Dungeon Bowl Review

Dungeon Bowl.

Review

Dungeon Bowl Review

November 27, 2021

By: Adam Potts

 
 

Welcome back sports fans, for those of you joining us from Blood Bowl, welcome to its darker, damper cousin, Dungeon Bowl, for those new to us, have we got a game for you. Sit back, relax, eat whatever you have on a stick before it works its way off and makes a break for it, and try not to get crushed by the ogres at the back. Watch out for rogue fireballs, and keep on eye on the field, because anything can happen.

Blood Bowl, the action-packed ultra-violent sports game set in Games Workshop's Old World, the time before the current Age of Sigmar, had a brand new edition released last year, Blood Bowl Second Season Edition, which you can find out more about in our preview. This year, GW are re-releasing a classic Blood Bowl spin-off game, Dungeon Bowl. In this review, we'll have a look at what's in the brand new boxed set, have a look at the Dungeon Bowl rules, and look at the two teams the boxed set contains.

Dungeon Bowl.

The Dungeon Bowl Boxed set contains:

  • Full hardback Dungeon Bowl rulebook
  • Dungeon tiles and two team dugouts
  • Measuring sticks and scatter tools
  • Four different types of dice
  • Chests and portals miniatures
  • Two Dungeon Bowl teams, The College of Fire and College of Shadow
Dungeon Bowl.
The Dungeon Bowl box contains the full rulebook, assembly guide, and two cheat sheets.

For those coming from Blood Bowl, you'll find the same core rules, with some extra elements for the dungeon crawling parts of the game, and the new mixture of team options. For those new to Blood Bowl and Dungeon Bowl, as well as the unique dungeon elements, we'll take a look at some of the core mechanics that make DB and BB stand out.

 
 

Dungeon Bowl is a fantasy American Football style sports game, with a lot of added extra violence, mixed in with elements of dungeon crawl-style games. At the start of the game, players create the dungeon that their teams will face off in. Dungeons can be created any way players like and are a mixture of corridors, square rooms, and large rooms. The room tiles are all double-sided and have unique rules, so there's a bit of scope for dungeon creation out of the box. The room special rules all have a bit of unique flavor like the kitchen, where players can throw food at nearby opposing players to try and knock them over, or the Chaotic Idol where players have a chance to increase their strength if they start their activation in this room.

Dungeon Bowl.
The Dungeon Bowl core box contains a load of double-sided tiles for a variety of dungeon creation for your games.

After the dungeon tiles are set up, players then take turns placing the six chests in the rooms. One of the chests has the ball, the others have magical traps that knock down all adjacent players when opened. The first part of the game will see players rushing around the dungeon, looking for the ball and the second part of the game has the players trying to score by getting the ball into their opponent's end zone. In Dungeon Bowl, only one touchdown is needed to win the game, which may surprise veteran Blood Bowl players, where games can be high scoring. Scoring the single touchdown still makes for a lengthy game, as the dungeons have a lot of twists and turns, unlike the straight run you can get on the pitch.

After the chests have been added, players then take turns adding the six portals. Each portal is numbered between one and six, and when a player enters a portal, they are teleported to a random portal, determined by a dice roll. The portals aren't entirely reliable though, and if you roll the number for the portal you're on, the player can disappear entirely. If your player appears on a portal that another player is on, it causes a chain reaction and then teleports that player to another portal, which can cause further chain reactions.

Dungeon Bowl.
As well as the usually Blood Bowl tools and templates, Dungeon Bowl also contains chests and portals.

Dungeon Bowl still has the unique elements from Blood Bowl like the turnover, where failing certain rolls ends your turn early. It puts a high focus on doing all the actions that don’t require a roll or have the odds in your favor, before the riskier rolls. This makes sequencing very important and a large part of the tactical process.

For combat, Dungeon Bowl uses unique six-sided dice. The number of dice rolled depends on the strength characteristics of the players fighting, which can also be modified by adjacent assisting players. Block Dice have a number of symbols indicating different results. These symbols are:

  • Blank - No result
  • Player Down - The attacker is knocked over
  • Both Down - Both attacker and defender are knocked over
  • Push Back - The defender is pushed back into an adjacent square
  • Stumble - A push back and knockdown, unless the defender has the dodge skill
  • Pow! - A push back and knockdown

The player with the highest strength picks the result, so working out which battles to fight and which to avoid is essential.

 
 

Dungeon Bowl.
As well as the standard block dice, Dungeon Bowl also contains D6s, D8s and D16s.

The squares in the dungeon tiles are used for movement, and to work out adjacent players, but Dungeon Bowl uses a measuring stick to work out range and line of sight for throwing the ball, and other players. There are also rules and templates for working out the scatter and ricochets off the dungeon walls.

Dungeon Bowl.
Both teams also come with themed balls, coins, and re-roll markers for each race in the team.

The teams in Dungeon Bowl are the biggest change from Blood Bowl. Rather than being made up of set races, each DB team is a mixture of races, under the leadership of one of the eight colleges of magic. The two teams in the box are the College of Fire, made up of Orgres, Dwarfs, Gnoblar, and, Khorne, and the College of Shadow, made up of Dark Elves, Skaven, and Goblins. The boxed set has a sprue of each race, with some cosmetic variety for some of the players, but a fixed make-up of player types, which are:

Dungeon Bowl.
The TechRaptor College of Fire Dungeon Bowl team.

College of Fire

  • One Ogre Runt Punter
  • One Ogre Blocker
  • One Trollslayer
  • Three Dwarf Linemen
  • One Dwarf Runner
  • One Dwarf Blitzer
  • Six Gnoblar
Dungeon Bowl.
The TechRaptor College of Shadow Dungeon Bowl team.

College of Shadow

 
  • Three Dark Elf Lineman
  • One Dark Elf Blitzer
  • One Dark Elf Runner
  • One Dark Elf Witch Elf
  • Three Skaven Lineman
  • One Skaven Blitzer
  • One Skaven Thrower
  • One Skaven Gutter Runner

The rulebook includes details for all eight colleges, and teams can be created, and the two included teams added to by picking up copies of the Blood Bowl teams currently available.

Out of the included players, there's not a huge difference in points when creating a team. The College of Fire gets some extra points to purchase an extra reroll over the Colege of Shadow if using the players out of the box. The College of Fire are a hard-hitting aggressive team, with more players than they can initially field, due to the cheap Gnoblars. Fire can find themselves outclassed player for player against the extremely fast and agile Dark Elves and Skaven if they don't get some beat downs in early game. Fire players are a lot more durable when it comes to initially searching for the ball, and a smart Shadow player might let Fire do all the searching (and exploding) before trying to take the ball from them.

Dungeon Bowl.
Dungeon Bowl's portals and chests add a huge variety to games.

Dungeon Bowl is a unique twist on the already awesome Blood Bowl. The dungeon crawl elements add a nice variety to the core game mechanics and the new team selections offer some interesting mixtures. Unless Games Workshop releases specific Dungeon Bowl team packs, players new to Dungeon Bowl will have to pick up multiple packs of Blood Bowl teams in order to create their own teams, which will also give them several miniatures that aren't legal in Dungeon Bowl. Existing Blood Bowl players will have an easier time, picking up the packs to flesh out their existing teams, and while they'll also have miniatures that aren't Dungeon Bowl legal, they'll be able to field them in Blood Bowl. The core components of DB means that if player do want to also play BB, they can pick up a copy of the BB rulebook, and a pitch, and are ready to go with their dice and templates from this set.

The Bottom Line

Dungeon Bowl has all the same awesome core mechanics as Blood Bowl, with the added randomness of the dungeon tiles, dungeon crawl ball searching, portals, and wall ricochets. If GW offers DB packaged teams, it will make it accessible to non-Blood Bowl players, as currently, existing BB players have the easiest access to team creation without having to buy multiple race packs. Existing BB players will get duplication of dice and templates with this pack, and possibly teams they might already have. The two included teams offer two unique and interesting play styles, and players looking to invest in Blood Bowl and explore Dungeon Bowl will get the most of out this set. It is perfectly playable out of the box, but league play and team creation are where the most fun is.

Get This Game If:

  • You're looking for an interesting and fun variation to the already awesome Blood Bowl.
  • You want an awesome hybrid sports dungeon crawl game.
  • You want to mix your Blood Bowl team races.

Avoid This Game If:

  • You don't want a fantasy sports game.
  • You don't want to have to pick up several other expansions to get the most of the core set.

The copy of Dungeon Bowl used to produce this review was provided by Games Workshop.

 

Review Summary

Review Summary

Dungeon Bowl has all the same awesome core mechanics as Blood Bowl, with the added randomness of the dungeon tiles, dungeon crawl ball searching, portals, and wall ricochets. If GW offers DB packaged teams, it will make it accessible to non-Blood Bowl players, as currently, existing BB players have the easiest access to team creation without having to buy multiple race packs. Existing BB players will get duplication of dice and templates with this pack, and possibly teams they might already have. The two included teams offer two unique and interesting play styles, and players looking to invest in Blood Bowl and explore Dungeon Bowl will get the most of out this set. It is perfectly playable out of the box, but league play and team creation are where the most fun is.
A Potts TechRaptor
Tabletop Specialist

Adam is a tabletop specialist for TechRaptor. He's been involved in the video game and tabletop industry since 1997, including managing communities, flavor text writing for CCGs, game development, and design, and has played physical and digital card games at a high competitive level.

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