The coin is spinning. You are experiencing butterflies in your stomach. The wait is unnerving. You stare at the message on the screen: "Looking for Opponent." Who'll it be? More importantly, *what* will they be? How experienced will they be? The server is supposed to match you with an opponent of the same caliber, but if this is not your first game, you know it doesn't always work out that way. Suddenly, the message changes: "Connecting..." Here we go!
Blood Bowl, in this reviewer's opinion, has since its conception in 1987, evolved to simply the best board game this reviewer has ever played. It's categorically unwise to call it the best boardgame in the world unless one has played all of them, but there is *evidence* to suggest that the statement *might* be true.
All boardgames start from a more or less pre-determined or at least from a limited number of scenarios, right? Not so with Blood Bowl. With 20 different teams to choose from and a practically infinite number of builds for them, two games are unlikely to start the same, whether you're playing against A.I. or a human. And even if the teams in two games are exactly the same, the playing conditions (the weather) and random events that occur even before the first turn are likely to instantly give each game a different start. And that's just with *newly* created teams.
All boardgames end when one player wins, right? Not so with Blood Bowl. The keyword around which the Fifth Edition was developed was "Perpetual", meaning that you could play the game FOREVER. It would just consist of any number of matches. Very RPG. You start a team. You hire your starting players. The longer you keep playing with the same team, the more they evolve, possibly even becoming Legends, but the less likely they are to survive - hey, this is *Blood* Bowl, after all! If you like RPGs, you'll like BB. If you like chess, you'll probably *love* BB. It is maybe even more important to be able to think what your opponent can do in their turn than what you do on your own turn. This game is, most often, won by the one who has the better defense against touchdowns. Unless Nuffle isn't on your side. He's the god of the game. There lies the most challenging aspect of the game: you have to throw the dice and Nuffle may not favor you. Guaranteed victories have slipped from various coaches' grasp just because they took the risk and threw the dice instead of just doing a straightforward touchdown because they wanted to earn more experience on some player on their team. Also, in Single Player mode, the game has three different modes: Competition, Campaign (which lasts as long as you want - I've played over 200 matches) and Story. The possibilities are *endless*.
Nothing happens between two boardgame sessions, right? Not so with Blood Bowl. What you do after one match has ended and before the next one has started may make all the difference in the latter match. Your player(s) just earned a new skill - what will you choose? You do not often know who you will be playing against next, unless your team is in a league where the sequence of opponents is predetermined. Will the skill benefit you or be useless in the next match? In any case, your player will be stuck with the skill as long as he stays on the team. What if your player's next skill is a rare Statistic Increase? That might change the player's role in the team completely! You will learn the basics of the game in under half an hour, but will spend the rest of your life trying to master it. And you will love every moment of it, even the defeats, because you will know what went wrong and you will learn from your mistakes. Next time, you *will* win.
But the coin spins and the dice cannot be trusted...