So who saw that coming? An official Snotling team release from Games Workshop. Whatever next… shall I whisper “a Stormcast Eternal themed team”! Could this release be the beginning of more unexpected releases in the near future?
For a while now we have heard rumours of a new Blood Bowl box set release in 2020. An accidental announcement of a new Blood Bowl PC game which referenced a new tabletop release. This was swiftly taken down but allowed the Blood Bowl hype train to at least leave the station…
The recent box sets releases for Kill Team and Necromunda. This got me thinking about what a new box set release for might look like..
So with this article I am going to do a bit of wandering off the beaten path but stay with me. I hope to come back to something that isn’t too crazy, if not quite reasonable. Let’s see how we get on…
Warning the below consists of wild speculation which may offend some Blood Bowl Fans…
Do we need a new release of Blood Bowl?
Well, it brings a new version of Blood Bowl to the masses. A shiny new box always helps raise the profile of a game, even if the contents are little changed from what has come before. Marketing has a way of dressing up an already released product as new and interesting.
If other box set releases from GW are anything to go by, we can expect a new Blood Bowl box set to contain two teams. Dwarfs and Skaven seem to be a popular suggestion. Maybe even Amazons and Norse, with that Block vs Dodge dynamic. Both are teams who have not yet been released by GW since the 2016 re-release. Throw in a few game tokens, maybe a copy of the new Head Coach Handbook for the rules and you have a good starter set for the game. This would be the safe, expected, easily marketable and no doubt successful option if the 2016 releases are anything to go by.
So what could GW do to bring a fresh perspective to Blood Bowl?
Well, we already have Blitz Bowl. Which I think is proving more popular than many people thought. Not yet available here in the UK, but I have been lucky enough to have picked up a copy on my travels to the USA. It is a fun game but it is also very different to Blood Bowl. I have seen a certain amount of positive feedback, mostly based around players enjoying the speed of play, cards and smaller size of the game. With recent release of more teams boxes this seems to be something that is going to stick around for a while.
Blood Bowl 7’s
Blood Bowl 7’s is another popular alternative which provides a quicker alternative to Blood Bowl, much closer in rules to traditional Blood Bowl than Blitz Bowl. Played on a smaller pitch. Some of the rules around team building and kick-offs are quite different. Creating a fast paced alternative for your Blood Bowl fix.
Other variants exist such as Street Bowl, Death Bowl and others I am probably not aware of. Each has a fun twist on the original Blood Bowl.
Another branch off the Blood Bowl tree with a history going back to near the very beginning when Blood Bowl released, is Dungeon Bowl…
But what about Dungeon Bowl?
A less played variant, but which has an avid following. First released back in 1989, the game involves two teams trying to find the ball in six treasure chests in a Dungeon. The first team to score wins, but do not let this fool you. Exploding chests, teleporters, pit traps and the close confines all combine to create a truly random game. Even one of the NAF majors is decided by it with the final of the Dungeon Bowl played using the Dungeon Bowl rules.
And here is why I think Dungeon Bowl makes sense… Terrain!
Now recently GW have really started to ramp up the variation, quality and amount of Terrain pieces being released for their game systems. Age of Sigmar, 40k, Kill Team, Warcry, and Necromunda all continue to have large dedicated releases for players to re-create battlefields of all types tabletop gaming.
Blood Bowl does not need terrain in the traditional sense. A cardboard pitch and dugout is enough for most coaches to re-create the mayhem of Blood Bowl. Stadiums, scoreboards and team dugouts are often passion projects which add to the theme but have no real impact on the game. I have had a go myself (that scoreboard is still not finished – hobby shame!).
A Dungeon Bowl box set would give GW an opportunity to add a range of Dungeon Terrain to their range. Not just for Dungeon Bowl, but also for a number of other GW games. Both AoS and Warcry come to mind but dungeons could easily be utilised in 40k and Kill Team to create an underground warzone.
I myself have looked for quality dungeon themed terrain and have generally been frustrated by the price and availability of what is on offer. Often they are short runs via Kickstarter, mostly designed for D&D. Without long term support and generally at the 28mm scale. With the new GW 32mm scale bases for the new Blood Bowl teams. Fitting players on these tiles can be a bit of an issue.
This brings me to another market for dungeon terrain, RPG players. More specifically, games of Dungeons and Dragons. This is.not a key market for GW but with the recent releases of new RPG’s books set in the Warhammer universes. GW are starting recognising the resurgence of D&D among the gaming community.
Just by searching for Dungeon terrain sets on Kickstarter you come across lots of examples of recent and successful of campaigns, most aimed at RPG or skirmish wargame market. GW could produce a set of cheap plastic terrain for not just Dungeon Bowl, or Terrain for AoS, Warcry or 40k but for D&D players around the world. Few products can tap into all of these markets.
When you think about it, GW not making any dungeon terrain seems quite strange.
Now GW have some very recent form in providing terrain in box sets which fit multiple game systems. One of the most recent was the Necromunda Dark Rising box set. GW used this as a way to re-launch the Zone Mortalis terrain range. Could GW use this type of mechanism to release dungeon terrain into the range?
What else could a Dungeon Bowl box set bring?
As I mentioned, Dungeon Bowl is something of a niche part of the wider Blood Bowl community. of a niche. The NAF have recently adopted an updated rulespack developed by the community. This is a welcome update, which includes dungeons layouts for competitive games. A full GW release could bring Dungeon Bowl into the light.
Dungeon Bowl teams are typically smaller and originally were a mix of different teams. Like the Amber Wizards who consist of a mix of Dark Elves, Orcs and Skaven. A single sprue from a few of the new 32mm teams could easily be put in a Dungeon Bowl box set.
The rules could be updated to match more modern gaming. Perhaps adding a few twists but keeping the original flavour of the game. We have seen some themes taken from the the Dungeon Bowl rules being adopted in more recent releases from GW. The joys of crunching an opposing player into a wall or bouncing a ball off a wall are present in Blitz Bowl.
So what terrain could we expect?
Well first of all, Dungeon tiles. Detailed representations of the underground world of the Old World would be most welcome. Hopefully including all of the details dungeons I remember from the Hero Quest boards from my youth. I.e. A rat!
Then accessories such as treasure chests, doors, pillars, barrels, tables. The typical dungeon features we all image while questing through the dungeons of the Old World.
With new mixed teams, comes the need to create new teams outside of the more traditional teams supported by GW.
The existing range could easily be used to create these mixed teams. I myself have been thinking about create a dungeon bowl themed team as a fun hobby project.
So all things considered I think Dungeon Bowl would be a great way for GW to expand on the Blood Bowl range. Bringing a classic back to the new Blood Bowl generation. Creating new hobby opportunities. Plus adding a long missing piece to the terrain range of GW which will have a reach far beyond that of GW gaming systems.
Finally,I could be wrong but the only Blood Bowl plastic terrain release was the original Dungeon Bowl release in 199.. With plastics doors being included. So they have form… kind of!
What are your thoughts on GW re-releasing Dungeon Bowl? Is it a good idea? Is BB terrain from GW needed? If so what? Let us know by leaving a comment or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTT attempts: 0 (I don’t think you can score a One Turn Touchdown in Dungeon Bowl!?)