By Oo Gin Lee
|» Price: $50.90 (PC), $45.90 (DS), $48.90 (PSP)
» Genre: Strategy
» Platform: PC, Nintendo DS, PSP
» Rating: 9/10
THE skinny wood elf was stretched out with bloodied broken ribs after Riverfart - the big brutish troll in my American football team - executed a full body slam on him.
That move by Riverfart was to follow up on his earlier attack which took the ball out of the hands of the forest lover.
The drum-beating, green-skinned orc fans roared with unbridled bestial fury - and joy - as Grubak Break Teef, my black orc blocker, swatted aside another wood elf to make way for my tiny but swift goblin runner to grab the ball and score a touchdown.
Welcome to the world of Blood Bowl - the latest video game adaptation of the hit strategy boardgame from way back in the early 1990s.
The game plays like American football: you control a team of 11 players, each with different skills, to bring the ball to your opponent's touchdown line while preventing the same from happening to your defence.
The difference is that the game gets violent and lots of blood is spilled. So long as you are assaulting another player while he is standing, you can hit him so hard that he can even die, but it is a perfectly legitimate move.
When the referee is looking the other way, have your thugs whack the player to make sure he never gets up again.
The game has two modes - the classic turn-based system and the real-time mode. Hard-core strategy gamers will definitely go for the former.
There are eight different races to choose from, all from the Warhammer games universe - human, orc, dwarf, wood elf, lizardman, chaos, skaven and goblin.
Each race has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Humans, for instance, are balanced so they are more versatile in gameplay.
Against the tough but slow dwarves, they can play the passing game but when up against the agile but weak skaven ratfolk, the human can play the brute and knock out the opposing players in a game of attrition.
When it is your turn, you can move or attack once with each player.
Each player has four attributes - strength, agility, movement value and armour value.
Strength determines how many dice you get to throw and who gets to choose the results of the attack roll.
You get one die if your player is of equal strength, two to choose from if you are stronger and three if your strength is more than double the opponent's.
Agility is important: You will need it to pass the ball, intercepting it and successfully running out of the enemy's tackle zone while staying on your feet.
Blood Bowl is a game of strategy because you know exactly the chances of every action.
An agility score of four, for instance, means that you have a basic four-in-six chance of successfully catching a ball.
However, if you also have the catch skill, you get a second re-roll if you fail the first.
Since your player can gain five additional skills, as they level up when they play well, you can create the type of player you want in your team.
In today's world of senseless violence, this is a bloody game where every punch makes sense towards helping your team score that touchdown.
For traditional strategy gamers like myself, Blood Bowl is simply a blast.
ORCS and humans are good races for beginners because they are balanced though the orc is stronger and the human faster.
The orc race is my favourite because it has powerful black orcs which have a good base strength of four.
It also has a cool trick in its most powerful character - the troll - which can throw the tiny goblins several squares ahead, hurtling them right through the enemy's defence.
Wood elves are fantastic for those who favour guile over brute force.
They have players which can throw great passes, catch the ball and even leap over other players for a surprise run down the line.
Remember that you can have one "blitz" move per turn.
Blitz lets you move and attack using the same player and using blitz correctly is key to victory.
Use it when you want to knock down an opponent who has penetrated your defensive line or to remove that pesky last blocker who is preventing your runner from reaching touchdown.
A weaker race can beat a stronger race by attacking in a group. Every additional player that you place next to the opponent you are attacking adds a one-point bonus to your strength.
So add two and even your frail goblin will be stronger than the orc.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.
For more The Straits Times stories, click here.