The nice people at Games Workshop were good enough to send me a preview copy of BB2016, so here are a few snippets in advance of its arrival on 25th November. Lots of podcasts have done unboxing etc on YouTube, so I won’t focus on the “ooh, it’s shiny” side, but on a few practical points (plus, it’s in print rather than having to watch it, so read at your leisure).
Putting the figures together was a great experience – it only took about 45 minutes with a pair of clippers to put together 24 figures, and I only need a few drops of glue – for the orc blitzers’ arms and one lineorc’s face. I had planned to put them on to 25mm bases, but the tabs were longer, so I put them initially on to the ones that came with the box (32mm). I may still rebase them, but my plan for the moment is to paint the bases 2nd Ed colours, and use them for making video tutorials. More of that to follow!
I played an introductory game with Alex (the younger son) and talked about each action in terms of a teaching game. The autofocus was screwed, so it’s not a keeper, but I was pleased with the commentary. Comments welcome (apart from about the autofocus).
The pitch is big. The same size as the one that I made to be the same size, so no surprises there. It does play nicely, though. I would have liked a clearer “safe square” marking in the middle, but the trapdoor is in line with it, so it is just about identifiable. We played on the green side – the orcy side is a little dark, but nicely designed. The dugouts are also double sided, and the tokens that come with it are smart and a good size – looking forward to seeing lots of painted versions of those. Not quite sure about the dagger thing as a token. The dice are nice, not quite as clear as the 3rd Ed block dice, but easy to get the hang of. The d6 and d8 are marvellous, and it’s good to have a d16 in there. The range ruler feels humongous!
So, the rulebook. I had a browse in the Warhammer shop, so knew what to expect. There are a reduced number of skills in there (only the ones on the starter players and Stars in the box), as follows:
Always Hungry, Block, Bone-head, Catch, Dodge, Fend, Jump Up, Loner, Mighty Blow, Pass, Really Stupid, Regeneration, Right Stuff, Sprint, Stunty, Sure Feet, Sure Hands, Thick Skull, Throw Team-Mate. The wording of each of these is the same as CRP as far as I can see, which for some is a bit of a shame as they need FAQs and Clarifications. There is no FAQ section in the box set rulebook, but it may appear in Death Zone (haven’t seen it yet).
The box comes with cards for each of the miniatures in the box, which do make starting quite easy. There are also cards for Morg, Varag, Griff and Zug. The Morg card says he can play for Orc and Human, but no doubt that will be expanded when the full star player list comes out. This is very much a starter set.
The rulebook has a number of “walk-throughs”, including a “start here” section which you can play before reading any rules, which is nicely written.
Catchers are 60k, as previously mentioned. The roster for Orcs included the Troll and Goblins, though miniatures are not included.
The Special Play cards are recommended for use – roll a d6, 1 gives 1 card, 2-5 2 cards, and 6 is 3 cards. Each coach might get different numbers of cards. The NAF will need to decide how to handle this, as new players may expect cards to always be included. Will just need to be covered in tournament rules, basically. Additional special play cards can be purchased as previously.
Inducements are not mentioned, so the Bribe is covered in the Kick-Off Table. Cheerleaders and Assistant Coaches are not mentioned in the rulebook, so are missing from the Cheering Fans and Brilliant Coaching results. I expect there to be a new Kick-Off Table in DZ, or the adjustment will be covered in the Staff description.
There are a few pages of fluff at the end.
So generally, a good starter set, does make the game very simple, and as a teacher I think it’s great to be able to recommend kids at a games club to pick up. The figures are great to put together and look good, and I’m looking forward to Death Zone!
Edit: some asked for the new figs on an old board, here’s a bit of a ruck!