While Blood Bowl is a game about football, its link to the rules of real football is tenuous at best. This is not Madden '09: Warhammer edition. There are no field goals, no downs, and the only thing that sometimes counts as a foul is kicking an opponent in the gut after he's been smacked to the ground. The goal is still to run or pass the ball into the end-zone, of course, but comparisons end there. That said, the basic elements of strategy do have a resemblance to the real-life sport. Control of the territory around whichever player carries the ball is the key to victory. Like many good strategy games, the basic elements are easy to understand, but mastering the strategy takes a lot of effort. Just as the player understands the basics, they gain the chance to upgrade their players with special feats, adding to the strategic depth.
The core turn-based gameplay of Blood Bowl is a hoot, but it does require a certain frame of mind. As said, Blood Bowl is a very direct translation of the board game. Not much has changed, and this includes issues related to balance. Some of the races are without a doubt harder to play, but then fairness isn't what Blood Bowl is all about. There is always the chance that even a well-executed play well fail because of a die landing on the wrong side and causing a unexpected turnover. Which, by the way, literally means that the player's turn is over, not that the ball has been turned over to the other side. This randomness is both good and bad. While it keeps the game fresh and surprising, it also can lead to bursts of bad luck which can become extremely frustrating.
Besides the turn-based mode, Blood Bowl includes a sloppy real-time option. It is extremely hectic and frustrating. Why it was even included isn't clear, as it adds nothing to the game. There is also a significant team-building aspect, as players will level up over time. It works just as in the board game, and does a great job of bonding the player to the little guys on the field. However, there aren't that many ways to customize player aesthetically, which would have been a nice addition. As it stands, one linebacker looks more or less the same any other.