Well, it’s certainly been quite the maelstrom of change in the Blood Bowl community as of late! We started off with dribs and drabs being leaked (both rules and new team miniatures) with GW responding with a handful of “official” photos and announcements via Warhammer Community. Then yesterday (as if writing) the entire rulebook for the new edition was leaked.
Naturally, I’ve been soaking all this information up like a sponge but as we’ve hit the end of the leaks I’ve had some time to reflect on the big shake-ups. This will be a reflection on how the game has changed for me personally; the bits I like (many!), the things I don’t (there are some) and more importantly how that’ll affect both my own Blood Bowl hobby as well as that content here on Circus of Paint.
EXPANDED TEAM ROSTERS
Overall, I’m happy with the rule updates in this upcoming addition. I won’t go in to precise detail as of what and why, but I get a general sense that things across the board have been clarified and tidied up. I only got into Blood Bowl in the early days of BB2016, so I’m perfectly fine with the large upheaval that the core rules have received. I get that some longer-term fans may not, but again that’s fine.
The changes I’m most happy about are for the team rosters. Again, not necessarily drilling-down in the minutiae here, but more looking at how for many teams that they have received either new positionals, or even some that were once exclusive to only a handful of other teams. To give a handful of examples;
- Halfling Hopefuls added to Human teams
- Chaos versions of the Troll and Ogre added to the Chaos Chosen team
- Snotlings and a Rat Ogre added to Underworld Denizens
Already you can see how Games Workshop have by expanding various team rosters, both added new options for building those teams, and an excuse to sell more miniatures to you. Examples, Rat Ogres can be taken on two teams instead of one, Treemen three instead of two, Halfing Hopefuls on three teams instead of two…. Some may argue that this approaches leads to some dilution of character and individuality between comparable teams, but the way I see it is that it’s easier to build a “bank” of various positionals and Big Guys to try out various related teams. Chaos Chsoen have a greater cross-pollination with Chaos Renegades, Underworld Denizens with Skaven etc.
Most importantly, Underworld Denizens can now take 0-6 Underworld Snotlings, who have access to Mutations on a Primary Improvement. This makes me so happy!
STAR PLAYERS LIST
Alas, for all the changes in which the vast majority I like – there is one particular section of the new edition that disappointed me. The Star Players. Now, I would like to say first that I like how the various teams are categorised by new league keywords and this is how you know which Star Players are recruitable by which teams.
However, in a move that does not surprise me but still disappoints none-the-less is just the sheer number of Star Players that were cut from this edition. To my count, we went from around 75 Star Players in BB2016 (post-Spike! Magazine #9) all the way down to 23 in BB2020 at launch.
That really sucks, but I get why it happened.
It’s no secret that Games Workshop over the last 5-10 years have very much stripped out unit options for their main game Warhammer 40,000 – due to how third-party miniature companies have increased in that timeframe, and obviously the big GDubbs doesn’t want them capitalising on their IP. Blood Bowl itself was mostly unsupported by Games Workshops during that time (albeit there was the Fanatic / Specialist Game releases in the early 2000s), so it left to the community to continue updating the game via the Living Rulebook Book. Naturally, since Games Workshop were no longer making Blood Bowl miniatures, let alone selling their old ones, this is where the third-party companies came in to support the game. Blood Bowl and Necromunda for that matter are probably the only games that are currently supported in which a large number of character options didn’t have a model in-range – that was until now anyway. As I said, I get it but it does take a lot of the fun of out of hobby side of Blood Bowl for me personally, which was thinking about and creating suitable conversions to proxy for various Star Players.
Having said that, I think there’s a lot of interesting analysis to do but looking at the Star Players we have remaining, so I’ll cover that in a later post.
THE FUTURE OF STAR PLAYER BREAKDOWN
Naturally, with a thorough gutting of the Star Player rosters across the board, that leaves far less material to work with as I did for BB2016. When we now only have (as of writing) 23 Star Players and only 4 of them without an official miniature, that really takes the wind out my sails when it comes to the hobby and conversion side of my Star Player Breakdown posts.
It’s a real shame to have to admit that I don’t have any real reason to continue with these for the foreseeable future. I actually had a two-parter nearly done for Underworld Denizens, (written before the BB2020 leaks) but that’s become somewhat redundant now.
SO, WHAT NEXT?
What I think I’ll do instead is turn that focus onto a series of articles showing my hobby progress for some of the various teams I own. To count, I current own (in various states of non-completeness): Chaos Renegades, Chaos Chosen, Dark Elves, Halflings and Underworld Denizens.
I would love to have a couple of teams painted and ready for when the next boxed set drops, probably looking around late November or early December if rumours are true.
One of the good things about how more teams have been given positionals that they didn’t previous have in BB2016 (or ever before!) is now it’s easier for me to create small-themed league collections that could fill out several team’s worth – so for example a Chaos League collection with models that could cover both Renegades, Chosen and even Nurgle in some cases. I’m definitely going to do that with all the Underworld and Skaven models that I have, as well as potentially using the Halfings I have as well as a starting point for a Human / Old World Alliance collection.
Having said all of that, my current short-term plans for Blood Bowl are:
- Paint a Dark Elf team – currently batch-painted half of them and realising just how much detail are on these. Once I’ve done the 12-elf plastic box, a pair of Assassins and maybe a Star Player or two then these are done. This will be my main Tier 1 team. Nice and simply and a bit stabby on the side, lovely!
- Continue converting my Underworlds team. This is my conversion-heavy team, with lots of sculpting. I’m so happy that Underworlds get their own little gaggle of Snotling players, as they will be a treat to convert with various Mutations and warpstone growths. This will be my first Tier 2 team, and probably the one I will invest the most time into (both on the hobby desk and hopefully on the pitch!)
- Speaking of which, buy the Snotling team on release. I need them! Ticks off that Tier 3 checkbox, and also gives me suitable opposition for the Halfings I also own and have totally not finished yet.
Overall – mostly positive changes for the new edition of the game, but the Star Players really have taken a gutting in terms of the hobby potential they bring (for me anyway). Naturally a new edition has changed / accelerated my existing plans, but that’s just part of being heavily invested in a Games Workshop game.
On a side-note, I’m also going to take down my various posts discussing the leaks as I feel that they have done their part now. Whilst it was fantastic to have some of those literally get a thousand-times more views than my normal content, I feel better going back to what I do best and that’s some good ol’ hobby and ill-informed gaming advice!
If you took the time to read this, thank you for sticking around. In fact, let me know if you have any hobby plans in the lead-up to the new edition of Blood Bowl?
Daniel / Circus of Paint