Dungeonbowl Background


Expanded rules and hobby ideas for the board game of dungeon fantasy football

Dungeonbowl Background

The full background of Dungeonbowl as a Blood Bowl game variant can be found in the 1989 Dungeonbowl boxed game rules, and can be summarised as follows.

The world of Blood Bowl and Dungeonbowl is a world where fantasy meets contemporary pop culture. Once, the world was dominated by war, and forces of Order, like humans, elves and dwarfs waged mighty battles against the forces of Chaos, monstrous creatures and renegade humans bent on domination and destruction. However, at one point, the sides got tired of the endless wars, and decided to settle their differences by competing in violent sporting events instead. This resulted in a technological, cultural and magical boom, so that today, the races of the BB world can drink Bloodweiser Beer, wear Orcidas trainers, and watch Dungeonbowl on Cabalvision from the comfort of their own homes.

In this world, the ten Colleges of Magic, of Warhammer fame and local to the human realm of the Empire, were tired of endlessly debating with each other which College was the most awesome, and of the wizarding duels that eventually would follow. They decided to set up an annual Blood Bowl tournament, the result of which should decide in which order the Colleges should be ranked in terms of bragging rights for a year at a time.

Because wizards are a whimsical sort, they decided to have the game played out in a dungeon instead of on a playing field, and eventually added teleporters and magical chests to make the game more interesting than watching a slow meat grinder in action.

Each College thus assembled a team to represent them in the Dungeonbowl tournament:

  • The Gold College created the War Hawks, a team of Orcs, Snotlings and Ogres that was high on brawn and low cunning, but low on brains and morale.
  • The Amethyst College created the Grim Reapers, a team of Skaven, Goblins and Minotaurs, where the ferocity of the Minotaurs was legendary and terrifying.
  • The Jade College created the Green Destroyers, an Orc, Goblin and Troll team of a mischievous and destructive nature.
  • The Grey College created the Grey Shadows, a professional team of Humans, Snotlings and Ogres whose only failing was selfishness and lack of team play.
  • The Light College created the Tallow Candles, a lacklustre Halfling team that later added Dwarfs and Werewolves and were renamed as the Doom Forgers.
  • The Bright College created the Blood Axes, a highly disciplined team of Dwarfs and Humans that are often considered to be the best Dungeonbowl team of all time.
  • The Amber College created the Storm Bolts, a savage team of Dark Elves, Orcs and Skaven that won the first ever Dungeonbowl tournament.
  • The Celestial College created the Celestial Comets, a team of all Elves that excelled at speed and teleportation.
  • The Rainbow College created the Harlequins, a virtuoso team of Elves, Halflings and Humans considered second only to the Blood Axes.
  • The Dark College created the Black Widows, a team of Skeletons, Mummies and Trolls whose primary strengths were brute force, necromancy, and physical terror.

Thus came into being the annual Dungeonbowl tournament, which was the original scene and setting for the game of Dungeonbowl.

Since the early days, many of the teams described above have added to and adjusted their player configurations, and will most likely continue to do so. You can read more about the AGE take on the ten original teams and their options on the Dungeonbowl Team Profiles and Colleges and Race Selection pages.

In the AGE setting, the Dungeonbowl tournament is still the premier event of the year for Dungeonbowl, but there are now many leagues and tournaments scattered across the Old and New Worlds, with many new teams, all sponsored by the ten Colleges. Occasionally, famous Blood Bowl teams will be invited to participate in friendly display games of Dungeonbowl, and vice versa. 

One minor quibble for the background of Dungeonbowl is that the 3rd edition Blood Bowl rulebook specifically mentioned Dungeonbowl as being an extinct variant of the game, which was originally played in a dungeon with its own separate rules and teams, but which in the then-current setting had evolved into simply being a normal Blood Bowl tournament played on a normal Blood Bowl field by normal Blood Bowl teams, just underground and sponsored by the Colleges of Magic.

For those who care about that sort of thing, though, it is easy enough to say that the rulebook statement about Dungeonbowl having changed into a Blood Bowl tournament was true at the time, but that since then, a Dungeonbowl revival effort has changed it back into its original form, with chests and teleporters and a real dungeon.

Much like Blood Bowl, Dungeonbowl is defined less by its specific fictional history and more by its format as a fun, lighthearted alternate version of the Warhammer World, where the timeline has advanced to be a magical parody of the real world, with technology replaced by magic and war replaced by sporting events. 

Last updated in March 2018