Random Skill Selection

With the recent rulebook leaks for Blood Bowl 2020 Second Season there have obviously been some changes to how the game works. On the whole I don’t think the game will change a great deal but when it comes to team progression, an option to randomly select a skill is worth some tactical investigation.

It would appear that the following points dictate how randomisation will work:

  • There will be 12 skills in each category
  • You can pick a single skill category to randomise from
  • Reroll any skill you already have, or aren’t allowed

Why would you take a random skill?

So why would you take a chance to randomise a skill instead of picking one. The first is that it’s going to get you more skills at a faster rate on your team than if you waited to be able to select the exact skill you wanted. Secondly for later skill choices you may be happy with one of a number of skills, though this essentially is the same as the first point, you get an extra skill quicker. The other main factor is that a randomly selected skill adds less to your team value compared to a selected skill.

This doesn’t come without a downside in that you could potentially get a skill you deem somewhat useless or unhelpful. You need to weigh up the risk reward based on the individual player and then your team as a whole. If there is a stand out skill that’s going to help your team a lot you may be worth waiting until you can select that exact skill. If you’ve got multiple players who can get a new skill randomly, then you may want to risk it and go ahead. As you can roll them one at a time this gives you a bit of leeway.

For example Kick is a great skill to have on a team though having multiple players with Kick is a bit redundant and not very desirable. With multiple possible random skills to roll for, you can do them one at a time and then perhaps if the first one gets Kick you may decide to wait and get a specific skill instead. If that player doesn’t have any current skills in the same category as the skill you’d rather not randomly get, then your odds are better at avoiding it, so you may decide it’s worth the risk anyway.

Random skills will perhaps go up in value in a short progression format where overall you don’t get many games or chances to get skills. They will probably be less valuable in a never ending ongoing format where the number of games your team will possibly play is infinite (or at least higher than the number of iced buns a Halfling player eats). In this sort of match making environment where there’s a good chance of playing a team of similar team value, then you can just wait and get the exact skill you wanted.

After some more thought, random skills seem more suited to your general purpose players (typically Linemen) as it’s not so awkward for them to have a slightly less useful skill than on a player who you are developing into a specific role. This is especially the case if it is their first skill as you can then tailor their development based on that.

Random Skill Odds Tables

Along the top is the number of skills you deem useful that you could get. So if you feel that 6 of the skills would be really worth having you could look at the 6 column, if there are another 3 you’d rather avoid but ultimately wouldn’t mind a bit later then you can move up to the 9 column. The numbers down the left side are the number of skills left available for that player to take, for example if they start with Block then they can’t get it a second time, so for that player there are only 11 skills available. If you cross reference this with the number you decided from the top row, this will give you the percentage chance that you will get a skill you are happy with.

Please note I’ve rounded off to the nearest integer for clarity. I’ve also gone all the way to 1 skill left as some leagues may house rule to have more than the standard cap on player skills. For most players you won’t need to go below row 7 (6 appears to be the maximum amount of extra skills, so you already have 5 which taken from 12 in the category would leave 7 left to randomise from).


So as a quick example if your player has Block already and you are looking at taking a random General skill. You’ve deemed that 5 of them you would be happy to have. Go to 5 on the top row and then 11 on the far left which will give you a 45% chance of getting what you ideally want. If there is one specific skill you really want, or one you really want to avoid, then look at column 1, which in this example shows you have a 9% chance of getting that single skill.

Blood Bowl Skills Lists

Here are the leaked / rumoured skill lists, this is subject to change as more information becomes available. We don’t yet know what the method of randomisation is, I’d like to think with 12 skills in each category there will be a D12 die in the box to use. The ones in italiacs are new skills. I will discuss these in the future after the actual rulebook is in my hands. These lists should help you easily count how many useful / semi useful / not useful skills you may want to either get or avoid.

Random Agility Skills List

1. Catch 2. Diving Catch 3. Diving Tackle 4. Dodge 5. Defensive 6. Jump Up 7. Leap 8. Safe Pair of Hands 9. Side Step 10. Sneaky Git 11. Sprint 12. Sure Feet

Random General Skills List

1. Block 2. Dauntless 3. Dirty Player 4. Fend 5. Frenzy 6. Kick 7. Pro 8. Shadowing 9. Strip Ball 10. Sure Hands 11. Tackle 12. Wrestle

Random Mutation Skills List

1. Big Hand 2. Claw 3. Disturbing Presence 4. Extra Arms 5. Foul Appearance 6. Horns 7. Iron Hard Skin 8. Monstrous Mouth 9. Prehensile Tail 10. Tentacles 11. Two Heads 12. Very Long Legs

Random Passing Skills List

1. Accurate 2. Cannoneer 3. Cloud Burster 4 Dump Off. 5. Fumblerooskie 6. Hail Mary Pass 7. Leader 8. Nerves of Steel 9. On The Ball 10. Pass 11. Running Pass 12. Safe Pass

Random Strength Skills List

1. Arm Bar 2. Brawler 3. Break Tackle 4. Grab 5. Guard 6. Juggernaut 7. Mighty Blow 8. Multiple Block 9. Pile Driver 10. Stand Firm 11. Strong Arm 12. Thick Skull

Random Skills Summary

At first I was somewhat sceptical about random skills but if you can indeed select the skill category then you have a bit more control over it. It certainly will be more beneficial in shorter formats which can add some fun and variance into the game. The flip side of that is that some players will get luckier and randomise much stronger skills than others. In a perpetual format you could end up with two identical teams, though one has a lower team value as they only used random skills and pruned out players who got poor random skill increases.

Some players will also find it more useful or beneficial than others. More specific positional players or builds for your team may demand a more specific skill. That general lineman who isn’t so important then taking a risk to skill them up quicker might be well worth the gamble. Keep your eyes peeled in the future where I’ll go into this for each individual player. Hopefully the lists and the percentage odds table above will help aid you when it comes to making that decision.

6 thoughts on “Random Skill Selection”

  1. Great article, thank you for all the hard work.

    I’ve been keeping up with the leaks but I miss the “Arm Bar” skill, what does it do.

  2. Personally, considering the teams I like to play, I’ll never ever spend SPPs on a random skill. I think this may be worth it on Stunties and extremely cheap players (less than 50k). Even then, on most Linemen, I’ll not risk rolling Dauntless, Frenzy, Pro, Shadowing, Strip Ball or Sure Hands (6 out of 11). Tackle and Fend are good, but not the first skills you want. Dirty Player and Kick are excellent, but just on one player (in fact, they’re good enough that you want to secure that skill with a non-random level up). Block or Wrestle are non negotiable first pick, and I just can’t imagine spending preciously earned SPPs to have a 83% chances of NOT getting one of them.

    Some min/maxers (or noobs) in perpetual leagues will risk the random skill, but it’s far more valuable, IMHO, to just hoard the SPPs and spend them surgically, on the best tactical choice for that player’s position.

    Speaking of skills, is it good for the game in general to get a guaranteed access to Secondary Skills? I love Mighty Blow on one of my Wardancers. And why not Juggernaut on the one with Strip Ball and Tackle? I can make my players more dangerous, but so can everyone. Is that good balance? Or proper balance is to make Secondary Skills a rare occurance, like it’s currently the case?

    • Some good points there. It’s really going to come down to the individual races and specific player positions, the league format you’re playing in and then personal preference. In a lot of short tabletop leagues a lot of players may never get to the current 6 SPP for their first skill, with either a touchdown or a MVP they can take a shot at a random skill.

      When it comes to being guaranteed a choice of a Secondary Skill I’m in two minds. Firstly it will take longer to get the SPP for them and it will add extra team value to that player which I think (obviously having no actual play experience with these rules) that they probably balance out fine. The options are there for everyone too, going to be interesting to see how everyone adapts and if new strategies come out. Another thing going for it is that it’s down to the choice of the coach now rather than the randomness which can advantage some teams more than others.

    • In my opinion the random skill will present an interesting twist in most regular board game leagues or even online leagues where you play about 10 games a season. I also believe this is what the game are sort of balanced around and if you go beyond that you might need to add house rules to make it work, which is not a bad thing.
      A Wardancer With both MB and Juggernaught will cost you 26 SPP and an additional 80k in TV… is it really worth it… perhaps in some circumstance it might be. If you have a Wardancer that happen to get allot of SPP quickly it might be.

      I do agree that in some cases you will want to chose skills, but sometimes you just want a skill for less SPP and less of a TV bloat and most skill will provide at least some benefit.

      I would not be unhappy if I get Dauntless on a human lineman for 3 SPP and only +10k in TV. To be frank I probaly could find use even for shadowing on a lineman for +10k in TV if nuffle are against me… I just won’t redraft that player next season.
      If I have a lineman that has received a CAS and later get an MVP and so have 6 SPP I probably would give them Block or Wrestle but then I would not hesitate to give them a random skill for another MVP or two more CAS.

      If I only play about 10 games a seasons then most of my players are never going to get more than a couple of skills and it becomes rather important how you spend your SPP.

      If you look at how it works it also is more SPP effective to make early skills your choice and later skills random.

      I could see myself choosing the first two skills on most positional players and then take a few random skills as I might never see any additional skills at all otherwise.

    • I’d say a skill you would never take is a skill your opponent would never expect – or at least might not consider in a crucial moment.

      A shadowing linesman might bring an unexpected TZ to a player expected to dodge free, a linesman frenzy could unexpectedly crowd surf a player deemed in safe distance, a dauntless linesman needs one less assist for a 2d block against a st4 player than taken into consideration.

      While none of those surprises would justify actively chosing those skills, they can lead to game-changing (or at least memorable) moments.

      I might prefer that over a linesman with 3SSP waiting for 3 more…


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