Blood Bowl 3 is aiming for championship quality violence – Hands-on beta impressions

Everything you want and more

Image by Cyanide

I have an enormous soft spot for Blood Bowl, which I consider to be one of the Games Workshops’ best board games. I am not alone, as the tabletop classic has survived for decades while others fell away, swallowed up by time and disinterest. 

Blood Bowl endures in the tabletop space because it has a low cost of entry, great tactical depth, and high level of mastery, making it the perfect game to get into the hobby with and still play 20 years down the line. As a big fan of the game, I have also always been extremely fond of the Blood Bowl series by developer Cyanide, and it has always been apparent the team has a deep love for the subject matter at hand. 

Games Workshop-licensed video games do not always capture the spirit of the title they are drawing from, but Cyanide has long since tapped into what makes Blood Bowl so special and judging by what we’ve played so far, it looks like Blood Bowl 3 will be little more than the team perfecting the formula and bringing as much polish as possible to the areas that need it. And that’s a good thing. 

While the rules of the game are very much bound to those of the tabletop version, it is possible for the developers to beef up everything around those rules. What first struck me about the Blood Bowl 3 is just how beautiful it looks. The stadium size and crowd density are impressive, giving a real weight to the minute-to-minute gameplay. The character models of every member of every team are lovingly realized and impressively detailed. Each pass or tackle is met with thunderous applause from the crowd, and that makes everything much more exciting. 

Screen readability has been improved dramatically when you are in a game, especially for newer players, with the highlight being how easy it is to figure out which players have tackle coverage of which areas of the field. The menus are easier to navigate and better designed, and for the most part, the camera work during matches is snappier. 

The game is very much in a beta stage, however, with all the bugs and strange shenanigans that this entails. With the full release coming in February 2022, Cyanide has a lot of time to get everything ironed out, but it also has plenty of work to do. As it stands, Blood Bowl 3 comes with three teams, but nine more will be added before release, giving players plenty of options when it comes to who they wish to play as. 

There is also a degree of work to be done on general polish, as bugs seem to be common and can impact play at just about any moment, from things that players can abuse, like incorrect counting of dice rolls, to more annoying things, like the occasional wandering camera problem.

For fans of the series, Blood Bowl 3 is shaping up to maintain the series’ position as one of the best uses of a Games Workshop title, and with the right degree of polish and attention, it will certainly be the best game in the series to date.