Pick Up & Play – ‘Blood Bowl 2’

Madden meets turn-based RPG combat in this punishing game of skill and chance.

Blood Bowl 2 executes on a lot of high notes: there’s a rich fantasy world that makes the mixed fantasy race combat fun, there’s commentary and there’s tons of room for players to customize teams to their liking. Unfortunately, many areas of gameplay didn’t resonate as much actual fun. To explain what I mean, let me walk you through how combat and player movement works.

Firstly, everything is turn-based. I enjoy JRPG turn based combat, so I though getting adjusted to Blood Bowl’s gameplay would be easy, but I was let down. Each character on your team each can move X number of squares on the map each turn. He can engage an enemy in combat, you can pass the ball or simply slowly push the team up the field. Additionally, you can exceed your square allotment by clicking on squares with a pair of dice on them. The dice have a trade-off, though. If you choose to risk the extra yardage, your player could fall and be stunned for the next few plays. Even when I was given odds like 80%, it seemed like I would fall way more frequently than I should.

A shot of the visually appealing but not-so-gameplay-satisfying combat
A shot of the visually appealing but not-so-gameplay-satisfying combat

Secondly, combat doesn’t feel anywhere near fun. To engage in combat, you simply click an enemy first to run up to them and play a tiny clip of your character punching the enemy in the head. While the clip shows a bloody mess of gore, it still feels like there ins’t enough player involvement to feel like I actually did anything exciting. Simply put, the core mechanics of the game felt boring.


While I think there’s an impressive amount of team and player customization to be found in Blood Bowl 2, the combat and movement system feel like poor imitations of turn-based combat, and I found myself bored by what I played. In each match, I couldn’t help but fantasize about a game that played similarly to Madden but had this game’s world. Brutal, real-time fantasy football would be an interesting vail to tap. Instead, Blood Bowl 2 feels like a game that will only satisfy gamers that found enjoyment in the original.


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