Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition – Flawed and Loving It

Cyanide Studio's latest version of the tabletop classic may be flawed, but there's charm and entertainment to be found.
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The comical brutality of Blood Bowl was one of the highlights of my youth. It’s creator, Jervis Johnson, was one of my heroes and the playful blend of American Football and Games Workshop‘s Warhammer medieval fantasy brand was his finest work.

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When French developer Cyanide Studio released their first online version of Blood Bowl in 2009, my friends and I were eager to rekindle those evenings and weekends of hilarious, frustrating, tactical violence. Sadly, it was a mixed bag with some frustrating foibles which marred the game experience for us, so ultimately we didn’t play it for long.

Uneven Paint Job

Now, several years later, Cyanide has been re-packaged the game as Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition, now with a full compliment of team rosters from the old faithful races like Orcs and Dwarfs to some team types that didn’t even exist in my day. Who the hell are the Khemri?!

There are 23 races in total. More importantly, given that it is still the same game engine as the 2009 version, there has been plenty of time to iron out those annoying quirks.

Granted, there are still some problems as my esteemed GameSkinny co-contributor Joseph Rowe points out in his fine and thorough review. The sound is so-so and the commentary quickly repetitive. The graphics do the trick mostly due to the benefit of Games Workshop’s excellent vision which, to Cyanide’s credit, they’ve capture well. The unnecessarily labyrinthine menu and management portion is poorly designed. The real-time game mode is just an atrociously pointless addition which manages to drown most of what makes Blood Bowl great in a messy click-fest.

The Right Kind of Ropey?

But the core turn-based game feels right now. I have faith that I can once again play against my friends and recapture that entertaining cacophony of bloody sporting mayhem. Multiplayer is where this flawed gem shines.

I can forgive the game its low-rent feel—after all it is still leaps and bounds ahead of having to pore over rulebooks, shuffle through reams of team sheets and suffer the disapproving gazes of my peers as I reveal I still haven’t painted my team miniatures.

And most importantly, the dodgy bastards (you know who you are) can’t fiddle the dice rolls any more.

As a result, I am happy to award Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition a score of 8. I agree entirely with Joseph’s sentiments, but I feel that his review score of 5 focuses entirely on the wobbly fringes of Cyanide’s implementation. Since Blood Bowl is the most flawless board game invented since Chess and is worth of a 10, I’m averaging out and rounding up.

Perhaps I’m being a little generous, but if Joseph doesn’t like it, then I’ll see him on the astrogranite.

Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition – Flawed and Loving It
Cyanide Studio's latest version of the tabletop classic may be flawed, but there's charm and entertainment to be found.

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Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.