BLOOD BOWL / SouthPeak Games / Sony PSP
 
 
I imagine a lot of gamers will come into this one assuming it's a hyperviolent arcadey football title akin to Mutant League Football or Pigskin 621 A.D. However, it's actually a turn-based strategy game! It's based on the Warhammer tabletop game, and is a tabletop spinoff in and of itself, meaning everything is done in turns and with dice rolls.

If you're not familiar with the tabletop game, this one is pretty confusing and overwhelming at first blush. The tutorial is quick, however, and while it doesn't teach everything, it quickly gets you oriented enough to play competently. Really, the game is almost like Blitzball from FFX, just without any of the free "real-time" movement. The focus of the game is on "turnovers", caused anytime a player fails a dice roll for whatever reason; when on defense you want to position your guys in relation to the opponent so that they get sucked into as many "dice rolls" as possible while trying to move the ball down the field, and on offense you're trying to clear a smooth path to the end zone.

I have very mixed feelings about Blood Bowl. It can be an enjoyable time-killer, and it is a nice twist on the old strategy formula. However, the game is just entirely too random. Selecting from different races almost seems pointless as they all have randomized odds of doing whatever they want to do anyway; pick a big Orc team and you'll still see them get trucked all over the field by puny hunams, pick an Elf team and watch the Dwarves gracefully toss the ball all over the field.

The constant "dice checks" get irritating and the game kind of drags along at a slow pace most of the time. It's really OK, but just way too random for my tastes. Campaign Mode might alleviate some of the randomness through gradual levelling and build-up of your characters, but the game was a little too tedious for me to bother putting that much time into it.
 
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