Bowling For Goblinbine

Huh. Why haven’t we posted about the upcoming Blood Bowl electric videogame for a while? Oh, that’s it – because we hate Skaven. Can’t stand the ratmen. We’d never discuss them, and there’s no way one of our number would spend his every spare minute painting plastic figurines of them. No way.

Since we last posted about Cyanide’s adaptation of Games Workshop’s brutal fantasy football tabletop game, the whole gamut of the game’s playable races has been revealed. You got yer Orcs, Humans, Dwarfs, Lizardmen, Goblins, Skaven and, as most recently announced, Wood Elves and Chaos. Which rather makes this one of the most faction-full Warhammer-related videogames in ages, excitingly.

While we know all the races – and, as you’ll see below, have pretty trailers for most of ’em – what we don’t know all that much about is how the game will play, outside of the core concepts. It can be played as either real-time or turn-based, which means there’s potential to win a brand new audience as well as charming the purists, and there’ll also be a theoretically endless career/league mode, complete with player customisation and kit upgrades. It should, then, be a whole lot more substantial than the Blood Bowl, er, tribute Chaos League, which Cyanide released in 2004. Oddly, they seem to have removed most references to that and its expansion pack from their website

It’s due in the second quarter of this year, so hopefully the floodgates of armoured sporting carnage should open any day now. Here’s those trailers, anyway. The first is by far the most interesting, as it features the first snatches of in-game footage – including peeks at both the real-time (lots of running) and turn-based (lots of coloured squares) modes. There’s also a fun look at the character customisation stuff, which looks pleasingly elaborate – like Dawn of War’s army painter but with more daft hairstyles and spiky things.

Also some race-introducing trailers which feature a lot of grunting and thumping, but nothing so essential as an interface or in-game camera:


  1. Nick says:

    I loved Blood Bowl but never had enough people to start a proper league with.. this excites me greatly. Now if they’ll just make a faithful recreation of Necromunda in a similar vein, I shall be forever happy.

    They won’t, but still, it’d be awesome.

  2. Monchberter says:

    If you can kick heads around like you could in the Amiga Bloodbowl knock off of Mutant League Football then i’ll be happy. I just hope it’s not another shoddy knock off itself like Speedball 2.

  3. Brother None says:

    It’s not that odd at all. Part of the deal between Cyanide and Games Worskshop for Bloodbowl was that Cyanide would stop all promotion of Chaos League, and further publishing of the game halted. It’s pretty much impossible to get these days.

    They didn’t want it competing with the real Blood Bowl.

  4. Heliocentric says:


    This is all.

  5. Heliocentric says:

    Chaos League was crap, hope this blood bowl game is better.

  6. JohnArr says:

    Is this going to be anything but a re-skinned Chaos league? ‘Cos that was a bit rubbish.

  7. Schmung says:

    Mutant League Football was super ace, or so my memory tells me. It could well be lying again.

    Having neither heard of this before or played any prequel I was hoping for some sort of PES-a-like rugby game with stabbing and body checking, but it looks more like some sort of bastardised RTS game with a ball. This confuses me greatly. How on earth does that work?

    hrrm, wikipedia time methinks.

    Edit : Actually, it would seem that I was thinking of Brutal Football and not Mutant league. Yay for youtube.

  8. ShineDog says:

    Not a crappy reskin of Chaos League, This is a full implementation of 5th edition bloodbowl, which was released either 07 or 08. (Online releases by GWs specialist games division)

    The only thing thats missing is some of the races.

    They have added the real time mode, which I could care less about and an optional extended mode, which I have no idea about.

    But yeah. the rules are faithful.

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    I think you’ll find the commentator’s dialogue in Chaos League was splendid.


  10. Dude says:

    @ heliocentrix:
    Mordheim>Necromonda>Bloodbowl>gorkamorka *fixed

  11. Nick says:

    I thought the commentator’s dialogue was obviously written by some freelance hack.


  12. Omroth says:

    Chaos League: underrated TBSE game.

  13. Kieron Gillen says:



  14. GriddleOctopus says:

    No halflings? :'( My halfling and treeman team could kick /anyone’s/ armour-clad arse.

  15. Redd says:

    @ShineDog re rules

    I think I saw only one player from each team on the LoS at kickoff in the video, with three players in each widezone. Both against the rules. I know, it could be cosmetic for the video, but those were some of the only real in-game looking shots… and they don’t instill much confidence in these claims.

    Also, hopefully someone’s fixed my awful html in my previous post. :P Thanks if you have.

  16. Ian says:

    I’d like to think this will be super-fun times, but I have concerns that in trying to get a turn-based and real time gameplay mode they might drop the ball (sorry) on both counts.

  17. shon says:

    I used to buy entire BloodBowl teams for my Birthday, as it was the only time I could justify the cost to myself. I had an Amazon team, a Dark Elf team and a human female team made by an Australian company., good times.

    I don’t see Undead anywhere, which is fine with me. Undead seemed to be either grossly fragile or silly overpowered. Mummies suck when they are on the other side.

    If I can customize and name my players and there is a decent single player game, I might be playing it all year long.

  18. JohnArr says:

    KG: Rhianna?

  19. thefanciestofpants says:

    Now all we need is a Necromunda/Mordheim/new space hulk game.

  20. Nick says:

    Oh and a Battlefleet Gothic game damnit!

    JohnArr: link to

  21. Severian says:

    worst… pun… ever…

  22. Razz says:

    This was linked over at the official forums. tons of questions answered in these interviews. cant wait.

    part I

    part 2

  23. MarvintheParanoidAndroid says:

    I quite enjoyed Chaos League, especially in whatever-mode-it-was-called where you could play it in real time and pause whenever. Sure it wasn’t brilliant, but it was worth a play for a bit.

  24. Rodafowa says:

    Chaos League was largely rubbish but I had a great time with it anyway. It had a nice knockabout atmosphere and was decently pretty to look at. I’m far more excited by this than I really ought to be.

  25. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Ouch. Headlines like these are what happens whent it’s clearance day at Pun-o-Matic :P

  26. DMJ says:

    I played Chaos League past its boredom threshold because of the commentary. Kindly supply dialogue roughly twice as awesome and three times as extensive for Blood Bowl.

  27. gnome says:

    I find the lack of Halflings disturbing.

  28. Anonymous says:

    . . .and things which took a typically Gaelic approach to sexual politics neutered.

    I can see only one thing that’s been neutered here and it certainly isn’t the Gallic aproach to sexual politics.

  29. phil says:

    I’ve happy memories of fanatical, ‘shroom gobbling goblins murderising anything in shin pads placed in front of them. A tactic I unsuccessful adapted to the school rugby field. Not really of course. I used ketamine.

  30. Taillefer says:

    I never played Chaos League, but I do have the old computer version of Blood Bowl which was turn-based, had a few different races, star players with various skills and abilities and a league to play through, I think. I don’t remember having much fun with it though. This could be interesting.

    Go Nurgle’s Rotters!

  31. Nick says:

    Yeah, I have that as well Taillefer, it wasn’t too bad but I seem to remember most of the players looking the same.

  32. mark says:

    Redd – by all accounts it should be a faithful adaptation of 5th ed rules in turn based mode (and that’s coming from the beta testers, including Galak/Tom Anders who edited the 5th ed rules). I imagine what you saw was either real time or just something for cinematic effect.

    GW make harldy any money from the sale of bloodbowl figures, if anything making a faithful adaptation would INCREASE their sales of figures. I think you’re looking a little too hard for a conspiracy where there is none…

  33. Nick says:

    Yeah, Bloodbowl is one of their (almost all better than warhammer/40k/lotr) no longer properly sold/officially supported series of games. At least, I think so anyway.

  34. Jubaal says:

    Personally I loved Chaos League and even ran a little real-time league. You can see how bad I was at it (The game and website!) here: link to I’m tempted to resurrect it for Blood Bowl.

    I have to say of all the many Forum communities I’ve been involved in over the years, Chaos League was the best. You couldn’t find a nicer more helpful bunch of folk. On the internet too, shock horror!

    Kieron, I knew you were involved in the mini-comic which came with Sudden Death but I never realised you wrote the commentary. It always made me chuckle. Especially the part about defecating on a goblin’s head. Ah yes, the sophistication of my humour.

    As a former beta tester of Blood Bowl all I can really say (Without getting into trouble) is that the Turnbased is a very faithful adaptation of the 5th Edition rules. Table-top Blood Bowl fans shouldn’t be disappointed when it is released (June 2009 at the latest count).

  35. phuzz says:

    I swear they put something in the lead, I’ve been dry now for many years, not bought a single figure, but still I have an almost uncontrollable urge to play any and all games based in the Warhammer/40k universe

  36. Mort says:

    I don´t see why the game should imitate the original rules, so long as they make it fun. Dawn of War doesn´t, and though it´s a little shallow, it´s not because it doesn´t follow WH40k rulset to the letter, rather I´d say the designers wanted to make it that much straightforward or failed to come up with ways to make it better. Tabletop and PC are thorougly different experiences, and mixing them up could cause some weirdness in the not hardcore blood bowler (or “warhammerer”). Hardcore fans will still like the miniatures better than the sprites (or 3D models in this case).

    Also, I believe computer games should try to “hide” most of the weird rules that all games have and present mechanics that are as natural as possible. Rather than hope they’ll replicate the rules exactly, I hope they managed to make it as fast and as violent as we imagine it must be when playing on the tabletop, be it in turn based form, real time, or whatever.

  37. Conquests says:

    my eye fell on the environment bits that surround the field, I came to realize that this game should have been one of the dozens of activities and separate content that should constitute the omonimous MMO(and any MMO for that matter), in its multiplaneness, in its virtuality. in its attempt of sheer simulativity. Instead i’ll be playing this game (if) still with an eye on the far environment, unable to reach it, and i’ll feel constrained.

  38. clive dunn says:

    My one abiding memory of Blood Bowl was back in ’89 when i was playing it at a freinds house one afternoon. My freinds brother came home in a really bad mood and went to his room and starting playing very loud music. His dad went up to tell him to turn it down and they proceeded to have a full on fist fight throughout the house (clint eastwood ‘every which way but loose’ style).
    All through it we carried on with our game of blood bowl, trying to ignore the fight. Eventually i lost and got on my bike and went home.

  39. A-Scale says:

    I take back everything I’ve said before: this is the game I am less excited about than I could be about any other game. I hate football.

  40. Redd says:

    OK, thanks for the feedback Jubaal/Mark.

    @ Mort: It should have faithful rules where W40K did not because it’s a game about a game, not a game about a war.

    Although admittedly, in BB especially, the rules are there to be broken.

  41. Albides says:

    I’ve never played Warhammer tabletop (but am quite familiar with the setting) and don’t like American “football”, but gosh, the enthusiasm and manic absurdity of this game makes me yearn for it.

  42. Pijama says:

    @Albides – exactly. I despise American “football” (that term should only apply to The True Beautiful Game which is played with a ball and feet), but present it like in Blood Bowl and I happen to enjoy it much more. :D

  43. Pags says:

    @Albides & Pijama: you guys are crazy, American Fewtbawl is the true Beautiful Game.

  44. KBKarma says:

    Bloodbowl. My local/college gaming soc runs a league, as does my favourite gaming shop.

    And my society ran Live-Action Bloodbowl, with people dressed in cardboard shoulder-pads rolling large foam dice. In the first years, the Humans won because the cheerleaders mobbed the ref and wouldn’t let him up until the Humans won.

    The con was Leprecon XXX, the oldest gaming con in Ireland, and one of the oldest in the world (probably). More info here.

  45. malkav11 says:

    There should be at least one computer game that gets the tabletop rules precisely right for the reasons that tabletop games are entirely improved by the possibility of computers handling all the rules fiddling for you and having fancy animations and such. Also internet play. And (the reason 40K will never have a proper computer implementation) not having to buy dozens of sourcebooks and horrifically expensive little metal figures you have to hand paint.

  46. Spanish Technophobe says:

    If someone could teach me how to appreciate The-Rest-of-the-World Football, I think I could get into it. Meanwhile I’ll watch Rugby with Armor when the Pats get into the Super Bowl again.

  47. Archonsod says:

    My Bloodbowl disk died not so long ago (the original turn based game. SSI I think) and I loved Chaos League, so I’ve got high hopes for this.

  48. Saul says:

    Blood Bowl is my favourite ever GW game, and I’ve been hoping for this for years. The original computer adaptation was one of the most shonky games I’ve ever played– all the players looked identically ugly, and the highlight was when the computer AI got stuck in infinite loops trying to work out its next move.

    Looking forward to this one– the turn-based mode in particular, but I’m curious about how it will play in RT too.

  49. Hank says:

    The music to the trailer (first video on this post) sounds like the Battlefield 1942 music; does this melody precede BF1942, or did Cyanide buy the rights to the music for some odd reason?