What is Blood Bowl?

What is Blood Bowl?

Answering your questions about the miniature game Blood Bowl. How to get into the game, what teams there are and other helpful links to get started and join the community.

Orc playing against a human team.

To put it simply, Blood Bowl is 1v1 board game with miniatures in a sports setting. There is strategy in positioning of your players and in choosing the order of risky actions that rely on dice rolls.

The game is set in a fantasy world based on the Warhammer universe with humans, elves, orcs, goblins and many other creatures. During a war on a battlefield, an ancient and long forgotten stadium was discovered with an American Football rulebook inside. Inspired by the sport Blood Bowl teams from all over the world compete, with a truce called while a game is being played.

There is a lot of lore and fluff pieces throughout the rule book and sequential articles and almanacs that make Blood Bowl exciting to explore.

Blood Bowl was first released in 1986 and has been revised over the years and has survived so long because of the community built around the game. The newest and current edition is Blood Bowl 2016 with new teams, pitches and rules to be released in the coming year.

The rule book allows you to follow scenarios of the basic rules (which are also explain in the videos at the bottom of this page) and encourages you to play with these rules for your first game. This version is less complex so would be great for playing with children. Once you get a handle on the basics real randomness and strategy come into play with the additional rules, using skills, events and environmental effects.

Human blood bowl thrower miniature painted in a blue colour scheme.

What do I need to start playing?

You will need a Blood Bowl team, a ball and a friend with their Blood Bowl team. You will also need the range ruler, scatter templates, dice, playing pitch and rules all found in the Box set of Blood Bowl 2016.

You can also play with various special play cards that add more randomness and variation to the game as well as other pitches that can give home team advantages of different types of weather.

Additional rules found in the White Dwarf magazine as well as tournament rules found in Death Zone 1 and 2 have been accumulated in a hard back Almanac book. The rules are in a PDF format on the Games Workshop website, which might be more convenient to search through.

If you don’t have the time or skill to assemble a team and paint them you can always hire a commission painter you like the style of to do it for you. I would also suggest checking out ebay or trade groups for people selling off the teams they no longer want to play with.

What team should I choose?

There are various methods people use to choose the team they would like to play. Some choose what team they like the visuals of and some pick a team on a play style.

Each team plays differently, the starting teams in the board game are Orcs and Humans. The Orcs have a bashing, heavy handed technique to try and reduce the number of opponents on the field. The Humans are easier to play as both a scoring and bashing team so you learn a balance of both. There are more in depth guides on play styles out there to help you choose how you would like to play. The beauty of the game is that you get to decide how you want to play and express that with your team.

Photograph of an Orc Blood Bowl team playing against a Human Team on the table top. Miniatures are painted by Haximica. Green and purple painted blood bowl troll facing off a human lineman.

How do I find a game?

To play competitively with other people in tournaments or leagues you can check out your FLGS (friendly local game store) to see if there are any events (if there aren’t you can ask and see if they will organise one). These events are usually friendly and fun. Newcomers to the game get to learn different strategies when playing against other people and you can also ask if you can borrow a team to see how they play.

So far, in Blood Bowl 2016 the Games Workshop official models are Humans, Orcs, Goblins, Skaven, Dwarfs and Elves with more teams to be released in the future.

With the previous editions of Blood Bowl, the outlines and rules for these other teams were released but no official models were made. This allowed 3rd party artists and sculptors to create and release their own teams allowing people to play teams they couldn’t otherwise get.

While the 3rd party models do allow you to play whatever team you like, they may not be allowed in Game Workshop tournaments or FLGS, depending on who is running the store and licensing agreements.

Miniature companies and sculptors that produce 3rd party miniatures are usually very creative when they make one off models or whole teams of miniatures. Many of these miniature teams they produce are themed in some way which makes them unusual and stand out on the tabletop. There are usually Kickstarters every few months where these creative people raise funds for fantasy football teams allowing them to create the moulds and produce the models. A lot of the time the miniatures are offered in a metal material which is heavier than plastic or resin counter parts.

To play a team not yet released in Blood Bowl 2016 by Games Workshop in a tournament you may have to use older official models that can only be bought on trade groups and ebay. If allowed you may also use other Games Workshop models and assemble your team from different kits, known as kit-bashing.

Most tournaments or leagues will require you to have painted models, you can paint them yourself or hire a commission painter to do it for you.

Are there any other ways to play?

You can also experience the video game Blood Bowl 2 (on PC, PS4 and XBox One). It uses the same rules so you can play a few tutorial games to quickly learn the rules. Like the board game it slowly introduces the rules as you play through the scenarios. 

Be aware, that there are often some revisions to game rules & mechanics included in the 2016 release of the miniatures game of Blood Bowl, and this is often added to the errata for balancing and to clarify wording. The developers of the Blood Bowl 2 game have stated on their forums that they do not plan to incorporate all rule changes to the video game, and this can lead to some differences when building a roster; for instance human catchers have AV8 in Blood Bowl 2 instead of AV7 in the board game. Another main difference is the costings of some team members.

The same game is just called Blood Bowl on iOS, Android and Amazon Fire tablets. You can test out different teams online and see how your developing strategy holds up with players all over the world.

There is also an online league called FUMBBL that connects coaches all over the world together to play Blood Bowl with a side on 2d drawing style game.

Blood Bowl Spruce

How easy are the teams to assemble?

Each of the Blood Bowl 2016 kits come on spruces that need to be clipped off and rough edges and mould lines will need sanding or scraping to be made smooth. If you have trouble with your grip you may find it hard to cut the miniatures off of the spruce.

I have rated the difficulty to assemble each of the flowing teams.

Orcs and Humans

Learner Level 2 Assembly Difficulty

Once clipped from the spruce and any sharp edges removed, these models are designed to be push fit. This means you can get playing without any glue necessary. In the base box the Orcs are green plastic and the Humans are blue plastic. This lets you play straight away without any fiddly assembly.

Of course you will probably want to glue them and make them look better with some paint.

Orc from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

Troll

Proficient Level 4 Assembly Difficulty

The troll has a lot of pieces to assemble and will possibly need pinning to keep the foot, ankle collar and leg together. The trolls hand also covers part of the face when assembled so it may be better to attach the arm after the model is painted.

Troll from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

Ogre

Competent Level 3 Assembly Difficulty

Although this model has a few pieces to it, the main parts have a push fit element and go together well when following the instructions. This model will need gaps filled on the neck with milliput, greenstuff or bondic as it’s quite noticeable.

Ogre from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

Goblins

Competent Level 3 Assembly Difficulty

These models are a little smaller than the Humans and Orcs making them a little bit more fiddly to put together. They aren’t push fit so you will need to hold them until the glue sets, this makes them eaiser than the other kits to change the poses.

Goblin from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

Skaven

Competent Level 3 Assembly Difficulty

Although there are a few pieces, this kit has push fit style allowing easier position of the limbs and heads. The tails are very delicate so care will need to be taken when removing them from the spruce.

Skaven from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

Dwarfs

Proficient Level 4 Assembly Difficulty

Each dwarf has multiple parts with a bonus of a choice two choices of head per model. The number plate on the backs of these models is very small and fiddly to put together and many ask why this is a separate piece as some of the models have it moulded into the back and not as a different piece.

Dwarf from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

Elves

Expert Level 5 Assembly Difficulty

The spruce does offer lots of heads to choose from, so you can style your team how you want them. There are many pieces to this kit so will take you a while to assemble.

Elf from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

Star Players

Proficient Level 4 Assembly Difficulty

The Star Players made by Forgeworld are made in resin which requires a little more work to get smooth and cleaning for the glue to stick.

Star Player from Blood Bowl by Games Workshop

How do I decide on a colour scheme for my Blood Bowl team?

You can choose to theme your team as an already established team in the lore, or create your own theme. Many players choose parodies of their favourite sports teams but you can also take inspiration from any of your passions.

If you feel like you’re lacking in ideas, other coaches post pictures on social media of their teams with different colour combinations and themes. I would recommend looking for #bloodbowl on instagram or twitter to see the latest and greatest.

Many players choose to colour code the rim of the bases so it’s easy to tell which position the player is. Although it is no longer required by most leagues and tournaments, it is a lot easier to pick out your players without referring to the numbering. The table below is a suggestion for the colours for each team, although as there is no official guide other colours, or your own colour coding may be used.

Blood Bowl Miniatures with coloured bases

Team: Amazon

Grey: Linewoman
Red: Blitzer
White: Thrower
Yellow: Catcher
Gold: Star Player

Team: Chaos

Green: Chaos Warrior
Grey: Beastman Runner
Black: Minotaur
Gold: Star Player

Team: Chaos Dwarf

Green: Chaos Dwarf Blocker
Grey: Hobgoblin
Red: Bull Centaur
Black: Minotaur
Gold: Star Player

Team: Chaos Renegade

Grey: Human Linemen, Orc Linemen, Skaven Linemen, Dark Elf Linemen
Yellow: Goblin
Black: Troll, Ogre, Minotaur
Gold: Star Player

Team: Dark Elf

Grey: Linemen
Red: Blitzer
White: Runner
Yellow: Witch Elf
Purple: Assassin
Gold: Star Player

Team: Dwarf

Green: Troll Slayer
Grey: Blocker
Red: Blitzer
White: Runner
Purple: Deathroller
Gold: Star Player

Team: Elven Union

Grey: Linemen
Red: Blitzer
White: Thrower
Yellow: Catcher
Gold: Star Player

Team: Goblin

Grey: Goblin
Yellow: Pogoer
Purple: Bomma, Looney, Fanatic, 'Ooligan
Black: Troll
Gold: Star Player

Team: Halfling

Grey: Halfling
Black: Treeman
Gold: Star Player

Team: High Elf

Grey: Linemen
Red: Blitzer
White: Thrower
Yellow: Catcher
Gold: Star Player

Team: Human

Grey: Linemen
Red: Blitzer
White: Thrower
Yellow: Catcher
Black: Ogre
Gold: Star Player

Team: Khemri

Green: Tomb Guardian
Grey: Skeleton Lineman
Red: Blit-Ra
White: Thro-Ra
Gold: Star Player

Team: Lizardmen

Green: Saurus
Grey: Skink
Black: Kroxigor
Gold: Star Player

Team: Necromantic

Green: Flesh Golem
Grey: Zombie
Red: Wight Blitzer
White: Ghoul Runner
Yellow: Werewolve
Gold: Star Player

Team: Norse

Green: Ulfwerenar
Grey: Lineman
Red: Berzerker
White: Thrower
Yellow: Catcher
Black: Yhetee
Gold: Star Player

Team: Nurgle

Green: Nurgle Warriror (Bloater)
Grey: Rotter
Red: Pestigor
Black: Rotspawn (Beast of Nurgle)
Gold: Star Player

Team: Ogre

Grey: Snotlings
Black: Ogre
Gold: Star Player

Team: Orc

Green: Black Orc Blocker
Grey: Linemen
Red: Blitzer
White: Thrower
Yellow: Goblin
Black: Troll
Gold: Star Player

Team: Skaven

Grey: Lineman
Red: Blitzer
White: Thrower
Yellow: Gutter Runner
Black: Rat Ogre
Gold: Star Player

Team: Undead

Green: Mummy
Grey: Skeleton Lineman, Zombie
Red: Wight Blitzer
Yellow: Ghoul Runner
Gold: Star Player

Team: Underworld Denizens

Grey: Skaven Linemen
Red: Skaven Blitzer
White: Skaven Thrower
Yellow: Goblin
Black: Troll
Gold: Star Player

Team: Vampire

Grey: Thrall
Red: Vampire
Gold: Star Player

Team: Wood Elf

Grey: Linemen
Red: Wardancer
White: Thrower
Yellow: Catcher
Black: Treeman
Gold: Star Player

Green

Grey

Red

White

Yellow

Purple

Black

Gold

Team

Blocker
Linemen
Blitzer
Thrower
Catcher
Special
Big Guys
Star Players
Amazon
Linewoman Blitzer Thrower Catcher
Chaos
Chaos Warrior Beastman Runner Minotaur
Chaos Dwarf
Chaos Dwarf Blocker Hobgoblin Bull Centaur Minotaur
Chaos Renegade
Human Linemen, Orc Linemen, Skaven Linemen, Dark Elf Linemen Goblin Troll, Ogre, Minotaur
Dark Elf
Linemen Blitzer Runner Witch Elf Assassin
Dwarf
Troll Slayer Blocker Blitzer Runner Deathroller
Elven Union
Linemen Blitzer Thrower Catcher
Goblin
Goblin Pogoer Bomma, Looney, Fanatic, 'Ooligan Troll
Halfling
Halfling Treeman
High Elf
Linemen Blitzer Thrower Catcher
Human
Linemen Blitzer Thrower Catcher Ogre
Khemri
Tomb Guardian Skeleton Lineman Blit-Ra Thro-Ra
Lizardmen
Saurus Skink Kroxigor
Necromantic
Flesh Golem Zombie Wight Blitzer Ghoul Runner Werewolve
Norse
Ulfwerenar Lineman Berzerker Thrower Catcher Yhetee
Nurgle
Nurgle Warriror (Bloater) Rotter Pestigor Rotspawn (Beast of Nurgle)
Ogre
Snotlings Ogre
Orc
Black Orc Blocker Linemen Blitzer Thrower Goblin Troll
Skaven
Lineman Blitzer Thrower Gutter Runner Rat Ogre
Undead
Mummy Skeleton Lineman, Zombie Wight Blitzer Ghoul Runner
Underworld Denizens
Skaven Linemen Skaven Blitzer Skaven Thrower Goblin Troll
Vampire
Thrall Vampire
Wood Elf
Linemen Wardancer Thrower Catcher Treeman

Where can I find more information about Blood Bowl?

The following is a small list of the still growing community of blood bowl. Listed below are various websites, forums, social media, video channels and podcasts.

Blood Bowl (Official) | Website

Offering PDF downloads, information about the game and local leagues.

Blood Bowl (Official) | Facebook Page

New releases, updates and best of all they reply in the comments as Bob and Jim, the Ogre and Vampire commentators.

Blood Bowl My Dugout | iOS | Android
An app to track your team, you don’t need anything else if you only use the base box, humans and orcs. However each team is an in app purchase, if you wish to purchase all of the released content (Jan, 2018) it will work out to just under £40.

It is lacking a sharing feature were you can add friends to see their teams or create a tournament tracker for your league. For tracking an event, a shared spreadsheet with each persons team on would be far more convenient.

Blood Bowl Team Spreadsheet | Google Drive

This is a very well made list for your Blood Bowl team. You will need to make a copy to edit, just select your team and then you can choose your positions from the drop down. All of the players and extras are calculated in your total spend for your tea.

This is great for leagues or tournaments, you can share your sheet with the competitors as ‘view only’. If all of your league keeps their sheets up to date, and you have some knowledge in excel it will easy to link the data from each sheet to create overviews of the current points and track which team has the most injuries if you would like to give out achievement awards at the end.

Blood Bowl Community | Facebook Group

The largest Blood Bowl group on Facebook with a large active community that are happy to answer questions, debate what team is the worst and talk about the game.  

BLOOD BOWL 2016 | Facebook Group

This Blood Bowl group only allows posts related to the Blood Bowl board game, with people sharing their teams and questions about the game.

Tackle ZoneTackle Zone Blog

This blog post explains tackle zones and strategy using them. They also list leagues from all over the world you can join.

The NAFWebsite

A great resource for new and old players of Blood Bowl. The NAF lists upcoming tournaments throughout the world, has handy guides for new players, details on how to run your own leauge and many resources to play the game.

Videos

All Miniatures Great and Small | Youtube Playlist

Mini War Gaming | Youtube Playlist

Warhammer TV | Youtube Playlist

Mike Davis | Youtube Playlist

Podcasts

Three Dice Block | Website | iTunes

Two Drunk Flings | Facebook Page |  Soundcloud

Anything But A One! | Website | iTunes

Double Skulls Podcast | Website

Both Down | Website | iTunes

Related products