LEIPZIG, Germany--While wandering through one of the Games Convention's five main halls today, we spotted a Blood Bowl logo on the side of an otherwise nondescript booth. The booth in question belonged to French independent publisher Focus Home Interactive, who was only too happy to give us a quick demo when we expressed an interest in the game.
For those of you who have never heard of Blood Bowl, it was originally a Games Workshop board game featuring the Warhammer universe's brutal take on American football. The sport has plenty of rules that are the same as those in football, but teams rarely adhere to them, and player fatalities aren't uncommon.
The version of Blood Bowl being shown inside the Focus Home Interactive booth was very early. So early, in fact, that it wasn't playable, and featured only two of the game's eight races: beastmen of chaos, and goblins. The remaining six races will be elves, skaven, humans, orcs, lizardmen, and dwarves. The player models that we saw competing against one another were nicely detailed and definitely in keeping with the Warhammer look, although all players of the same species looked identical, which we're assured will not be the case in the finished game. Star players like ogres and trolls will also figure in the finished game, but we didn't get to see any of the big guys on this occasion.
At first glance, Blood Bowl has the appearance of a real-time sports game, and it's possible to play that way if you wish. Turn-based is how Blood Bowl should be played, though, and when it's your turn you'll notice that a grid appears on relevant areas of the field to mark the squares that your players move between like chess pieces covered in spikes. The gameplay will purportedly be identical to that in the original board game, and--at least in the version that we were watching--there was text appearing on the screen that let us know the outcome of dice rolls as well as any special occurrences, such as pitch invasions and referees being bribed.
In addition to a lengthy campaign mode with team management options for solo players, Blood Bowl will support online play. No release date for Blood Bowl has been confirmed at this time, but we look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.