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Welcome to the BreadDoll Blog!

Welcome to our DreadBall blog.  We are fans of the futuristic sports game DreadBall and always look forward to our next match!  Please look around.  Read posts about the hobby, tactics, or events.  Come back often, or better yet – follow us!

May all of your sixes explode,

Geoff, Andrew, and Lee

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Coaches’ Corner: Shawn Grubaugh

The Coaches’ Corner is an in-depth interview with DreadBall Coaches, Commissioners, and Creators.  A game is fourteen Rushes, and the interview is fourteen questions.

This shake-down of queries is big.  As big as the state of TEXAS!  The Lone Star State is known for many things: The Alamo, Succession, Cowgirls, and…  Shawn Grubaugh.  Shawn has a long and storied history with the Greatest Game in Galaxy, and he’s “agreed” to reveal some of it’s more interesting developments.

Shawn Grubaugh.  YouTuber.  Mantic Pathfinder.  Gamer.

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This is Shawn’s chest. Covering it is a t-shirt his wife had painted for him. That is what marriage is all about.

1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

While watching Gen Con videos (well before I was able to actually attend) – there was an interview with Ronnie Renton of Mantic Games.  He was talking about this cool game coming to Kickstarter called Dreadball – A sci-fi sports game. I was immediately intrigued.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

It was a learning match with the core set of Corporation against Marauders. I was getting my butt handed to me by my son Garrison. It was day one of the league, and we were being taught the basics.

 

3.  What is your favorite team?

My favorite team will always be my Neo-Tek Phantoms [Corporation]. They went undefeated for two leagues, three tournaments, and I won the inaugural Gen Con tournament with them.

 

4.  What is your favorite MVP?  Is the miniature cast in…  Metal?

The greatest MVP – Shawn “Patient Zero” Grubaugh!! Cast in metal!!

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Patient Zero, literally rendered in a beautiful sequence of ones and zeros.

Of course, of course.  Please elaborate.  You chose to back the DreadBall Xtreme Kickstarter at a level that granted you development of an MVP.  Explain to loyal BreadDoll readers how and why this character went from zero to hero.

Yea. Mantic Game sent several models to choose from, and then did a few mock ups. The original head had a spiked Mohawk! That’s not really my style, so I asked for long wavy hair and bang – Patient Zero! For the fluff and rules I had a couple ideas and friends contributed. Two really good friends significantly helped. Tom Taylor in the fluff, and Brian Taylor (no relation) on the rules. It was really a collaborative effort.  Ultimately, I wanted Patient Zero to look just like I do: young, muscular, long hair, and athletic!  Mantic Games did a great job! 😉

5.  Yes.  The similarity is…  Striking…  Let’s discuss pitches.  DreadBall was quick to find custom efforts from fanatical fans, and the first this BreadDoll editor remembers seeing was something called the Neo-Tek Tesla Dome.  Please explain its origin, development, and refinement.

Wow.  So I really love this game and wanted a cool pitch that would catch the eye. I have ZERO artistic abilities and had no idea how to start. I found free software call gimp, and began a lot of research on how to use it; what a layer was, using python to create the hex grid, editing pics, etc…  The first version was roughly 30 layers. I started looking for cool ideas and thought lightning would be cool! It was literally a couple months of work. Some time later I went back for version 2 on a bigger mat and adding places for cards, coaches, tokens, etc… It was a great experience, and I still love to see pictures of people all over the world playing on my pitch!

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So. Many. Layers.
 

6.  Tangentially related, when I play on Mantic’s Neoprene GrubaTek VII’s Coliseum Deluxe Pitch – your last name seems to be staring at me.  Or is it?  Please explain how this optical distraction came to interfere with my matches.

It is actually named for me. The year after Dreadball was released I finally attended Gen Con for the first time! Knowing Mantic Games would be there, I decided to take the version of my pitch I had printed on neoprene to show the guys. When I met Ronnie at the Mantic booth, I pulled out the mat. To my surprise he was really impressed and was very interested that it was on neoprene. He even invited me to Mantic Night at Colt’s Grill to play him a game on it. Little did either of us know: that game would probably be the greatest game either of us played. Ever. It was a back and forth battle that ended in a draw. When asked if we should go to OT, Ronnie said, “A game this great should end in a draw!” I couldn’t agree more, it was truly epic. SO. I gave the mat to Ronnie as a memento of the great game. What was really cool is a couple months later, James M Hewitt (yes, the awesome game designer who used to work at Mantic Games) contacted me over Facebook.  He said when Ronnie brought the pitch back to the office and the guys all loved it. He was asking my permission to use it in the office league! “Heck yeah!” I said. I had no idea what was to come. A few months later, Dreadball Xtreme was on Kickstarter.  The campaign had a new version of the game, new teams, and a new neoprene mat. Ronnie contacted me and explained they wanted me to name the mat. Gruba-Tek VII was born! The Dreadball pitch created by the father of the seven Grubaugh children who, would take over the galaxy’s largest company and rename it Neo-Tek. “Neo-Tek, If we don’t make it, you don’t need it!”

Yea.  I’m really into Dreadball, and I’ve created my own fiction for it!

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It’s not Gen Con if there are no cargo shorts. Ronnie Renton and Shawn Grubaugh captured in a moment of civility and good sportsmanship.
 

7.  You are one of the few Coaches from North America that has visited Mantic Games in Nottingham, UK.  That’s very cool, but really…  How cool was it?

It was awesome.  I got there and really had no agenda.  I just wanted to hang with the team for the day, see what happens behind the scenes etc… It was a great day! They showed me how the metal and resin models were made.  I got to play a game of Dreadball 2nd Edition with Stuart Gibbs before it was shipped (I lost by 1 point, but was told I was the closest to beating him of everyone). I even got to sit in on a secret meeting discussing future projects.  Yes, I knew about Hellboy before the rest of the world! It was a very hard secret to keep, but keep it I did!  It was a great day.

8.  Shifting gears for a moment, what do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

I have a YouTube channel – The Game Room – Texas Gamer Geeks. We do a lot of unboxings, game plays, and painting tutorials. I also paint a lot when I can. That whole “I’ll never run out of minis to paint” thing, yea – I really live it. We love games like Infinity, Gaslands, Deadzone, and The Walking Dead.

9.  You attend gaming conventions with your family, and your entire clan plays games.  What are the positives and negatives of such travel plans?

I love having the kids play games with me. Going to conventions really gives us a connection I wouldn’t replace. They look forward to it every year whether its; PAX South, a local convention, or Gen Con. The only negative is the expense as Dad foots much of the bill. But the time spent together is worth it. Some of the older kids have started helping cover costs, which tells me they cherish the time and fun together as much as I do!

10.  Back to the Galaxy’s greatest sport, how do you primarily play DreadBall? [One-off, league, tournament, Xtreme, Ultimate]

Leagues are the best way to play; to watch your players gain experience, and get better, and then become targets! I remember my level 5 Striker was the league’s biggest target, everyone wanted to kill him!! During the last few games of the league season – he only came onto the pitch for the last Rush or two when I needed the winning Strike. That was a great season.

11.  Which opposing team/Coach do you… Dread… the most?

Garrison Grubaugh! I don’t think I’ve been able to get a win on camera against him in years!

12.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

My Neo-Tek Phantoms against a Veer-myn team. At Rush 13, it was three in my favor and my opponent just missed the Strike attempt that would bring the score to zero. For the Final rush of the game, we could have just called it.  However, we were both in need of experience points. The final Rush for which I needed all 5 actions required: Sprinting to the back of the pitch, Picking up the ball, getting the extra action, Running, Throwing, Catching with the extra action, then two Dodges, another Throw, another Catch with the third extra action, a couple more Dodges and a finally – a 4 point Strike attempt…  A 7 point victory! The required successful die rolls were insane!

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The infamous Neo-Tek Phantoms!
 

13. What would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

Thats a hard one.  It’s a great game, but support seems to have dropped. I think new life could be brought into it with new teams released maybe every 6 months. Maybe a rules update.

14.  Lastly, if you won a BreadDoll in tournament play (last place), would you; eat it immediately in front of attending coaches, or wait until you were in the privacy of your locker room?

Oh eat it there! Last place – Embrace the SUCK!

Thank you Shawn!  This BreadDoll editor is going to celebrate an excellent interview and history lesson with some Texas toast and Tito’s.

Coaches’ Corner: Antti Jäppinen

The Coaches’ Corner is an in-depth interview with DreadBall Coaches, Commissioners, and Creators.  A game is fourteen Rushes, and the interview is fourteen questions.

This interrogation is particularly special.  Both the interviewer and interviewee share a common hobby that lies beyond the spectacle of sporting science fiction.  The power of childhood, nostalgia, and fantastic plastic flows through these words.

Antti

Antti Jäppinen. Mini painter, He-Man enthusiast, and data plumber.

1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

I was quite new to Kickstarter, with the only projects previously backed either canceled or funding not met. One day, I spotted this sci-fi sports game that picked my interest. I had played Blood Bowl very actively around 2000, but that group had dispersed and this new game looked like it fixed many of the problems we saw in Blood Bowl. I loved the three dice / three Roles design and the general smoothness of the gameplay, and I think I backed all-in pretty early.  Subsequently, I’ve backed every DreadBall Kickstarter since, and talked a few friends into backing too.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

I don’t remember much anything about my first game, but fortunately I keep a record of all boardgame plays on boardgamegeek.com. Checking there, it seems I’ve played the first game against our older son who was 9 years old at the time, with me playing Tronteks and him playing the Smackers. We didn’t use cards. I won by four points. It took us a year of occasional matches to teach my friends and get them interested, before we started an actual league, and haven’t really stopped since.  Only the second edition completely rebooted the perpetual league. The boy is now 16, and has been playing with us for most of this time. He plays Teratons.

3.  What is your favorite team?

The Martians, probably. I love crossovers, and every time a surprising guest appears in a game – it makes me smile. The first edition team was pretty weak, but nowadays the shooting game is quite effective and amusing with the Slaughter ability. And the clear helmets! I’ve never played them personally, though. I own most of the DreadBall stuff our league plays (although we’ve made some purchases together), and somebody else has always opted for them. I think I’ll be switching back to Forge Fathers (my original team) when we go to our next season. Or maybe Mechanites, I love their variety, and the potential for randomness.

4.  What is your favorite MVP?

I don’t really know. The way MVPs interact with the game means they mostly are not used in our league. Switching all MVPs as Captains would be the way to go in my opinion.

5.  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?  If you painted it, how did you do it?

Barricade, hands down. Giants in general are pretty nice, being big and imposing, but there’s something special about Barricade. Sadly, he’s not used in the game practically at all, as the players find MVPs not a good choice, and Giants weak in particular. My inspiration for Barricade’s paint job is the 1985 vehicle Bashasaurus from Masters of the Universe. The paintjob isn’t maybe quite what I’d now be able to do, but I am happy with it.

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Antti’s inspiration: part machine, part reptile. ALL BASH.

6.  Now that you mention it, many of your DreadBall color schemes mirror that popular 1980s toy franchise.  Several readers may know this BreadDoll editor is a resident of the Fright Zone, so it’s no surprise there is a lot of love for your Masters of the Universe palette.  What’s your connection to Eternia, Castle Grayskull, and Snake Mountain?

I grew up with Masters of the Universe, and never quite got over that. The muscular men of Eternia have been of my life ever since one way or another. Mostly it’s about slowly collecting MOTU Classics figures, buying too many MOTU-themed t-shirts, and buying any-and-all miniatures that are inspired by the franchise. Occasionally, I also customize MOTU action figures for others. I’m also part of a loose group of Finnish MOTU fans who meet every few months to just hang, eat, and watch a crappy film from the eighties.

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These stunning models are completely acceptable for Vanguard / Deadzone crossovers.

7.  Follow up; Who is your favorite MOTU character?

A tough question! Mosquitor is one of the coolest, and as a kid I loved Modulok and Multi-Bot. Trap Jaw is pretty menacing (not in the cartoon, though). I think I’ll have to go with Mosquitor. He would’ve made for a cool theme for a Z’zor team or maybe Koris, but I’ve painted both already. Not many people have love for New Adventures of He-Man (I think it was called Super He-Man around here), and Optikk from that line is also very cool. In fact I think the bad guys from New Adventures are all very nice designs (sans Skeletor).

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Mosquitor sucks!

8.  Do you have any future color schemes for teams that you’d like to share?  Perhaps another franchise to celebrate?

With DreadBall, I rarely deviate from MOTU, unless the mini is specifically from some other franchise, like the Martians, or Judge Dredd. My son’s Teratons were painted with TMNT in mind, though, for obvious reasons. I think the next team I’m going to paint is a Judwan team for one friend who I’m trying to lure into the league. She has never been a minis gamer but is an avid sci-fi, superhero and board game fan, and I’m unsure how much time she has for semi-regular gaming… But my plan is to paint the team inspired by Prince Adam, I doubt many people can resist that! I painted the Judwan Captain while he still was an MVP with Sy-Klone in mind, but the paintjob isn’t that good, I’ll have to repaint it. If I’ll do a Mechanite team, it has to be based on Multi-Bot!

9.  Shifting gears for a moment, what do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

I used to be head chef for an institutional kitchen and staff restaurant, but now I’m studying for a Business Information Technology degree and recently started a new job as what could be described as a data plumber, so studying and work takes a lot of my time. Most of my free time is eaten by painting miniatures, jogging and/or running, playing board games whenever possible, and spending time with my family.

10.  Back to the Galaxy’s greatest sport, how do you primarily play DreadBall? [One-off, league, tournament, Xtreme, Ultimate]

As I mentioned we have an ongoing league. I has been going on with 6-8 players since 2013, and I’m hoping I can recruit two more players once we finish the current season next weekend. League play is where the game really shines! We do love Ultimate, and try to incorporate an Ultimate match into every one of our seasons (for us, a season lasts 3-12 months, depending on how busy people are with ‘Real Life’), but it’s hard to get three or more of the players together. During first edition we managed to play a compelete season with six players with exlusively 3-player Ultimate matches, with all teams participating in the finals game, and it was a blast! It was also the slowest of our seasons, as scheluding the games was so difficult. I own Xtreme, but have never tried and probably never will, although the modular boards from the expansion still intrigue me..

11.  Which opposing team/Coach do you… Dread… the most?

Our two best coaches are my friends Jaakko and another Antti, who currently play Z’zor and Veer-Myn respectively. I suspect I’ve never beaten either one in a game of DreadBall. Jaakko’s Z’zor, the Buzzspace Skyspies (inspired by Buzz Off from MOTU) are dreaded by all in the league, as his extremely tough Guard ”Bitsy” will mow down anyone and everyone on the pitch. In general we do play with pretty casual attitude, though, so there’s not too much actual dread involved. 😀

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Bitsy is going to seriously injure you bro.
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Buzz Off Bitsy!

12.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

I can’t pinpoint any specific Rush that sticks out. Many DB matches have very intense last Rushes that decide the match, and that’s one of the coolest things about the game.

13. What would you like to see from DreadBall in the future? 

There’s a couple of things in no specific order:

  • A captain and captain cards for Martians.
  • Maybe alternative Captains for the teams? To go along with this switch existing MVP’s as Captains. Many of them could be an option for several teams. Captain cards would be still team-specific.
  • I do think the game has enough teams as it is, but if a licenced team would come up, I’d be all over that. A specific licence of, say, Eternians would be very high on my to-buy list!
  • Upscaled minis for first edition teams is kind of on my wish list.. but as I own almost every team already, I’m not so sure I should be hoping for this. 😀
  • More event cards. We feel the event deck is nice but kind of stale, and some of the events are pretty big game changers.. seeing them come up isn’t that bad but they could be rarer. This could tie up to alternative Captains?
  • Change the Draft rules to simply give back a fixed amount of cash, making any exceptions meaningless. I feel this would balance the high starting cost players in a perpetual league better.
  • League and Team tracker app (preferably on iPhone). I kind of started my own but decided it’s too much a hassle to make on my free time.
  • Extended league systems? Like the Azure Forest. The new Captains could be tied in with these packs.
  • Active rules review and updates.

14.  Lastly, if you won a BreadDoll in tournament play (last place), would you; eat it immediately in front of attending coaches, or wait until you were in the privacy of your locker room?

I would eat it immediately and stuff as much in my mouth at once as I can. That’s how I usually eat.

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Many thanks to Antti for the Finnish fandom.  You sir, HAVE THE POWER.

Scattered Scullery: Action Token Tracking

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So you have your Action Tokens and it’s your Rush. How to keep track of how many Actions you’ve used and which players you’ve used them on? There are a few options.

The Action Token Tracker

Some pitches, including the new pitch that comes with 2nd Edition DreadBall, have a dedicated area to track your Action Token usage. Simply place the token on the player number in the Action Token tracking area. There’s even a space to track Action Tokens spent to buy cards.

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Pros: Simple.

Cons: Players must be numbered between 1-14. Takes more space on the Pitch.

The Rush Tracker

If the Pitch you’re using doesn’t have a dedicated Action Token tracking area you can use the Rush Tracker. There are 14 Rushes so as long as your players are numbered 1-14 just place your Action Tokens beside the Rush number matching the player number. If your Rush Tracker has a “0” space use that to track buying cards.

Pros: Uses an already existing feature of the Pitch.

Cons: Players must be numbered between 1-14.

On The Pitch

If you don’t have a dedicated Action Token tracking area and don’t like using the Rush Tracker as an alternative you can always just place your Action Tokens on the Pitch beside the player the Token is being used on. For buying cards just place the Action Token near the game deck.

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Pros: Players don’t need to be numbered at all.

Cons: Clutters the Pitch

In Your Head

This one is pretty obvious. If you find you can just remember and your opponent trusts you then just keep track in your head.

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Pros: No Restrictions.

Cons: Requires being able to remember. 😛

DreadBall 3-on-3!

Here it is! The completely unofficial, amateur, backstreet pickup game of DreadBall! DreadBall 3-on-3!

One of the variants of DreadBall that is currently (legally) growing in popularity is 3-on-3 DreadBall. 3-on-3, sometimes called StreetBall due to its origins, is a smaller fast paced DreadBall involving small teams on even smaller pitch.

Ah, the field of dreams….or maiming…..mostly maiming…

Alternating Activation

The biggest change for 3-on-3 is the Rush and Action structure. Coaches alternate taking actions. Each coach gets to spend only 1 action token on their turn.

Rushes

There are no Rushes in 3-on-3. Each coach has 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)

Action Tokens

Each coach starts with 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)

You can play any number of Action cards (still max 1 per player per turn) when it is your turn to play an Action token, but you still have to play a token either before or after or between playing Action cards.

So. Many. TOKENS.

Setup

Whichever coach is the underdog in a 3-on-3 match gets to choose Home or Visitor. Max of 3 players on the pitch….to start…..

Setup behind the center line of your side color (White for Home, red for Visitor)

Ball Launch

The ball launches from the center hex and scatters. If a player is occupying the center hex when the ball launches they might be hit. Roll a 3 dice 4+ test for the ball.

The ball cannot be caught in the center hex but can be caught when it scatters as if it was an inaccurate pass.

Strikes

There are no set Strikezones. Players can Throw Strikes from anywhere in range.

Strikes are still -1 for Throwing at a small target. All Strikes are worth 1 point.

Strike hexes are impassible, as there is a physical Strikepost in this space in a 3-on-3 game. No fancy holographic Strikehexs here.

Sturdy construction, timeless design. And ALWAYS in the way!

Dunking

If you attempt to throw a Strike from adjacent to the Strikehex you gain a +1 on your Throw.

Score

The team with the most points at the end of a match wins, as is usual. If at any point during the game one team is up by 5 Strikes it is a landslide win and the game ends. A tie will result in Sudden Death overtime. Coaches “reset” their allotment of Action Tokens and continue play.

Sudden Death

There are no “gates” to keep players from coming on the pitch, so there are no restrictions to bringing players on in overtime. However, in the true sense of the sporting term “sudden death”, whichever team scores next wins the match and ends the game.

Injuries

Injured players are not removed from the pitch. When a player is injured lay them prone and place a marker representing how badly they were injured in the Sin Bin (or use a prone model and place the regular mini in the Sin Bin) in their stead.

If the injured player is injured further while on the pitch move their injury token deeper into the Sin Bin, if this results in death, remove the player from the pitch and the injury token from the Sin Bin. Whenever a coach plays a Sin Bin Action Token, in addition to their regular action, they may move all fouling players through the Sin Bin and make a Recovery Roll for injured ones.

Recovery Rolls

At the end of each Sin Bin Action Token, every injured player from the active team must make a recovery roll. This is not optional. A player cannot attempt to Stand Up until they have recovered from all of their injuries.

Recovery Roll: a 3 dice Strength test (1).

-1 per opposing player threatening the hex you are in (maximum of -2).

Recovery Succeeds: the player removes one injury per success.

Recovery Fails: the player sustains one more injury as they continue to bleed out. If this takes the total to 4, then they die and are removed.

Fouls

There is no Refbot in 3-on-3, players are calling their own Fouls.

When you call a foul roll the Spot Test as usual.

The Argue (test that opposes the Spot Check in 3- on-3) roll is:

+1 for the player committing the foul

+1 if the player committing the foul is a guard

+1 to Argue if there is at least 1 teammate within 5 hexes of the fouling player.

Tie: Fouling player is sent to the Sub Bench

Spot Wins: Fouling player is sent to the “1” space of the Sin Bin

Argue Wins: Fouling player stays on the Pitch

Sneak Amendment: If a Coach ends an Action with more than 3 uninjured Players on the pitch, they are committing a Sneak Foul.

Momentum

Resources are crucial in 3 on 3…cards and free actions let you do more with your one token!

In 3-on-3 DreadBall there isn’t a big stadium full of fans. There are no fans checks, but teams can build up Momentum. There are two main methods of generating Momentum:

-Double a Strike

-Seriously Injure an opponent

When an action meets one of these conditions, draw a card and look at the pips.

If the card has 1 pip save it as usual.

If the card has 2 pips immediately discard it and take a Coaching Dice

If the card has 3 pips immediately discard it and take a Card into your hand

Once you have collected 3 pips of single pip cards you can immediately choose to take a Coaching Dice or Card in exchange.

Roster

Starting Roster funding: 600mc

Players can be purchased from all teams.

The minimum number of players on a roster is 3

The maximum number of players on a roster is 5

To represent the rag tag, pick up nature of the setting, you can not have more than one of the same kind of player (race and position).

Additionally, specialists (Strikers and Guards) are rare, most amateur and pick up players don’t have that level of training. To represent this, you may have no more than two specialists on your roster total. So, either 1 Striker and 1 Guard…or 2 Guards, etc.

No Assistant Coaches or Cheerleaders are allowed in 3-on-3

No cards or coaching dice can be purchased on a starting 3-on-3 roster

Lastly, players don’t normally earn experience. It’s not the players who level up and advance, but rather YOU, the Coach, the Manager, the Sponsor…….but more on that next time!

Coaches’ Corner: Rob Burman

The Coaches’ Corner is an in-depth interview with DreadBall Coaches, Commissioners, and Creators.  A game is fourteen Rushes, and the interview is fourteen questions.

Rob Burman has been pulled from his GCPS issued desk for this interrogation.  It’s a coup for the BreadDoll editors, as Rob is the first interview from Mantic Headquarters.

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Rob Burman.  Goblin lover, Bigfoot believer, and ex-Donkey Konga UK champion.

1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

By accident, really. I stumbled across Mantic just after the first Kings of War Kickstarter but just before the DreadBall Kickstarter launched. Although I had been out of the hobby for about 13 years, it totally looked up my street and I immediately went all-in! Since then I haven’t looked back… I mean, obviously I’ve looked backwards when driving and stuff. I just haven’t metaphorically looked backed. Apart from memories… oh, you get the idea.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

I didn’t actually play a game for a long time. Instead, I spent time (really badly) painting the teams I got from the Kickstarter. Eventually I found a local club in Nottingham and they had a few players who said they would teach me the ropes. I think my first game was playing with Veer-myn and I got absolutely swept off the pitch, but I loved every minute and was immediately hooked.

3.  What is your favorite team?

Woah, that is like asking me to pick a favourite child or pizza topping. It changes all the time. For the longest time I was a hardcore Veer-myn player because I loved their speed. Then I changed to Rebs (while still in First Edition). In Second Edition, I thoroughly enjoy playing Matsudan and Yndij (and played both of those for a while). However, I’ve recently returned to my greenskin roots (and the first team I painted), with the Marauders. These guys are absolutely top notch in Second Edition and I can see myself sticking with them for a while.

4.  What is your favorite MVP?

Bit cheesy but probably the Praetorian, in terms of stats. You really can’t argue with a 3+ Skill and he’s relatively tough, thanks to Can’t Feel a Thing. I had the Praetorian in my DreadBall UK Championship winning side back in 2018 and he won the tournament for me, really.

5.  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?  If you painted it, how did you do it?

Actually, going back to the Marauders; I really love the orcs and the plastic makes them very easy to re-pose. They’re nice, big, chunky models so you can get quite a lot of detail on the paint job.

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6.  How do you primarily play DreadBall? [One-off, league, tournament, Xtreme, Ultimate].

Nowadays it’s mostly tournaments with the odd one-off on the Mantic live stream. I wish I could play more, to be honest, because it’s still my absolute favourite game.

7.  Shifting gears for a moment, what do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

Cry, solemnly.

8.  You work at Mantic!  Without jeopardizing your employment, please describe your position.  Any advice on how to find a gainful salary in the gaming industry is welcome (asking for a retired DreadBall Coach).

I am the Online Sales and Social Media Manager, with is a bit of a mouthful. In terms of getting a job, it’s all about pursuing your passion. Once I got back into the hobby, I hit it hard. I became a senior committee member at the club, started writing blogs, shared my (often terrible) painting progress and eventually managed to persuade my boss in a previous job to let me start a tabletop gaming magazine. I think if you can demonstrate that sort of commitment to the hobby and industry in general, then someone is bound to pick you up.

9.  Back to the Galaxy’s greatest sport, which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

I see what you did there… I don’t think it’s necessarily the team, it’s more the Coach. Facing off against Geoff [Burbidge] at Adepticon was a humbling experience – even though he was playing Brokkrs, who I normally wouldn’t be scared of. Likewise, a humbling defeat recently came at the hands of the Trontek 29ers, who I have previously dismissed as complete rubbish. However, I must admit that I fear taking on a competitive Zee player. Having that many players to block all the strike zones is a pain in the backside.

10.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

I love those Rushes when absolutely everything goes to plan (although it doesn’t happen that often). During the Co-Prosperity Cup 2019, I was down one Strike in my final Rush but there was an outside chance I could grab the ball and score. For that to happen, I had to; get the right card (Any Player, Any Action), pick up the ball, double it, and then Dash several times to sneak into the two point Strike Zone. It really shouldn’t have been possible but, against all the odds, I pulled off everything.

I also love the fact you can swap Fan Checks for extra cards now. That really encourages you to try crazy stuff (nine hex passes, triple Dashes, etc.) to generate the Fan Check and get a card, which could turn the tide.

And, of course, every Rush I played against Crazy-A at Gencon 2019 was sheer joy. [Editor’s note: Mantic has nicknamed this BreadDoll editor “Crazy-A.” It’s not… inaccurate.  Regardless, our Gencon match ended in a tie.]

11. What would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

To be honest? More people playing! There’s quite a good UK community bubbling away at the moment. Franticon had 20+ players earlier this year and WOFcon recently had a similar number. There’s already an event planned for early next year, and I’d like to see another at Mantic HQ.

With more people playing, we can then release more products. I would be wary of ‘just more teams’ because we already have a shed load but perhaps a resin classics edition, with re-poses of the original teams? Something like that would be very cool.

I’d also like to see some sort of global tournament, a little like the Deadzone campaign we  [Mantic] did last year.

12.  You often play DreadBall on both sides of the pond.  Have you noticed different coaching styles between North American and British opponents?

I haven’t, really. I was expecting the Americans to be more violent (although Shane [Knerll and Geoff [Burbidge] both obliterated my NeoBots at Adepticon), but that isn’t always the case. I think good players are good players both sides of the pond.

13.  You frequently appear on Mantic video feeds competing against colleague Elvis Fisher.  More often than not, you dominate the matches.  Have you considered facing-off against other Coaches, like Crazy Bobby?

Crazy Bobby has been banned from the live stream after an ‘incident’. I have had my backside handed to me on the live stream by Martin [Thirwell, Mantic employee and all-around sexy man] though – in fact, I don’t think I’ve won a game on the live stream against Martin. He intimidates me off camera by threatening my children with a shiv. I’m always up for playing more games on the live stream (apart from Rob Taylor, before he asks).

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14.  Lastly, if you won a BreadDoll in tournament play (last place), would you; eat it immediately in front of attending coaches, or wait until you were in the privacy of your locker room?

I would eat it while sobbing in the shower.

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Many thanks to Rob for agreeing to answer such pressing queries.  After two Brits in the Coaches’ Corner, should the BreadDoll aim for a hat-trick?  Who should be interviewed next?  Let us know in the comments below.

Scattered Scullery: Evolution of The Pitch

For everyone that prefers a low-profile DreadBall pitch, I’ve put together another card. Before we introduce the new card, let’s go over a bit of history.

The Original Pitch

When DreadBall was first released in 2012, it came with a board for a pitch.  This 1st Edition pitch was much simpler and much smaller with a lower profile (low-profile) on the table than the larger 2nd Edition pitches we’re familiar with today.

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Original 1st Edition Pitch

 

Action Tracker and Pitch Evolution

As more and more Coaches took to the game, they began to see opportunities to improve upon the basic 1st edition folding board pitch. The idea of printing the pitch on a neoprene mat was attractive. Without the original artwork for the pitch, we had to recreate the entire pitch design before we could print it. The first new designs were merely recreations of the original, but on neoprene.

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Hyperdyne Arena

Those neoprene pitches were nice, but the hexes were the same size as the original. Often players on the pitch, when next to each other, did not have enough room. The next pitch designs increased the hex size from the original 25mm to a spacious 30mm.

The larger hexes were great and opened the door to the concept of improving the DreadBall pitch. In late 2013 and early 2014, features that would require a larger area were added; spaces for the card deck, discard pile, and Action Token storage. One of the first larger pitches incorporating these features was the Neo-Tek Tesla Dome.

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Neo-Tek Tesla Dome by SHAWN GRUBAUGH

The improvments continued:

  • Coaching Dice area
  • Ball launch direction indicators
  • Strike values
  • Standarized scatter direction
  • Action Token tracker
  • Assistant Coach areas

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Mantic, acknowledging the fan improvements, released their own large size neoprene pitch that included the new pitch additions. It was named the Gruba-Tek VII Coliseum as a nod to Shawn Grubaugh who, as mentioned, created one of the first large size pitches.

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Gruba-Tek VII Coliseum

1st Edition Cards and Player Numbers

The Action Token tracker was added as a nice way to keep track of how many Action Tokens a Coach was spending on players. The Action Token tracker was numbered 1 to 14, with an area to indicate if a Coach had used a token to purchase a card as well.

The tracker could be numbered from 1-14 because in 1st Edition DreadBall, all players HAD to be numbered between 1 and 14. This numbering requirement was based on the way the cards worked in 1st Edition. The cards in 1st Edition DreadBall often affected a random player. To determine which random player, a Coach would draw a card and read the numbers down the right hand side of the cards. The first number (1 to 14) that matched a player on the pitch indicated that player had been randomly selected.

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1st Edition Action Card with player randomizer down the right hand side

2nd Edition and Player Numbers

When Mantic decided to release a 2nd edition of DreadBall, they looked at what fans had been doing with the pitch design and decided to incorporate almost all of the additional features into the official 2nd Edition pitch. This meant the new official pitch was of the large variety, on a quad-fold board.

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Official 2nd Edition DreadBall Pitch Design

The random selection of players was removed in 2nd Edition. There was no longer a requirement for players to be numbered only between 1 and 14. Despite no longer being limited in the numbering of players, the Action Token tracker remained on the new official pitch, still using 1-14.

This Coach’s Opinion

I have played on all of these different pitch designs across many different versions of the game. Overall, the fan additions that Mantic adopted into the official design are fantastic.

In my opinion, the Action Token track should have been removed from the 2nd Edition pitch. It’s a nice feature, but it’s not needed. Keeping track of your Action Tokens can be done in a few other ways. With no requirement to number players using only 1-14 for player randomization, leaving the Action Token tracker on the pitch in 2nd Edition has always bothered me. That mentioned, it is an easy way to track your player Actions and can certainly help coaches that are just learning DreadBall.

I’ve stated many times that I prefer the smaller, low-profile pitches, closer in size to the original 1st Edition pitch. There is no room on a low-profile pitch for a dedicated Action Token tracker area. Since I know many coaches like the Action Token tracker but may also have seen the benefits of a low-profile pitch, I’ve created an Action Token track card that can be placed beside a low-profile pitch.

New Action Tracker Card

Here is the new card(s). They are designed to fit on big cards (3.5″ x 5.75″). There is a version with and without a designateds area to tuck your Fan Checks under as well as 2 different numbering patterns, Left to Right and Top to Bottom.

The Features of a State-of-the-Art Low-Profile Pitch

Wrapping up, let’s take a look at all the feature on a modern low-profile pitch. It’s a long way from that original pitch from back in 2012.

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EDIT: See all our pitches HERE including my newest design made for the Ontario DreadBall Leage (ODBL).

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Ontario DreadBall League Pitch

A new spin on an old favorite

So, last time I left of rambling about different versions of DreadBall in the DB universe. Really, it makes a lot of sense to me, and you see it in real sports all the time. I’m a big fan of rugby, but I really enjoy rugby sevens too. I used to watch football (erm, gridiron, or North American rules football to those in other parts of the world), but I was a season ticket holder to Arena Football.

Even in…other sports games, I really enjoyed variants. From multi race teams deep in a dungeon, to a smaller pitch with fewer players, each variation of the rules emphasized new ways to play and challenge yourself.

A lot of 3-on-3 is similar to Xtreme, including a focus on the Manager/Sponsor

Well, I’d like to do the same thing with DreadBall. The first variant of the game is a little thing we have internally referred to as DreadBall 3-on-3. It started as a thought experiment on how to capture a different feel and flow to the game and slowly morphed into its own at home version. Later, the variant developed a little further for capturing some of the rules cast to wayside from DBX when we moved to second edition. And finally, it was put together intended to be used as a mini game for conventions as a smaller, quicker, introductory game to DreadBall. Well, it never quite made it to that. So, rather than be lost to the ravages of time and my “to do” folder, it is being resurrected here on BreadDoll.

“Looks like a fun place to play…safe? NO. But fun…”

Over a series of articles, the back alley amateur version of DreadBall will be developed. The version of the game that is played by enthusiasts and wannabes as opposed to highly sought after professionals. The holographic strike targets and neodurium pitch of the pro ranks? Nah, here it’s concrete and cobbled together physical strike posts. It’s gritty and messy. It’s also chaotically fast. You won’t find any Cheerleaders or Assistant coaches either. Heck, your team will hardly be cohesive at all, and that is a good deal of the challenge. But, who knows? Maybe you’ve got what it takes to weld these dregs into a formidable force. Maybe charge up the semi-pro ranks. Maybe a talent or two gets discovered. Let’s find out! Next time we will peel back the curtain and take a peak at the fundamental workings of the stripped down amateur game.

Coaches’ Corner: Sam Graven

The Coaches’ Corner is an in-depth interview with DreadBall Coaches, Commissioners, and Creators.  A game is fourteen rushes, and the interview is fourteen questions.

Sam Graven is in the sin bin for this iteration, and he’s agreed to answer some BreadDoll questions while reflecting on the chaos of multiplaying Dread.  He’s a commissioner for a tight knit and mercurial league – his family!

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Sam Graven.  Educator.  Game Influencer.  And, a man with an inexplicable fear of big boats (although he would argue the phobia is completely rational).

1)  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

Well, I suppose when the original Kickstarter came out.  It was a topic of general chat at my local club, but at that time I hadn’t really got back heavily into any kind of mini gaming: I played a lot as a kid, then moved on to RPGs and TCGs (fairly competitively).  Those TCGs were why I’m very wary of tournament play of any variety as I’ve got older – and only started coming back to minis with, of all things, Heroclix.  By the time DreadBall 2nd edition came around, I’d been back into gaming, and blogging about gaming over on bigcomicpage.com, for a few years.  I got a review copy, and I was hooked.

2)  What do you remember about your first game?

Chaos!  But in a really good way.  It was fast and intuitive, and I liked the way the score swung back and forth constantly.  The consistent 3d6 mechanic appealed to me too, as it gave a peg to hang everything else off.

3)  What is your favorite team?

You mean favoUrite team, right? 😉 [Editor’s note: Sam is our first interviewee from the UK].  That’s such a hard question.  Teratons were the first team I played with after the Marauders and Humans, and I still love their aesthetic.  I’m enjoying playing Crystallans a lot, at the moment, and I like the sheer variety – and challenge – of playing Rebs, especially against experienced opponents.  But for total unabashed fun, it’s got to be the Zees.

4)  What is your favorite MVP?

Now that’s easy, Nightshade, hands-down.  Occasionally hopeless, but usually incredible. I often play fairly slow and/or Jack-heavy teams, to give the kids a chance to try to outmaneuver me, but at the same time I want someone with serious speed and skills to give them a fright.  He ticks the boxes, and has only once ended up doing a comedy juggling act.

5)  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?

Probably Barricade?  Dynamic, fun to build, paint AND play with.  Although I like the lids on the small objects in X-Treme!  The tension they generate appeals to me, and they’re just a really nice bit of design.

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6)  How do you primarily play DreadBall? [One-off, league, tournament, Xtreme, Ultimate]

Ultimate all the way.  Dreadball has social appeal to me.  I don’t often get to hang out at my local club that much nowadays (three kids) but it’s easy to rock up with a copy of the game and a bunch of teams.  It never ceases to surprise me how quickly folk get it by just watching, and in Ultimate that can mean you have full 6-player in no time.  Likewise, with two kids of gaming age, it’s good to have things which we can play together.  We play board games, of course, but a lot of mini gaming feels a bit clumsy with three players, or is horrendously time-consuming (and prone to the whims of a rampaging three year-old).  Ultimate is the ideal game for us to play together; the kids have painted up teams, so they feel more invested in the experience, and in fact my older son bought himself a Kalyshi team just because he liked the fluff.  Because we tend to play Ultimate, we’ve been experimenting with a host of other rules and spent this summer testing and playing an Ultimate League*, which has been great: a particularly jumpy Kalyshi Striker is now mounted on a flight stand, the Yndij Captain is notorious for stealing all the glory off the rest of his team, and woe betide anyone who goes near the legendary Crystallan Guard known simply as “Mr Hitty.”

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7)  Shifting gears for a moment, what do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

Like so many gamers, I have terrible hobby ADHD.  I really like Superhero gaming, primarily DC stuff, though Kitbash Games’ new Supers Unlimited range is beautiful.  Gaslands is a heck of a game, who doesn’t love toy cars?  Wings of Glory, because for the first time in my life it’s a game my dad will play (he’s really into WW1 aviation).  Walking Dead, X-Wing, Harry Potter, and more Death Guard than’s remotely healthy – I run a very broad church.  Lots of Board Games.  A bIt of TCGing too – Transformers with my older, Warhammer Champions with the younger.  So the common thread in all of these is that I can play them with the kids.  The geek shall inherit, and so on.  Oh, and in real life?  I’m a teacher, Media and English, secondary school.  High school, in colonial parlance.

8)  Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

Oh, Yndij, easily.  All of my most memorable defeats are to them, and given that my younger son plays with his Ninja Sharks all the time, that’s a LOT of defeats.

9)  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

I’m going to cheat slightly with this (don’t tell the Ref).  We had a fantastic Mantic Scotland Day up at Common Ground Games in Stirling, organized by our local Pathfinder and good buddy, Gofur Hunter.  Myself, the kids, and a couple of other mates rocked up for a day of Ultimate whilst most folk around us played Kings of War.  We’d started to set up, and a couple of young lads asked if they could try the game, so we gave them the Yndij to play together vs my Zees, my older son with Z’Zor and another friend with Marauders.  They went last in the first Rush, managed to score 3, went first in the next, flipped a Faulty Scoreboard event, and scored 4 off their second ball!  They enjoyed it so much they went over immediately to hassle their dad into buying a copy of the game!  Job done.

10). What would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

Man, what a toughie.  Little things to spice up the game.  I think card packs would be great – like Azure League.  Limited Print-On-Demand, or even pdf packs, relatively low cost but would add a lot to the game.  Or a commercially available DreadBall Ultimate pack, with the second edition Ultimate cards and Subs’ Benches, as shown in the Collector’s Rulebook.  I ended making physical subs’ benches from Battlezones bits.  Other than that, maybe a pdf of Challenge Cup and/or Xtreme stuff, bringing it into the mainstream?  Which is kind of what we’ve been doing for Ultimate League, I suppose.  I don’t think there’s much needed model wise; could do with Beauty and the Mob being back in print!  Maybe some new Giants – who do I see about that? [Editor’s note: The Rules Committee has been play testing.  There is good news afoot]

11)  You often play DreadBall with your children.  What are the family dynamics during matches?

Tense!  My kids are great, my older maybe a bit too competitive, my younger a bit too sensitive, so I have to be Ref-Dad sometimes.  It’s always fun when they realise they have to stop bickering and gang up to take me down!  But it’s definitely a great way to spend time together.  The duck and weave of Dreadball beats pretty much everything else we could play hands down.

12)  You’re an educator.  How would you assess DreadBall and what distinction would it receive?

Well, you know, it’s not about grades any more – it’s all about giving productive feedback.  So, excellent work, just keep working on promoting the game as widely as possible!  I think Dreadball’s greatest and most underrated asset is the potential of the community.  And hey, BreadDoll is nothing if not the proof of how awesome it is.

13)  DreadBall exists within Mantic’s Warpath Universe.  What other Mantic titles do you play?

I like how you said play, not own… The Walking Dead: All Out War was actually the mini game that really got my kids playing.  Terrible parenting I know!  The wee fella was seven, maybe only six, the first time we played, and he immediately threw Carl to a Walker as a distraction to help win.  Genius, if somewhat terrifying.  We’ve found ourselves playing more Here’s Negan! though, as we like the hybrid mini/board game model.  I’m blown away by Hellboy, incredible sculpts and visuals – I’m a comic nerd, after all – the difficult curve on it is immense though.  That’s not a criticism, mind you.

14)  If you won a BreadDoll in tournament play (last place), would you; eat it immediately in front of attending coaches, or wait until you were in the privacy of your locker room?

The chances of me BreadDolling are very high! I would glory in it. Because at the end of the day, bread is amazing. When I was a kid I would eat bread like cake. Not much has changed.

* Sam’s mention of an Ultimate League caught the BreadDoll’s attention!  Loyal loaf lovers can look forward to a thorough explanation in the near future when we invite Sam back to become our first guest writer!

Hobby Highlight: Sideline Card

When I play DreadBall I prefer a narrow low-profile pitch instead of the larger pitches. I like the smaller table space the low-profile pitches take up and the portability.

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One of the few drawbacks is the lack of a sideline to place Support Staff. The solution: Sideline Card.

Support_Staff_Side_Card

The Sideline Card is simply placed along the side of the low-profile pitch of your choice and used to track when your Support Staff (Assistant Coaches and Cheerleaders) are available to be used.

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If you don’t have or use Fan Support cards (Home/Visitor) to put your Fan Checks under you can also use an alternate version of the Sideline Card.

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The Sideline Card is designed to be printed on a ‘Big Card’ (3.5″ x 5.75″). Here is a suitably large card back.

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The Greatest Sport in the Galaxy!……?

The Greatest Sport in the Galaxy!……?

Most popular sport in the galaxy?

DreadBall is by far the most popular sport in the GCPS Core Worlds. It even has a sizable following in some of the outer spheres. But the further you get from the Core and all it’s niceties, far from all the glitz and glamor, you find “entertainment” can take wildly different forms. And heck, while as previously mentioned DreadBall may be the most POPULAR sport in Core space, it is certainly not the ONLY sport.

So, what other sports grace the tri-vids and holodecks of the far future?

Well, we know OF Razordisc. But not too much about it.

I imagine there is some kind of racing too.

If you ain’t first, you’re last!

I also firmly believe there has to be some kind of combat sport too….a futuristic MMA with cyborgs, aliens…and…and alien cyborgs! I’ve toyed with some rules for such a thing. Maybe I’ll actually finish it one day…..maybe.

Watch out for its left hook…..er, stabby thing

Another project I’ve looked at is a sort of mash up of American Gladiator meets Ninja Warrior. Basically, the Warpath equivalent of that cinematic masterpiece, The Running Man. I think that would make for a fantastically crazy fun game night! Star Saga tiles, some crazy big baddies (like my Barricade with two Strider Chainsaw arms!), and a couple of expendable runners….might have to dig into that one a little deeper!

“This ain’t the Price is Right!”

However, what I really think might be interesting, and given the focus of this blog, is what other variants of DB are there? We have the stadium game. We have the spectacle that is Ultimate. But what about that rumored underground version of DreadBall? That illegal variant that may just be a little too eXtreme for the masses? Well, let’s see where we can take that, but we might have to start in a back alley first, before venturing into the criminal underground…

Till next time, keep it legal!