Nuffle Help Us

HIGH Great atmosphere. Good-looking stadiums & players. Translates the boardgame rules well.

LOW Myriad glitches and bugs, frustrating multiplayer, repetitive announcing, microtransactions.

WTF Why can’t I consistently execute actions I know I should be able to execute?

Blood Bowl 3 was a rollercoaster of emotions.

It started with the initial excitement of seeing my favorite tabletop game being again realized in a digitized format, allowing me to play without lugging around physical components.  The excitement built up as features and teams were announced, and launch crept closer. 

Then, disappointment as bugs and glitches plagued the launch and microtransactions were revealed to be the real star players. 

However, I await redemption — I fully expect the game to be patched and tweaked into a fully-realized and enjoyable experience… at some point in the future.  

Blood Bowl 3 turns gamers into virtual coaches of Blood Bowl Teams – football that’s warped by the Warhammer universe into a twisted parody where giant rats and heavily-armored Dwarves roam the pitch. 

In the sparse campaign, the coach’s current team is disbanded, requiring a complete rebuild and training, which serves as an equally sparse tutorial that kind of explains how to build a team and sort of how to control them.  Between matches, various former star players are introduced in humorously clever vignettes that completely fail to move the already limited ‘story’ forward, but they do an amazing job with world building and immersion by showing the depravity and dark comedy of Blood Bowl’s seedy underbelly of performance enhancers, bribery and dirty play. However, despite the chicanery and shenanigans, Blood Bowl 3 is a fairly straightforward strategy title. 

After creating a team of miscreants, 11 players are arranged on the field and coaches have a total of 16 turns (8 per half) to maneuver individual players from a top-down or isometric perspective. 

Players have a movement allowance based on a pre-determined agility score, and can conduct an additional action in the form of attempting to block an opposing player, throwing the ball, or fouling a player already knocked to the ground.  Virtual dice rolls determine the outcomes of these actions, so a key skill for a coach in Blood Bowl is to minimize or manipulate dice rolls to their advantage.

As much emphasis is placed on attempting to knock out, injure, or even kill opposing players as there is in trying to score touchdowns, with Star Player Points being awarded for all of these.  These points are used to purchase additional skills, and additional players may be signed after a match to replace any who were horribly maimed. 

The mechanics of the boardgame are well represented here.  The various stadiums look amazing, animations are smooth, and characters are detailed, down to the swish of a Skaven’s tail as he waits to pounce.  Tons of information is available to a coach, up to and including the probabilities of a dice roll working out in their favor.  Basic gameplay is quick, and most of the time if something goes wrong, the coach will understand why it’s their fault. Unfortunately, everything else can be a bit of a mess. 

I’ve had errors when trying to create a team that caused the game to crash.  I’ve been locked out of making decisions during a match numerous times, making me restart (or forfeit) while the game waits patiently for an action that physically can’t happen.  Hell, even figuring out where the ball is can be an issue sometimes. 

I’ve been prevented from using team apothecaries for no readily-explained reason, and I’ve also seen injured players remain on the pitch despite them being required to miss the match.  Information is available, but it takes a lot of searching to find, and some actions that should be possible (such as a Blitz action during a movement) are inexplicably locked on some occasions but not others. 

Putting all the hiccups aside, the single player campaign is simply too limited to be engaging, which is a real missed opportunity.  The AI is beyond lackluster, making truly baffling decisions early and often. Such brainless opponents might be nice for new coaches to cut their teeth, but the tactics they’re learning against such simpletons won’t be useful against a human coach worth their salt.

Looking at multiplayer, it’s problematic. 

Most online competitions appear to be locked and/or password protected, which isn’t always apparent when trying to find a league to join, and quick matches can take far too long to find an opponent.  I don’t know whether this is a matchmaking issue, or if people simply aren’t playing until Cyanide works out all the bugs. 

Once I found some players online, I have never managed to finish an online match — either coaches drop if they realize their opponent is competent, or matches just crash. 

Microtransactions also rear their ugly head here.  Up until recently, coaches were required to purchase cosmetic items for individual players on a team rather than as something the unit type can use, meaning one had to buy the same pauldron 11 times!  This was eventually patched out due to intensely negative feedback, but many features and cosmetics are still simply missing and will apparently be doled out in upcoming “season updates.”  Time will tell how these will work and what will be included for the original purchase price.

Blood Bowl 2 suffered a poor launch, but was eventually patched into something enjoyable, and the developers have already been at work on fixes for Blood Bowl 3, so I am guardedly confident that it will eventually be a good experience…  but that time is not now, sadly.  In its current form, Blood Bowl 3 is not worth the purchase price — yet — but I’m ready and willing to love it when it matures. 

Rating: 4 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Cyanide Studios and published by Nacon.It is currently available on XBO, XBX/S, PS4/PS5, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 9 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed.  Many matches were played to completion, but the campaign mode was not finished. 1.5 hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Blood, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence. The official description reads: This is a turn-based strategy game in which players control and manage a football team consisting of fantastical creatures (e.g., dwarves, elves, trolls). From a top-down perspective, players take turns rolling dice to move the ball and players down the field. To prevent opponents from scoring, players can use a variety of punches and kicks, knocking out/killing opposing team members. Some attacks are highlighted by quick sequences: bludgeoning opponents with fists; charging opponents with a horn attack; using a chainsaw to kill an opponent. Blood-splatter effects occur as players are injured; blood stains linger on the field after attacks. The game depicts characters drinking beer in a commercial and drinking mugs from a beer keg. The word “b*tchy” appears in the dialogue.

Colorblind Modes: Colorblind modes are present.   

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. All dialogue in the game is supported by subtitles, although there were instances where the subtitles didn’t match the spoken dialogue exactly, and at least one instance where the subtitles did not appear during a spoken commentary section.  All gameplay elements have a visual component.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.

The game offers a partial map diagram for specialty actions/functions: Additional controls are as follows:

Keyboard and mouse:

Arrow keys (and/or WASD) move the camera

Q and E rotate the camera

Left click selects a player or confirms an action.  Holding the left mouse button brings up a menu wheel of available actions for a player.

Right click deselects a player or cancels an action.

Controller: (Xbox layout described. PS5 and Switch controller layouts are available as well).

Left stick moves a selection icon to select a player

Right stick moves/rotates the camera

A selects a player or confirms an action.  Holding A brings up a menu wheel of available actions for a player.

B deselects a player or cancels an action.

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Badger Commander
Badger Commander
1 month ago

Same score for the site I write for, but I am a lot less optimistic due to the way the game is basically always online in single player

1 month ago

Well, everyone who knows me knows I’m an incurable optimist… 🙂

I mean – it’s a toss up between “guardedly optimistic” and “hopeful against all odds.”