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Blood Bowl Race Guide Part 1: The "Basic" Races
Blood Bowl is a faithful adaptation of the board-gaming classic. It includes eight of the races from the boardgame which can be broken down into four "basic" and four "advanced" races. This distinction is subjective and is not born out of in-game definition . That said, there is a clear distinction between a straight-forward race like the Humans and a more difficult race like the Goblins.
This Blood Bowl race guide covers the four basic races in Blood Bowl. This includes the dwarves, the humans, the orcs, and the wood elves.
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Oh, the Humanity!
As in many games, humanity in Blood Bowl serves as a simple baseline average of what other races are capable of. Humans are reasonably fast, strong, and agile. Their passing game is decent and their running game is decent. They're strong enough to do some damage but they don't excel at it. They are agile enough to get out of some sticky situations but they still are tripped up from time to time.
Human linebackers are durable but expendable, which means that they can be thrown into tough situations and beat the crap out of many opponents not because they're tough, but because losing one isn't the end of the world. Blitzers are wonderful for terrifying an enemy's back line. Catchers are horrible at anything but catching, which makes their usefulness extremely situational. The human big guy, the Ogre, is great on the line like most big guys, but the speed of the human offense usually leaves him behind.
The basic strategy of any human offense should be to use a lot of linemen to tie up opponents while blitzers and a few catchers take advantage of holes in the enemy defense. The human passing game is great if a catcher can be penetrate enemy lines, but blitzers can also catch well if a re-roll is available. Because both types of players have the threat of catching, it is possible to overwhelm the enemy by simply presenting them too many things to defend against. This is called the Option Offense (because the human player has so many options) and it is the reason why the Ogre is often left behind on Human teams.
Defensively, the human team relies heavily on using the wealth of blitzers and linemen, both of which are reasonably strong but also reasonably quick, to lock down any enemy which has the ball. Blitzers in particular are fast and strong, and should be used to swoop in on enemies quickly. This will cause them to feel the need to cage in order to advance, which bogs down their entire offense.
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Orcs are often considered to be the beginner's race of choice. They are simple to learn because they are strong, they have a great running game and okay passing game, and they are tough enough that their players can tolerate an occasional goof-up. They're versatile like the humans, but veer more towards toughness than the humans.
The Orc's front-line players are the Black Orcs and Blitzers. Black Orcs have high strength but low agility, making them decent bashers and much better at obliterating a defense than avoiding it. Blitzers are great all-arounders who come with block. They're key to both offense and defense, and four of them should be on any team. Linemen are fairly average, and generally taken because a Blitzer or Black Orc was too expensive. Passers are great at getting a ball downfield, although the Orcs don't have great receivers except goblins. And then there is the big-guy, the Troll. He is below-average for a big guy, but the strong front line of the Orcs makes him fit in better than the Ogre fits into a human team.
Passers usually act as the runners for Orcs. They're not strong, but easy to cage with Black Orcs. Blitzers should be kept ahead of the runner, striking at opponents of opportunity. The Orc's passin game is bad, as only Goblins are decent at catching, and they're so weak that they usually get pounded before they do much good. That said, the Passer is used as a runner for a reason. In case the cage fails, being able to pass the ball out of harm's way is an option.
Orc defense is much better against running games than passing games. Against a running game the Orcs can quickly smash into a cage and force the ball into their hands. There nothing subtle about this - use Black Orcs to do the meat of the bashing and use Blitzers to run the flanks. Against a passing game Orcs are often weak. It sometimes is a better time to stand ground and bash as many enemies as possible than trying to run after a rouge catcher.
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Next: Rivals - the Dwarves and Wood Elves
The other two basic races in Blood Bowl are the Dwarves and the Wood Elves. Check out part two of the Blood Bowl race guide for tips on how to play these two dramatically different races.