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.
As a Kick-Off to the BreadDoll blog, the Chef-in-Chief is interviewing the BD co-editors. Consider these interviews as introductions to your future opponents!
This particular interview is half-baked. As in; I’m interviewing myself! Mr. Burbidge and Mr. Montgomery have assisted this schizophrenic exercise with a few custom questions. I may include them…
Andrew Wodzianski. Artist. Educator. Raconteur.
1. How did you first learn about DreadBall?
I have an incredibly long answer for such a short question. However, I’m fond of this nerdy tale about adult men banding together to push toy soldiers around a table…
I learned about Kickstarter in April of 2012. I dipped my toes into board game crowd funding with ‘Z-Pocalyse,’ followed almost immediately by ‘Zombicide.’ Despite having no nostalgic love anything Steve Jackson, I also backed ‘Ogre Designer’s Edition.’ After those three investments, I followed Kickstarter on a regular basis, waiting for the next interesting game project. A few months later, DreadBall was launched. I did some research and decided I needed to make a pitch to my six-member gaming group. Without edits, and in full disclosure, here’s a cut and paste of that email request from September 23, 2012. There is vulgarity, but I’ve asterisked it out.
“Gentlemen, I have a proposal.
I’m going to make a pitch, and ask for money.
I need us to collectively agree, or bail, on this idea.
I want us to jointly pre-order a futuristic sports game that supports league play. $45 each.
The game is called Dreadball, and it’s currently in the last week of a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been closely following the campaign since its inception, and have done an embarrassingly large amount of research over the past two weeks*. Before making a pitch to the gaming group, I had to convince myself. I am a hard customer when it comes to a game like Dreadball, especially when considering my past.
My past (preamble);
I am a Blood Bowl enthusiast. For those not aware, Blood Bowl is a fantasy American football/rugby table top sports game played with miniatures. Orcs, Elves, Dwarves… That kind of stuff. It’s a Games Workshop release from 1988 and has seen three editions, a “Dungeon Bowl” variant, a living rulebook, two video games, and a card game spin off. With the exception of the 1st edition, I own them all. My heyday was in the mid-nineties, but I’ve recently fallen back in love due in part to the card game and a new video game iteration. The Blood Bowl board game is f***ing awesome, but I’ve only been able to see it shine once. It was 1994. I played in a league for an entire summer. League play is where Blood Bowl really rocks as you develop your fictional Tolkein a**-kicking players into goblin killers. League play continues to this day, with groups all over the world. I joined a league in Northern Virginia that’s been together for twelve years, but I’ve never attended a match. They only meet on Fridays, and frankly – I’m not driving to NoVa on Friday nights.
However, there are problems with Blood Bowl. It is an old game that shows it 1990s design roots. Modifications have been made through the Living Rulebook (currently v.7), but there’s no denying; it’s a simple premise with a hell of a lot of nuances. Subsequently, the game can have a steep learning curve. The game is not actively supported by Games Workshop. They sell the same 3rd edition that I bought in 1993 (though they provide the Living Rulebook for free on their web site). They sell a Blood Bowl miniature line that has not changed in 18 years. The game is expensive. Even though I own four teams from the second edition, the models are crude and identical. I do own two teams from the third edition, and these models are nice with different sculpts for each position. Still, purchasing a new team from Games Workshop costs at least $50 for a dozen, and then you need to augment with minis that are $9-15 each. Third parties sell “fantasy football” miniatures, and they look cooler – but they’re not cheaper. Perhaps the biggest problem with Blood Bowl – is the long play time. To accurately play, a single game can take 2.5 hours. And while this shouldn’t be a consideration – I’m really good at Blood Bowl. If we were to say, play a league – I would kick all of your nuts.
Our possible future;
I think Dreadball is a uniquely different game. In bullets!
- Developed by former Games Workshop designers.
- Matches play in 1/2 the time. Average 60 – 70 minutes.
- Lower price point with a Kickstarter pledge.
- Future sci-fi theme instead of Medieval fantasy theme. Steve could theoretically play robots.
- Less American Football / Rugby, and more Rugby / Ice Hockey / American Gladiators’ Powerball.
- Supports League Play.
- We could learn a new game from scratch, so I wouldn’t immediately destroy you.
I also think Dreadball has some challenges. In bullets!
I’d buy the damn thing myself if I hadn’t blown my gaming budget for 2012. Also, if we invest together – we may be more committed to play on a “regular basis”. By “regular basis”, I’m completely cognizant that we are grown men with real life obligations. It’s difficult for us to schedule one day a month for us to get together. I thought if we supported Dreadball, we could agree to play it quarterly. Six of us (maybe more?) could play side by side matches, and realistically get two matches played during one get together.
With my proposed Kickstarter pledge, we’d each own a team and then some. We could swap team factions and stuff, but regardless – the minis are unpainted. I’ll go ahead and agree to paint our teams, but that’s a big order and I’d need some time to do it. We may not be able to play with fully painted minis for a while down the road. Of course, you’re welcome to paint them yourself. But I reserve the right to make fun of you.
[editor’s note: I regret this pledge.]
- Dreadball is a miniatures game.
With all miniature games, there’s a chance for a money pit. I’m a big fan of all-inclusive games that don’t require extra bulls*** to play. The extra bulls*** in Dreadball is on the way, but it’s not integral. Coaches, cheerleaders, prone players, and keeper/goalies will have their own sculpts, but we don’t need them. The same was true for Blood Bowl. It’s bling. Nice, but not necessary.
I think Dreadball is a safe investment. In bullets!
- The basic rulebook has already been released.
The developers know full well that Dreadball is being compared to Blood Bowl. To waive off jaded f***ers like myself thinking it was a blatant rip off – they posted game demo videos and the basic rulebook. *Of course, I’ve watched them, and I’ve read the rules. I’m so out of control – I built a proxy pitch using Heroscape tiles and played with extra Battleball miniatures. Yes, I played with myself… Point is, the game works. It’s fast, but also smart with lots of tactical options.
- If we don’t like it, there’s eBay.
While I don’t think this will be the case, if we played Dreadball and decided it wasn’t for us – we could sell it. Chances are good that we’d get our money back. If Zombicide is any indication, our Dreadball investment would be a fast sell because we’d own a lot of Kickstarter exclusives that make fanboys open their wallets.
We chip in $45 (or, we could low ball it to $35 – 40)**. We support Dreadball on Kickstarter. We get a ton of s***. We try this game out! Or not. I’m only gonzo if we go in together. I’ll consider this stupid long email and my two weeks of research as due diligence for my favorite hobby, and the guys that let me share it. Let me know how we feel. the Kickstarter campaign wraps up next weekend.
Here are the links:
League Play stuff released so far – http://quirkworthy.com/2012/09/15/dreadball-design-notes-leagues/
(** if we’re interested, I’ll detail our price breakdown. It starts with the ‘Striker’ Pledge level.)”
We bought the game at the ‘Striker’ pledge level, plus a handful of extras. We’ve been playing ever since delivery.
2. What do you remember about your first game?
My first game was a learning game against gaming-group member Ken. I log all games played on boardgamegeek.com and below are my notes from December 12, 2012:
“Ken and I learned the game with the humans and rats. Ken stomped me with the humans, 6pts. Then, he squeaked by with the rats in the last rush, 2 pts. We didn’t really incorporate fouling, but we did try almost everything else. Once the game logic is understood, the pace is pretty fast. It’s very offense oriented, at least with these two teams. I need to put some identifying mark on the hex bases’ threat angles/zones.”
3. What is your favorite team?
Too many! I’m an offensive player who likes to run and pass. Consequently, my early favorite was the Judwan. I was most successful with the Veer-myn. And despite playing poorly with them in my last league, I really enjoy the Ada Lorana. Those blue bundles of boom-boom have served me well in a few tournaments.
4. What is your favorite MVP?
Throughout league play, I think I’ve only ever fielded six different MVPs. As far as performance, I’d have to declare the Praetorian my favorite. Cool looking. Fast. Reliable Striker. I expect I’ll shift my preferences to No.88 when the second edition is enforced. Jacks see improved play in the second edition, and that will make an already exceptional MVP even better. Mentioning enforcement, I like the Enforcer too.
5. Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?
I had a lot of fun painting Grak, though I think my favorite sculpt is Alpha Simian.
6. How do you primarily play DreadBall? [One-off, league, tournament, Xtreme, Ultimate]
League play, league play, league play! I organize regional tournaments, and get my fair shake at tourney play. I enjoy tournaments, but I adore sustained seasonal play. I rarely play one-offs, Xtreme still mystifies me, and Ultimate gets a little bit of love after each league season when coaches play an “all-star” match.
7. What do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?
I wear many hats. I’m a studio arts professor and an artist (shameless plug; http://www.wodzianski.com). Those professions keep me pretty busy. Then I have other roles; husband, son, brother, reader, cat herder, gamer, runner, and raconteur.
8. Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?
It’s a tie: Convicts and Hobgoblins. I can’t decide which is the bigger disruptor between shock collars or Hulks. When I see two Hulks on the pitch, I know I’m in trouble. When I see shock collars, I know chaos in coming.
9. Who is your primary play DreadBall opponent?
Members of my gaming group, affectionately called CORT [Citizens Of Rage Town. At least, that’s what it means for BreadDoll readers.].
10. Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.
To settle last place in a CORT DreadBall league, the lowest ranking coaches play in the ‘Sacko.” Whoever loses has to prominently display a scrotum-inspired trophy until the conclusion of our league’s following season. Last season, my Ada Lorana team was faced against Ken’s Judwan. Each of us had a share of MVPs deployed. In the final Rush, and down by 2 points, I sent Brute Force into the back castle. She opened a lane, and my only reliable Striker followed up for a 3 point win.
11. The second edition of DreadBall just reached Kickstarter Backers’ hands. Still, what would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?
I think there’s a lot of opportunity for annual, organized play kits. I’d love to see unique rules, pitches, cards, and MVPs deployed on a yearly basis that all sanctioned tournament settings would embrace. A World Championship Tournament would be fab.
12. How far have you traveled to play DreadBall?
I live in Washington D.C. I traveled to the Chicago suburbs for the North American DreadBall Championship at Adepticon. Not to brag, but I beat fellow BreadDoll co-editor Geoff Burbridge to win the 2017 medal! And Geoff was playing my team nemesis; the Convicts! Fellow CORT members helped me practice, and it paid off!
13. Do you listen to music when playing DreadBall? If so, what is your playlist? If not, what would you like to hear?
This is a dumb question and should be replaced. League play usually occurs in one coach’s man-cave. His house, his music. Fortunately, it’s Guns N Roses. Myself, I’ve been compiling a DreadBall soundtrack that’s primarily electronica / house. I have a lot of Daft Punk in that mix. The Tron Legacy soundtrack is an appropriate alternative.
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?
Knowing full well that all powers of the BreadDoll are bestowed upon the devourer, I would immediately eat it. Then, I would start flipping cars in the parking lot in acts of revenge.