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Blood Bowl: Team Manager

Reviewed by Geoff Gibbs 

I must admit, as a huge fan of Blood Bowl, so I approached this game with a mixture of excitement and caution. Would it live up to my expectations of combining strategy, luck, tension and humour in the same way that the board game does?

The short answer is yes. Yes it does. But in a completely different way.

In a turn a number of matches happen simultaneously, cards from a hand of six can be played into any of these matches on a player-by-player basis. When all the players are out of cards each match is resolved on a highest-strength-wins basis and rewards are given. At the end of the game, the team with the most fans wins. The strategy in the card game comes from choosing the right combination of players to play into the same match so that their skills1 complement one another. When playing with four players, as we did, you also have to balance how many matches you take part in, spread yourself too thin and you may find yourself losing a lot.

Tackling works in a very familiar way; compare the strength of the two players, if they are the same roll one die, if different roll two and the higher strength chooses2. The dice in the card game differ to those in the board game and have much simpler results, either nothing happens or one of the players involved is tackled. The first time a player is tackled they go down, the second time they are injured and are out of the match3.

While much of the tension in the board game comes from the fact that a single mistake can end your turn and ruin plans, in the card game it comes down to not knowing what your opponent has or where he is going to play. In the four player game, the tension would be higher as a lot could happen between your actions. 

Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of time to browse the flavour text on the numerous card that were played4, but what I did see contained the same humour of the original game, if not, perhaps, in as much detail.

Overall a game worthy of the Blood Bowl title and I am hopeful that, although stated for 2-4 players, it will work with more.

1The skills in the card game share the same names as those in the board game, but are often very different. Be warned!
2Unlike the board game you only ever roll a maximum of two, never three.
3There is no death that I could see.
4Especially the highlight cards, which take the form of newspaper pages.