Originally I learned to play Blood Bowl using little miniatures, some dice, a board, etc. Our friend had a 3rd edition set, and that’s where it all started. Then came the Cyanide/Focus game and I found that to be fun, for awhile. I didn’t know too much about cages and various other common Blood Bowl tactics. But what I did find out pretty fast, was that the AI was dumb. I tested out the multiplayer waters, but wasn’t interested in the time commitments of leagues and rules and forums and etc.
I heard about Fumbbl along the way. But again, couldn’t be bothered by learning how to set it up and rules and forums, etc.
Still…friends that I used to play tabletop with, just weren’t available anymore. So how was one to get their Blood Bowl fix when that drive arose like the full moon to the werewolf.
I looked at various things, thought about making my own form of asynchronous Blood Bowl web game, etc. But I eventually ended up at Fumbbl. You see, my brother and our old friend were once again interested in playing some Blood Bowl. But living in different places, meant we needed an electronic solution. Not everyone had the money to buy their own Cyanide/Focus game (and the last time we tried to setup a friendly tourney match in the game, it proved an insurmountable headache).
Fumbbl was electronic. Fumbbl was free (they do accept donations). We could setup a private league and have our own friendly tournament. Well, sort of. You can do it, but it took awhile to figure out exactly how to do that, and I still haven’t found very good documentation on how to set things up. The forums appear to be pretty helpful at answering any questions that people throw out though.
The one issue that we haven’t totally resolved, is running a tournament where we have 3 coaches, with 3 teams each. The client wants to match up teams from the same coach as well. Our workaround was to use “Open Round Robin” tournaments and then ignore matches where the Coach would pit his own teams against each other. That pretty much works, and we’re able to end the tournament when we’ve decided it’s done. It does require us to setup our own matches and keep in mind who has played whom. But it’s a minor thing now that we have figured it out, and I doubt there is a more elegant solution. Though I might post that question to the forum someday.
We also had a difficult time trying to play the very first match against each other. We had no idea how to go about that, and instructions I found pointed us in the wrong direction. We figured out that from the Home tab on the website, you just need to click the “play” link to the right of your team. Then the client will launch, you can give the game a password and then tell the other coach what the password is so they can ‘click play on their team’ and join using the password you gave them. Not too bad, once you get the hang of it.
Having played a lot of the Cyanide/Focus game, I picked up the Client UI pretty quickly. My brother struggled with it more than I did, but caught on as well. It does expect you to know things about the game of Blood Bowl though. Whereas the Cyanide game has info on skills, etc. With Fumbbl, I’m sometimes having to do a quick Google to look up a skill and remember how it works. Even worse are the event cards, as I don’t think I would ever be able to keep track of them all. Another nice thing in the game, would be to show which of your players have successfully scored, caused casualties, etc. I keep notepad running during the game, and when someone scores, etc. I jot them down, so when it comes MVP selection time, I can pick the players who actually did something in the game. This is how I always awarded SPP in tabletop, but that’s probably not something everyone does. I want to rationally reward players for doing something cool.
Whew, that covered most all the negatives. Overall, I really like Fumbbl and actually prefer it over the Cyanide game. I’m pretty sure the die randomizer is much better in Fumbbl. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen ‘double skulls’, ‘reroll’, ‘double skulls’ again! in the Cyanide game. It’s possible that it’s much better now, but it was really annoying with the frequency that came up in the past. Fumbbl has a stats section for each game, so you can also double check those dice stats. That’s another nice feature of Fumbbl, each match is uploaded and you can replay the game. You can also replay other people’s games, and many people will watch a famous coach to learn from them. Stats, you can dig around to see who the best Goblin coach is, or who has the best blocker, etc. All great things. I grew up with old computer games (because I’m old!) and so the cutesy primitive graphics are also really appealing to me. I also love the sound effects, and love listening to the crunch sound of my opponent getting ko’d/killed.
We’re on our second friendly tournament now (more in a later post) and plans are to keep going and maybe open it to more people over time. My brother started venturing into the Ranked divisions, but it will probably be awhile before I check that out. If you’re remotely interested in Fumbbl, I would say check it out. I can try an answer questions about beginning pains, and also would be interested in hearing from Fumbbl veterans. It’s definitely a great way to get that Blood Bowl fix!