Spooky Scary Skeletons
Or spooky scary zombies, anyway.
The Undead team is full of players who are...well, dead. The team evokes the feeling of a zombie horde, where they are slow and individually easy to deal with, but as a combined force seem inevitable and unstoppable.
At least, in theory.
This is a dead simple theme, but it's one that's surprisingly hard to translate into blood bowl. The zombie horde is a little less inevitable where half of them are sitting on the bench. And you don't need to stop a team so long as you can stall it for 8 turns at a time. The natural play space for this sort of team is control, but it needs a lot of care to avoid falling into similar traps as Dwarves do.
Beyond all that, one other thing that this team brings with it is an opportunity to really showcase a wide variety of undead abominations. Variety is the name of the game here...just so long as every instance of that variety fits into the larger theme.
|0-16||Skeleton||5||3||2||7||Regen, Thick Skull||G(APS)||40K|
|0-2||Mummy||3||5||1||9||Regen, Mighty Blow||S(GAP)||110K|
This looks a lot like the CRP6 Undead team, but with a few things to note that add up to some pretty interesting changes. We'll tackle the second first, because it's a much simpler change. We have given Ghouls Passing access. This allows the rare developed ghoul to make a wider variety of play, puts additional emphasis on protecting the team's squishies and has the largest impact on the high-tv game, where Undead has traditionally struggled.
Then we have the Zombies, which have a whole lot of asterisks decorating their position. Here is the thing about Zombies: They are 10K overpriced. A human lineman is 6/3/3/8. A point of agility is worth the same as regen, so that brings us to 6/3/2/8. And removing that first point of movement brings us down to 40K. But that's a statline of 5/3/2/8! There are a lot of good reasons for 40K to be the cutoff for non-stunty player costs, but it doesn't at all sit right with me that Zombies get nothing for that last point of movement.
I'm not really willing to give it back to them as a stat, either. More movement will make them too similar to skeletons, while more armour makes them a little too tanky for corpses being puppetted around by magic. I've thought of two solutions for this and I'm honestly not sure which I prefer, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to just show them both and explain the benefits of each.
Solution 1 is to give Zombies Foul Appearance and increase their cost to 50K. This change makes them feel more distinct from Skeletons. It has good flavour (because they're zombies; come on!) and it makes them more durable by making them just a little harder to hit. On the downside, increasing the cost of zombies could have unpredicted effects on lineman composition for undead teams (actually this might be a benefit. It depends!) and it might be too good to have linemen who ignore 1/6th of all blocks. There is also an issue with Necromancers, which would likely need to be changed to account for getting a better Zombie. Maybe the Necromancer would need to be purchased like an apo. Maybe it would create old-style zombies? There are options to consider here that I haven't yet fully worked out.
Solution 2 is to give zombies an extraordinary skill to make up the difference, for which I present: Zombie Horde (Thank you SirDireFish for the name and some wording details on the idea). When a player with this skill kills an opposing player, the Necromancer may raise that player as a zombie on the square the player died instead of on the bench. Players raised in this way ignore the normal 11 player limit until the end of the drive. This idea also has a lot of thematic potential. It's something that will come up infrequently enough to not be a major balance concern, but which is dramatic and flavourful when it does happen. The downside is again with the skeletons. In particular, this skill encourages fouling with zombies, which takes away from a not insignificant part of the skeleton identity Would you use skeletons on a team with this skill? I don't think I would.
Regen is another one of those skills where it adds a whole lot to the game, but you need to be careful with it. It absolutely changes the play feel of a team that has it! But it has a strict 20K price tag per player in CRP6 for a reason. Regen is really good! Especially when most of your team has it. It demands that the right balance be found between it's inclusion or exclusion.
In particular, Regen is strictly better than an apothecary at the task of preserving a team. It's not strictly better for all cases. An Apo has more utility and in fairly specific scenarios can be preferable for protecting a single player. But when it comes to the whole team? A 50% chance for every player on your team to recover from an injury is a whole lot better than a 66% chance for exactly one player to recover from an injury, once.
Regen also changes the feeling of suffering attrition, at least some of the time. Even if your team gets pitch cleared, regen means you'll come back stronger on the next drive than a team without it would.
The other upshot of this is that it plays into the themes of the Undead team particularly well. The relentless dead? Well, it's a lot harder to stop something when it keeps standing back up after you tear off it's arm.
The flip side is that we want to be a bit careful about which teams we allow to have regen access. It's inclusion should always be a defining feature of the team and considerations need to be taken to make sure it doesn't result it players players who win the bash game through sheer tenacity.
We talked about regen a bit with regen so naturally that means it's time to dive into the wacky stuff. Look forward to it =D