Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blood Bowl!

Well, it's here. I'm a few games into my Skaven campaign and here's a quick rundown of initial thoughts:

  • First and foremost, it's great. I don't know how new players will be able to dive in, but for a veteran player, this is what I wanted. It's BB on my PC.
  • The running commentary by Jim and Bob, the play by play guys from the Blood Bowl manual, is actually really good. I swear it's better than most modern day licensed sports games -- but there isn't enough of it. This is in part because it's a turn based game (I haven't tried real time mode yet) so there's a lot of space to fill, but after one game, I had heard it all. I love the anecdotes they tell during the games though. This is right out of the BB manual.
  • The game, as fun as it is, need a patch. Some skills are not working right and a few rules seem to be screwed up. It's not crucial stuff but they need to be fixed.
  • The graphics are solid. Not otherworldy but clearly good enough. I do wish we had more custom options because it can be hard to tell players apart. (This is prolly worse for new BB players.) I picked Foul Appearance as a level up skill for my Skaven Stormvermin (Affectionately named Ratter to go along with his other Stormvermin brother, Tatter -- naming your players is a wonderful way to get attached to them, and in a game like this where your players earn XP and grow along with your team, it's a great game hook.) Anyway -- I chose Foul Appearance not because it's a great skill, but because I wanted to see how the game showed this on the pitch. Ratter walked on the field with this green stink mist clouding his entire body. Next time I'll choose the Two Head skill...
  • AI. It's "ok". It has clear flaws -- it loves to try and dodge out of tackle zones, it passes way too much with Dwarf teams, but ONLY passes the ball when it knows it can score THAT turn, the AI also picks new skills seemingly at random -- why would a Black Orc choose the Dauntless skill? In case it goes up against an Ogre? It's a wasted skill for a strong player. It also likes to make high risk blocks for no reason. Sometimes you need to make that attack roll when you are outmanned but those are normally desperation attempts -- the AI likes to do this too much. Finally, it's not great at combo blocking and timing those blocks.
  • For example -- in my last game the AI had a TD in its palm. I had one lone Gutter Runner (a fast Skaven not good at blocking) standing next to the AI ball carrier. The AI had two other players nearby and it was its turn to go. Instead of the AI moving its other players next to my Gutter and throwing a combo block and using a blitz move, clearing its ball carrier's path for an easy score, the AI decided to move the ball carrier first (a Dwarf no less)--dodging out of my tackle zone ...and my Gutter promptly tackled him. Turnover. That's a terribly basic BB principle that the AI goofed up. thus far haven't been a total cakewalk, and bad moves are part of the game and I'd be even more upset if the AI did everything chess-letter perfect. But some of its gaffes need to be patched up if possible.
  • The campaign is deep, rewarding, and exceedingly entertaining.
  • Once the online league gets up and running I'll post thoughts on how it's going. Now Todd -- buy the game already.