How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nuffle
I was never into Blood Bowl before the month of September. In fact, I was never particularly fond of Warhammer or fantasy in general. I'm not even a fan of things like Lord of the Rings honestly; I've always been more of a Star Trek and Sci-Fi kind of guy
That said, coming from a background in UFO defence, I have come to love games with a tactical edge and a tough but fair RNG that keeps things interesting. Whether you're a huge tabletop player of things like Mordheim and Warhammer, or you're just someone who has dipped their toes into the tactics realm with games like Frozen Synapse and XCOM; Blood Bowl has something for you.
It's got a wonderful community full of people who put together emblems for one another or create their own achievements and leagues. It's full of people who talk strategy, offer mentorship, post blogs, write strategy guides and playbooks and donate money to support the community and the game they love. This is part of what made FUMBBL so appealing to me coming from a brief stint on Cyanide's Blood Bowl.
That said, there's some things that aren't so wonderful. The learning curve, the deaths, the awful mistakes you're going to make, the misclicks, failed re-rolls, the bad luck that happens so frequently that a God , Nuffle, has been made up to justify the insanely awful things that can happen to a person. It can be a tough pill to swallow but take it from me, a newbie, that you can get through it, enjoy the game and suffer with a smile on your face like everyone else here on FUMBBL.
So how do you cope with the pain? Here's some tips I've learned to trust after my 45+ games here:
1) Follow the Order of Operations
Blood Bowl has its own version of PEMDAS. You need move your open guys first, you roll 2D blocks second, you cover the ball before picking it up and you minimise the chance of suffering a turnover, or worse, losing the ball.
Now, this can be ignored if you've got a plan, and even ludicrous plans can be fun, but just be ready for them to fail. It's going to happen. Play it safe to save yourself frustration or have fun making those other plays.
2) Never end up in the Crowd with the Ball
Sure, all rules in Blood Bowl are made to be broken at opportune moments, but I swear, every time I think putting my ball carrier on the edge of the field will give me a tactical advantage and there's no way he'll end up dead or in an awful position... He does! Don't let it happen to you. Whereas the order of operations can be broken this rule is as close to concrete as it gets in my book.
3) Block to get out of Blocks; don't Dodge unless you Must
I play Skaven for the most part and they tend to be dodgy little guys. When my guys are all marked up and it's my turn I used to think I could easily dodge out with my 2 + or 3 + rolls and Dodge on most of my guys. Unfortunately, that's just not true. Nuffle won't let that happen and as you continue to dodge out with more players to offer assists and make a play, you'll continue to see them drop quickly. Dodge might give you a free re-roll but once you're rolling 5-6 dice it's easy for a couple of them come up wrong. Instead, try to push the others back! Remember that when blocking with a 1D roll it's a 1 / 3 chance of you going down and if you have Block it becomes 1 / 6. This means pushing them back to free up your guys is not only just as safe in many cases but it also means you could potentially down an enemy player and if you have a 2D block, have a great chance at knocking them over or just away, allowing your other player to move freely. Strategic blocking is the best way to escape. Only dodge when necessary or strategically viable to your plans.
4) Make a Plan, Even if it isn't that Smart
Playing this game and just countering the opponent might feel like the natural thing to do, especially when going against a higher level player, but it certainly isn't as fun and often will cause you to lose. Having a plan makes each player feel meaningful. Thinking about where you want to run the ball through, how you're going to punch it open and which of your guys is going to be carrying it helps make it not only more exciting but keeps your head in the game. It gives you a place to move your pieces rather than just dragging them up the field and, when your plan is executed and works, you'll feel like a tactical genius! A real coach!
5) Try to Play at or Above your Skill Level
Sure, beating a Super Star coach as a Rookie is going to be very difficult, but just remember that they might have more experience with the game. Since this isn't a twitch shooter or something with muscle memory, you can potentially beat anyone you're faced up against. Find a team near your TV and jump in, make a plan and try to win. This rule is something I'm trying to stick to myself as I am a fan of having a positive win / loss ratio but something I've had to realise, and you should to, is most people with a positive ratio have played this game for hundreds of hours. They've done hundreds or thousands of games on here and if they're new and have something like 22 / 0 / 0 then they've probably done tabletop. Play to have fun and get better, don't play to keep your stats up as much as you might want to.
Try to keep these tips in mind and I think you'll have a much more enjoyable experience here. You'll probably still get frustrated and that's fine, there's always ways to cope with it. I suggest only playing the game when you're not in a bad mood for starters. If I've had a long day I'd play something a little more casual or less time consuming. Putter around on an old game you like or watch TV and have a drink.
If you've got an itch for Blood Bowl but aren't ready to have a couple of your favourite characters potentially punched in then watch replays, watch live matches and participate! You can cheer, boo and scream at the players and it makes the experience that much more fun. Heck, contribute to GLN or make a newbie guide like I am with this one. Talking about BB on the forums, reading the amazing strategy guides in the help section and watching live games is not only fun but makes you a better player. You can also customise your team emblem, bio and player images. Make this team yours! Make it fun as you watch your favorite band members and movie stars level up or get destroyed.
Blood Bowl is a hell of a game and whether you're into Warhammer or just looking for a new tactics game, it's got something for everyone. You're going to be learning this one for a long time, many people with thousands of games still are, and that's what makes it great. It's a hobby as much as a video game and that's something I'm just now starting to realise as a newbie myself. I find that exciting and, hopefully, you do as well. See ya on the pitch!