Like many people, I eagerly anticipated GW’s re-release of the classic Bloodbowl boxed game at the end of 2016. Jade and I split the teams between us; my human team became The Kemperbad Kestrels, pride of north-eastern Reikland, and Jade took on the WAAAGHbergines, a team of temporally confused Kommandos. Having familiarised ourselves with the helpfully provided trainingg drills, this week, we finally got round to our first proper match.
My only previous experience with Bloodbowl was watching my old housemate steer his Nord team to the top of the UK online second league, and Jade’s a total novice to wargaming, so we decided to limit ourselves to the base rules and to only one half.
The WAAAGHbergines received the kick-off, which promptly missed every player and bounced about all over the place, before eventually being salvaged by a thrower, #3. The Orks surged upfield while The Kemperbad Kestrels gave chase, with blitzer Willhelm von Ipol and catcher Johannes Mai closing in. Unfortunately, lineman Daniel Kohle bounced off his Greenskin counterpart in the centre and knocked himself out, ending the turn early.
Turn 2 saw the Kestrels struggling to land tackles, with von Ipol and Mai both driving back the Ork #3 but failing to knock him down, and lineman Steffan Gerhardt closing in. Unfortunately, in centrefield, things bogged down with #10 lineman Jan Hußkel driving back his Greenskin opposite, but #9 Heinrich Schieffer struggling vainly against a Black Ork blocker, although thankfully avoiding injury. Unfortunately this left the outside field open for the WAAAGHbergines to surge through the gap.
The inability of the Kestrels to land a proper tackle on the Ork thrower came home to roost in turn 3, as he hurled the ball upfield to the blitzer and two linemen who had rushed up the outfield. At least the pressure meant he flubbed the pass, which scattered between the three of them, turning the play over. The turnover didn’t last long, however, with Kestrels #3, thrower Daniel Pflege diving in to try and salvage the ball but instead getting piled on by two Greenskins and knocked unconscious.
In turn 4, the WAAAGHbergines’ #1 blitzer salvaged the ball and raced towards the Kestrels’ endzone, although a failed drive in the centre ended up with a lineman on both sides knocked down. Kestrels’ #4 thrower Beren Jungs sprinted back to blitz a tackle that could have been heroic and game-saving, had the ball not scattered immediately into the hands of an Ork lineman who trotted over the line to put the WAAAGHbergines ahead 1-0.
After the restart, the Kestrels were determined to come back fighting in turn 5. Pflege, back from the KO Bin, salvaged the ball and headed upfield while von Ipol and Hußkel cleared a path for catcher Mai. A missed pass left the ball in Greenskin hands at the end of the turn, but the unfortunate Ork lineman was dumped unceremoniously on his back by Hußkel in turn 6, with the ball passing to von Ipol, who aced a long-bomb upfield into the waiting arms of Mai.
Unfortunately for the unlucky Mai, he was still one square short of the endzone when the Ork #1 blitzed back and knocked him fully into unconsciousness. The ball bounced to him but he flubbed the pick-up, giving von Ipol the perfect opportunity to showcase his star power, sweeping in to nab the ball and run it into the endzone for the Kestrels in the last play of the game, and drawing the scoreline level at 1-1.
Kestrels 1 – 1 WAAAGHbergines
Overall, we had a lot of fun with our first proper game of Bloodbowl, and the scoreline was respectable. It was a bit of a learning curve to get started, but the rulebook is nice and helpful and by the end we’d really got into it. We’ll build ourselves up to longer matches and incorporating more of the rules, but I can see this becoming a regular fixture.