Know what I hate? Elves. Maybe it's the fact that they remind me of the smug trustafarian hippies who plague Brighton's pubs and open spaces. Perhaps I'm jealous of their svelte, eternal youth and haughty attitude. Maybe it's because I'm basically a dwarf. Maybe it's because they just absolutely trounced me on the field, embarrassing my team of lumbering Orcs with their sublime grasp of the long-field passing game and elegant, darting runs and dodges.
I was doing pretty well up until then. A few games to get my head around the rules (Blood Bowl was one of the few branches of the Warhammer tree which I never scampered along in my youth) and I was playing relatively competently. The game's initially bewildering nature, compounded by a less-than-helpful tutorial, had been clarified – boiled down to a basic understanding of the blocking, tackling and risk-calculation which form the backbone of Blood Bowl's gameplay. It had gone from infuriating to fun in about half an hour. Unfortunately, my hands-down defeat by the prancing wood ninnies sent my petulantometer swinging wildly back the other way.
Blood Bowl is American Football at its core, with the more complex rules and frequent stoppages stripped out and replaced with brute violence and Games Workshop's stock fantasy races. Each race represents an accepted tactical approach to the real-life game - with Elves embodying a fluid, passing play-style, the Skaven personifying speed, Orcs the power game and so on. Focusing on these advantages and the weaknesses of your opposition is fundamental to success.
THQ has announced a release date for Blood Bowl, the videogame based on Games Workshop's fantasy football series.
The game was due to be published by Focus Home Interactive, but it looks like that's no longer the plan. According to THQ's website Blood Bowl is coming to PC, PSP and DS on 18th September in the UK. An Xbox 360 version will "follow at a later date".
Blood Bowl will let you build teams from armies of Orcs, Wood Elves, Humans, Dwarves and Hybrid Cat-Dolphins. Maybe not the last one. As you may have guessed there's a fair bit of gore involved, but it's also all about tactics and strategy.
Focus Home Interactive has said Blood Bowl will not appear in English-speaking regions until much later this year.
Blood Bowl developer Cyanide reckons there is a "niche market" ready to gobble-up conversions of tabletop games. And not just Games Workshop licences, but ones such as Necromunda, Space Hulk, Man O'War and "plenty of others".
Games Workshop's headquarters in Nottingham is a pleasantly schizophrenic building, thrones and wall-mounted torches competing for space with tile carpets and coffee machines. Stone-cladding on the inside adds that delicate hint of theme pub, while presumably serving as another layer of protection for when the notoriously gun-crazed locals open up on the dice rollers with their automatic weaponry. The building also doubles as the venue for the annual Blood Bowl championship, and this year, Games Workshop has used the competition as an opportunity to reveal the PC version of that venerable tabletop sports game.
French developer Cyanide has said it will be making additional Xbox 360, PSP and DS versions of Blood Bowl for release next year.