I play 40k primarily as a competitive game, and although I'm happy to tone it down and play 'for fun' (see the CONCEPTS: Fun?!? post for more of my thoughts on this), I enjoy it the most when I'm pushing hard with the best army I can field against a strong opponent. However, I've been considering possibilities for an alternative game, just to break up playing 40k.
Firstly, the game needed to be fun - in the 'I'm not trying flat out to win or improve in my free time and I don't care too much about the result' kind of way. I still struggle to turn off trying to win when playing though, so the game needed to have enough strategic depth to keep my interest.
Secondly, it needed a low minimum investment in terms of both time and money. So assuming that the game would be model based (computer and card games are still an option), I wanted something that wasn't going to be anyway as near as expensive as 40k or require a large number of models to make or paint. I refuse to play with a model that is, for me, sloppily painted or has mold lines everywhere. Work in progress is fine and I have no issues with other player's standards, but I'm not willing to compromise on this for myself!
It also needed to be significantly different from 40k, either in medium (e.g. computer or card games as noted above) and/or in theme (fantasy or possibly steam-punk).
Lastly, I needed to be able to have a group of local players to play with! Because playing against myself would be a lot less fun...
So with these criteria in mind, I finally settled on... Blood Bowl (a shock given the title of the post!).
I used to love this game and only sold my previous collection a few years ago (typical, but mouths to feed and all). I was delighted when I found that the current rulebook is still in digital print and available free from Games Workshop. Yes, free. From Games Workshop. I still can't get over that.
Anyway, for those who don't already know, Blood Bowl is a rather brutal fantasy American football game based in the Old World (so the same as Warhammer Fantasy). You can either play a straightforward game, or you can develop a team in leagues/tournaments where your players (e.g. Throwers, Catchers, Blitzers) can gain experience and skills and even pick up ongoing injuries. Managing and improving your team is what appeals to me most, much like the brilliant Necromunda, and the games themselves tend to be fast and furious too. Oh, and there's the Xbox 360 game too!
There are enough guys at Walberton Wargamers that have played in the past/play occasionally now that getting games in won't be a problem, and as a starting team generally consists of 12 players, getting some models together isn't going to break the bank or take an age to get onto the table. I've already picked a team, and will run through my choice in the next Blood Bowl post!