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Dungeon Bowl’s American football-meets-dungeon crawler returns with a modernised edition

Friday Night Fights.

Pre-eminent miniatures maker Games Workshop recently shared a slew of upcoming additions to both Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar, but one announcement that stuck out was the reveal of a new edition of dungeon-crawling competition Dungeon Bowl.

The slightly zanier sibling of Blood Bowl buries the concept of organized sports deep underground where teams of units rush through the dank confines of some wizard’s basement, avoiding traps, pitfalls and the opposing team’s deadly intent. The narrative - for those who need it to justify their madcap actions - is that bored wizards from the eight Colleges of Magic assembled the most murder-thirsty teams to play in a game they created and from which few will likely survive. That game looks and plays a bit like American Football by way of a meat grinder gauntlet.

The original Dungeon Bowl - fully titled as Elves, Dwarfs and Dungeonbowl - released as a supplement to Blood Bowl’s second edition in 1989, which is why Age of Sigmar players might be scratching their heads over mentions of Colleges - it used the now defunct Warhammer Fantasy worldbuilding for its setting and team composition. The goal was to rummage around in trapped treasure chests strewn around even more heavily trapped rooms until the ball was located. The first team to bring that ball back to their base won the game.

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Much of the original DNA has been preserved and modernised for contemporary players. Each team will begin the match by scouting the dungeon one board piece at a time, careful to avoid biting it at the end of their opponents’ units or some wizardly trick. Teleportation rings provide shortcuts, but also ample opportunities to set up ambushes, and the motley collection of each college’s team creates a wealth of strategies and contingencies as the match progresses.

The remastered box will ship with two College teams - Fire contains Ogres, Dwarves and Goblins, while the Shadow College posits an alliance of necessity between Skaven and Dark Elves. Games Workshop said in the announcement that all Blood Bowl team miniatures can be thrown in to create more unique match-ups.

Those intimidated by the immensity of Warhammer’s conventional miniature wargaming may find Dungeon Bowl an easier step into the hobby’s pool, as it seems to have been designed - or redesigned - with multiple hooks. Talk of a narrative makes it feel “like an immersive adventure game”, according to Games Workshop, and the rules cleave close to how Blood Bowl functions so that learning one effectively prepares players for the other.

In typical Games Workshop fashion, the publisher did not provide a release date or pricing for Dungeon Bowl’s modern-day glow up. Promotional images of the box feature the same primary blue and red theming of Blood Bowl’s 2021 edition, complete with the spiky logo. The company did mention that everything needed to play, from rulebooks to miniatures and dice, will be included together - this will not be an expansion nor require another box just to hit the table.

Dicebreaker has reached out to Games Workshop for more information, including when fans of Dungeon Bowl’s gruesome gridiron action can expect to see it on store shelves.

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