Blood Bowl Board Game History

Now for those unaware of it, the National Football League has been parodied by a popular British game called Blood Bowl for over 20 years. The history of the game dates back to 1987 when it was first released, and was designed by Jervis Johnson of Games Workshop.

The term "Blood" is used to describe the violent actions that players can use against one another which is based on American Football and rugby. It's also a parody of violent sporting movies such as the 1975 movie Rollerball starring James Caan.

The game has simularities to another Games Workshop game Warhammer Fantasy in which characters such as warriors, trolls, and dwarfs are part of the fantasy game. It is a two-player game in which they use miniature figure pieces on a playing field. A grid overlay is represented on the board as players use dice, cards, and counters against one another. Scoring occurs when a player with possession of the ball enters the opponent's end zone as both sides attempt to outscore one another.

Players are drawn out based on their characteristics which reflects how they do on the field. Dwarfs and Orcs are physical players that can cause more harm and injury to their opponents. On the other hand, Elves are quick and agile which makes them good scorers. Players are either throwers, catchers, or lineman which is usually determined by their characteristics. Coaches are the players running the team, and pick one race to play as. Human and Orcs are typically used for beginners while Haflings and Orges are used for the more experienced players.

Here are the player characteristics:
MA(Move Allowance) is how fast or slow a player is.
ST(Strength) is how good or bad a player can fight.
AG(Agility) is how good or bad the player avoids opponents and handles the ball.
AV(Armor Value) is how tough it is to injure the player.
Other skills that players use are block(fighting), dodge(avoid fighting), pass, catch, and sure hands.

During a player's turn, they can choose one of the following options:
Move- Move to an unoccupied square on the board, and the opponent can attempt to trip up the player if they're close to him/her.
Block- This is where they fight an opposing player that's adjacent to them.
Blitz- Move and block or block and move who is standing up.
Foul- Move and foul a prone player adjacent to them on the board.
Pass- Move and throw the ball. Or the player can just throw the ball from their current position.
Hand-off- Move and give the ball to an adjacent player.
Special players can be used because some have special skills.

A team turns the ball over if the action they perform fails. Some even use the four-minute turnover rule which means a player has four minutes to complete their turn, and makes the game more fast-paced.

In the more advanced dynasty-type play, players gain additonal points as they gain better skills and abilities. Players face the possibility of a serious injury and even death on the field. Teams can buy cheerleader and coaching staffs, too.

Besides the title of the game being parodied, other references such as McMurty's(McDonalds) and Bloodweiser(Budweiser) are used in the game. Background names in the game include the Darkside Cowboys(Dallas Cowboys) and Orcland Raiders(Oakland Raiders) are used. Famous player names are parodied as well which include Orge player Brick Far'th(Brett Favre).

The game's second release was in 1988, and was geared more towards a sports-oriented play rather than battlefield. The third release in 1994 shortened the game up because of the turnover rule and set number of turns. It was then that the game closely resembled Warhammer Fantasy because of how close the resembling miniature players were to that game. The Third Edition won the an Origins Award for Best Miniatures Rules of 1994 in 1995. In 1995, a video game by the same name was released by MicroLeague.

The fourth edition drastically changed the rules of the game that is still used today in 2001. The 4th Edition Gold were available for download on a pdf file and The Living Book can be found on-line.

Dynasty-type leagues are played by hard-core players, and tournaments with as many as 200 players take place. The "World Cup" is played at Warhammer World in Nottingham, England. The Dungeonbowl is played in Germany while the Spike! Trophy takes place in Canada. The Chaos Cup is played in October in Chicago, IL. In 2007, the "World Cup" was held in Games Workshop headquartersn in Nottingham which saw players from the U.S. and Australia attend as they had 272 people participate which set a record for the Games Workshop-related game in history. A team from France won that tournament, and a player from Germany won an individual coaching award.

The Windows version of the game was announced by Cyanide Studios for 2008. Nintendo DS, Playstation Portable, and Xbox versions are set were announced later on in 2007 as well.