That’s right… After two false starts, the first two official neoprene for Blood Bowl are finally here. First we had an advertisement in an issue of White Dwarf stating that at the time of the release of the issue, the Reikland Reavers neoprene pitch would be already available for order, only to find no pitch available for order, and the advert removed from the digital edition of White Dwarf. Then, months later, we had the Gouged Eye pitch that actually went up for pre-order, only to have all open orders cancelled a week later.
In both cases, Games Workshop would officially cite quality control issues as the reason the pitches got pulled. Whatever the issues were, they have apparently been resolved because not only did both pitches go on pre-order again, both pitches were even delivered to my doorstep today! Oh… and I also received the Underworld Denizens Coins & Tokens pack…
For several years now, a number of independent companies have produced “Fantasy Football” neoprene pitches for reasonable prices. James and I even played an XBBL championship game on a pitch from one of these companies. They roll up for easy storage, and they even provide a slight cushion for your minis to help prevent paint chips. I have no idea of production cost differences, but they may even be cheaper for Games Workshop to produce, which would certainly appeal to them. I guess it was inevitable that Games Workshop would eventually release their own.
On that note, let’s take a look at some giant mouse pads!
We’ll start with the Gouged Eye pitch. The pitches themselves ship in very stout tubes with fairly nice end caps. I actually liked these tubes as they proved a good way to store the pitches when not is use.
Here is the Gouged Eye pitch laid out. The material isn’t quite as thick as a typical mouse pad, but it’s not quite as thin as a few gaming mats I have seen. The material that the pitch is printed on has an almost iridescent sheen to it, and it appears to certainly be high quality.
One nice extra touch to these pitches that I have not seen from independent companies’ pitches is the stitching along the edge of the pitch to help prevent fraying of the material. It’s a small thing, but it will help the pitch hold up over time.
As to the design of the pitch itself, I have to admit that other than a slight color change and the Eye logo in the center, the design of the Gouged Eye pitch is VERY similar to the original board pitch that came in the boxed set.
A nice closeup of the Eye logo in the center of the pitch.
One of the main complaints of the Orc side of the original cardboard pitch was that the square markers were quite difficult to make out from more than a few inches away in places. I feel like the markings on the new neoprene pitch are a little easier to make out, but not as much as I would prefer, honestly.
Time for the Reikland Reavers pitch! I’m not entirely sure why, but the Reavers pitch doesn’t have the nice artwork on the outside of the tube that the Gouged Eye pitch had. It doesn’t really make much difference beyond being easy to determine which pitch is in the tube at a glance if you decide to keep the tubes for storage. For now, it’s easy to know that the Gouged Eye pitch is the one with the artwork and the Reavers pitch is the one without the artwork. If they release more neoprene pitches in the future as rumors suggest, though…..
Like the Gouged Eye pitch, the Reavers pitch is very nicely made. It has the same almost iridescent sheen and quality printing.
Like the Gouged Eye pitch, the design is fairly similar, but where the Gouged Eye pitch almost feels like a simple color change, the Reavers pitch shows a lot more wear and even more blood than it’s cardboard counterpart.
A closeup of the Eagle logo on the Reavers pitch. The color saturation on the new pitches isn’t quite as dark as you might expect, but I think they still look nice.
Here is a shot of a 3rd edition Troll Slayer, a 4th edition Amazon Thrower, and a new 6th edition Skaven Thrower on the new Gouged Eye pitch.
What do I think about the pitches overall? Well… I like them, and I think they are really nice. Yes, there are a number of other options from other companies that are quite a bit cheaper, but these pitches from Games Workshop are also seem to be of a higher quality than third party pitches that I have seen. Are they worth the much higher price tag that those third party pitches? Well, that’s up to you. If I wasn’t collecting all things Blood Bowl these days, I might well have passed on these pitches as their £40 price tag is more than a little steep.
Finally, we have the Underworld Denizens Coins & Tokens pack…
Like the tokens in the current team boxed sets, the Underworld Denizens Coins & Tokens pack includes two coins and two tokens themed to the Underwold Denizens team. Now granted, the Underworld Denizens don’t actually have their own team of unique minis. There is, however, an option to order an Underworld team made from available minis from the Goblin and Skaven teams, plus the current Troll mini.
Let’s open up the package.
The cover sheet inside the package is like all the others that have been released so far.
What’s on the back side of the cover sheet? For once… not much of anything worth noting.
The pack only contains these four pieces. Two coins and two tokens.
Here is a view of both sides of the tokens after they have been removed from their casting blocks and cleaned up.
Another view of the tokens.
Both side of the Underworld coins.
The entire Underworld Denizens Coins & Tokens pack together.
The Underworld coins next to a few others. I also have the Dwarf and Goblin coins, but it’s been a really long day, and I’m feeling a little lazy.
The Underworld tokens next to others.
Overall, I like the new coins and tokens. I don’t have an Underworld team put together yet, but I should have enough spare minis to make one happen. At £8, they are a little pricey, and I would have liked to see a new football or two in the pack as well, but they are Forge World resin, so I didn’t really expect a bargain price.
To sum up, nothing from today’s unboxings are “must buys,” but for a collector like me, they are nice pieces to add to the Blood Bowl pile.
What do you think? Did you buy any of these releases? Do you plan to?