Thursday, September 24, 2020

Rules And Regulations

I apologize (again): I have a half-written post on the subject of (Blood Bowl) players and rosters that I meant to get up two days ago, but I've been distracted by actual play. Quell surprise, right?

The boy and I have been play-testing and tinkering with the 2E rules for more "football like" play, what with kick-offs and snaps and downs, etc. He really likes them...they make the game more like actual gridiron football...but they aren't without problems. Most of which are related to time: it took us more than 90 minutes to play through a single kick-off and two downs yesterday!

[as a point of reference: when using the "official NAF rules" of 2E, there are 16 downs per half, 32 in a full game, not counting kick-offs. You can extrapolate the math from there...]

Here's the main problem: a "down" of play (using Rules As Written) does not constitute a single turn. Turns alternate between players until the ball is actually downed: the ball carrier is tackled, or runs out of bounds, or scores. And if the ball is fumbled (a possibility on any tackle), then it may be picked up, continuing the play until it is finally, mercifully downed.

At this point, we THINK we may have fixed the issue by simply making one exchange of turns a single down: wherever the ball ends up at the end of the defenses turn is the spot of the new line of scrimmage. It has a couple issues: one is doesn't take into account "big plays" (the receiver that catches the ball and streaks down the sideline for a 70+ yard TD), and it doesn't account for the occasional "extended" or "broken play" which occurs when the defense fails to get down the ball carrier in the backfield and a bunch of random chaos and mayhem ensues (c.f. Russell Wilson, especially in his early years).  

But I think there are fixes for both these issues, mainly boiling down to focusing on the play. Which brings me to the second, secondary problem: helping the rules of the game emulate the spirit of the (American football) game. Especially in 2E, there is so much less emphasis on scoring touchdowns compared to destroying (literally) the opponent: in fact, without attention to casualties and attrition the BB game (prior to the institution of turn limits) generally lasted a loooooong ass time, until the bodies started piling up on the sideline. The original game had no set "win" scenario: you and your opponent were supposed to simply agree on a number of scores that would settle the game. In my experience, the game always devolved into mindless carnage long before that.

The spirit of American football is to move the ball (if you are on the offense) and down the ball carrier (if you are the defense). The offense gets four tries to move the ball an arbitrary distance, and if they fail to do so, they have to give the ball over to the other side...although the defense is allowed to capitalize on an offensive mistake and "steal" the ball back. Tackling, knocking down, and injuring non-ball carriers (generally) results in penalties because that's not the point of the game; despite any similarities to skirmish warfare, in the end it's not about a big brawl. 

Of course, this doesn't mean I want to get away from the violence, the fouling, the casualties, etc. that make BB so much fun. Unlike the real NFL, I have no interest in "player safety;" quite the opposite, in fact! But the game still has to be played SOMEwhat like football. And that means cleaning up some of the messiness that exists due to lax regulations.

It's coming together, folks. As my rules and regs get ironed out, I'm compiling them in a document that should hopefully hopefully be made available in the very near future. 

And now for some fun: here's a video that shows a typical Blood Bowl play, featuring the real life Seattle Seahawks and my favorite quarterback of all time (though I wouldn't trade Wilson for him):

Orcs in the Kingdome

Happy Thursday, folks!


  1. I have never been a football fan. But I thought BloodBowl was such a neat idea. So while I have nothing really to add to this design, I am ready with joy.

    1. I know it's a little weird...but aren't all our blogs full of things that are "a little weird," revealing our strange obsessions?

      If there was someone blogging about Blood Bowl, I'd just hang out on their site, making comments. Probably.
      ; )

  2. That was supposed to be "reading with joy".
    But yes that is why we have blogs to post all our strange little obsessions.