With Covid numbers coming down and vaccinations in place, I put together a small two-player face-to-face Blitz Bowl League this Spring. The inaugural season wrapped this past weekend. Months of model prep and league rule considerations were put through the paces.
With slight pandemic fears still in the air, I opted for a two-player season as I had an opponent, Dr. Jones, who’s family had also taken precautions and on their way through completing vaccinations. Two-player games are also easy to schedule but more importantly, if the league rules appeared to be busted, it’s easy to pivot with only two players involved.
Blitz Bowl Season 2 comes with some light league rules that differ from Blood Bowl in that the coaches earn skills, called Coach Traits, and not the players. Additionally, there aren’t any injuries or star player points to track. The rules as written, have coaches earning a new randomly rolled Trait after each match. With only 16 Traits, and our regular season being 9 games long I made a change there.
First, the League format. Both Dr. Jones and I drafted three teams. We ended up on a good/evil split with Human, Dwarves, and Wood Elves coached by Dr. Jones and Nurgle, Undead, and Dark Elves drafted by myself. The Regular Season consisted of three weeks. Each week one of us would select one of our three teams that hasn’t played yet and we would play a best of three series. So, the Regular Season was three game sessions. The winning coach of each session received two Coach Traits, the losing coach…one. In modern game design fashion, we had a slight catch-up mechanic. If one coach ended the Regular Season with 3 or more Traits (won all their games) then their other, the underdog coach would get a bonus random Trait. This enabled the better coach to still go into the post-season with advantage, but not a 6 skills to 3 advantage.
The Post Season was two game sessions. Session one was two Special Match games. I’ve created a few interesting match types to spice up the game. These are themed matches that introduce an element to the game both coaches have to content with. This inspiration comes from pro-wrestling matches such as the cage match, the battle royale, or ‘Ladders, Tables, and Chairs’. The winner of the first match would get to select which Special Ball would be used for the final game, selected from the Special Ball cards that came in Blitz Bowl Season 2. The winner of the second match would receive the ‘Blessing of Borat’…a Lord Board FW token that gave the coach a re-roll for each match the final. That Final is a series of three matches where the coach runs their team that didn’t play an either of the two Post Season Special Matches. So…how’d this League shake out?
Week 1 – Humans v Nurgle
Location – House of Dice Inclusion (die result stands, no matter where they land)
The two teams split the series coming down to a failed 4+ pass roll by the chosen of Nurgle at the end of the third match. Coach Jones picked up Loud Celebrator (+1 pt for TDS) as well as Glory Hound (3pt instead of 2 for a challenge card sweep). With nurglings slithering in the dark corners of the human locker room, Coach White (me) picked up on Coach Jones’ strategy to hype the crowd for points, so I did the same. Loud Celebrator for team evil.
Week 2 – Dwarf v Undead
Location – House of Dice Purity (No trash die results allowed…no dice on the floor or leaning)
Peddling his Orca-Cola and Haterade endorsements my ghoul declared he would always run his full movement towards the dwarf end-zone. This pregame boost did great for attendance, but not so great for his team’s play-making. Dr Jones’ squat fellows won the series and Coach picked up both Blinding Smile (potentially prevent an opponent’s free action) and Sponsored Kit (re-roll one armour check) Traits. Attempting to ride the ghoul’s energy I ended up with Last Blast (a bonus endgame challenge card for me on the last turn).
Week 3 – Wood Elf v Dark Elf
Location – House of Dice Inclusion
This time, it was Coach Jones’ squad that brought the speed. The Wood Elves were too nimble and too quick for their more heavily armoured cousins. With Coach Dr Jones winning a third session he picked up Traits 5 and 6… Bribe the Ref (start matches with 1 pt) and Outrageous Cheat (potentially steal an opponents challenge card). Team Evil wound up hiring a sorcerer as part of their coach staff so I earned Magical “Training” (two players swap abilities for a turn)
After the three week Regular Season, Team Good’s coach was up 6 Traits to Team Evil’s 3. Fan interest started to wane in this route of a season, so I was tossed a 4th Trait to help the team’s odds and keep the league interesting…Incentiviser (potential free action).
Post Season Game 1 – Dwarf v Dark Elves
Location – House of Dice Inclusion
For the first match of the Post Season, a Rot Spawn was drug out from the stadium’s cellar depths, and chained to the center trapdoor. This posed a problem as neither team could cleanly move in and claim the ball. In the end, it was the Dark Elves’ speed that kicked out the ball and put more points on the scoreboard. Giving Coach White the ball selection in the Final.
Post Season Game 2 – Wood Elf v Undead
Location – House of Dice Inclusion
Post Season ratings were a success, so for the second match a Snotling PumpWagon was rolled out onto the pitch and unleashed onto the teams. Unfortunately, for fans the snotlings consumed too much Bloodweisers pre-match and couldn’t keep the wagon off the side wall. They had little impact in the game. Fortunately, for the undead the Mummy held a defensive clinic and dominated the center of the pitch all match long. The Undead won giving Coach White of Team Evil the Blessings of Borak in the Final.
Knowing that the final would be between the last two teams to play in the Post Season, Humans and Nurgle, Team Evil selected the Skeletal Haemonculus ball. They hoped the heavy sadness contained withing this chained soul would help shut down the Human squad’s passing advantage.
Final – Human v Nurgle
Location – House of Dice Purity
As it was int he beginning…it was in the end…Humans squaring off against Nurgle. In one for the Blitz Bowl Book of Grudges it too four games to settle a best of three series. Game 1 was a Sudden Death Victory for Nurgle. Game 2 an 18 – 18 tie. Game 3 a Sudden Death Victory for the Humans. Game 4 sorted out the Champions from the pretenders. There was no blessing from Borak to favor the children of Papa Nurgle…the human thrower, juiced on Flying Electric Jellyfish sprinted the ball down the rotter’s…rotten…throats for another Sudden Death victory.
Coach Jones is your Blitz Bowl Coaching Champion.
All in all, I think the rules were a pretty decent success. We failed to incorporate the Extra Time or Drawing A Match rules from the Season 2 rulebook, but I’ll be sure to shuffle those into my league document going forward. I think the 2 or 1 Trait per game session was the right way to go for the frequency we get to game and I will probably keep that when we have more coaches. The two special matches we played worked well in that they were new obstacles both coaches had to deal with. The Post Game awards being some bonus in the final worked with only two coaches, I’m not sure that would work in a regular post season with multiple coaches though as a coach may earn a bonus, but…not be one of the final coaches? I’ll have to think on that.
In the end, the league garnered attention outside of the Border Princes… players from the Ogre Kingdoms have signed contracts for a new Special Match.