Blood Bowl (2009 video game)

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Blood Bowl
Blood Bowl.jpg
Publisher(s)Focus Home Interactive
Director(s)Antoine Villepreux
Designer(s)Régis Robin
Programmer(s)Antoine Villepreux
Arnaud Chapalain
Artist(s)Faouzi Hamida
Christophe Live Tha Kine
Thomas Veauclin
SeriesWarhammer Fantasy
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, iOS
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • WW: June 26, 2009 (digital)
  • FR / SP / GER: June 26, 2009 (retail)
  • AUS: October 22, 2009 (retail)
Xbox 360
  • WW: January 26, 2010
  • WW: July 30, 2014
PlayStation Portable
  • NA: April 13, 2010
Genre(s)Sports, real-time strategy, turn-based strategy
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Blood Bowl is a fantasy football video game developed by Cyanide, loosely based on American football, and adapted from the board game of the same name, which is produced by Games Workshop, using the CRP ruleset.[1]


The game is a fantasy version of American football, played between two teams of up to 16 players, each team fielding up to 11 players at a time. Touchdowns are scored by taking the ball into the opposition's end zone, and a team can win either by scoring the most touchdowns, or by violently eliminating the other team's entire roster.[1] The game has both real-time and turn-based strategy modes.[2] Players may choose to play the game in either mode.[1] The Special Play cards are not included in the main game.[3]

During the main career mode, the player must start from scratch and build a team; the career mode can go on ad infinitum.[3] As the team goes up in ranking on the tournament ladder, a player will sign better players for their roster.[1] If one or several of the roster players are injured or killed during a match, the player needs to replace them for one or several of the next matches until they are ready to go back to the field. If the player lacks money to heal them, they will still be able to play the injured player, but the chances that player is killed increases.[1]

Roster players take part in tournaments, where they gain experience and level up. The player can assign skill points to buy new abilities that will affect the player's performance, such as improving their dice rolls, have a second chance on a bad roll, and other bonuses along those lines.[1] Leagues are completely customizable: there are 25 elements can be edited by the user, such as teams, races, players, and championship rules. Players may also set up online tournaments with others in the online community, which also allows players to gain experience as with the single player mode.[1] Tournaments may have a minimum of four participants, and a maximum of 24; none of the teams may be AI-controlled.[3] A player may play with a solo franchise team online, but may not use it in online tournaments or leagues.[3] Players may not switch between RTS and turn-based modes mid-tournament.[3] Players may create custom logos for their teams.[3]

The Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable versions lack career league play and customization options. Multiplayer involves turn-based hotseat gameplay on the handheld versions, though the PSP version also includes wireless multiplayer.[1]
The first release on both DS and PSP showed significant functional issues that prevented players to complete career mode as their data files were corrupted after a few hours of game play. A replacement service has since been provided to owners of the PSP version.[4] The Xbox version also suffered issues, such as in-game players not keeping experience they gained during games, making league play useless.[5] The Xbox version was also dropped after the original version of the game.[5]


French DS version.

In October 2009 Cyanide Studios announced a free expansion containing the Dark Elves race.[6] The Update was released on November 20, 2009[7] as a free download[6][7] and as an in-store release in Europe[7] with a strategy guide.[7] A DLC featuring Dark Elves was released along with a title update for Xbox 360, but, while free on the PC, Microsoft chose to charge players for them on the Xbox 360.[8] Despite being approved in North America, the Xbox title update was not approved in the EMEA territories.

In April 2010, Cyanide announced the next version of the game, Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition would be released in November 2010, with 11 new teams (Amazon, Elf, Halfling, High Elf, Khemri, Necromantic, Norse, Nurgle, Ogre, Undead, and Vampire), and added bug and rules fixes,.[9] BB:LE is based on the current CRP rule set, and contains 21 of the 24 BBRC (Blood Bowl Rules Committee) official rosters. The missing races are Chaos Dwarfs, Chaos Pact and Slann.

In May 2012, Cyanide and Focus announced the next version of the game, Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition would be released, with 3 new teams (2 from the rules - Chaos Dwarves and Underworld, and a third made completely up by them - Daemons of Khorne), 2 additional star players and a new stadium.(Note: Two teams were still left out of the game: Chaos Pact and Slann).[10] Cyanide Studios have also released an adaptation of Dungeonbowl in the same year.[11]

A sequel, Blood Bowl 2, was released in September 2015.[12]


Two players engaging in battle.

Cyanide created a similar title, Chaos League, in 2004. The similarity between Chaos League and Games Workshop's Blood Bowl led to a lawsuit, which was settled out of court. One of the terms of the settlement was that Cyanide would receive a license to develop a new title using the official Blood Bowl property.[2]

In August 2007, Cyanide announced that a new game for Microsoft Windows computers would be developed, due to be released in 2008.[13] On November 14, 2007, the Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360 versions were announced.[14] It was originally believed the game would be on Xbox Live Arcade, but it was revealed to be a store release title.[3] A limited playable version of the game was demonstrated at the Blood Bowl Grand Tournament in Nottingham over the weekend of the May 10, 2008. On December 18, 2008 it was announced on the Cyanide Blood Bowl forum by a Focus employee that the release date had been pushed back to Q2 2009 (June).[15] The PC version was made available for digital download on June 26, 2009.

On June 25, 2008, a trailer was released featuring the opening cinematic and some gameplay.[16]

Cyanide Studios received permission from Games Workshop to include a real-time mode in the game, providing the developer strictly adhered to the Living Rulebook 5.0's rules; it was Cyanide's success with Chaos League that gave Games Workshop the confidence to allow them to adapt the rules to real-time gameplay.[1]

Digital rights management[edit]

The PC version of Blood Bowl has SecuROM digital rights management technology. SecuROM exists in both the DVD retail box release and the digital download releases, including digital download distributions from both Steam and Impulse content delivery services.[17][18] An activation code is provided with the game, and there is a specific uninstallation program installed which can be used to revoke the licence for further use.


Blood Bowl was better received on the PC than on consoles. The PC version has online options that the Xbox 360 lacks, and the DS and PSP versions lack any sort of career mode.

On the PC, the game scored a Metacritic average of 72%. On Xbox 360 and PSP it only managed a 61% average, and on Nintendo DS a 52%.

GameZone's Steven Hopper gave the Xbox 360 version a 6.5/10, saying "Blood Bowl is a missed opportunity as evidenced by the potential of the source on which it's based. If you really want to get into the depth and fun of Blood Bowl, you're better off checking out the board game."[19]

IT Reviews pointed out that on the Xbox 360, Blood Bowl had a "flaccid and pointless-seeming real-time mode, rough presentation, [and] a lack of online options compared to the PC."[20]

Of the PC version, PC Powerplay magazine commented that: "Despite some presentation concerns the rest of what was on offer during this match was truly thrilling." PC Gamer magazine also agreed, saying: "If you can penetrate the mysteries of its boardgame-based rules, Blood Bowl can offer true barbaric happiness."


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bill Abner (2009-02-18). "Blood Bowl Q&A with Cyanide CEO Patrick Pligersdorffer". GameShark. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21.
  2. ^ a b Scott, Ryan (March 2008). "Football Slayer". Games for Windows: The Official Magazine (16): 32.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Bill Abner (2009-03-02). "Blood Bowl Q&A Part II: Community Questions Answered". GameShark. Archived from the original on 2009-03-04.
  4. ^ Official Blood Bowl video game forum.
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-05-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b "The Dark Elves: soon available, for Free!". Press Release. Cyanide. 2009-10-23. Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  7. ^ a b c d "Dark Elves: the free Add-on and the Video available now!". Press Release. Cyanide. 2009-11-19. Archived from the original on 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  8. ^ "Xbox 360 update". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2010.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-13. Retrieved 2012-05-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved 2013-11-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Chloi Rad (2014-12-04). "Blood Bowl 2 coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One". IGN. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  13. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (2007-11-16). "Blood Bowl Blitzes". GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-11-16.[dead link]
  14. ^ Dobson, Jason (2007-11-13). "Cyanide confirms Blood Bowl for Xbox 360, PSP, DS". Joystiq. Joystiq. Archived from the original on 2018-04-11. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
  15. ^ "Release date, new site". Cyanide. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  16. ^ Blood Bowl trailer
  17. ^ "Blood Bowl Dark Elves Edition on Steam". Steam. Archived from the original on 2010-06-06. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  18. ^ "Impulse Driven : Blood Bowl - Dark Elves Edition". Impulse. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-02-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) GameZone
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2010-03-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) IT Reviews

External links[edit]