It’s a common topic of gamer chat at the moment: is GW’s assumed Limited Edition (LE) release this year going to be a new Blood Bowl?
For those of you that haven’t been paying attention lately, GW has released 2 Limited Edition stand-alone games so far in this current phase: Space Hulk (which did very well) and Dread Fleet (which didn’t). As these came out with a 2 year gap between them and we’ve had another 2 years since, the discerning geek is assuming that GW will continue their love of fixed release cycles and deliver something else this year. Blood Bowl is the rumour mill’s favourite with Warhammer Quest a strong second.
Mostly I ignore rumours, but this one has some apparent merit. On a more personal note, I’ve been asked by a number of folk whether this worries me. Will this kill DreadBall? I thought I’d burble about it for a little while here.
The answer is “no”, by the way.
Blood Bowl is a fine game with many years of refinement and nostalgia behind it and if it comes out as a LE I would expect it to do very well and sell through quickly. If it follows the current GW LE model it will be released, be sold, and then be dropped by GW as if it never happened. Ebay will see inflated prices on copies for years. DreadBall will continue to be better supported before the BB release, throughout this period, and beyond.
LE releases allow GW to make a nice cash injection to their finances without muddying the waters for their staff who can continue to focus on core games. It suits the way they work and they’re doing fine so far. Judging by the comments I hear from supporters of their many non-core games, this does not suit those fans especially well. Either way, it’s what GW do, so we can reasonably assume they’ll do the same again.
The current rumour may be wrong, but let’s assume for a moment that they’re on the money. Blood Bowl comes out as a stand-alone boxed game with 4 teams in. GW sell it through and once their warehouses are empty they forget about it. I can see this causing as much upset as excitement in the BB community, but not a great deal of either. What about those many players who play one of the two or three dozen other teams in the current incarnation? What do they play in this new, limited version? We have nothing except Space Hulk to go on as far as rules are concerned (because DF was new, not reissued), but if we follow the same logic there they’ll be much the same rules we already have. Nice new models and pitch one would expect; not drastically reworked rules. That probably leaves the community to simply update the current teams to the new version and carry on as before, grumbling as ever that GW have failed to support the game in the long term. There will be a blip in the smooth running of the BB community, but they’ve grown used to being ignored by GW over the last decade, so it won’t be a shock.
I’d expect a new BB to add some new recruits to the online forums and a wad of cash to GW’s coffers. Apart from that I don’t expect to see much change. Does that sound worrying?