Grind vs Blood Bowl - The Ultimate Battle Sport Throw Down
Now that tabletop war gaming's ultimate rivals, Games Workshop and Privateer Press, have both produced Battle Sport tabletop games, it only seems proper to put them up against each other. Grind and Blood Bowl will go head to head in five categories. In each category, I will assign five points between the two games. The game with the most points will be declared the winner.
Blood Bowl by Games Workshop Review
Grind by Privateer Press Review
Both games are on par with each other in terms of figure and art quality. Grind's steamjacks look good, but not as good as the newer plastic warjacks. Blood Bowl's figures are some of GW's older sculpts, so they don't compare up to GW's latest work either. As for value, Blood Bowl definitely has the lead since a lot more stuff comes in its box. Grind then loses a few points in this category due to some quality control issues. I found its figures a little difficult to put together and the customizable arms are difficult to remove. Finally, to add insult to injury, Grind's board would not lay flat, causing some minor annoyance.
Result: Blood Bowl 3 - Grind 2
A soccer game with giant fighting robots should be awesome, but Grind kind of lacks in the combat department. Nothing really gets damaged during a game of Grind. Steamjacks just tend to get pushed around and occasionally knocked down. Plus, the "Play Like You Got a Pair" mentality is really amped up in Grind, completely eliminating player interaction tactics one would expect in a sports game. Instead Grind feels like a two player alternating turn puzzle game.
Since combat is not the main focus of Blood Bowl, perhaps Blood Bowl is not the best title for the game. However, there is plenty of violence to go around with the whole injury and death thing. Plus, toss in the RPG campaign elements and watch players cringe as their star players take hits. Mechanics wise, Blood Bowl feels like a hybrid football/rugby game. It is all about protecting the ball player while getting other players in position for a pass or hand off.
Result: Blood Bowl 4 - Grind 1 because giant robots are cool.
Maybe somehow I missed them, but I found Grind to be seriously lacking in tactics. Within a few games, I found myself performing the same three actions each turn. Since it is exceptionally easy to take a shot on goal each turn, I would almost always blast hole in the enemy lines, mess with the goalie, and then take a shot. My opponent would perform the same three actions in response and the game would continue like that. Sure Grind has the customizable weapons, but those just varied the details of the three mentioned actions.
Blood Bowl, on the other hand, is packed with tactics. As mentioned above, game play is all about protecting the ball carrier. Since it normally takes several turns to score, BB can have some tense back and forth moments. Unlike Grind, every team in Blood Bowl has different stats and plays different. This means that players must adjust their tactics before the game even begins. Of course, there are even more tactical choices when it comes to upgrade characters in the league setting.
Result - Total Smackdown Blood Bowl 5 - Grind 0
One of Blood Bowl's strongest features is its league system. As players gain experience, their stats can improve and they can earn new abilities. In addition to adding tactics, it gives each team member a unique personality and makes player's care about their team roster. When ever a star player takes a hit, I can assure you that the opponent is cheering for a high injury roll.
Out of box, Grind does not include and campaign or league play. Privateer Press added it later via a downloadable PDF, but it is not as cool as what Blood Bowl offers.
Being standalone games with fixed boards, it can be difficult to expand upon these games. However, Privateer Press has released official rules for a four player version of Grind. While not officially supported, there are plenty of fan made upgrades to Blood Bowl.
Result - Blood Bowl over Grind 3 to 2 - Blood Bowl's league system is just too awesome.
Ironically, the most fun game of Grind I had was the first one I played because I had not figured out the tactics yet. From there, it just went down hill. It is too bad that I found this game to be disappointing since I love WARMACHINE and Monsterpocalypse. In all honesty, I want the $70 I paid for Grind back.
Blood Bowl, while not my most favorite game, is leaps and bounds ahead of Grind.
Result 5 - 0 in favor of Blood Bowl.
The Final Score:
Blood Bowl: 20
Seriously, if you want to purchase a violent sports game, go with Blood Bowl.