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I made a pact when I first signed up for Steam that I wouldn’t buy a new game until I had given the most recent purchase a thorough playing – either finishing it or playing it until my frustration reached a point where I was going to Hulk-Smash my Alienware. I don’t have a ton of time for playing games so this seemed like a good pact to make with myself.

almost wrapped up playing The Walking Dead and the 400 Days DLC expansion and had started poking around looking for my next game when The Humble Bundle Weekly Sale came up with 7 different games from Focus Home Interactive for Steam. For $20 (that I mostly gave to charity), I could try out 7 different games that I might not have given a chance otherwise.

And so I started playing Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition this week because, alphabetically speaking, it’s first in the pack o’ games.

Blood Bowl

Let me start this all off by very frankly stating that I had zero idea how to play this. I had never encountered the board game so I was flying blind as a total n00b. Since that’s what this blog is for, it seemed fitting. Allow me to fill in a couple blanks.

Blood Bowl originated as a 2-player turn-based board game that pits 2 teams against each other in a game that resembles football. The teams are comprised of everything from humans to orcs to giant rats and pretty much everything in between. There’s a lot of dice rolling and knowing your players’ stats and capabilities and there’s a lot of violence and blood on the field (hence the name…).

Like most folks who are new to a game, I fired up the tutorial mode. This was, apparently, one of the biggest mistakes I’d made since trying to reason with Isabella of Spain in Civ IV. The tutorial is completely worthless. It moves too fast and it totally skips over extremely important things like what the symbols on the attack/defend dice mean (not knowing that means you’ll wind up having your players inadvertently kill themselves). The only thing I got out of it was how to select a player and have them complete an action. Which is important…even more so when I lay down this next tidbit.

After going through the tutorial, starting my first classic exhibition game, and immediately getting destroyed in a really gory blood bath, I realized I needed the instruction manual.

Blood Bowl Game Start

So here’s a really fun tidbit of information. The instruction manual is the board game instruction manual.
AND it’s almost 60 pages long.
60 pages long and the PDF is missing pages 33-54.
It tells you all these actions you can “declare” but since it’s for a board game, it doesn’t tell you how to get the video game version to allow you to declare those actions. I have accidentally done things and wished I knew how I did them (like getting 2 of my players to work in tandem to block/attack).

Here’s the basics on movement that really aren’t covered in either the tutorial or the instruction manual:

    • When it’s your turn, players able to move will have a green circle around them. A red circle indicates they’ve already moved/cannot move (due to injury most likely).
    • You can move all or none of those players per turn but you have to do it in 4 minutes. If you don’t complete it in 4 minutes, the game forces a turnover.
    • Select the player you want to move by right clicking on the player’s occupied square.  To complete the action/move the player, right click again in the destination space.
    • You will see the player’s path when you do this. If you see any red circles show up in the path, those indicate where the player will have to dodge opponents. You will hear an automated dice roll when the player attempts to go through those spaces. Your dodge might fail. That really sucks.

Since all of the dice rolling is automated in the video game version, most of the information in the manual is very confusing but at least I learned what the symbols on those attack/defend dice meant and was able to find out what some of my player stats meant. Just figuring that out made my second game go a lot better. I didn’t win but I survived the full duration of the game with most of my players still alive.

After playing every night for 4 nights now, I have yet to score a touchdown, still feel completely clueless on half the rules, and can’t even imagine getting myself out of easy mode for the foreseeable future. I’m LOSING in EASY mode. It’s EMBARRASSING.

I am, however, holding onto the ball longer, moving the ball down the field, and positioning my players better. That’s really the important stuff, even if I can’t quite get the ball into the endzone yet.

I think I’m going to stick with this one until I win a game. Frustrating though it has been, I’m having fun, learning the strategy, and getting a kick out of the commentators (who are way better than what you have to listen to when you play Madden).

Coming up next in the list is Cities XL Platinum. Here’s hoping for a better tutorial! 🙂

Have you ever played a game that infuriated you with its lack of instructions? How did you overcome that rather large game deficit? (And E.T. for the Atari 2600 is off the table on this one).