A hyper-violent game of football mashed up with Warhammer winds up being kind of boring? Say it ain't so. Blood Bowl [$4.99 (HD)] is really only for really patient people who can really tolerate their sports as turn-based dice-rolling affairs.

First off, while the game takes its inspiration from football in terms of being a brutal sport, and being about getting the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, it's otherwise soccer in spirit. This is because scoring requires a lot of things to go right in sequence for a scoring opportunity to happen.

The game is structured in a turn-based manner: each team can move players on their team according to their movement ranges, and execute actions like blocks on opponents. However, if a move fails, like a pass falling incomplete, an opponent countering an attack successfully, or tackling a player trying to run past.

Blood Bowl 1

The problem is that the game is structured entirely in such a way that it seemingly thwarts anything cool from happening.

It starts with the fact that the entire game is centered around dice rolls which are never actually shown to the player. So, why does anything happen? Good question! The game's tutorial does a good job at explaining the basics: anything beyond that requires perhaps diving into the game's online manual. But still, the game seems more intent on living in a world where they expect even someone jumping in to know the rules. They start to become a bit clearer over time of just playing the game, but there's always that sense that something's going on that I don't quite know about. It's possible to enable the log to see what exactly the dice rolls are, but honestly? Some 3D dice being displayed that show what the rolls are would go a long way toward making this game friendlier.

Getting to the actual game itself, the fumble-prone nature of the play sucks a lot of the excitement out of it. Passing the ball? Players are prone to fumbling even the pass – and good luck trying to catch. Trying to pick up a ball on the grouned? Often frought with difficulty. Hope the dice roll goes your way. Everything is prone to those mysterious dice, and one slip-up means boom, turnover, enemy's chance to play. There's a reason why football has four downs.

Blood Bowl 3

And while I get that Blood Bowl is trying to emulate football – both association and American varities – in being about getting a lot to go right, this digital adaptation just does a terrible job at conveying that. See, the thing that makes soccer fun – as a sport and a video game – is seeing the beauty of everything that comes together. It's the satisfaction of the passes that can potentially lead to the tough goal. Football has a lot of failures, but lots of little success as well. Here, the failures are amplified, and the successes minimized – and everything comes down to a random number generator.

And seriously, is the Warhammer universe one where everyone permanently has butter on their hands?

Perhaps for a very select group of people, who enjoy the fantasy setting, or Warhammer, or just have a tolerance for esoteric rules and mystery dice-rolling, Blood Bowl is perfect. There's a lot to dive into: a lengthy campaign mode where it's possible to create a team, and buy new players, inducements before each match to hopefully tilt the game in one's favor. There's also the online multiplayer, for if you want to ge with someone who perhaps knows the game and can explain it better than what, well, the actual game does.

There's in-app purchases to unlock additional teams for $2.99 each. I don't want to say that I'm completely okay with it, but given the nature of mobile, I can accept it –people who want to get more out of the game can pay more than the upfront price, which is already cheaper than PC versions, to get more content.

Blood Bowl 4

But really, I'd perhaps only recommend this if it was a free game. It's just so esoteric in every which way. If you're a fan of this sort of game already, then sure – seeing the action come to life seems fun. There's just too much work for too little fun for anyone who isn't already attuned to what Blood Bowl is about.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • RamazUltra

    Omg this is the worst review I have ever seen on hear. I have to go to work so I can't fully tear this apart but seriously 3.5?!

    • {SQUEEK}

      Reviewed by an instant gratification respawning gamer.

      • RamazUltra

        Exactly

    • LarryWP

      2.5 is what I see he gave it.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        It was published as 2.5.

      • Xaintrix

        Earlier today in the TA app I saw the review headline with a 3.5 rating. *shrug* Mildly surprised it got knocked to 2.5 so I decided to read the review and comments which is why I'm chiming in now. No accusations to fling, just reporting an observation.

      • RamazUltra

        He did give it a 2.5 but changed it to a 3.5

      • MrSpud

        And then what, change it back again to 2.5? Is this guy trying to get fired? Doesn't this writer have any integrity?

        If you write a bad review at least stand by it. I mean.. "It's 2.5! Oh wait, people are complaining, it's 3.5 now! Oh right, can't do that, it's 2.5 again!!!"

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        This review hasn't been edited since it was published. The text hasn't been changed, the score hasn't been changed. A few people are making TONS of noise about this for reasons unknown and it's causing loads of confusion.

      • MrSpud

        Oh I see, for some unknow reason several random people decided to lie about the editing (consistently) but that never happened..

        You can foul some people sometime but you can't foul all the people all the time, please don't insult your readers intelligence, I don't know about the score but I did notice the part where the writer corrected the dice display option, so either I'm lying (and many other readers as well) or someone on your staff is.

        Just let it go, you're overprotecting your writers at the cost of your integrity. Maybe you really don't know what happened but we do, we're not all lying for no apparent reason for all the same reason, it makes no sense.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        I'm not protecting anyone or anything, we've just been blown away that a game that we don't even like or particularly care about is generating THIS KIND OF RUCKUS. Who knew people would be so fanatical about Blood Bowl of ALL THINGS? Typically when review conspiracies start dropping it's when it's a big name game or something like that. This insanity rivals the release of Star Defense even.

      • a_w_young

        "Of all things" - well, it's a bigger game and more popular than a large chunk of the things you've published about. You're not required to like it or even review it well, but people are taking issue with the nature of the review. You shouldn't be surprised that people would have a reaction to it whether you reviewed it well or poorly... it's not exactly some obscure thing next to the oodles of random F2P titles you guys routinely publish about.

        Personally I just found it odd that it scored so low compared to many of the things you guys write about... things of little substance sometimes scoring highly. That would tell me that there's some fundamental flaw with this game, but instead, the problem seems to be that the reviewer (or yourself or others) don't enjoy the game that it's emulating.

        It's not a requirement that you enjoy a board game before writing a sane review about it or even want the game to be fun, nor should you pretend to enjoy it if you don't. It seems, however, the reviewer took issue with things that have nothing to do with writing a critical review.

        To each their own. Maybe there's another site giving it an even worse review somewhere.
        I just hope it's for the right reasons.

        I hate platformer games. When I wrote reviews, I usually refused to be the one reviewing them because I knew I'd just give them all a horrible score unless there was something remarkable about them. Same with puzzle games. This just feels like what I would have wrote about a game I never had any intention of liking before even trying it.

      • a_w_young

        BTW, I think the only confusion comes from someone's inaccurate comment RE: scoring

    • krztoff

      Agree 100%

      Who chooses these reviewers?

  • dolphinegg

    This guy apparently doesn't know Blood Bowl is a Warhammer based board game....

    • Maelwolf

      I just re-read the review, and unless I'm just not seeing it, there doesn't seem to be any mention that BB is a port of a board game at all, never mind that it has a history of other digital implementations. That seems rather strange to neglect in a review, especially since a small amount of research would have revealed the game's history. The reviewer certainly has the right to not enjoy the game, but as with any port, the quality of conversion is an important talking point in a review, in some ways more so than discussion about the game itself as it's an existing product. With BB, I would say the digital implementation is quite good, although certainly able to be improved upon, such as the limited tutorial and rather complex multiplayer system. Overall though, it's a great port for those that understand and enjoy the core mechanics.

  • Michael Barnes

    Someone that understands Blood Bowl and has played the physical game should have written this review. The app has its problems (Cyanide's Blood Bowl games always have), but it is a really close implementation of the game as a whole and those interested in a digital version will find lots to like- especially league play.

    This game does not do a terrible job at emulating American football. It's not about American football. It's about Blood Bowl, a satirical sport based on American Football, Rugby, soccer and Warhammer.

    Also, spending an entire paragraph complaining about hidden die rolls is pretty lazy when the option is present to show a detailed log including each and every die roll along with all modifiers and outcomes.

    I expect better from TA.

    • Arch Deluxe

      It's worse than just ill-informed. The poor diction and typos make it seem like the review was written while under the influence.

  • Meridian99

    Actually you can see the dice results if you turn on the log (in the menu while in-game).

  • slehvin

    Ok, I can understand a review that the game mechanics are dated and make little sense to a new player. But it should be obvious that this is a mixture of football and European football, this game was originally designed by a European company after all. I normally really enjoy reading the reviews, but this time I am shocked at how bad it is. What has me frustrated at the review is that this review complains about Blood Bowl and not the app interpretation of Blood Bowl. Complain about the game is fine, but at least tell me how the app mechanics work out and if the game works well or is clunky. You want a good review to tell you if you will like Blood Bowl or not, go to Board Game Geeks, you want a review on the game as an app, I would think you would go to Touch Arcade.
    I have seen other reviews like the review on Final Fantasy Tactics, explains the problems with the app and touch mechanics and doesn't spend the whole review complaining about the game.
    Please update this review, explain that this is kind of a cult classic and help me understand if the game has good mechanics or if the developer failed to make this work as an app.

  • Maelwolf

    A few points of clarification as this review seems rushed: yes, the average player will fumble passes, pick-ups, heck even mess up tackles. However, that's what specialized positions and skills are for. A catcher is rarely going to fumble the ball, a thrower is far more likely to make a perfect pass, etc. it's part of the strategic element of the game that you have players that are specialized and one can further specialize them for tasks with skills. Otherwise every player would simply be the same. Really, BB is about smart planning over blind luck and years of staying power in he tournament scene shows just how much depth there truly is. This IOS version isn't even close to BB's first implementation. The tutorial is really poor, but for those that put a little effort into learning the game it's a blast. The rules are online, and despite what the reviewer claims, rolls are generally seen in the game, with options available to see more.

    • Michael Barnes

      Well, when a guy spends twenty minutes with a complex game...

  • machone3720

    This reviewer has obviously never played blood bowl. I have played every physical and digital version of blood bowl, including the clones, and this one is great. For us blood bowl fans out there this is a must have.

  • SirFobos

    So are there the same game modes from the pc? Seasons, quick matches, tournaments, custom online leagues, choosing player colors/unique equipment? Come on these features and controls should be covered in the review.

    • SirFobos

      Also is there real time and turn based modes?

      • Michael Barnes

        You'll have to read the comments to get that. I mean, when the reviewer is reading the comments to learn more about the game...

  • {SQUEEK}

    I never had so much fun losing 0-6 and never was so happy winning 1-0... Because i learned how to play the game.

    Learn to play this then give it a review.

  • Michael Barnes

    Hmm...quite a few post-publication edits here...could this review get any less professional?

    Suddenly the review mentions the die roll log AFTER the reviewer learned about it reading the comments here.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      It's clear you've already made up your mind, but here's the edit history of this article: http://i.imgur.com/tPxW3Zs.jpg

      • bobehm

        You must admit, Eli, at the very least, that this review is from an odd perspective. Blood Bowl is more akin to a grognard war game than a sports game, yet this reviewer seemed to approach it like he expected Madden or FIFA.

      • {SQUEEK}

        I think "there is a reason football has four downs" the the biggest clue this reviewer doesn't have a clue.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        That's exactly how I would've approached it, as that's how I did approach it as a gamer. I didn't know anything about Blood Bowl beyond what the Wikipedia page said when I downloaded it, and actually would've rated it lower than Carter did if I had written the review. It's cool that this is a niche grognardy board game, but you can't expect everyone else to enjoy that because you do.

        I had absolutely no fun playing this game.

      • Michael Barnes

        And that's fine, if you don't like the game you don't like the game. Totally legitimate to say "hey, Blood Bowl sucks and this is why- from my experience with it. But when a paid reviewer completely misrepresents the game and CLEARLY has not invested enough time and effort into reviewing the game thoughtfully, authoritatively and accurately then there is an editorial problem. There's a lot of things I don't like about Blood Bowl (both the physical game and the video game) and I'm hardly as big a fan of the game as others are, but when a review just isn't correct about the _facts_ of the game, it's going in the wrong direction.

        There were some changes made to this article after the comments- specifically the dice log comment and a line here:

        And while I get that Blood Bowl is trying to emulate football – both association and American varities – in being about getting a lot to go right, this digital adaptation just does a terrible job at conveying that. See, the thing that makes soccer fun – as a sport and a video game – is seeing the beauty of everything that comes together. It's the satisfaction of the passes that can potentially lead to the tough goal. Football has a lot of failures, but lots of little success as well. Here, the failures are amplified, and the successes minimized – and everything comes down to a random number generator.
        That first line was changed. It didn't say anything about association football this morning and it specifically faulted the game for not being a good simulation of American football. It's a pretty clumsy edit, the paragraph now reads a mess. Why are we specifically comparing the game to why soccer is so great? It's Blood Bowl, not soccer.That first line was changed. It didn't say anything about association football this morning and it specifically faulted the game for not being a good simulation of American football. It's a pretty clumsy edit, the paragraph now reads a mess. Why are we specifically comparing the game to why soccer is so great? It's Blood Bowl, not soccer.

        Further, the paragraph completely betrays the writer's lack of experience with the game. Blood Bowl is ALL ABOUT careful planning and "seeing everything come together". Yes, there are die rolls, but planning for uncertainty and inevitable turns for the worse is part of the game. As they are for many turn-based, tabletop games.

        But yeah, if you've played the game for ten minutes and get frustrated because you keep getting turnovers trying to get a thrower to tackle a lineman...it's going to seem like it's totally random, I guess.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Nothing was edited following publication. I posted the screenshot of the edit history. I'm not sure what else to tell you other than offer my heartfelt apologies that we didn't enjoy a video game as much as you did?

      • Michael Barnes

        I'm too old to care about who does/doesn't like a video game. But I do care about the integrity of games writing. I think this article was changed after the comments started pointing out errors, and you wouldn't admit it if it were to save face.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        You think it was changed, I know it wasn't changed. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, as weird as that is. Contributing writers do not have the ability to edit reviews in our CMS following publication.

      • Maelwolf

        Except the part about the dice was not there when the review went live this morning. Now, that may have been something to do with the site, and a delay in an edit right after submission, but Michael is not the only one to notice changes in the article an hour or so after it could first be seen on Toucharcade.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Carter cannot edit it, I didn't edit it. Are you suggesting someone hacked TA to edit a review? That seems pretty weird, right?

      • Maelwolf

        I don't know what to tell you Eli. Multiple people noticed changes in the text from when it first went live to now. I suppose we may all have simply misread it or missed it, but I initially read the article twice before commenting and somehow then must have read it completely different than it was both times.

      • Michael Barnes

        So did I- I was like "huh?" and reread it, and it clearly stated that the game (paraphrasing) was a "poor simulation of American football" with no comments about soccer at all. After my first post, which mentioned the die log and the fact that BB is a satire of football, rugby and (wait for it) soccer it was changed.
        Anyone commenting on TA articles needs to start cutting and pasting reference text...I also wonder if whatever software they are using tracks revision uploads and inline edits separately.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        It tracks any change. Have you used WordPress before?

      • Michael Barnes

        Yep, every day in my RL job and at one of my sites. You are correct, WP does track edits in the revision log. But that does not account for the fact that this review was changed, or that others have noticed changes in this review. It isn't hard to fake it.

        Just come out and say "hey, we published a review that wasn't up to standard and that had some factual errors, we'd like to retract it" and then give the assignment to someone on staff that will spend more than 20 minutes analayzing the title- preferably someone who at least understands what Blood Bowl is beyond looking at WIkipedia. If it comes back and that reviwer gives it 0 stars, at least the readership here can read it and feel confident that TA is offering authoritative, well-considered content.
        Or pretend like it all didn't happen and dismiss the criticism away by pointing fingers back at the critics, which appears to be TA's editorial policy.

      • https://twitter.com/ScotDamn Scot Damn

        ...TA pays you to be so ridiculous in the comments, right? It basically boils down to this game (somewhat rightfully) getting a poor review and now making it about something else like edits to help fill the content of an internet comment outrage.

      • Michael Barnes

        Mr. Hodapp, I've lurked here a long time and I appreciate what you guys do here. I'm going to say this with all due respect- you are straight up lying to try to preserve the credibility of the site- understandable since it is a money-making enterprise that depends on its credibility to drive revenue. But it is not the right thing to do. The right thing to do here is to admit that you published a half-assed, ill-informed review that was not complete and should not have been published. You said yourself that you didn't like the game, you probably played it for about as long as the reviewer did and just assumed he in the was right.
        It seems that several people saw the paragraph where Mr. Dotson didn't mention anything about the die roll log, and there is still a reference to the "mystery die rolls"...maybe you should edit that out too when you make another pass.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        There's no motivation to lie here, as appeasing grognards isn't what keeps TouchArcade running. Our credibility is fine, no one will even remember a half dozen people mad about a review when it falls off the front page tomorrow.

        I don't mean to seem glib, but that's the reality of the situation. Additionally, I wish my job was even half as exciting as conspiracy theorists seem to think it is. I'd love to be spending my day doing some straight up cloak and dagger shit instead of buried in my inbox dealing with Gamescom, believe me. :)

      • Maelwolf

        I have no opinion on the possible edit being a lie or not. However, I do think the attitude of dismissing criticism of how the review was written is disheartening. As a writer myself, I will state that there is a difference between work shopping that pans your story, and work shopping that pans how you tell/present it. The more mechanical criticism is invaluable to improving one's work and should never be casually dismissed. In the case of this review, it has been pointed out in detail what the reviewer lacked and how it could have been improved without compromising their opinion on the end enjoyment of the game. If Carter is going to continue to write game reviews, I would suggest he show some humility and realize his faults, and the site as a whole should encourage this growth rather than blindly deny the need for it.

      • Michael Barnes

        Appeasing "grognards"? What are you talking about? This site is intended for a general audience, and the last thing I expect ANY professional publication to do is to "appease" anyone.
        Of course "appeasing grognards"? doesn't keep the site running. Preserving the credibility of the site does when advertisers want to pay money to put up an ad or provide review codes. That has nothing to do with "appeasing" grognards. It has everything to do with defusing criticism of an article that should never have made it to the front page. And with editing content when you are caught with your pants down on a review that could call into question wheteher TA writers actually bother to play the games they review long enough to even see what's in the menus. It's a seed of doubt you can't afford.
        There's no "conspiracy theory" here, just an observation and a criticism from a reader- calling out crackpots instead of directly confronting the issue of this article's quality and potential editing sure seems desparate to me.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        Wow. Straight up calling him a liar. I've just looked through every revision of this review, and literally the only thing changed is the first sentence which mentions Warhammer.

        Integrity is everything to us, and we'd never compromise it for something silly like this. Accusing us of blatantly lying is very, very serious. I will take screenshots of every revision of this article, from the moment Carter dropped it into wordpress to the moment Eli hit publish, to show every single thing that was changed (which is the first sentence as I've mentioned and the addition of screenshots/applink stuff) if you really want me to. I can actually PROVE that Eli is not lying as you say he is. But man, baselessly calling someone a liar like that is super effed up in my opinion.

      • Michael Barnes

        What? I didn't say that! :-P
        Here's the deal. It is something silly, and it is something that folks won't think about two days from now because that's how the internet is. But I believe something did change, others do too. It may have been something that wasn't really viewed as significant...but it was, because it was noticed and it is about the content of the game. I just wish that someone take accountability for publishing such a low quality review. Which wouuld include saying "hey, we had some errors here, we fixed them".
        My takeaway from this is that I'll not be bothering to read any further articles from Mr. Dotson and I will be more wary of TA's reviews of more complex games. TA has lots of fine writers and often some very well-done content and I'd like to think that this is an outlier.
        I do apologize at a personal level for coming on so strong about this specifically to Mr. Hodapp- I like TA, I want to continue to read TA, but as a reader I'm very disappointed by the dismissive, condesecending attitudes and the apparent lack of accountabilty here.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        But that's the thing though, nothing DID change, not even something that was just insignificant. And there's even proof as the software we use logs it all (I don't know if you've ever used wordpress, but trust me, even changing a colon to a semi-colon will create an entirely new revision.) I know you and some others think it was changed after it was published, but if it was it would show up in the revision history. Additionally, you could find a version on like Google cache showing how it was initially posted. It's just upsetting that people think we'd go into some elaborate government-style cover up for something as silly as this.

      • {SQUEEK}

        Agreed it doesnt matter wether you like this type of game or not. The point is dont have some one thinking this is a 5min qtr madden game reviewing it. Reviewers should know something about the game before writing a review. Its like a food critic giving a bad review for Gazpacho soup because it was served cold.

      • Maelwolf

        Is anyone saying the problem with the review is that the reviewer didn't like the game? That's not what I've gotten from the universal backlash against the review. Rather the reviewer didn't really explain his stance or score. There are no details about the implementation of the game from a mechanical standpoint aside from the comment about dice visibility which was corrected. There is no explanation about how the different races or players function. In fact, the comment about always fumbling suggests the reviewer didn't understand the different player roles or skills, which are a huge part of what makes the game skill-based and exciting, rather than a simple luck-fest. The fact that little to nothing is mentioned about the game's source material furthers the impression that the review was rushed by a writer who invested little time or effort into the game.

        Ultimately, this review reads more like something you'd expect to see in someone's private blog or in the APP store than something on a professional gaming site meant to inform potential consumers. It's lazily written, researched, and it was called out as such.

      • Michael Barnes

        No, I don't think anyone cares what the game was rated, I don't think we're seeing anything like what happens at Tom Chick's site when he gives a popular game a bad review- people flip out and take to the battlements. I could not care less if someone didn't like the game. Hell, if I reviewed it, I'd probably give it just an extra half star myself because there are a bunch of issues with it that Cyanide has never really been able to address since it was first released on PC.
        The issue here is the quality of the review. Period.
        Regardless, Mr. Hodapp is trying to defuse that criticism by characterizing the dissent as typical internet "waah, you don't like what I like" crybabyism.

      • bilboad

        Would you still make the same argument if someone who didn't like CCGs reviewed Hearthstone or Magic, and spent much of the review just making criticisms based more on their dislike for that type of game than about the particular game in question? Because that's what this review read like to me. It would be like a review of Hearthstone spending lots of its time criticizing the fact that you have to collect cards, and that it's obviously designed to tempt people into buying cards, and that playing well requires being able to remember hundreds of cards and lots of different decks, and that there's a lot of chance involved, etc. Those aren't just made up criticisms by the way -- I'm someone who doesn't like CCGs and those are some of my reasons, but I also think that would disqualify me from reviewing a CCG.

        This was not a very useful review. If I liked the board game, or this type of board game, and was trying to figure out from this review whether this is a good electronic version of the game, I wouldn't be able to tell. It seems like you're being a bit overly defensive in trying to characterize the criticism as just being about people getting pissed about a different opinion. That does happen a lot on this site, but in this case people are giving some mostly pretty good explanations for why the review seems off.

      • swarmster

        You may be giving the review even more credit than it deserves. It's more like if someone reviewed Hearthstone by saying "Well, you'll maybe like if it you're into fantasy stuff, I guess, but mostly it's just a bunch of numbers on cards, and it's missing any kind of loot system like Diablo, and you have to be okay with taking turns." There's a basic misunderstanding of what type of game this is. Anyone who might be interested in this kind of game, presumably the target market for a review, is not served at all here.

        If TA's target market is instead the guy browsing for stuff to download while he's sitting on the bus looking to burn 5 minutes, then I guess this review makes more sense. But for all the lip service around here given to meaty games, I might expect them to be given a little meatier reviews.

      • swarmster

        bobehm, look at it this way: while the actual words and score in this review are completely worthless to anyone looking for information about the game, reading between the lines you see that a 5-minute try completely baffled your typical Madden gamer, so there's really a lot of promise! I personally can't wait to load it up!

        (Then again, I am in that infinitesimal niche of people who 'enjoys fantasy settings'...???)

      • Seniku Moonjewel

        This is a really poor review and not up to the TA standard.
        I'll give the game 4/5 and this review 1/5

  • a_w_young

    What I love about Touch Arcade is that I can find out in one place about everything that's coming out for mobile platforms, often neglected and not taken seriously by the rest of the gaming community. What I do not love is the inconsistent and bizarre scoring decisions by the reviewers.

    Freemium scamware and silly 2-bit platformers and things that run on real-money purchased "magic crystals!"/IAP are often given 4 or more stars, yet a full-fledged adaptation of a PC adaptation of a cult-classic board game is given less. That might make sense if there were fatal bugs/flaws that made it impossible to play, but that isn't the case.

    I understand a couple of the criticisms made here, but I can't say I agree with the overall premise of the review or the score given here.

    It's not often you find a mobile game with this much to offer free of nonsense IAP. Speaking of which, clarification on the pricing scheme: You are not getting gouged for anything. This is easily a 20 dollar game, but to make it easy to jump into and to break into the mobile market, it's priced at 5 with everything you need to play. Additional races are completely optional at 2.99 each. If you bought them all, it's still arguably a reasonable price for this game, but I was grateful for this model because I'd rather only buy the races I need than pay 20 bucks for the entire thing. It's a much better way of doing things than we usually see in mobile game pricing, and certainly better than "buy a sword for 99 cents!" or "you need to buy power crystals to keep playing!" - It's a complete game no matter how you do it, and truer to the original roots of the game.

    Valid complaints would be things like "sometimes it's hard to touch the square you intended with precision" not "the game works like that board game you love and that the game is advertised as being based on!"

    Sites should be full of honest reviews, and I don't care if the reviewer feels different from the crowd... that's important, but it's also what I've long suspected Touch Arcade wasn't, because there are things I would have routinely given a 1 or 2 being rated 4 and 5 here on a regular basis.

  • vid_icarus

    I had never played Blood Bowl until the iPad version released. I was really excited about it. The one thing I agree with in this review is dice rolls (and modifiers to rolls) should be on screen all the time. The most important thing in a good strategy game, according to Soren Johnson, is transparency. And I think that goes double for ports of board games, since physical board games are 100% transparent. Other than that, this game is really awesome!

    Yes, it is pretty complicated, but most strategy games worth playing are. Especially strategy board games. But with any good board game of strategy game, you don't pick it up and master it after just playing the tutorial. I read the manual, I play the tutorial, I fail a lot, and then I get better at it. Building a team, taking them out on the pitch, and watching them get slaughtered has been actually a lot of fun. And when I started to do well at the game, I had a similar sense of achievement/reward as I did in dark souls. I have really enjoyed learning this game and the theme is a lot of fun, too. It really takes me back to my days of Mutant League Football.

    This game is definitely for hardcore gamers and board game fans; if that doesn't intimidate you, jump right in!

    • Michael Barnes

      Make sure you go into the options menu and turn the log on- you'll get that transparency you want- it's very descriptive, you'll get the die rolls as well as any ability modifiers or penalties. It's also useful for getting a feel for what the benefits for the abilities are and what numbers are being compared. Also make sure you touch the ability names, it tells you what they do in a very descriptive fashion.
      Now, one STUPID thing about the app is that you can't leave that on by default, you have to turn it on every match. That's a legitimate complaint.

      Also, the info tags (the "I" button) are really useful starting out, you can see tackle zones and player positions. There's lots of information to take in, but the game gives you some options to help get a handle on it if you're not a Blood Bowl veteran. Definitely a steeper learning curve than Doodle Jump.

      • vid_icarus

        Whoa... Can't believe I missed that. Thanks for the heads up! This definitely was what I was looking for! Thanks!

  • evilabdy

    Holy crap this is insane. Someone didn't agree with you when they reviewed something you like. It happens all the time. Does it affect your enjoyment of it? No? Then what's the big deal. Plenty of games I like have gotten a review I didn't agree with but that didn't change my opinion. The world is not over.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Internet comments, man.

      • evilabdy

        Lol I got a -1

      • jForsythe

        Yeah how does that happen I only have the option of giving a thumbs up there is no option to give a thumb down.

      • EvilAbdy

        I think if someone flags it?

      • https://twitter.com/ScotDamn Scot Damn

        On a desktop you can down vote a comment.

      • Alexythimia23

        Holy shit!!! Are all these guys for real?? Oh im a writer too and i have ethics and you changed this and that to appease us, blah blah blah get a f******n life u whiny drama queens, disecting anything to have your few minutes in the limelight on a forum that is just reporting on games! I cant believe how much it has been blown out of proportion man, some of you need some serious help. Those saying you are writers, well guess what, you are not a TA writer, and if i were them i would not take my valuable time to even respond to your incendiary bullshit. P.s good rating guys, blood bowl is a pile of shite (MY opinion) and dont bother responding telling me that your bitching for a reason i dont get cus i do get it, but you gotta understand..... Your few mins of forum fame is OVER! Till the next time lol and to the TA team, guys dont take time out of your busy schedules to entertain idiots as they will just go round in circles, peace out.

      • TDA

        Wow. Internet comments, right? It's a badly written review. If you read that and don't care, what are you doing?

    • Maelwolf

      As has been pointed out several times, his enjoyment of the game isn't what has been brought into question, rather the accuracy of certain statements as well as the lack of knowledge suggested by certain comments. Personally I think the response has been pretty civil for the most part, with people more disappointed than angry with a poorly constructed review. It is the simple nature of things, if you write a negative review, you generally are held to higher standards in regards to backing up your conclusion with authority that suggests you know what you are talking about. Otherwise the purpose of the review is brought into question.

      • evilabdy

        But does it affect how you feel about the game? If not who cares. Is it really worth getting bent out of shape about?

      • Maelwolf

        There are several reasons to care about a poorly written review. One is that it sets a bad precedence. As someone who enjoys Toucharcade and the service they provide, I would prefer to keep the quality of the writing as high and as accurate as possible. Two, it could potentially turn off players who, if reading a negative but accurate review may have tried and enjoyed the game. As this could potentially be me with a future title, it goes back to my first point about the quality of the review. Three, commenting about the review's faults has the benefit of starting a discussion that provides more accurate information for any potential consumers, basically correcting mistakes in the flawed review and presenting key information that was missed.

        Honestly, if it was just about a score or opinion I'd be right there with you that there is little positive gain from arguing a point. However, when the issue is accuracy, clarity, and informing the community, I think there is a lot to gain from calling out issues with a review.

      • Michael Barnes

        Exactly. My disappointment is with TA, a site I've followed for many years. Not with what Carter Dotson thought about Blood Bowl, which may very well be the most irrelevant thing in the world as far as my life is concerned.
        But it's much easier to condescend and dodge pointed criticism than it is to confront it- "internet comments, man".

  • Paul

    Jeez! It's based on the board game, this guy should do some research before slagging it off!

  • Parkingtigers

    An utter embarrassment of a review. Someone who made no attempt to understand the history of where this game comes from, or the depth of the gameplay, or the quality of the port from the PC game.

    It's based upon a highly successful 25 year old boardgame that has seen multiple iterations and improvements over that time. With that much history behind it, you'd think a reviewer would do more than push a few guys around the pitch for 5 minutes before whining that American Football doesn't work that way.

    It's also a port of a full featured PC game, which has sold in no less than three updated editions since it first came out. Some comparisons of how it compares to that version would be expected by any professional review site. It's a PC game on iPad, did it lose anything in the porting process?

    There are plenty of legitimate complaints to make about the original boardgame, about the PC game, and about this iPad port. This review doesn't address any of that. Does the tutorial do a bad job of explaining the full rules? God yes, but the rulebook covers all of that. Is there content missing from the full PC game? Well there's only one stadium and (so far) only 6 teams, but otherwise it's fully feature complete (apart from the real-time mode that no-one likes, no-one wants, and that no-one plays). This is just a basic factual comparison that should be made.

    TouchArcade makes such a big thing of playing to the crowd moaning about FTP games and microtransactions, yet when an actual port of an an actual real game comes to iOS you have a clueless reviewer poke at it for 10 minutes before declarong "game is hard, should be free".

    And here's the thing: Blood Bowl, any version, getting 3/5 would be a fair score for a lor of people. But not from a site that gives mindless tapfests like Tiny Tower and Pixel People 5 stars. This game has, you know, actual depth and content.

  • Parkingtigers

    Just to give a sense of context, the "top reviews" tab on TA shows 38 games reviewed in the last month. Blood Bowl is ranked lower than 34 of those games. That includes the billionth Bejeweled clone, a touchscreen FPS, and the usual assorted App Store detritus.

    I don't throw my hands up at a poor score, everyone likes different things. But come on, a classic game, a feature rich port of a PC game (arguably closer to the original than the XCOM port), deep gameplay of a type unique to this title...

  • Poo

    This review was an opinion article, not an actual review.

    • Themostunclean

      Most game reviews are. That's why I rely on community to decide if a game is worth buying. As most people do, and should.

  • RamazUltra

    I love how serious this got LOL. I think the review is horrible, very horrible actually. Idc f Eli is lying, idc if they revised the article. Main point is the review sucks.

  • RamazUltra

    I love how serious this got LOL. I think the review is horrible, very horrible actually. Idc f Eli is lying, idc if they revised the article. Main point is the review sucks. But the guy who wrote I'm sorry for the bashing I don't want you to feel bad. I ALWAS forget that the people who do stuff on the internet where a lot of people pay attention to have feelings.

    • Jake7905

      When you're communicating with a person over an electronic device, rather then face to face as nature intended, empathy is always the first causality in any war of words.

  • ScotDamn

    Really guys? It's an opinion on a non niche review site. Put the torches down!

    • Jake7905

      Don't forget the pitchforks!

  • Jake7905

    While I do agree that this review has a certain "WTF!" quality to it, it's also no secret that TA reviews and reviewers have long suffered from a laissez faire type of oversight. The reviews/ratings have always been treated like a personal opinion rather then a objective critique. A subjective review, full of errors, is not a complete shock for a complex niche game like Blood Bowl. So I'll hold back my "shock", sideline my conspiracy editing theories, and just go with the theory that this was simply a poor review. Limbo anyone?

    • riChchestMat

      You beat me to the Limbo reference. Can't forget that one.

    • bilboad

      I'm fine with TA reviewers writing as individuals, and I don't expect TA to enforce some unified editorial opinion across all reviews, so I wouldn't even say it "suffers" from a lack of oversight. Otherwise yeah, totally agree. Overall I think TA has some fine writers on staff and is definitely a site worth reading, and a badly written review here and there isn't going to change my overall opinion of the site. I do think there are other TA reviewers who would have understood this game better though and could have written a better informed review.

  • Pepelutin

    After all these comments, i want to buy it.

  • oooooomonkey

    Wth this review is a joke, I grew up with blood bowl and this iOS version is perfect for me to play, the only down side I see is that I would have preferred to see all the dice rolls, other than that it's a lot cheaper than trying to pick up the board game and you don't even need a friend to play, love it.

  • Black Barney

    Great review, very informative. I now know to not only avoid the iOS game but the board game as well ! Thanks Touch Arcade !

    • Maelwolf

      If a decision going to be made based on the information given in this review, best to check out sites like BGG before coming to a conclusion. When the driving force of a review is based on ignoring core mechanics, it's probably not the best source!

      • Black Barney

        Thanks, Maelwolf for the suggestion. I'ver heard about BGG and the great community there, I'll check it out for sure.

    • {SQUEEK}

      Loo sarcasm at its best

  • bilboad

    Pocket gamer UK has a good review of this game, for anyone wondering whether to buy it. And by good, I don't just mean more favorable -- they only gave it a 6/10 -- I mean that the reviewer obviously understood what kind of game it's intended to be.

  • tarek

    I purchased this game as a person who loves sports gaming. I purchased ot as a person who literally had no idea what blood bowl actually was. I played it first as a person who had no idea what was going in. I played it initially as a person who expected it to emulate the sport of football more closely.

    Then I went and read a little about blood bowl. I read the tactics. I read the rules. I read the history.

    I returned to blood bowl and can unequivocally say it is an utterly amazing and brilliant game. I would give it top marks if I had to review it, and highlight the journey I needed to take just in order to understand and therefore draw enjoyment from the game. It took patience and effort. The reward was tremendous. The enjoyment is up there with some of the greatest ios games I've ever played.

    This review, therefore, is a total shame. It is a cop out. An impatient, uneducated, misinformed review. I understand we are not the same, some people like apples, some like oranges. But this is a person who likes oranges reviewing an apples game, and saying that it sucks.

    What a total shame.

    • Parkingtigers

      It's more like someone reviewing oranges, and not taking the time to find out that if you peel them they are actually delicious. Or at least, edible.

    • idmonfish

      Excellent point. I think unfortunately the reviewer came in with a preconception which led them to play in a way that meant they didn't have fun ie they tried the highly risky and skilful passing game - probably with the initial two teams neither of which really specialise in the passing game (the humans can play it but they are all rounders so aren't experts). The essence of bloodbowl is forming a hedgehog and pounding your way forward, minimising your opportunities to suffer a turn over and trying to get a numerical advantage on the field - if there is going to be a pass even with passing teams there will probably only be one or two passes before a touch down so comparing this to soccer is just deeply mistaken. Sadly some people will miss a decent port of a great board game here - the sort of thing that people could play for years in leagues (which is the real fun - developing your team over time).

  • worldcitizen1919

    This is a 5 star game because it has guts. It has more strategies than the American Armed and Special Forces combined and it'll give you as much as you put in but you won't capture a Bin Laden without any training. Sure its got a steep learning curve but for people who are not brain dead that's an asset in a game not a liability. You don't drop every pass if you know what you're doing. I love this.

    • Jake7905

      It takes a world citizen to appreciate this kind of blend. We'll put.

      • Jake7905

        Well put, that is. Damn autocorrect.

  • hellscaretaker

    I wait untill it's 99p

  • TDA

    Wow, terrible review! Poorly done TA. What a mess.

  • a_w_young

    There's been much fuss over this review and what it comes down to is likely whether or not you enjoy board games and digital adaptations of them. It also helps if you actually know something about the source material or at least learn to understand the spirit in which the game operates (people fumbling the ball all the time because they're not supposed to be good at ball skills, for example, when you're starting out or trying to pick up the ball with a goon that's more geared towards beating the snot out of people)

    If you are someone who would normally enjoy Blood Bowl in it's other digital iterations or the board game itself, The only issues this game really suffers from as a port of an adaptation
    of Blood Bowl is typically in the UI being slightly nondescript without
    a lot of direction, the difficulty of sometimes touching the grid
    accurately, repetitive/annoying comical voice overs...
    It's not perfect by any stretch, but for a few dollars, it's loads more entertainment than you'll get from the typical fair available for iOS. It's also very indepth and gives you plenty to do for little cost.

    With a few patches, it will likely be pretty solid and I was frankly surprised at how non-wonky it was for a first-time port to iOS.

  • sweetdiss

    Hahaha, this is fascinating. All of this.

  • Indyalpha

    So if you love blood bowl or similar such games or are very familiar With it's history, you'll probably enjoy the game. But believe it or not I can read a review even if the writer has no previous knowledge or love of the genre or history of the game, and I can form a very accurate feel for the amount I will enjoy the game ( given the price point). I almost prefer that they don't love (or even "get") the series from which the game comes from, that way they won't over rate it for being such a wonderful port.

    • bilboad

      I think you're talking about two separate questions.

      1) If a game is a port or adaptation of another game, does the reviewer need to have played the source game to write a good review?

      2) Does the reviewer need to have a certain amount of familiarity with and appreciation of the *type* of game it is, or at least a willingness to try to learn about the type of game, to write a good review?

      I would agree that #1 isn't a necessity, and in fact there is even some benefit to the reviewer experiencing it as a fresh game and evaluating it on its own merits rather than on how it compares to its source.

      I do think #2 is a necessity though in order for a review to be very useful. I've never played Blood Bowl, so my problem with this review wasn't that I like BB and the reviewer didn't, since I don't know if I like Blood Bowl. However I do like turn based strategy games, and board game adaptations, so I was hoping the review would help me decide whether it's worth trying. It was so obvious though that the reviewer just didn't like this type of game that I couldn't get a lot of useful info about the game. The one useful piece of information I got I guess was that it's not very friendly to someone who isn't familiar with this type of game.

  • Hottar

    I played this on pc and psp a couple of years ago, liked it but it is hard game and one needs to understand it all to really enjoy it. Been hoping to read a review to determine if it is still the same game as the pc version.
    My hopes for a good port was squashed when i first saw the score..
    Too bad this review mentions nothing about the porting itself and that the guy writing doesnt even understand the basics of the game.

    Thanks for the comments, seems it IS a very good port so ill buy it now.

    Worst review ever..

  • september

    I used to know a reviewer who was given genres he didn't like (racing), because he didn't like them he'd miss specifics about the genre that a fan would want to know. Lesson is to make sure a person understands the genre they're reviewing, it gives a far better indication of whether or not a game is worthwhile considering the people it's aimed at.

  • tex42

    Love TA but sorely dissappointed by the quality of information in this review.

  • Rhobus

    I don't really care about the score a game gets. Some of my favourites have been those that don't typically appeal to a broad audience. I need a review to tell me the details if this is one or not

    But this review doesn't offer much information. Between the comments that announce Dotson's preference for button mashers (as if I care), are little more but the same redundant complaints. When they can be deciphered, comments point to the likelihood that the reviewer was probably too lazy to actually read the manual (even though he recommends doing so) or researching the details behind the game to offer some kind of research.

    The coders and artists spend thousands of man-hours bringing us these games; is it too much to ask your kid to spend the time to create a fair, unbiased review rather than the string of snide comments and horrible jokes that were likely barfed out in 30 minutes or less?

    But maybe that's not the sort of effort the editorial staff is looking for. That seems to be the attitude when sentences like the following remain when the final draft is published.

    For example:

    "However, if a move fails, like a pass falling incomplete, an opponent countering an attack successfully, or tackling a player trying to run past."

    "Often frought with difficulty."

    "There's also the online multiplayer, for if you want to ge with someone who perhaps knows the game and can explain it better than what, well, the actual game does."

    If you don't see any problems in those few examples (there are others, but not quite so glaring), your writing shouldn't be for public consumption. Even a below average high school student knows enough to run spell check before printing off an assignment.

    Unfortunately, that's not the first review from Dotson that has made me question TA's ability to offer fair or even readable reviews or exert some editing prowess.

    Listen; perhaps his opinion is solid. Maybe he's a video game savant and in the end Dotson's review score could be perfectly accurate. But unless we as your loyal readers can get the explanation behind that score, and that in clear, concise English, it's entirely useless.

  • {SQUEEK}

    So its not forgotten in a couple days... Worst review ever.

  • onetime74

    Note to self: Never read another review by Carter Dotson.

Blood Bowl Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 2.5