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Blood Bowl 3 Preview: Tactical Touchdowns

Blood Bowl 3 1

Whether you’re a fan of the board game or simply like its combination of American football tactics and violent, wacky humour, Cyanide Studios’ Blood Bowl videogame series is a hoot.

Released way back in 2015, Blood Bowl 2 is getting a bit long in the tooth now, and so a third one is on the way. The bad news is that fans will have to wait just a little bit longer for Blood Bowl 3, as its release has been pushed back into 2022. A closed beta kicks off today, however, allowing fans who sign up the chance to go hands-on with an early build. And later this year the game will enter Early Access on PC.

We’ve been hands-on with the beta version of Blood Bowl 3, and while it’s obviously a work in progress there’s a lot to enjoy. For a start, it’s abundantly clear that the visuals have been improved. More detailed character models and environments really bring this digital depiction of the popular board game to life like never before. It results in action that feels like it has more impact, with more obvious humorous details.

The gameplay has been through the ringer too, of course. It’s still a turn-based game, with players choosing a team before facing off against another with the aim to score more touchdowns. And each team has its own strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered if you want to emerge victorious. Human teams, for example, are more likely to try and play a proper game of football, passing the ball and performing runs. A team comprised of Orcs, on the other hand, is more likely to try and physically beat the opposing team in order to win.

With Games Workshop releasing an updated version of the Blood Bowl board game late last year, those changes have of course been implemented into Blood Bowl 3. That means there are some new rules for players to consider, and some new teams. Two new teams are playable in the closed beta, in fact; the Imperial Nobility and the Black Orcs. At launch, 12 teams will be present in the game, with more likely added at a later date.

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On the pitch, there have been some moves to make the game more friendly to newcomers. There are new toggleable display elements such as the highlighting of tackle zones, for example, giving new players more of a chance of understanding what’s happening and planning accordingly. And with the game planned to release on consoles from the outset rather than ported to consoles at a later date à la Blood Bowl 2, work has been done to make the user interface and menus not only more attractive, but also much more controller-friendly.

While the preview version we had access to was scant on modes and features, the full game will have a full single player campaign, online and local multiplayer modes, and customisation options for players and teams. Basically, it’ll have everything previous Blood Bowl games have had – but hopefully bigger, better and much nicer looking. Be sure to sign up to the closed beta pronto if you want to be in with a chance of giving it a go for yourself. It runs from 3rd until 13th June.

Blood Bowl 3 will launch next year on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!