The basics - what is Blood Bowl?Blood Bowl is a board game by Games Workshop which first came out in 1986. It's basically american football using popular fantasy races like orks, elves and the undead. Since its release Blood Bowl has been very popular and remains played to this day and the rulebook is reguarly updated and is available for free (see links). There's never been a better time to get into the game and with Ebay you can find yourself a team, or even the boxed game. This guide will attempt to provide as much information on this great game as I can and is aimed at buyers looking to start or increase their collection. There's also information at the end about playing on the cheap and I've tried to include useful info for sellers too.
Buying and selling Blood Bowl stuff on Ebay
Blood Bowl or Bloodbowl?The game is called Blood Bowl but unsurprisingly lots of stuff gets listed as Bloodbowl. Although Ebay is smart enough to display most stuff whichever you type into search you do get slightly different results. If you are serious about aquiring Blood Bowl stuff then it's worth checking both on a regular basis.
What's it worth?Blood Bowl, like any popular miniatures game, can be expensive. On the upside you only need 11 pieces to form a team. Generally the plastic miniatures are the least expensive and with a bit of modification can look pretty nice. Expect to pay in the region of a crisp fiver for a set of 16 plastic orks or humans. A metal miniatures team is generally a boxed set and will be at least £12 or more. Especially rare or hard to get hold of miniatures from previous editions may well set you back £30 or more. A big guy (ogre or troll etc) is likely to fetch about £5 although prices can shoot up quickly on these and star players of all kinds generally go for £2.50-6 each, sometimes a lot more especially if they are rare chaos/skaven mutants as people are always on the lookout for these as their team mutates thanks to the attentions of their chaotic masters. A 3rd edition board and rulebook with miniatures is probably worth in the region of £20 at the moment.
Expensive teams tend to be the ones which are were produced in limited numbers of which people simply like or want to hang on to. Classic wallet bashers include Chaos Dwarfs, Halflings and the now out of print Snotlings. Early miniatures are in quite a different style to the modern ones and are on the whole very nice. The elves especially seems popular, you can spot those by their studded clothing.
Beware of cheap copiesIt's illegal to sell copies of miniatures, not just on Ebay but anywhere. It is very rare to see them on Ebay but if you are in any doubt ask the seller to send you more pictures. Signs that it is re-cast include massive lines of flash around the moulding, lack of features and being supplied with no base. Unless you are sure they are fake don't report them as this will be very annoying for the seller, but if you are certain you are looking at a fake please do report it as you will be saving someone from getting a cheap knock off copy that is sure to disappoint.
OverpayingI always feel sorry for people when I see them paying over the odds for something, this stuff is still made and available to buy from Games Workshop. I often see second hand stuff sell for more than it would cost brand new, which is madness and just lazy. If you want to avoid this you can look up the new prices easily, don't be fooled into thinking what other ebay bidders think is a fair price reflects a miniatures real value.
Buy it now.It's always worth checking the buy it now listings, you can do this by doing an advanced search and including shops / buy it now options. Sometimes there are bargains to be found especially on single figures.
Cheaper ways to start playingIf you're a certified miser like me then you'll probably be thinking "but I want to try lots of teams on the cheap" well good news, you aren't alone and it's very, very cheap. Look for warhammer fantasy battle miniatures that can easily be converted. Check the rulebook first to see what you need for a team before going on the trawl. Plastic figures are cheaper and easier to carve up, remember you will have to remove all their weapons. If you want to get a bit more advanced you could buy some 'green stuff' modelling material (also available on ebay of course!) and add pads, helmets and spikes to make them look more like real Blood Bowl miniatures. I'd recommend the cheap heroquest pieces as you can bag 10 for a couple of quid and have a team to try out in no time. A custom made team is a nice thing to have and you'll find players love to see custom made stuff and will be more than happy to play against them.
Selling Blood Bowl stuff There is a Blood Bowl subcategory for Blood Bowl under wargames but as long as you list it with both the Blood Bowl and Bloodbowl keywords you should be ok, for example "Blood Bowl elf catcher Bloodbowl" will ensure people find it easily. I have spent a lot of time watching auctions and it's pretty clear that nobody likes auctions with a minimum starting bid. With Blood Bowl stuff you don't need to do this, whatever you are seling someone will find it and want it so you can safely start things off with no minimum bid to get the ball rolling, no pun intended. Generally items with no reserve get more bids and end up selling for more than the same item with a high start price.
Try to include clear shots of the contents, I often see closed boxes as the only picture. That gives the buyer little reassurance that what's inside isn't a bunch of broken clag and these auctions almost always make about 2/3 of what they would have done with a good shot. If you aren't sure what you have then it's worth doing a bit of research, if you are really stuck and the net can't help then drop me a message and I'll see if I can help. This isn't a substitute for looking it up yourself! Starting a troll off with a £30 reserve or listing an old rulebook at £15 when everyone else has them selling with no reserve generally means you're wasting your time but still people do it over and over again assuming someone will pay over the odds for something. They might, but they are more likely to go bid-crazy and reach the price you'd like than slap down a big bid right at the start.
Try to think like a bidder, what would you want to see and would you start off at your absolute top bid for something? Most people don't work that way and are more likely to keep looking.
EditionsFirst Edition - released 1986, the expansion was called Death Zone and came out in 1987.
Second Edition - released 1988 with Star Players expansion in 1989 and the Companion in 1990.
Dungeonbowl - This official variant of Blood Bowl came out in 1989, it allows you to play games in deep dark underground dungeons and is pretty entertaining. You'll rarely see this one listed, it's pretty hard to find. Came out in 1990.
Kerrunch - This trimmed down version of Blood Bowl came out in 1991 and failed to win many fans. It took a simple but fun game and made it a bit more simple. I originally wrote that I'd never seen this on ebay and sure enough as soon as I clicked submit guide what do I see, two versions listed. Ok so it's not THAT rare but it's still fairly rare and sought after because it comes with some decent plastic teams for the elves and dwarfs.
Third Edition - Released in 1994 and again in 1998 and 2000 this proved to be a very popular edition. The miniatures and general presentation of the third edition was big hit and Games Workshop won awards for the miniatures. Death Zone, the official expansion came out in 1994 and was re-released in 1998 and again in 2001.
Fourth Edition - In 2000 the 4th edition came out to a decidedly mixed reception. It was clear it had been only minimally tested prior to printing and the author later agreed that it required better playtesting (some would argue he should have said "any playtesting..") and this version was 'patched' with articles in White Dwarf. A 'gold editon' was released on the website. In terms of collectability it is less generally less sought after than 3rd edtion.
BB2k1 - This 2001 rules review did much to clean up the problems of the 4th edition.
Living Rule Book - In December 2002 Games Workshop released the Living Rule Book which continues to be updated with new rules and balancing. It is arguably the most playable version and the most balanced too. You can download it legally for free from the specialist games site, See links.
SummaryBlood Bowl is a top game, a really good fun and easy to learn game that shows no sign of losing popularity. With the boxed set going for fifty pounds there's lots of good reasons to trawl Ebay for your stuff. Be sure to check what edition you are buying if you are bidding on a boxed set and check that everything is there, or adjust your bids to suit if not. Commonly missing bits include balls, dice and the miniatures themselves! If you're going to buy a team try to get a whole team at a time if you can, this saves you getting outbid on that last player but it also tends to work out cheaper on postage and on overall price.
I hope you enjoy Blood Bowl as much as me, I really rate it as one of the best games Games Workshop has ever made.
Apparently you can't link to non-ebay sites..nice one. You can however google specialist games or go to Games Workshop and click on specialist games from there. It's easy to find, alternatively just google Blood Bowl LRB to find it.
Search Blood Bowl
Planet Redboots - extensive stock of WHFB miniatures ripe for conversion with combined shipping (I'm not affiliated with this trader, just a useful shop and friendly person to deal with.)
Good luck on the pitch!