This guide is for coaches moving from the Blood Bowl 2016 rules to the Blood Bowl Second Season rules. These will be referenced as BB2016 and BB2020 respectively. If you’ve just picked up Blood Bowl for the first time, this article may be interesting as a historical document. If you’re moving from BB2016, then it should allow you to adapt to the ruleset more smoothly. I’ll try and draw attention to the significant changes, but will often say “Check the rules” if the change is huge.
This article is both for tournaments and leagues as it focuses on “in-game” events. Team development and inducements in league play has changed significantly enough that everyone should pretend they’re starting from scratch. Check the rules.
For the full rules you will need the BB Rulebook plus the GW Errata. There are still some ambiguities that TOs and League Commissioners will have to make rulings on, and these are mine for the SAWBBL league.
Building a Team
- Player costs have changed, and come in multiples of 5k instead of 10k
- Fan Factor has become Dedicated Fans, and the effect has changed. Check the rules
Start of Game
- You now roll for Fan Factor instead of Fame. Check the rules (p.37)
- Sweltering Heat affects a random number of players, applied to each side, rather than rolling for each player.
- Players now have a Passing characteristic, separate from Agility. Check the rules
- Agility, Passing and Armour are expressed as 3+ instead of Ag 3, and modifiers are applied to the dice roll. The old Agility stat has been a straight move to Agility except for the Nurgle Lineman, who have gone from Ag3 to 4+
- Movement is capped at 9 (as is Strength, but this is less important)
- You may now use as many re-rolls per turn as you like
- You still cannot re-roll a single die more than once
- The Pro and Brawler skills allow re-rolling one die from a “dice pool”, e.g. a 2 dice block, so if you use one of these you may not then use a Team Re-roll
Passing and Throw Team-Mate
Passing the ball has changed significantly. Check the rules.
- A bad pass can now be Wildly Inaccurate, which will cause it to deviate D6 in a D8 direction from the thrower
- Passes can be Deflected as well as Intercepted
- Passing uses the Passing characteristic, not the Agility
You declare the target of a blitz when you declare the Blitz action. This has various knock-on effects with Dump-Off and Foul Appearance, and also how the action is used (i.e. you can’t change target half way through).
There’s a new Kick-Off Table with some new Events. Some of the previous Events have been changed. Check the rules.
- Riot has become Time Out, and the wording has changed
- Perfect Defence has become Solid Defence, and the effect has changed
- Cheering Fans now references Prayers to Nuffle, which is a completely new rule
- Brilliant Coaching and Weather have switched places
- If Nice Weather is the result of a Weather roll, then the ball scatters instead of just moving a square in a D8 direction
- Quick Snap now activates a random number of players
- Blitz is no longer an “extra turn” as such, but a random number of players can activate. Team Re-rolls may not be used, or the Dodge skill for dodging, and possibly other knock-on effects
- Throw a Rock has become Officious Ref, and the effect changes
- Pitch Invasion works differently
It’s gone. Let us not speak of it again.
Go For It has become Rush.
Any player can now jump over a prone/stunned player, but not an empty square or a standing player. Leap and Pogo Stick build on this to make more effective jumpers. Check the rules (p.45).
The Casualty Table now uses a D16. In tournament play, the Apothecary will be effective on a roll of 1-6 on a D16.
- The Guard skill now allows assists on Fouls
- A successful Argue the Call causes a Turnover but the player stays on the pitch and does not go to reserves
- You may not use multiple Bribes on the same sending off
- If you roll a 1 on Argue the Call you may not then use a Bribe on the same incident
Stalling is now defined; check the rules (p.64). It only comes into play in conjunction with Prayers to Nuffle or cards, so it’s a minor game mechanic.
- There are many fewer stars – only those with existing miniatures, or those coming soon
- Stars all have their own unique Special Skill
- Stars can generally play for more teams. Each race has a Special Rule on the roster, some of which define which stars can play for them
- Stars have become cheaper, so expect to see more of them!
This section will describe where a skill has changed, been removed, or been introduced. If it’s on a team roster and isn’t mentioned then its use has stayed the same. There’s a new line on p.74 of the rulebook that says that if a player has lost their Tackle Zone they may not use skills unless otherwise noted. This will mean that Block, Dodge, etc cannot be used.
|Defensive||New skill negating Guard during the opponent’s turn.|
|Leap||No longer ignores Tackle Zones. Allows Jumping over empty squares and standing players. Check the rules.|
|Safe Pair of Hands||Allows the ball to be placed on a square instead of scattering when Knocked Down, but not when Strip Ball is used or when Falling Over.|
|Sneaky Git||No longer sent off for a double on armour roll. May move after fouling.|
|Dirty Player (+1)||Stays the same. Deathroller now has Dirty Player (+2).|
|Pro||Allows the re-roll of a single die, instead of all of a roll. Is now on a 3+.|
|Shadowing||The roll is now taken by the shadowing player. Calculation has changed to D6 + MA differential. Succeeds on a 6+.|
|Claws||Unmodified 8+. Only applies when your player is blocking.|
|Iron Hard Skin||Negates Claws.|
|Prehensile Tail||Affects Jumping and leaping as well as dodging. Check the rules.|
|Tentacles||The roll is now taken by the player with tentacles. Calculation has changed to D6 + ST differential. Succeeds on a 6+.|
|Accurate||Affects Quick and Short passes only.|
|Cannoneer||Same as Accurate but affects Long Pass and Long Bomb only.|
|Cloud Burster||Re-roll interference for Long Pass and Long Bomb. Check the rules.|
|Dump Off||Activated at the beginning of the Blitz move.|
|Fumblerooskie||Place the ball on the floor as part of a Move or Blitz action.|
|Hail Mary Pass||You can throw to any square, but distance modifications apply which can make it Wildly Inaccurate. Anything longer than a Long Bomb counts as a Long Bomb.|
|On the Ball||Combines Kick-Off Return and Pass Block. It doesn’t have to affect the pass, and multiple players can use it at the same time.|
|Running Pass||May move after performing a Quick Pass.|
|Safe Pass||Fumbling doesn’t cause a Fumble or a Turnover, though the player’s activation ends.|
|Arm Bar||+1 to Armour or Injury on a failed dodge-away from this player.|
|Brawler||Re-roll a single Both Down result when Blocking.|
|Break Tackle||+1 when Dodging, or +2 for ST5 or more.|
|Grab||Still cancels Side Step, but in addition, can be used if the opponent has Side Step.|
|Mighty Blow (+1)||Only applies when your player is blocking. Deeproot Strongbranch and Morg ‘N Thorg now have (+2).|
|Strong Arm||Only affects Throw Team-Mate.|
|Thick Skull||Interaction with Stunty has changed, otherwise it’s the same. Check the rules.|
|Pile Driver||When you knock down a player you then get a free Foul action.|
|Animal Savagery||New version of Wild Animal. If the roll is failed the player attacks a team-mate before taking the action. If no team-mate is available the Tackle Zone is lost.|
|Animosity (X)||Animosity is against specific players, as described in the team rosters.|
|Ball & Chain||Doesn’t need to move all squares. Also, a failed Rush only pushes the player back.|
|Bombardier||If a Bomb is caught, it explodes on a 4+, otherwise, it can be thrown again. Hitting your own players with a bomb is not a turnover (except the bombardier). Bombs have Mighty Blow.|
|Chainsaw||A Kickback isn’t a turnover anymore.|
|Decay||+1 to Casualty Roll. It’s rolled only once.|
|Hypnotic Gaze||Works on a 2+ for Vampires, as it’s still a pure Agility roll. Has got a boost because most skills cannot be used if a player has no Tackle Zone.|
|Kick Team-Mate||Like the Throw Team-Mate skill, but a Fumble is worse. Doesn’t use a Blitz action or a Throw Team-Mate action.|
|Loner (X+)||Variable roll needed to use a Team Re-roll.|
|Plague Ridden||New Nurgle’s Rot. An affected player joins his new team during the game.|
|Pogo Stick||Ignores Tackle Zones when jumping. Can jump over empty squares or standing players.|
|Projectile Vomit||Same as the Stab skill, but with a kickback on a roll of 1. No Turnover if failed.|
|Right Stuff||Only applies if Strength is less than 4.|
|Stunty||No longer affects Passing, though Interference is easier against passes made by Stunties. Check the rules.|
|Swarming||No change from the Snotling Spike Magazine. D3 extra players on the pitch.|
|Swoop||Scatters D3 in a D3 direction. No more +1 to land.|
|Take Root||Player can Block as part of a Blitz after failing a Take Root roll.|
|Unchanneled Fury||The old version of Wild Animal that is still on some players.|
There have been tweaks to most rosters, so check your race’s roster carefully and the race you’re playing against. I won’t list cost changes, as these are across the board, nor will I list the new passing characteristic, as that’s completely new. Check the rules.
Each roster has a special skill, some of which just define which stars they can use, but others confer special rules (e.g. cheaper bribes). Check the rules (p.106).
|Amazon||No roster change.|
|Black Orc||New roster in the Second Season box. Check the rules.|
|Chaos Chosen||Get one of a Chaos Troll, Chaos Ogre or Minotaur.|
|Chaos Dwarf||No roster change.|
|Chaos Renegade||Choose 3 big guys from a Renegade Troll, Renegade Ogre, Renegade Minotaur, or Renegade Rat Ogre. Linemen have lost S and P skill access. 0-1 Thrower added to the roster.|
|Dark Elf||Assassins are now MA7.|
|Dwarf||No roster change.|
|Elven Union||No roster change.|
|Goblin||Trained Trolls have Loner (3+) and Projectile Vomit. ‘Ooligan has Dirty Player (+1).|
|Halfling||No roster change.|
|High Elf||Throwers get Cloud Burster.|
|Human||0-3 Halflings added to the roster.|
|Imperial Nobility||New roster in the Second Season box. Adapted from the Bretonnian roster. 0-2 Blitzers lose Dauntless. Bodyguards gain Stand Firm. Ogre added to the roster.|
|Khorne||Pit Fighters lose P skill access.|
|Lizardmen||No roster change.|
|Necromantic Horror||Wights have become Wraiths. Check the rules.|
|Norse||No roster change.|
|Nurgle||Rotters lose one Agility.|
|Ogre||No roster change.|
|Old World Alliance||Altern Forest Treeman added to the roster. Dwarf Blockers differ from standard dwarf blockers. Human Thrower differs from a standard human thrower. Check the rules.|
|Orc||Big Uns are Black Orcs with +MA. Untrained Troll gets Projectile Vomit. Animosity across the board. Check the rules.|
|Shambling Undead||No roster change.|
|Skaven||Rat Ogre‘s Wild Animal has become Animal Savagery.|
|Slann||No core roster change. Linemen lose access to Pass skills.|
|Snotling||Trained Troll has Loner (3+) and Projectile Vomit.|
|Tomb Kings||Anointed Throwers and Anointed Blitzers get Thick Skull.|
|Underworld||Get one of an Underworld Troll or Mutant Rat Ogre. 0-6 Snotlings added to the roster. Otherwise same as the Spike Magazine.|
|Vampire||Blood Lust has become Animal Savagery. Hypnotic Gaze was adjusted. Check the rules. Thralls lose Pass access.|
|Wood Elf||Catchers lose Sprint. Leap was changed. Check the rules.|