Friday, August 7, 2009

Beginners Blood Bowl Guide: Rerolls and Turnovers

This is part 1 of my new series, Beginner's Guide to Blood Bowl. As the name suggest this is just some basic thoughts for new players who might have become interested in the game because of the new PC Blood Bowl Game. While I do not have a copy of the PC game, it is said to be very true to the board game rules so what I say here applies there.

No single thing in Blood Bowl is more important than your team rerolls. I never start a team with less than 3 and like to get at least 4 available pretty quickly. Now as a recent mainly 40K player, this is very different. In 40K rerolls are all tied to very specific things most commonly shooting, wounding, and saves. They are important to that event and may save the day through their repeated use but they are not vital to the entire game because they are tied to specific events for that character or unit. Blood Bowl has these types of rerolls also granted to individuals for specific tasks through player skills which often grant that player a reroll at that specific task, but team rerolls are different.

Why are your team rerolls so vital in Blood Bowl? First, you can use them on most die rolls you do during your turn. How great would that be in 40K? How many games have been decided by failing 1 random save or morale test. Having a reroll to be used anywhere would be great there. Ofcourse there is a trade off and that trade off is the dreaded turnover. In Blood Bowl often when a die roll does not go your way, your turn is over through a turnover. This means not only did what you want to happen not happen, you do not get any chance to respond to the change in events. It also means that any players who have not already completed their actions in a turn will not get to do anything. Now in Blood Bowl, pretty much anything you want a player to do that is not moving about 5 or 6 squares(varies with race and position) nowhere near anyone will have you roll the dice and risk the turnover.

Recently while listening to a tactica someone said a good 40K general does not like to leave things up to the dice. In Blood Bowl, you really have no choice. Even the most unlikely result can occur, 3 Skulls when your Star Mummy blocks a goblin resulting a down mummy who could in fact end up no longer a member of the undead if the dice really go against you. So the team rerolls really save your bacon. Therefore I almost exclusively save them for trying to avoid turnovers and then only turnovers that really matter. Maybe I am trying to dodge a linerat away from a chaos warrior so he does not get pounded the next turn. If it is near the end of my turn and I have already gotten the important stuff done then I let him fall. Sure he might hurt himself, but he is only a linerat.

This is where it is important to prioritize your actions. What must get done? What order does that need to happen? How risky is it? What else would be helpful? All these questions are important to answer before you move a player (but always remember your turn marker so the opponent does not take one of your rerolls). Managing the risk while maximizing the reward is really what Blood Bowl is about. You can play it safe the whole game and still win but adding a little more risk makes the game better. I think my recent opponents would say I play a very risky style. I probably end about half my turns in a turn over, but that is fine because they are coming after the important stuff has occurred(sometimes while trying the important stuff unfortunately).

Some people complain that Blood Bowl depends too much on the dice since a single bad roll can turn triumph into tragedy. Well, your rerolls prevent this so use them wisely. And if it still does not go your way, you have something interesting for the game report and to remember the match by.

How do you play your matches? Do you want 2+ and a reroll on a d6 or are you throwing long bombs with your AG3 players over opponents heads to your triple marked up reciever.


  1. I always like to take as many rerolls as i can afford, as i have legendarily bad luck! Take the game i played last night. First turn of the new season and my amazon maiden failed a simple 3+ dodge roll, failed the reroll, fell over and died!

    On a more serious note, i always avoid ending a turn on a turnover. I find that when you do, you almost always give the advantage to the opponent, even if its only in a subtle way! So therefore i always try to minimise doing risky things till the end. One dice blocks are always done as the very last thing of all, unless they are really necessary and generally only if i have a reroll counter handy...

    As for people complaining about BB being too much about dice rolls, imho thats what makes it GW's best game! Everything can change on the rooll of a dice. One moment you are two "GFI"'s from the endzone, the next you are on your arse and your opponent is throwing lucky long bombs all the way up the field. Thats the game!


  2. First off, rock on with a tutorial-type guide for Blood Bowl, I'm jealous. Secondly, you tackled two of the most important facets of the game right off, especially with turnovers.

    I take a couple of rerolls up front, but tend to load up on more players and specialty players on the front end. I'm cursing my lack of rerolls halfway through the first half though. Make them a priority up front when making a new team, especially in a league setting.

    A couple things worth mentioning is that you do get your rerolls 'reloaded' after the half, second, there's a lot of pseudo-reroll type skills you can give individual players that help out a lot in the long run, especially if you're all out of standard ones.

  3. All very good points. My luck fluctuates majorly (very bad or very good) so rerolls are usually vital.
    I think the biggest thing to remember is your turn counter. I forget that shit all the time and it really hurts. Gotten to the point where I'm looking at building custom turn counters for each team to try and remember.

    I'd also say your comment about the linerat falling is a good example. Rerolls need to be used conservatively, whereas (though OT) any special play cards, etc. I try to use at the first opportunity, as saving it may mean it could be wasted.

    Some nitpicking I noticed. 3rd paragraph.
    "It also means that any players who have done their actions in a turn will not get to do anything."
    Should say "who have not done"

  4. Paul- I totally agree. It is really what makes the game fun. Sure the better player/team wins most of the time but luck can make enough of a difference to always keep it interesting.

    Mik-The skill based rerolls are great once you get the skills and as longs as you use the players at what they are good at. Unfortanutely that player is always on the other side of the pitch when I need him.

    Tristan-I lost like 2 rerolls in my first league game that way and it was a narrow loss where those rerolls could have made it a tie. Thanks for the proof reading, error updated.

  5. Mik- I find that the turnovers was the most important change in rules between the 2nd edition and modern blood bowl. Since I still have more games of 2nd edition than the modern version under my belt, they are newer to me. Rerolls really make turnovers as a game mechanic possible since I think if you had to play the game without them it would just not be fun as you would be to conservative.

    For those not versed in Blood Bowl History. 2nd edition was released in the late 80's and replaced with third edition in the early 90's. Slight variations to the rules but major mechanics unchanged since 3rd edition. The major changes were the turnover system and new rules on how moving and blocking can be combined.