Chaos League is a fantasy-based sports management game developed by Cyanide and published by Digital Jesters in 2004. The game is a fantasy spin-off of American Football, similar to Games Workshop's Blood Bowl, including fantasy races, magic and the ability to kill members of the opposing team. The game has also spawned an expansion entitled Chaos League: Sudden Death in 2005. The game also features elements of black humour like obscure character designs and comical commentary. The game uses the controversial StarForce copy prevention mechanism.


Chaos League falls into a multiple genre category, both real time strategy and sports games as the game involves war based tactics like unit positions and fighting strategies but the main goal of the game to score points by getting a pig skin ball to the opposite end zone, very much like the same rules found in American Football. Players are given a choice of 10 different fantasy based races (13 in Sudden Death) to play as their team, each with their own style of play, skill and tactics. The player then has to handle the teams finances in order to hire different players like Linemen, Quarterbacks etc. after of which can name them individually to their liking. When gameplay starts, players are given 1 minute to set up their formation, after game starts in real time. The player can click on individual team mates and give them an order like attack opponent and pick up and/or throw. Each game lasts 10 minutes, after players can be upgraded to gain extra speed or strength or to add new skills or magic abilities, all from gaining experience during the last game they played like scoring or crippling an opposing team mate.[1]

Other aspects that differ from normal sports games include causing player knock outs, injuries or even deaths. Chaos League also includes rather crude options like stamping on downed players, intervening hooligans, drugging players before games and bribing or assaulting the referee when the rules are broken.[2] The main basis of the game's comical style is from the commentary, done by a pair of dysfunctional Chaos League enthusiasts that would insult both each other, the fans and the players in the current game. The Sudden Death add on expanded the features to include team clans to help during gameplay, fighting the ref, and aging players over time, requiring new players every few seasons.[3]

Player positions

A team can hire up to 15 players (9 per team on the pitch during the match) with a choice of player positions, each one with their own skills, looks and game style. However not all positions are available for all teams.[4]

  • Lineman - Physical players, injures Quarterback more easily.
  • Receiver - Fast runners and good at catching the ball, can make a feint against a Runningback more easily.
  • Linebacker - Offence force, injures a Bigfoot more easily.
  • Quarterback - Ball passers, inflicts feinting penalty on a receiver.
  • Runningback - All round player, stronger with ball with armour bonus against Linebacker.
  • Bigfoot - Special brutal fighters, protection penalty on a Lineman (one per team, except Goblins who have a wider choice).
  • Champion - Unique players in many ways, mostly on their race's special skill.


Chaos League featured 9 races, all the traditional fantasy style classes similar to that of Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons. Teams have specific restrictions on the positions they are allowed to choose from as well as the potential to use Bigfoot players.

  • Humans - All round players with the skill to adapt their personal play against other teams.
    • Bigfoot: Ogre
    • Restrictions: No Linebackers
  • Dark Elves - Skilled in the arts of magic and can handle the ball very well, yet are weak in fighting.
    • Bigfoot: Dark Ent
    • Restrictions: No Linebackers
  • Wood Elves - Better at handling the ball than Dark Elves but not as skilled with magic, they are also weak in fighting.
    • Bigfoot: Ent
    • Restrictions: No Linebackers
  • Orcs - Aggressive players backed up with some magic but they are much slower and handle the ball less well.
    • Bigfoot: Troll
    • Restrictions: No Receivers
  • Dwarves - Very slow, poor at magic and terrible at handling the ball, however they are the strongest and best fighters in the game.
    • Bigfoot: Ogre (Sudden Death: Elder Dwarf)
    • Restrictions: No Receivers
  • Goblins - Very small and weak but they are slippery characters, plus they can hire multiple bigfoot monster players.
    • Bigfoot: Minotaur, Crazy Balgor, Mad Troll (Sudden Death: Goblin Rider x2, Minotaur)
    • Restrictions: No Linebackers, Running backs or Quarterbacks
  • Barbarians - Like humans but better at fighting, more vulnerable defense.
    • Bigfoot: Minotaur (Sudden Death: Hunter)
    • Restrictions: No Running backs
  • Undead - Wider player options to vary speed and strength depending on position choices.
    • Bigfoot: None, stronger linebackers
    • Restrictions: No Quarterbacks
  • Praetorians - A race of humanoid wolves. The best at long distance running and fair at handling the ball but incredibly weak.
    • Bigfoot: Balgor
    • Restrictions: No Linebackers
  • Mercenaries - A round up of weak linemen from all of the above races, varying play.
    • Bigfoot: None
    • Restrictions: None

The following races are included in the Sudden Death expansion pack.

  • Gnomes - Slow and stumpy yet use heavy steam powered machine walkers for their advantage.
    • Bigfoot: Machine
    • Restrictions: No Linebackers or Running backs
  • Damned - Demons. Use black magic for fighting situations rather than playing passing games.
    • Bigfoot: Demon
    • Restrictions: No Receivers or Running backs
  • Cicturas - Lizardmen. Weak yet slippery players who use projectile poisons and bites to wear down foes.
    • Bigfoot: Cicturi
    • Restrictions: No Receivers or Quarterbacks


Another aspect of the game comes from the chance to mod many aspects of the games [5] like custom team logos or pitch design. However the more popular modding aspect came from player skins and costumes which was a simple matter of rendering character palettes in the game's software files. Changing character models was accomplished by only a very few and even then it was mostly swapping of player templates.

Blood Bowl

The game has many similarities to the Games Workshop table top game Blood Bowl, another fantasy parody of American Football. Besides the obvious connections to the style of the game itself, both being violent fantasy sports, minor similarities were also noticeable to Blood Bowl fans. Most notable were the recurring skills in both like "Mighty Blow", "Bulldoze" and "Projectile". Even during a loading menu in after games, a well known red sun with an Orc face, usually found on Games Workshop inks can be seen in the background.

Games Workshop has announced that Cyanide Studios now have a licence to create computer games based on Blood Bowl, and that "Any differences between Games Workshop and Cyanide have been amicably settled for an undisclosed sum, and as part of the settlement the Chaos League title has been assigned to Games Workshop".[6] The game Blood Bowl is in development for the PC, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS and Xbox 360, and was released in Q3 2009.[7]


  1. Digitel Jesters, ed (2005). Chaos League: Sudden Death Manual. Digitel Jesters. pp. 40–41. 
  2. Chaos League: Sudden Death Manual. Digitel Jesters. 2005. p. 32. 
  3. Chaos League: Sudden Death Manual. Digitel Jesters. 2005. pp. 32–33. 
  4. Chaos League: Sudden Death Manual. Digitel Jesters. 2005. p. 11. 
  5. [1][dead link]
  6. Cyanide now plays in Blood Bowl. GameSpot (2006-06-27). Retrieved on 2008-03-30
  7. Release date, new site. Cyanide. Retrieved on 2008-12-18

External links