For decades, players have been enjoying some fantasy-themed football (American style) with the Games Workshop classic: Bloodbowl. While I’ve played it a few times, it’s a bit too granular for my likening. I much prefer its quicker playing offshoot, Blitz Bowl.
And as they are oft to do, recently Games Workshop has put out a new edition of this football game. Today, we’ll be looking at the Ultimate Edition of Blitz Bowl. So strap on your helmets and let’s see if this edition is worth upgrading to.
If you want the full ins and outs of how to play Blitz Bowl, Brian has already covered that in his review of the original game. The ultimate edition basically follows suit, with some minor changes I’ll note later.
However, the short of it is that each player fields a team from the Warhammer universe: humans, trolls, skaven, undead, chaos, etc… This version comes with minis for the human team and the skaven team. And as with previous editions, there are team cards to use a variety of other races should you have the appropriate minis (or are ok proxying).
For the gameplay, the basics are you’ll field a team of 6 or so players and try and score touchdowns. Each turn, you’ll get three actions that range from running, to throwing, to blocking. Along the way, you’ll want to try and earn challenge cards for bonus points. It’s quick playing, streamlined, and a ton of fun.
Veteran Blitz Bowl players will probably be wondering what’s new in this edition and if it’s worth the upgrade. So I’ll first try and highlight some of the changes.
Touchdowns are now worth 4 points instead of 3, which I was a fan of. It makes scoring touchdowns a bit more important, as before, challenge cards would almost equal what scoring earned you.
One of the better changes was removing the “get on with it rule.” This was where if you had the ball and did not claim a challenge card on your turn, another ball entered the pitch. This rule was kind of wonky and caused the game to become really swingy.
The ultimate edition has also added two new actions: Throw teammate and foul. If you are one of the teams with a large figure (ogre, troll, or treeman) you can chuck one of your smaller teammates across the pitch. If they are holding the ball and the throw check is successful, then the player holds on to the ball. That’s a nice way to get some distance for your little runners.
Fouls are just like you’d think. You can make an attack against a prone player and, depending on the roll of the dice, you’ll either injure the player, or get caught and sent to your dugout. It’s handy new rule for trying to claim a challenge card at the right time.
Notably, this version no longer has rules for special balls or league rules. Although both are fully compatible with this edition, so no reason you can’t continue to use them. What’s new is that there are arenas now. These provide unique rules for the match. One of the nice things about this change is that if you have a copy of the rulebook for the ultimate edition, you can use the arena rules in any of your previous editions. It’s just an 8 line chart.
Finally, let’s talk about team cards. Teams now have 1 card instead of a handful of cards for each player. This nicely contracts the amount of space needed to contain all your information. Although I wish they would have included two cards for each team, as having to flip back and forth on your card to remember which unit is which is kind of a pain. The cards for teams included in this edition are Black Orks, Chaos, Dark Elf, Dwarf, Elf, Goblins (six goblins and a troll), Halflings (six halflings and a treeman), Humans, Khorne, Lizardmen, Necromantic, Nobles, Nurgle, Ogres, Orcs, Skaven, Snotlings, Undead, Wood Elves.
This is kind of a weird game to review. It’s basically Blitz Bowl with a few quality-of-life improvements. You get two new game boards, tweaked teams, and some Skaven minis. The rest of the rule changes you can easily incorporate into your existing games of Blitz Bowl. If you are a hardcore blitz bowl player, then you probably have already bought a ton of minis for the other teams, so I’m guessing you don’t need the Skaven or Human minis. I probably wouldn’t upgrade just for the new game boards and tweaked team cards. I’d just use the new rules with my existing game. That being said, if you find it on sale, it’s definitely worth grabbing. For new players, this is easily the edition to buy though. Blitz Bowl is a great game and worth checking out for any sports fan.
Final Score: 4.5 Stars – An already great game gets a some tweaks and quality of life improvements to make it even better.
• Excellent overall production values
• Streamlined gameplay
• New and improved Challenge Cards
• Huge variety of teams
• Removed league and unique ball rules for… reasons?
• Humans still one of the default teams