If strategy games are about understanding and then defeating a system, then Blood Bowl has been thoroughly understood and defeated, at least at the single player level. Time to find my league opponent and beat his brains in.
Bill Abner has done a better job analyzing the AI than I ever could, but I figured I would have more time with the single player experience than he did because he’s an old veteran of the board game – he knows how all the races work already. Wood Elves are the West Coast offense, Dwarves are the classic Pittsburgh Steelers, Chaos are mutant Indianapolis Colts, the Goblins are cheating New England Patriots…each race has a personality. This is not a game about countering your weaknesses – it’s about emphasizing your strengths.
Bill points out the big obvious hole in the AI – it turtles too often. If it can, it will shelter its ball carrier with eight guards – a sound defensive plan, but a poor way to advance the ball unless you are willing to take some chances. The Skaven (a nasty rat race) have some great runners so they can turn this turtling into a break out offense. The slow moving built-like-a-tank Dwarves cannot. I have lost to Dwarf teams, but only because of bad kickoff outcomes and a couple of unlucky injuries/deaths. When the Goblins try a strategy like this, it just means that I have all the things I can squish in one central location.
Now how is this different from playing against a bad or new Blood Bowl player? New players tend to take more risks, for one thing, which could mean that they will make a lot of mistakes. But, importantly, they will also adapt to changes in their team and in response to increasing knowledge. As it stands now, a 1400 point Dwarf team is just a little bit tougher than a 940 point Dwarf team – the tactics don’t change even if they line-up does.
The AI, as it stands, has no awareness of how the turn count affects strategy, no awareness of how it should use its star players, and is too conservative about scoring even when it only needs one touchdown to tie. If you have movement points, use them for God’s sake.