Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Bloodbowl for the Nintendo DS - a gamers view

I don't play video games much nowadays. Although they're quite fun, whenever I switch off I feel like I've just lost time that I could have spent doing something else more rewarding. Also most the games that attract my attention would require hours of play time which I just don't have. I did buy a Nintendo DS lite last year though with the intention of linking up with my son's system the odd time. It's not really worked out that way though as I find that I prefer the interaction of playing a boardgame together rather than Mario Kart on seperate systems. The DS does however act as a Real-Life distraction for 15-20 minutes at various times, so it does have its uses. But before this turns into an essay on my feelings/experiences of video games I'd best move on.
I managed to pick up a copy of Blood Bowl for the Nintendo DS for around £8 last week. You may have read in an earlier post that there is a plan afoot to dust off the Blood Bowl teams for play, along with the admission that I've actually hardly played the game. As a result this post comes from the eyes of an inexperienced gamer who has just picked up the game (if you want a more indepth review from an experienced Blood Bowl player this one may be of interest.).

Blood Bowl on the DS is a direct copy of the boardgame. No real-time play options here - it's boardgame all the way even down to the dice rolls. The standard d6 rolls are automatically done for you (with the sound of dice being shaken and rolled to let you know) but when the blocking dice are rolled and the player is presented with a choice of rolled options (if there are more than one die rolled). The game also runs in strict turn based, square by square, one "miniature" at a time movement/action sequence. The rules are appear to be the same as the standard miniture games rules and are covered in a brief tutorial section. I found them a bit brief to fully follow and new players may want to go to the GamesWorkshop website and download the new rulebook for in-game reference. {HINT - You may also want to download any tactics article as well}

There are 8 different races: Humans, Orcs, Skaven, Dwarfs, Wood Elves, Goblins, Lizardmen and Chaos to play as and against. The default starter teams seem to have the boardgame opening roster skills and restrictions. If you start a new team in a championship be warned: the other teams in your league have already been playing so have some advancements. Each match will generally take over an hour to play. Annoyingly you can't save mid match in "quick game" mode but you can after each of your turns in Championship mode, so after you've run the kick-off for a few trial matches this will probably be the one you'll play. Just as in the "proper" game you start off with nothing but cash and have the choices of what types of player to buy and extras (rerolls, etc) to purchase. The turns are timed to 4 minutes each, which flies by as you waste trying to see the entire pitch. The DS AI is a bit slow and pauses at times as well, but I suppose you could just call this an accurate simulation of playing a human opponent. I've read comments that the AI is tactically weak, but as an inexperienced player myself with only a couple of games under my belt I still find it challenging enough and the Rookie (easy) level.

As a basic overall conclusion I'm pleased with my purchase. The literal boardgame conversion is key here. I'm looking to play the boardgame and this DS version will let me play and practice for the real thing. Will it become too easy? Perhaps, if other reviews/comments are to be taken. But as I'll only be playing 20 minutes at a time usually I don't see myself getting too good anytime soon which is a bonus in this case. But it will give me a Blood Bowl fix when I fancy though. Not worth the full RRP £20-£30 price tag, but well worth the £8 one.

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