For those who enjoyed the smashing board game, this bloody realisation is a faithful recreation.

User Rating: 6.5 | Blood Bowl PC
For those who enjoyed the smashing board game, this bloody realisation is a faithful recreation. Those who don't understand, or haven't played, the classic game, this game in unlikely to feel like theatre, and more like extra time. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if you haven't already played the board game, then you'll find playing this akin to watching two nondescript German division 3 teams scrapping out a midtable draw.

The game is an ultraviolent take on American Football. With Orcs. It works on the basis of two halves of eight turnovers. Any failed action causes an immediate turnover. A 1 (on a D6) is an automatic fail, while a 6 is an automatic success. Immediate tactics involve trying to maximise the actions your side can do before you invariably fail.

Of course, this makes the entire game a gamble. If necessary, in the last turnover, you can throw a ball almost anywhere on the pitch (successfully, on the roll of a 6), catch the ball under pressure (successfully on the role of a 5, or 6), dodge away on the roll of a 4, and then run the two extra squares you find you need to reach the end zone. The chances of doing this are 0.083%.

There may be experts at this game who, like those gamblers who can card count, can minimise the risks. But, most likely, you're a deeply casual player who simply plays by gut and whim (like me!) Fortunately, the AI is forgiving, yet realistic enough, for a player like me to feel like I get a game.

Random events occur regularly to give variety to the match set-up. This variety reflects the fact that it is a game designed to take a team through several seasons of improvement. Shame, though, that even with a rather gig rig like mine (4gb, top 40 graphics card, quad core) it feels like an Amiga loading. Patience is the order of the game.

I suppose I should praise the animations. And I should have even perhaps at least tried the real-time animation mode (in the same way that I should have completed the head-tennis mini-game before reviewing PES 2011). But are these part of the spirit of the game? There was a thriving free version of blood bowl kicking around for several years before it was shut down.

In all, the game itself, I must say, is one big bloody dice-roll. One giant dice roll that crushes your free time, and the chance to play more rewarding, immersive games. If a game could be completed quicker than 30 mins, it might have been a regular part of my gaming calendar. As it is, though, without a human player, the randomness is a bit too close to nihilism for my liking.