Blood Bowl - Tips and Tricks for New Coaches

I started playing Blood Bowl a few weeks ago and have become rather hooked to the unique progression, league, and game mechanics of this game. At first glance the game seems rather complicated. At second glance you realize that’s because the UI purposefully makes the game seem complicated. At third glance you realize the underlying rules of the game are more complicated that you thought even at first glance.

If anyone spots any inaccuracies with any of this, please let me know right away.

Here’s a list of things I either learned quickly or wish I had known about when I started. Hope it helps.

Reldan’s Tips, Tricks, and Advice for New Coaches.

1. Basics

Avoiding Turnovers

Plan your turn out before you start taking actions.  The first time you fail at almost any action you immediately end your turn.  Moving is one of the few things you can do in the game that has zero chance of failure, therefore you should stand guys up and reposition them before you start blocking, dodging, or handling the ball.  This is especially important on the first turn of the game.  Your first action should NEVER be to pick up the ball after the kickoff.  In general, save the riskiest actions to be the last things you do each turn (or, if they're that risky, consider if you should be doing them at all)


Blocking is one of the most key concepts to understand in Blood Bowl.  There are special 6-sided block dice that work as follows:

1: Attacker Down
2: Both Down
3-4: Push
5: Defender Stumbles
6: Defender Down

Whoever's turn it is takes the role of Attacker.  The other player then is the Defender.  Assuming no skills on either side, the Defender Stumbles and Defender Down actions will knock the opponent prone.  Defender Stumbles, however, will be treated as a Push if the defender has Dodge.  Attacker Down will always cause an immediate turnover, and Both Down will as well unless the Attacking player has Block or Wrestle.

If the strength of the Attacker is greater than the Defender, you get to roll 2 dice and choose the better result.  If it's a tie you roll only 1 die.  If it's lower you roll 2 dice but the Defender gets to choose which result they want (typically they will pick one that forces a turnover).  1-Die and 1/2-Die blocks are desperation plays and should almost never be attempted.  Always set up 2-Die blocks.

You set up 2-Die blocks by using other players as assists.  In general, you can think of each player that is next to a single opposing player as subtracting 1 from the strength of that player.  For example, to get a 2-Die block on a Str 4 guy with an Str 3 guy you need to have 2 other players covering him (this makes his effective strength be a "2" so you're beating him and get two dice).

Unless we're talking about a game changing play, do not use rerolls on block dice if there are any options you can take that won't result in a turnover.


You get only one blitz per turn.  The blitz is your opportunity to block AND move during the same action.  The blitz  MUST be the first thing you declare for your player before you do anything else with him.  You can manually trigger a blitz by selecting a player you haven't taken an action with and hitting 'b' so that a Lightning Bolt appears over his head.  Note that you can blitz with a downed guy to have him stand up and then block.  You can blitz with a guy standing next to the guy he's going to block, and this will allow you to move after the block (this is extremely useful if you have a guy who's surrounded and can't dodge away, as you can follow-up the block to move with your target away from the enemy tackle zones, and then continue running away afterwards).

Armor and Injury

Armor and Injury are 2D6 rolls of the dice.  Any time a player makes an armor roll they roll 2D6 and compare the result to the player's Armor Value (AV).  If it beats their AV they roll another 2D6 to determine injury.  On a 7 or lower they are stunned and cannot take an action the following turn.  On an 8-10 they are KO'd and are removed from the pitch.  On an 11-12 they are casualties and are out of the game and may suffer permanent injury or death.  Please note that due to the distribution of 2D6 dice rolls, even a single point of AV can have a dramatic effect on how often players get stunned/injured.  An AV7 guy, for example, will have their armor broken on 42% of downs.  AV8 reduces this to 28% and AV9 further to merely 17%.  An AV9 player on average will sustain more than 2 and a half times as many downs without injury as an AV7.  This is huge.


Once per turn you can use a player action to foul a downed player (this looks like a foot icon stomping down).  This causes an immediate roll against their armor as though you had just knocked them down, and may stun or injure them.  This is not entirely safe, however, as if you roll doubles on either the armor or injury roll your fouling player will be removed from the match permanently and you will suffer a turnover.  Save this for using a crappy player (like a lineman) to try and disable high-power positional players on the other team.


Rerolls are your lifeblood in Blood Bowl.  Having a reroll lets you turn regular actions like dodging, catching, and passing from 1 in 6 failures to 1 in 36 failures.  They allow you to attempt plays that would otherwise be too risky or to avoid getting hosed by random, senseless bad luck (the classic is to roll double Attacker Down on a 2-die block... not much you can do about it but reroll).  Do not waste rerolls on frivolous rolls that do not immediately force a turnover.  Make note if you've used a reroll already during the turn and play more cautiously once it's expended.  It's your one and only safety net.

D6 Rolls

Many skills in the game are depending on rolling a single D6 and comparing the result to your player's relevant stat.  Typically this is Agility for the majority of skills.  The formula for this is to subtract your character's stat from 7 to determine the number you must meet or beat.  A 1 is ALWAYS a failure and a 6 is ALWAYS a success.  Most rolls have modifiers, the primary ones are listed below:

[I]Dodging [/I]- Always get a free +1 to your roll.  As a result an AG4 player only fails on a 1 and an AG3 fails on a 1 or 2.  If you dodge into an enemy tackle zone you get a -1, cumulative for each separate overlapping TZ.  Note this is calculated based on the square you dodge INTO, not from the square you are dodging away from.

[I]Picking Up the Ball[/I] - Always get a free +1 to your roll.  -1 for each enemy tackle zone as described above.

[I]Passing [/I]- Depending on range, can get anywhere from a +1 to a -2 on this roll.  -1 for each enemy tackle zone on the passer.  If successful, the pass is accurate, goes to the target square, and is easier to catch.  Provides +1 spp to the passer if the catcher catches it.

    [I]Hand-Off[/I] - Like a pass, but done only to an adjacent square, cannot miss, and always counts as an accurate pass.  The catcher can still fail to receive a hand-off, which will result in a turnover.  Unlike a regular pass, a Hand-off provides no spp.  You can do a Pass AND a Hand-off during the same turn, but no more than one of each.  This potentially can allow the ball to traverse the entire pitch in a single turn and is the bread and butter of agility teams.

[I]Catching [/I]- +1 if the pass was accurate.  -1 for each enemy tackle zone on the catcher.

[I]Interception [/I]- An agility roll at -2 (and additional -1's for tackle zones) that can be attempted by a single opposing player along the path of the ball between the passer and catcher.  If successful that player catches the ball and it is is an immediate turnover.  Note that a 6 is always successfully even if the intercepting player's AG and modifiers are so low that they could not otherwise possibly pass this check.  Cannot use a team reroll on this, but the Catch skill does allow a reroll.


Apothecary lets you reroll an injury after it has been determined.  There is no guarantee that the apothecary result won't be as bad as or worse than the original roll, but it's at least a shot at success.  YOU MUST MANUALLY SELECT THE RESULT YOU WANT TO USE FROM THE APOTHECARY POP-UP WINDOW.  The game is perfectly fine letting you make idiotic mistakes like picking "Dead" over "Badly Hurt".

Do not waste this on anything short of a permanent injury or death.  Badly Hurt or even Miss Next Game is not worth wasting this on.


I like to hit "n" and "g" at the start of the game to turn on the player titles and the grid so you can see exactly what the tackle zones around the field look like, and can tell which players are which at a glance.

2. Intermediate


The game is played in two halves, each a set of 8 rounds, with both player taking a turn during each round.  The end of the first 8 rounds will reset the game for the second half - it doesn't matter how close you came to scoring on round 8 - you either did or didn't.  Pay attention to the clock, as the remaining number of turns should affect both your offensive and defensive strategy goals.

Teams that have high agility and movement typically can score in 2 or 3 rounds.  Teams that rely on bashing, running the ball, and caging usually need 4 or 5 rounds.  You do not always want to score right away if there are enough rounds left in the half that your opponent could score as well.


A cage is the term used to describe a common formation that makes it almost impossible for the defending team to blitz the ball carriers.  The simplest cage involves 5 players - the ball carrier in the middle and four players around him, each on a corner.


Getting to the ball carrier directly requires a dodge, and it’s a dodge into 3 tackle zones which is risky even for the best dodging teams. On top of that, without assists you are stuck with a 1-die or 1/2-die block even if you manage to get into the cage. With only 1 blitz a turn, a cage forces the defender to only be able knock out one of the corner positions. On the attacking team’s turn, they simply have to push the guys clear and/or dodge away, and then reform the cage further up the pitch.

Dealing with a Cage

Beating a cage is tricky. Generally it’s better to just get in front of a cage and prevent the caging player from gaining ground. They only have 1 blitz a turn as well, so if you’re just out of range in front of them, they’ll have a hard time getting past you. However, remember that if you can manage to get a guy standing adjacent on one of the cage corners at the start of your turn, you can block him out of the way and blitz the ball carrier.

Aside from that, there are a handful of skills that can be used to actually break a cage, but they are beyond the scope of this guide. There’s a full guide on cage breaking over at that goes into super-detail about all the various possible ways. Definitely worth reading.

[U]3. Advanced[/U]

Optional Skill Use

You can have the game give you the option to ask you if you want to use some skills instead of always assuming you do.  By default the game assumes you always want to use all skills.  They can be toggled in the Options menu under Optional Skills Preset.  The following skills are especially useful to consider changing into "Ask":

[I]Wrestle [/I]- If your opponent blocks your guy with Wrestle and he doesn't have block, you may want to NOT use this skill as it will force a turnover if they choose Both Down

[I]Dodge [/I]- If your opponent doesn't have tackle and they pick Defender Down, you occasionally may rather get knocked over than pushed.  A scenario for this would be if the opponent was frenzying you towards the sidelines to push you out - it might be better to just get knocked down on the first attack to prevent this.

[I]Piling On[/I] - This is pretty obvious - you don't always want your guy to knock himself down.

Limitations on Actions

    Each turn your team as a whole may do 1 blitz, 1 pass, and 1 hand-off total.  Individual players may not mix these actions together and are generally limited to only doing one action apiece.  This has important ramifications - if you pick up the ball with your blitzing player you will not be able to give it away.  Also, consider that a pass - requiring two rolls to complete - is more prone to failure than a hand-off.  If you plan on doing both in the same turn, you may want to do take the pass action in the part of the pitch you have more control over and the hand-off in the area you'd rather not drop the ball into.

Preparing for a TD

    If you want to score a TD you need to have a player standing up within moving distance of the TD line at of the start of your turn.  Any player in such a position is a credible threat to the defender, and they will almost always need to respond with at least a marker.  Having such a player in position is crucial - if you manage to breakaway from the defense you open the opportunity to run up, hand the ball off, and score a TD before the defender gets a chance to respond.  Remember, a hand-off is only a single catch roll made at +1 - even an AG3 player can do this on a 3+.  If you have a reroll you'll succeed 89% of the time.  If the turn clock begins getting low, you need to make sure you get a player in position to have any hope of scoring.  Likewise, if defending remember that if on the last turn the offense has no such players in position they cannot score (barring tricksy stuff like Throw Team-mate).

Looks good. It would have been nice to have this a few weeks ago since my eyes tend to glaze over when I look at the manual. Also, I was unaware that optional skills could be toggled.

Thanks, this clears up some of the less well-explained stuff from the manual!

If you get BBmanager you can instantly download replays of games that are submitted to each league’s library. Currently, there’s “The Qt3 Old World Cup” with 6 matches from this season in it, and “Qt3 Open League” with a bunch of those games. I don’t know how to create a new one or I would for the new world preseason and upcoming season (maybe best to get them all under one). To access games that you didn’t submit, you need to use the filter next to “My Leagues” and select the appropriate one; it defaults to your own recorded ones which is nice but not that helpful.

Once you set up bbmanager (create an account with the same name you use in blood bowl but a different password), you just leave it open in the background (hopefully running BB in windowed mode to avoid crashes when you alt tab). It will pop up a tooltip to ask you to submit at the end of the game or at the end of a replay you’ve loaded–all replays are under single player/load.

EDIT: “The Qt3 New World Cup” league created in BBmanager, so go ahead and start submitting the preseason games.

“The Qt3 Old World Cup” league stores old world cup games

“The Qt3 Open League” is for Open League games.

Thanks for the wonderful tips! And not to be tooooo greedy, but… any tips for team creation? I’m not sure I did a great job on mine.

You may not have, depending on the team. You want to go to bbtactics and look at starting rosters, and then once you start playing them look at the players section for suggestions on good upgrade paths.

Key things that you might have missed: enough rerolls (they get more expensive once you play the team, and generally if you don’t have 2-3 for most teams life is difficult), an apothecary for fragile teams (usually the first purchase after a game for AV8 and up), and just details about what your focus should be with each version of a team. For instance, the “big guy” option with humans is a good idea for many people, the big guy with the lizards is usually a good choice (wasn’t in my case, but there you go), and it’s a potentially huge waste of TV for many variations of a skaven team, especially early on.

Wow, thanks for the link. I kinda botched up my team. Can I continue to tweak it prior to the first match or am I locked in? Thanks!

Edit: Yes, yes I can. Woooo!

I am of the opinion that the only real requirement for creating a team is that you have 1 reroll. I like to buy a bunch of expensive special players because A: they are more fun than having 10 linemen and B: the game doesn’t get any safer later, so the longer you have them the more likely they are to level up. It’s really a factor of how willing you are to submit yourself to Nuffle’s will. Just know that you cannot deny Nuffle when your time has come.

One tip is that at the start of the team’s career you should spend all your money on players and rerolls, with your leftover money going into fan factor. I suggest fan factor because you can only buy it at team creation and it increases how much money you make after each game and gives a bonus to certain kickoff events. The first thing you aim to buy afterwards is an apothecary. Only after you have an apothecary after a game or two would I reccommend getting cheerleaders and assistant coaches.

Great tips Reldan. Particularly like the hotkeys for displaying the grid and player titles. I often feel like my grasp of the game itself is pretty decent, but unfamiliarity with the UI continues to plague me at key moments.

Never send to know for whom the bell tolls, 110k Werewolf; it tolls for thee…

I have to disagree on the rerolls LSB. They really are vital for pretty much every side, and make a huge difference in clutch situations. Running out of rerolls towards the end of a half makes everything much harder.

Nearly every team can get a decent number of positional players and at least two rerolls. My starting Norse side has both werewolves, both berserkers, a thrower and an apothecary along with room for three rerolls.

Plus, loading up on positionals early on tends to either dilute the distribution of SPP or focus it on one big, juicy foul magnet. A more focused approach means you can develop a strong core and then blood the fancy dans later on.

Great tips Reldan. Particularly like the hotkeys for displaying the grid and player titles. I often feel like my grasp of the game itself is pretty decent, but unfamiliarity with the UI continues to plague me at key moments. For example, I am still not entirely sure how I know which players will be put in reserve at the start of a game if I have more than 11. Also, in my next league game I am probably going to have to use a journeyman - I have no idea how to do that from the pre-game screen, and am worried about wasting 50k of inducement money on a mercenary lineman instead.

Never send to know for whom the bell tolls, 110k Werewolf; it tolls for thee…

I have to disagree on the rerolls LSB. They really are vital for pretty much every side, and make a huge difference in clutch situations. Running out of rerolls towards the end of a half makes everything much harder.

It doesn’t necessarily impact the starting roster too much either. Even the most expensive Elven sides can get a decent number of positional players and at least two rerolls. My starting Norse side has both werewolves, both berserkers, a thrower and an apothecary along with room for three rerolls.

Plus, loading up on positionals early on tends to either dilute the distribution of SPP or focus it on one big, juicy foul magnet. A more focused approach means you can develop a strong core and then blood the fancy dans later on.

I think fan factor has been drastically toned down in the latest iteration of the rules too; it’s almost universally regarded as the lowest priority starting purchase for throwing loose change at, and not much more.

This is probably what you meant, but the above could easily be misunderstood:

A Handoff is a 1-square “pass” to an adjacent player, where the “pass” action is always successful. The receiving player then has to catch the ball, rolling for catch as if he has just received an accurate pass. The player who hands off the ball does not get SPP (unlike with a pass).

I wouldn’t spend any money on fan factor on a starting team, given that it is the only resource in the game that you will get for free (and that you can easily lose it too).

Rerolls are generally very worthwhile to get when you create your team. Not only do they cost double later on (so getting them at team creation saves money), there is also the point that your expensively bought players can die or get injured. Your rerolls do not.

A point to keep in mind which are typical mistakes for new coaches:

You can do 1 pass, 1 blitz, and 1 handoff in one turn. Note that due to the way the game is played in tabletop (where one announces the action before taking it), this also means that you cannot combine these actions: each player can only do one action.

There are a number of situations where this can have important consequences, particularly during the final two turns of a half:

  • You blitz the opposing ball carrier. If your plan is to try and move the ball downfield this turn with a handoff or pass, do NOT try and pick the ball up with your blitzing player (and think hard about whether you should follow up the block - the ball might land in that square).

  • The player with the ball is being marked, but needs to throw or handoff the ball. He cannot blitz himself free - you’ll need to either dodge or have someone else blitz the marker.

Just to add to that, “n” and “g” are more than just toggles.

Hitting “g” cycles through different combinations of: grid, tackle zones, and range of movement (shown as grey squares when your opponent is moving). Likewise, “n” cycles through player titles, names, SPP, etc.

It would be nice if these settings weren’t reset each and every game.

Games Workshop produced a very handy Blocking Guide as a free pdf. Very much worth a read and the tables of percentages might be handy printed, cut out and kept close to the computer.

Strategy: Thanks - your description of a Hand-off is much more clear. I’m going to update above.

Also added sections under Advanced describing limitations on team actions and touchdown preparation.


  • If you have trouble connecting to other players, make sure you have the proper ports forwarded on your router: UDP 16962 and 9103.

  • Random crashes and disconnects may be greatly alleviated if you turn graphics settings to a minimum, and turn off music and commentary. Made a huge difference for me.


  • Be careful with the Apothecary UI – typically the wrong result is selected by default!

  • Watch out for the End of Turn button when selecting players at the top of the screen. It extends substantially further down than it looks!

  • If you’re having trouble putting 11 players on the field despite having enough reserves, picking one of the preset formations will fix it.


  • Replay .db files are stored under Documents/BloodBowlLegendary/Saves/Replays/

  • You watch them by loading them as if they were a single player game.

  • The numpad + and - keys adjust the replay speed.

How do you turn this one off, exactly?

I’ve turned off automatic Wrestling by going into the “Optional Skills Preset” and checking “Ask”, and it works fine (though I’ve picked the wrong result twice now!)

But “Ask” won’t check for Dodge, and I can only uncheck “Enabled”… Which I’ve been scared to do as it implies you simply don’t use Dodge. Is that what I’m supposed to uncheck?