Blood Bowl: Taking It Back
by Kirkland Grundy
“We will usher in the greatest era of Blood Bowl the Old World and New World has ever seen.”
– Tywinian Ypressinor, CEO of BIBA, Blood Bowl International Business Association, 2508
“Blood Bowl is like war. There are no winners; only survivors.”
-Hymie Snivel, owner and coach of The Lowdown Rats
Griff Oberwald was carried off the field on a stretcher. This was not entirely new to most fans, since he had been playing the game for over thirty years now, but it would make for better Cabalvision viewing because no one had ever seen him leave the field with a sword sticking through his body. In fact, the ratings might go slightly higher, although no one much cared for Oberwald anymore, Star or not.
Kaspar surveyed the field. All of his team were either dead or just injured enough to stay on the ground, waiting for an apothecary. The Roaming Rovers had gone through six complete roster changes in the same amount of months, and still, Kaspar felt no remorse or guilt for any of them, although it was a waste of players. They all knew what they were getting into, and besides, he didn’t have time to learn any of their names. He only ever had the time to teach them how to hurt the other team and how not to get hurt in return. The other team, The Hunchbacked Hurters, fared no better. Although they were an all-orc team, they also shared the same positions on the field as their opponents, which were to say, dead or injured. Kaspar’s gaze moved to the stands in a defeated disposition. Only a few hundred fans were sticking around to watch the clean-up, but mostly because they were too drunk off of Bloodweiser or Gores Light, the only two drinks allowed in BIBA Stadiums, or fighting amongst themselves having not received enough entertaining violence from the game earlier. To be fair, there were probably only a dozen more fans when they had started the game anyways.
“What da crump has dis crumpin’ game come ta?” asked Dunka walking across the field towards Kaspar. The former orc blitzer stepped over one of his own players’ heads whose tongue was hanging out, touching the field; his blue uniform covered in blood.
“What are we doing here at all?” asked Kaspar. “Just look at this. It’s totally crumped. I don’t know about you, but I’m out of money.”
“Don’t worry, Kaspar. If it makes ya feel better, I am too.”
“I used the remaining money I had on Griff, hoping to pull in a win to gain a couple more investors, but now, he’s out and I don’t even think anybody scored.”
“Nope. I told mine not ta until dey killed alla yours.”
“I did the same, Dunka,” Kaspar sighed. He rolled over one of his players with his boot. The player groaned in pain, his red and black uniform slit from the cuts of the weapons used by Dunka’s team. “But why are we doing that? We’re part of the problem, you know.”
They began to walk back across the pitch to get to the exits. At McMurty’s Field in The Moot, previously called Green Acres Stadium, all of the exits were at one side of the arena while all of the entrances were at the other. At one end of the field were the large kitchens of McMurty’s to feed the few spectators that came while at the other end were the locker rooms. McMurty’s had bought the stadium on the cheap and had transformed it from a rural stadium in the middle of the Moot to an arena that could sport about thirty thousand fans. Of course, this was only one of seven fields McMurty’s owned throughout the Old World, this one being the smallest venue of the seven.
Having no players left, no equipment, and no money, both Kaspar and Dunka had no need to stop by the locker rooms and headed for the exits. “And since when did we resort to being entirely monopolized by BIBA and then told what company to buy from for equipment,” asked Kaspar as he pulled a sword from another human player, #15, “and where in the Chaos did you get Nipponese swords from?”
“Good deal from Amazons,” Dunka said taking the sword from Kaspar as it was passed to him, “and saved a bundle on shippin’. Where’d ya find da flails?”
“MeSlay. They were used, but I got a pretty good deal on them as well.”
“Did a number on mah boyz,” said Dunka, also taking a look at both teams lying on the pitch.
“Yeah, about that, why are your teams getting smaller? I thought you greenskins lived for this kind of thing.”
Dunka shrugged. “Mostly. But if we want ta fight, we fight. If we want ta play, we play. So confusin’ now. Lotsa boyz went off ta fight in real battles, like in da Southlands or Khuresh. More loot dere dan here. Not like it used ta be.” Dunka watched the remaining fans leave the stadium as if they realized they had something better to do but there happened to be a Blood Bowl game that interrupted them. “Dis makes me wish the elves didn’t go.”
“Or the Halfling teams.”
“Dem too,” Dunka sighed.
“Ridiculous,” said Kaspar.
“Speakin’ about dat,” said Dunka nodding to two BIBA officials walking towards them. One was an elf; the other, a human. Dunka tossed the sword to the ground.
“Cards, please,” the tall elf said.
Kaspar and Dunka fished theirs out and handed them to the officials. Kaspar turned back to Dunka, rubbing his chin, “I mean, we fill out our rosters, put them on the field, they attempt to kill each other, and then we have pay these crumpin’ fools so they can take in most of the ticket sales?”
“Watch your language coach,” said the human official.
“Crump off, you don’t even know who I am.”
“Oh, you only knew that because you just looked at my card, you shank.”
“Uh, no I didn’t.”
“What’s mah name den,” asked Dunka.
“So, just take my gold and shove off,” yelled Kaspar. The human official placed a magic rune card on Kaspar’s and it turned from a glowing red and stayed that way. “I mean, we used to actually play a game, Dunka, remember? There was a ball and everything. At least I remember there being one. Amazing that one little ball with spikes is what kept this game civilized. Then these shanks came in and screwed everything about.”
Dunka nodded. The elven official’s rune card changed from glowing red to blue on top of Dunka’s card, and the elf handed it back to Dunka. “’’Member when crumpin’ touchdowns happened? Referees could crumpin’ ref wit-out gettin’ dead or being da first dead man on da field? Or weapons like dese swords and flails; dese weren’t here before. Except for Gobbos and Dark Elves. And a dwarf or two.”
“It used to be that this crap got you kicked off the field or even banned, but now, thanks to these BIBA crumps, we have to practically give them to all of our players in order to even have a shot. Why don’t we just have everyone fight to the death, anyways? Oh wait, we already do that!”
“Coach?” asked the human official.
Kaspar turned violently. “What?”
“It appears you have no more loan of gold on your card.”
“No shank! I spent the last of it on Griff Oberwald, that old crumpstick. Let’s go see if I can get the sword sticking out of his stomach so I can shove it up your ass!”
The elven official chimed in. “Coach, there is no need to be this disgruntled. As a representative of BIBA, I am authorized to take your team, your equipment, and any other assets effective immediately.”
Dunka chuckled. “Good luck wit dat.”
The elf turned to look at Dunka with a confused look. Kaspar said, “Listen. You can have it all. In fact, here is my authorization medallion as well, because I am sure you need that, too, right?”
Kaspar placed it on the ground, unbuckled his pants, and sat over the medallion until he covered it with poop. Dunka laughed so hard at their expressions and while they were transfixed at the egregious display by Kaspar, grabbed the elf by the throat, head-butted him, and then punched out the human.
Still laughing, Dunka asked, “Bloodweiser?”
“You buying?” Kaspar took one of the robes of the officials to wipe himself.
“Looks like I have ta.”
No fans raced up to them, either to hurt or to praise, but that lost its surprise a year back or so. What was the sport coming to when even the fans were losing interest in criticizing the coaches? At some point, Blood Bowl needed to change. Go back to its roots. In 2508, BIBA stepped in to make money off of the most popular sport in the Old World, and possibly the New World as well. After promising contracts to many leading companies, including viewing rights to CBS and NBC, BIBA began changing the rules of the game. Lucrative contracts to players and moving them around to become permanent members of whatever teams BIBA wanted led to most players losing loyalty and passion for their home fields. And while there were still die hard fans, many turned to merely staying involved in following their teams by checking the stats in the local BIBA Post.
Soon after, BIBA created the the BBSPN, thus covering most games without having to relinquish any control of advertising or coverage to the other stations. Instead, they began to only allow NBC, FOX, and CBS to cover any Bowl finals on specialized pay-per-view. All of this meant that the spectator had to pay more money to watch the same games they did before BIBA took over. By 2515, BIBA, and their approved companies, controlled or owned almost everything related to Blood Bowl.
The two coaches walked past Griff Oberwald getting ready to go on a wagon to an apothecary preapproved by BIBA and McMurty’s. As they loaded him onto the back, the two nurses bumped his side into the folded down door. The sword slid down further. “Ouch,” was his only reply.
“Stop bein’ a crybaby,” said Dunka as they walked past him to go drink to the pitiful rut they had found themselves.