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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Memories of the Eighties: Blood Bowl

I’m not sure if it a sign of getting older, but I find myself reminiscing more about material things that I had as a younger person. Perhaps it is because life is moving so fast and ‘things’ seem to come and go in an instant, but my brain harks back to a time when there was aspiration and expectation in life, instead of the hum-drum that getting up and going to work can bring.

With this in mind, I have delved deep into my psyche to remember fondly those items that I used to enjoy as a child. Now, with the milder weather lightening my mood, I remember the long summer holidays and how six weeks could feel like a lifetime.

This brings me neatly onto a board game that I and my friends used to play during that long break, produced by Games Workshop in 1986, namely:




Here was something that I had been waiting for a very long time, a fantasy football game.

It was very simple, and has probably been complicated as further editions have been issued; basically it was American Football with teams of Orcs, Dwarfs, Humans, Elves, etc, all doing battle against each other until the tournament was over. As per usual with these types of game, it was all decided on the roll of a dice, and it would be very unfortunate if your star forward, the one you relied upon to get to the line and score a touchdown, would be roughly tackled and killed.

Being a somewhat naïve child of the Eighties, I would usually go for the human team; the thought in my little head then being that humans were clean and fair while all the others played dirty. My grown-up eyes have learnt that this is not the case. I was also usually the loser in the game, being outwitted by those pesky Elves or overpowered by the mighty Orcs. It is not a very nice feeling to keep losing a game that you had bought yourself.

This was role-playing games made easy. Yes, you had to character build to a certain point, but most of it was decided for you and you could get straight into the game itself. There was no world building or deciding on characteristics, this was all pre-done by the makers. It made for a fast moving and accessible role-playing experience, and one that, given my impatience, was useful to me as I did not have the energy to emerge myself into the full Dungeons and Dragons universe.

The game was developed by Jervis Johnson directly for Games Workshop.

Blood Bowl is still available today, albeit in a much richer format, and has even been adapted into a PC/Video/App game. But it is the old cardboard version that sits warmly within my heart. In Tunbridge Wells, up Grosvenor Road, there used to be a model shop, and it was within that model shop that there was a section for role-playing games. It was there, one weekday morning that I chanced upon Blood Bowl and was instantly enchanted.

Move aside Warhammer, Judge Dredd, D&D et al; Blood Bowl was the way to go, and for a couple of years, it gave me plenty of enjoyment.

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