Welcome back to another riveting installment of December 2017 Blood Bowl releases! Last time we took a look at all three pitches that have been released this month. Today we focus on the new Human, Orc, and Elven Union Team Card Packs. These new Team Card Packs are a little bit of a departure from previous Blood Bowl card decks that we have seen. Previous decks have contained only additional Special Play cards, but the new Team Card Packs include quite a bit more.
When the Team Card Packs first went on sale, I had two immediate thoughts. My first thought was to be a little concerned by the idea of team specific Special Play cards that might give one team an advantage over others. As it turns out, that concern was unnecessary as there are actually only a few Special Play cards in the deck, and those cards are not team specific. The Special Play cards are simply standard Random Events and Miscellaneous Mayhem cards.
The second thing I noticed was that the Team Card Packs were a bit more expensive than previous decks. I was really curious why the new card decks had a $10 (US) price hike. Once I got the decks in hand, I understood the higher price of $25 per pack.
As you can see, the Team Card Packs are much larger than previous decks. The Team Titans Pack included 26 cards, while the Team Card Packs contain 44 cards each. Let’s take a closer look at the different decks.
First up is the Elven Union Team Card Pack.
The Elven Union Team Card Pack, as well as the other two decks, contain six different cards in each deck. First are the team player cards, similar to the Orc and Human team cards in the Blood Bowl boxed set, which highlight the Linemen, Throwers, Blitzers, and Catchers. Next are blank team player cards so that you can create your own player cards and keep track of player progression. Interestingly (strangely?), the “blank” cards come with the player position already filled out. In the Elven Union deck there are also ten Special Play cards split evenly between Random Events and Miscellaneous Mayhem cards. After that are four Star Player cards featuring Eldril Sidewinder, Lucien Swift, Valen Swift and Jordell Freshbreeze. Finally, we have a Match Record card that doubles as a team information card, as well as a card explaining how to use all the cards in the deck, that also doubles as a Ref “red card.”
The Orc Team Card Pack pretty similar to the Elven Union deck, but there are a few simple differences to account for the differences in roster options for the team.
Again, there are six different card types in the deck, but where the Elven Union team, and therefore it’s team player cards only have four different positions, the Orc team has six different positions. This is actually increased from the boxed set where the cards only included Linemen, Throwers, Blitzers, and Block Orcs. In the new Team Card Pack, we finally get cards for the Goblins and Troll that are on the Orc team roster. Due to the increased number positions on the Orc roster, and as a result, the increased number of both pre-printed and blank player cards (you get a few extra for each position) in the deck, there are only half the number of Special Play cards in the Orc Team Card Pack. The Star Player cards in the pack include Scrappa Sorehead, Ripper Bolgrot, and The Black Gobbo. Like the Elven Union pack, the Orc pack also includes the Match Record and Ref cards.
Last up is the Human Team Card Pack…
The Human Team Card Pack rides a middle ground between the Elven Union and Orc Team Card Packs. The Human team has five rostered positions compared to the Elven Union’s four positions and the Orc’s six positions, and that is reflected in the number of player cards in the pack. There are eight Special Play cards, again equally divided between Random Events and Miscellaneous Mayhem. The Star Player cards included in the deck are for Morg ‘N’ Thorg, Helmut Wulf, and Karla Von Kill.
Obviously, as far as Special Play cards go, the new content in the Team Card Packs is a little on the light side. I think the main thing that I took away from the new packs is that Games Workshop is really pushing cards for their games these days. Every current Games Workshop game box I look at on the shelves of my local game store seem to contain a lot of cards. There are also a number of expansion decks sitting on the shelf next to those game boxes.
For Blood Bowl, I like the idea of quick reference player cards to help new coaches that are still learning the game, but I don’t think I will ever replace my trusty Excel spreadsheet rosters with these blank team player cards. The player cards themselves for the Human and Orc packs use the same pictures as the ones that come in the boxed set, but they also include roster building information not included on the original cards. For me, I think the Star Player cards might get a bit more use for inducement purposes. The Ref “red card” might be fun to shove in my opponents face if one of his players gets ejected for Fouling… cause, you know, that’s how I roll.
I also find the fact that the blank players cards already have positional data filled in a little strange. Any starting skills for that position are already filled out, but it seems to me like it might be more useful to have the blank cards be truly blank. That way, if your Blitzers manage to never die or retire, but your Catchers drop like flies, you don’t run out of Catcher cards while having a few Blitzer cards left over. Or, If you’re like me and only run one or two Orc Linemen on your roster, you will have a pile of Linemen cards left over…
I like the new decks, but their value to you may be based more on whether you intend to use the blank player cards to keep track of your team or not. There are only a few Special Play cards, so the increased cost might not be worth it if those cards are all you’re looking for.
Let me know you think of the new Team Card Packs in the comments!