Blood bowl: A new board game challenge and competition for AI

Niels Justesen, Lasse Moller Uth, Christopher Jakobsen, Peter David Moore, Julian Togelius, Sebastian Risi

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    We propose the popular board game Blood Bowl as a new challenge for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Blood Bowl is a fully-observable, stochastic, turn-based, modern-style board game with a grid-based game board. At first sight, the game ought to be approachable by numerous game-playing algorithms. However, as all pieces on the board belonging to a player can be moved several times each turn, the turn-wise branching factor becomes overwhelming for traditional algorithms. Additionally, scoring points in the game is rare and difficult, which makes it hard to design heuristics for search algorithms or apply reinforcement learning. We present the Fantasy Football AI (FFAI) framework that implements the core rules of Blood Bowl and includes a forward model, several OpenAI Gym environments for reinforcement learning, competition functionalities, and a web application that allows for human play. We also present Bot Bowl I, the first AI competition that will use FFAI along with baseline agents and preliminary reinforcement learning results. Additionally, we present a wealth of opportunities for future AI competitions based on FFAI.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationIEEE Conference on Games 2019, CoG 2019
    PublisherIEEE Computer Society
    ISBN (Electronic)9781728118840
    StatePublished - Aug 2019
    Event2019 IEEE Conference on Games, CoG 2019 - London, United Kingdom
    Duration: Aug 20 2019Aug 23 2019

    Publication series

    NameIEEE Conference on Computatonal Intelligence and Games, CIG
    ISSN (Print)2325-4270
    ISSN (Electronic)2325-4289


    Conference2019 IEEE Conference on Games, CoG 2019
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
    • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Software


    Dive into the research topics of 'Blood bowl: A new board game challenge and competition for AI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this