarfs) use the same plus human linemen, ogres and dark elves. They could be fielded now though they will be lacking the signature mutations these teams are famous for.

Shambling Undead and Necromantic teams will have a lot of crossover while the skeletons will also be useful for Khemri teams so it's likely these three teams will be supported around the same time as each other.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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KoalaXav wrote:
There's no crossover with the chaos dwarves, and stylistically they look nothing alike. The chaos dwarves will need their own miniatures.

Okay, I might wait - don't think I need 2_Dwarf teams. Are Chaos Dwarves a likely release? Will they play similarly to the Dwarves Giants?

There are a few other positional that cross over besides the elves and goblins, however.

KoalaXav wrote:
Chaos teams (not to be confused with Chaos Dwarfs) use the same plus human linemen, ogres and dark elves.

I'm a bit confused. Do Chaos teams not use Chaos Dwarves or Chaos Warriors?

brionl wrote:
If you haven't bought either of the Death Zone seasons yet, you should skip those and get the Anthology that they just released.

Will I need advanced rules if I am not planning on playing in a league?

Will I need these for team assembly rules (other races), or will they be included in the team boxes?

Will the boxed teams include new skills not covered in the basic rulebook?

Will I need advanced rules to incorporate big guys or secret weapons, or will the minis come with rules?

Serious question.

 
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