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A Newbie’s Guide to the Best NFL Formations You Can Use in Blood Bowl 3 (And Why It Doesn’t Actually Help You Win) | GameGrin



If you’ve read my review of Blood Bowl 3, you’d know the game has a learning curve so steep you get an invitation to Mensa if you complete it to 100%. As there is no difficulty setting for the enemy AI, they play matches like pros which halts new players from progressing further than the tutorial and the first match against the “Bilge Rats”.

For anyone who’s unaware of the game of American football — like I was before — you may lack a grasp of basic offensive and defensive formations, but don’t you worry. In this guide, you will learn formations and terminology that I studied beforehand from a Wikipedia page, like how ‘formation’ and ‘play’ are completely different events. While this guide will give tips on pre-game formations and how to defend the field when the opposition has the ball, American football ‘plays’ don’t exactly work well in Blood Bowl 3 as they don’t communicate well in turn-based gameplay. However, I’ll tell you how I was able to get a touchdown using each formation.


The main goal when playing on the offensive is to score. While the opposition will attempt to block you from getting past; you have to devise a strategy that capitalises on the opposition getting bailed up by your blockers and linemen while the blitzers (wide receiver) and the occasional thrower do all the leg work. Or if you do get halted, finding an opening to exploit without getting tripped or knocked-out.

You can also prolong half-time by preventing the opposition from intercepting your blitzer via your formation, successfully holding back any attempt of incursion, but this only works for a short period as the opposition will eventually break through.

“Pro set”

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The Pro set, or the Split Backs formation, is a common offensive practice. To set it up, the blitzer must be on either side of the field to be used to run to the opposition’s side to catch and run the ball to the end zone. An offensive backfield that develops into a permanent flank once you’re ready to make a pass. This formation is a favourite in the game of American football as the set has an equal amount of win/loss rates which keeps the defence at a stand-still until you’re on the advantage. Gaps are also hard to find due to the line being tight at the start of half-time.

By keeping the opposition against the linemen and blockers, you can make an easy touchdown in 5-7 turns.

Shotgun Set

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The Shotgun set was the trickiest formation I used, having to attempt it multiple times to find any success while using it. The blitzer — instead of running immediately to the opposite side of the field to catch the ball — must run the ball back a few times to coax the opposition into moving in; where you block any attempt of interception and make an easy run to the end zone.

There are advantages to using the Shotgun set if you know how to use it. Linemen have more reach and mobility as well as a tighter formation when creating walls including herding the opposition to where you want them. If you can get some distance, you can make a pass if you still have enough turns left.


When playing on the defensive, you evidently aim to prevent the opposite team from scoring. To accomplish this, you must put your blockers and linemen at the front with the other players like blitzer and thrower in the back. The goal is to also obtain the ball by forcing the opposing blitzer — or player with the ball — to fumble or drop it so you can then pick it up and run it back to their end zone.

4-3 Defence

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In this formation, the 4-3 defence relies on having an advantage on the left and right of the field as the opposition can be tackled — or in the game of Blood Bowl, an uppercut in the ribs. The formation can be used for a stronger strategy where you line up on the opposition’s middle with the main goal to either hold off a pass or split the opposition blitzers.

While it sounds easy to do, the formation must at least stay together unless the opposition has made a break in their counter defence which can be exploited with caution.

3-4 Defence

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The 3-4 defence, or commonly known as the “base defence”, is a common formation that requires three linemen positioned in the front with four linebackers supporting gaps in the line as well as blitzers again being placed on the sides with the weaker players in the back. To use this formation effectively, the front linemen must push forward in the first turn to let the support linemen either rush the opposition’s quarterback or reinforce the formation. The flexibility of the 3-4 defence gives the linebackers limitless options to confuse the opposition into making rookie mistakes.

Why formations don’t actually help you win matches.

After easily playing double-digit amount of hours in the game, it’s best left to be said that Blood Bowl 3 makes you work for your wins. Studying the formations and applying them to the game helped me make some crucial touchdowns during endless numbers of matches, however my wins only came from dumb luck. The formations I’ve illustrated above will set you up for a successful match but not if you don’t know how to think steps ahead.

With enemy teams getting an advantage over you or the RNG gods haven’t been appeased that day, to best win any game in Blood Bowl 3 is to experiment with every tactic you can think of while learning the usual paths and strategies the opposition uses against you. Winning is not too hard to do, but personally, it took me way too long to get a handle on Blood Bowl 3 in general.

Additional Tips and Advice

For anyone new to Blood Bowl 3, or for anyone that had  the same difficulty as me, these are some learnt techniques that may help you if you’re still having trouble while using the formations above:

  • While it’s not explained properly in the game or how to read them quickly, the stats of your individual players indicates how well a dice throw is. If a number is 3+, you have to roll a 3 or higher.
  • When doing anything in a match, buddy up and try not to risk using the dice too much as the RNG will kill any play you attempt.
  • Only kick the ball if you’re running out the time or your catcher (quarterback) has a low Pass Average (PA).
  • It’s okay to not want to play the game, regarding the abysmal reviews it has on Steam the fans of the series don’t want to either.

I hope this guide has helped you on your way to getting the Blood Bowl cup; or just win a match.

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