Pitch Protocols: The Playbook pt.3–Overall Strategy

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The final consideration a coach must take into account in determining their optimal setup for a given match is their Overall Strategy. Your play style is a synthesis of your teams capabilities and your own coaching preferences. You will also find that your strategy will often vary by match up. An Overall Strategy for a match will help dictate which roles will need to start on the pitch, as well as where they need to set up in order to best implement your cunning plan.

That said, there are largely three prominent Overall Strategies or play styles to consider. While there are others, many are really some variation of these basic principles. Let’s take a closer look:

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Hey, if you Throw enough strikes, one is bound to go in!

Run-N-Gun
Run-N-Gun is ALL about offense. Here, you live and die by the old adage “the best defense is a good offense”. The main hallmark of this strategy is taking a Strike attempt EVERY rush. Positioning of other players on the pitch is largely about setting up for future score attempts and nominally slowing down the opposition. This strategy is particularly effective for the Home team, taking an early lead and often forcing the opposing team to abandon their own strategy to play a more reactive catch up game. The Pelgar Mystics and Skittersneak Stealers are two teams that exemplify this style of play.

 

 

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Don’t chase ‘em, make them come to you—and CRUSH them!

Slow Ball
While some teams are zipping about the pitch flinging strikes with impunity, there are others that like to sloooooooow things down. No need to be hasty after all. Slow Ball is essentially the exact opposite of Run-N-Gun. Here, a team looks to obtain possession of the ball and work into position for an optimal strike. Often, it is the preferred style for slower moving teams, trying to make what strikes they finally get into position for to count. This means being willing to setup for holding on to the ball at the end of a rush. That doesn’t mean being idle, and for many teams that utilize this style, it usually means bad news for opposing players. Players that pose the most immediate risk are usually viciously slammed into submission while the ball carrier takes shelter in the midst of their teammates.

Slow Ball can be risky as the Away team, if your starting at a big deficit on the scoreboard. However, if the opposing team has strung out there players across the pitch unable to support one another effectively (or missed their opening strike), it can still pay big dividends. The “Sucker Draw” is the hallmark play of a Slow Ball squad, and it’s something we’ll dig into more in the future. Aspiring Slow Ball squads need only look to the Sulentic Shards as a shining example of how to get it done.

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Well-rounded teams can do a little bit of both!

Smash and Dash
Smash and Dash is just like it sounds….a little of both! This strategy looks to strike a balance between offense and defense, the team being open to what the match up gives them. If holding on to the ball sets up a better play, they will spend the rush battering a hole in the defense. If a strike opportunity presents itself, they are capable of capitalizing on it. Well rounded teams tend to hang out here because of the diversity of their capabilities, but they can change play styles if the match-up demands it. Oddly enough, the Greenmoon Smackers are a top notch example of a Smash and Dash squad—the Orx bring the smash and the goblins bring the dash!

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A little dash…and a BIG smash!

We will eventually visit these Overall Strategies in greater detail, diving into them individually and looking into other less common styles and variations. Next time, however, it’s time to finally finish off the Pre-game Phase and get into Set-ups!

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Tournament Time: Giant Trophies are either HOME or VISITOR

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Clash of the Giants returns!  A popular format for the Mid-Atlantic region, coaches are encouraged to hire Giants as part of their tournament inducements.  For the third iteration, the Giants may look familiar.  However, Coaches now have to manage 2nd edition rules.  Those who best ‘plan their work, and work their plan’ will be rewarded – WITH A TROPHY!

As mentioned in a previous post, ‘Origins of the BreadDoll‘, I love making tournament trophies.  Home brew, low-brow, and as inexpensive as possible are the best.  Any Tournament Organizer can make a handful of custom trophies for an event.  The only requirements are some time, a bit of energy, and creativity.

I’m a “thrifter.”  I go to thrift stores all the time.  I don’t need anything in a Thrift Store.  Instead, I go because I love to look.  It’s almost a creative process, imagining what materials may be ripe for transformation.  I also love to live, and I sometimes stop at a store to wake myself up.  I have a long driving commute home, and I’m prone to falling asleep at the wheel.  Mortal digression aside; I usually buy any trophies I lay my eyes upon.  My first commitment: I never spend more than $3 USD on a trophy unless it’s over 36″ tall.

With random bowling trophy in hand,  I prep the memento.  I strip off any label and I saw off the figurine (or figure’s limb).  Then I slam on a new label, and paint.  Done!  My second commitment: I never spend more than fifteen minutes on a trophy unless it’s for my private league (CORT).

For the 2018 Clash of the Giants, I went a slightly different route.  Instead of pulling from my thrift trophy inventory, I went to Party City.  It’s a chain store specializing in… parties…  Beads, balloons, candies, costumes.  That kind of stuff.  The sell an 8 pack of plastic cup trophies.  I bought a package for $9 USD.

Then I went to Walmart.  It’s a store that specializes in…  Nothing.  It’s just a whole bunch of stuff.  BreadDoll readers may be familiar with it.  I bought a can of gold spray paint and a package of generic plastic dinosaurs.  $10 USD at checkout.

A little bit of cutting, painting, printing and super glue – the trophies were almost finished!  I wanted to give each one a little more weight, so I poured plaster into each cup.  They’re no longer top-heavy, and now rest on any flat surface with pride.

Six trophies for less than $20 USD. And now I have; two spare trophies for a future tournament, some spray paint, and some tiny plastic Dinos for the cat to bat around.

The Alpha and Omega are a bit different.

1st place is a humongous toy dinosaur I found at a garage sale.  The T-Rex has a medal strapped over its impressive neck.

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Last place is…  A BreadDoll.

But no Coach leaves empty handed.  Clash of the Giants is the first BreadDoll sponsored event.  To celebrate, every participant receives a set of Home/Visitor Fans Cards.

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Clash of the Giants 3 takes place on Sunday January 28.  11am – 5pm.  Victory Comics, Falls Church VA.  USA.

Pitch Protocols: The Playbook pt. 2—Understanding Your Team

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It’s old advice, but still true!

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Even the ancients knew, the first step to victory on the neodurium starts in the locker room—you must know your roster! A coach must carefully assess their teams capabilities in order to devise an effective game plan. Firstly, you must account for which player roles are at your disposal. Do you have any Strikers? Are you flush with Guards? Or are Jacks your mainstay? The composition or roles on the roster will greatly influence your match strategy. A preponderance of Guards would imply a team itching to put a hurt on the opposition. Whereas, a team consisting of mostly Strikers will be looking to focus on handling the ball and slingin’ strikes! And don’t forget, you may have assets on the sidelines—such as coaches, cheerleaders, cards, etc. that may also impact your game plan.

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The first step toward victory, starts with the roster!

Additionally, as coach, you must assess your teams strengths and weaknesses. Is Strength your….er, strength? Or is it your Skill that is a primary asset? Roles also influence this as the specialists grant additional dice to their, well, specialty. A 5+ Skill may be a scary proposition when it comes time to pick up the ball, but it helps knowing if you have strikers available to get the extra dice when they do the job. Recognize potential areas of weakness. Having a low strength, for example, may make shifting opposition players difficult. This could make certain set-ups, such as The Castle, difficult to overcome and prompt you to alter your scoring strategy accordingly. You may find yourself dinking one’s and two’s instead of aiming for the big points each Rush.

However, an important aspect to consider is what abilities you have at your disposal. For example, Tsudochan lack Guards and have a lackluster 5+ Strength. On the surface, it would seem moving opposition will be a challenge. On closer inspection, however, the Push ability provides an alternative means of getting that task accomplished. Understanding your teams unique set of attributes and abilities is essential for a coach to get the most out of their team.

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A player is more than just their “stats”, don’t forget about Abilities!

Once you’ve gotten to know your roster, assessed your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to consider Match ups. Understand, generally, if certain team types are more or less difficult for you to compete against. For instance, maybe particularly bashy teams cause your squad fits….or maybe slower teams are easier for your outfit to handle. Come match day, however, you must move past general match ups and get to specifics. Which opposition players are the biggest threats? How will you neutralize your opponents strengths? What are their weaknesses and how can you exploit them? Let’s look at an example:

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Match day arrives for a “friendly” between the Long Rock Lifers and the Sulentic Shards. The Lifers should be concerned about the prevalence of Crystallan Guards on the pitch and their great Strength, especially given the Lifers poor Armour. However, the Shards have low Movement, and no Strikers—the implication being that the Lifers may be able to outpace the Shards on the scoreboard if they can keep players on the pitch. Additionally, the Harmonics ability of the Crystallans can be quite potent, but also works to the Lifers advantage as Shock Collar is more tempting on targets grouped together…

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A game of contrasts, who will win? The coach that best exploits the match-up!

This is just a cursory example of how the process works. Next time, we will look into Overall Strategy and finally start getting into Set-ups. Until then, get out on the pitch and give it all you’ve got!

Hobby Highlight: Painting my Forge Fathers

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I learned pretty quickly that it was a really good idea to write down the paints you use when painting your miniatures. You can use a computer or an app on your phone or a piece of paper. I use a spiral bound note book.

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My Painting Journal

Writing my formula down in my notebook all that long time ago means I can now relay to you how I painted my Forge Father team.

Before I start painting a team I usually do a color test using the concept art and Photoshop. I will explain how I do this in a future article.

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Photoshop Color Test

 

I primarily use Army Painter paints. Unless otherwise stated, all the colors in my recipe refer to Army Painter colors.

My recipe for painting my Forge Father team (NEVER call them dwarves) is broken down into 4 parts. I started with the grey armor and then painted the colored bits and flesh over the grey.

Before starting I primed my miniatures with grey primer. I prefer grey primer instead of either white or black primer.

1. Forge Father Armor

 

  • paint the entire mini Uniform Grey
  • wash the entire mini with Dark Tone (let dry)
  • dry brush the entire mini with Uniform Grey
  • dry brush the entire mini with slightly less Ash Grey
  • dry brush the entire mini with even less Matt White

2. Flesh

 

  • base coat the skin areas using the Fur Brown
  • apply the first highlight using Tanned Flesh
  • apply a 2nd highlight of Barbarian Flesh

3. Orange Cloth

 

  • base coat the cloth with Model Color Light Orange
  • wash the Light Orange with a thinned down Lava Orange (let dry)
  • highlight the orange area back up using Light Orange again
  • apply a final highlight using a 50/50 mix of Light Orange and Daemonic Yellow

4. Blue Areas

 

  • base coat the blue areas using the Deep Blue
  • apply a highlight of a mixture of 50/50 Deep Blue/Crystal Blue
  • apply a final highlight of pure Crystal Blue

You can also add on a few details if you feel so inclined such as painting the belt(s)  and boots brown and the eyes red like I did.

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DONE!

Scattered Scullery: What the Deck?!?

So, you’ve got the game. Look at those lovely models! Take in a deep breath of that new book smell….just lovely. Nice new board. Lots of action tokens, score markers. Then it hits you…what the deck?!? What do I do with all these cards?!?
Well, light up the stove and let’s get to the kitchen to see what’s cooking with all these here cards…

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Some Decks are bigger than others…
First things first. You need to know that not all decks are created equal. There a couple different card decks you need to know about. The first is the Standard Deck. You see those cards with the “?” the backs? Yep, those ones. Those are the standard DreadBall cards that the rules usually refer to. That’s where the Action and Special cards reside. This is the big deck.

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The Standard DreadBall Card!

Now, there is also such a thing as an Event Deck. The thing is, it’s not out yet. However, as KS backers for DB 2nd Edition, we have managed to get our grubby little paws on some of these Event cards in other forms. But more on that later. The important thing to know is, the Event deck is a separate deck from the Standard Deck. It contains all sorts of sports shenanigans to shake up your games. Great fun for one-offs and leagues….probably not so much for tournament play. These work by taking a special subsection of these Event Cards called Event Triggers. These Trigger Cards have the Standard DB Deck “?” Backing and are shuffled in with those. Whenever you draw a Trigger card for any reason from the Standard Deck, you resolve an Event by flipping over the top card from the Event Deck. Don’t worry though, your card isn’t wasted, it says right on the Trigger card to go ahead and draw another Standard card to replace it.

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EVENTS! You can tell they’re Events, cause of the !

 

There are a couple other sources for Events too. The Azure Forest League, for example, has its own Event deck, and is used when you want your matches to have some thematic elements unique to the forest moon—like adverse weather conditions or getting attacked by wild fauna! The Azure Forest Event Cards are used instead of the regular Event Deck, but has its own Triggers to shuffle in to the Standard Deck. The Azure Forest League also has some additional Standard DreadBall cards that are to be shuffled into the Standard Deck as well. Again, it helps here to know the card backs…”?” means Standard, and “!” means Event. If you ever want to reset your decks back to normal, look on the card fronts in the bottom left hand corner…there are special little symbols there to help differentiate your card sets. Tired of playing in the rain? Ready to get back indoors? Simply pull out all the Azure icon DB cards and Triggers and leave out the Event deck…you’re back to normal!

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Ultimate also has some unique cards to add to your DB experience! Here are the events, and you can tell they are for Ultimate because of the DBU logo in the bottom left hand corner. There are also Standard Cards for DBU as well.

Cards Ahoy!
Lastly, we have the infamous Captain Cards. Each Captain has, er, WILL have, a deck of 10 cards. However, it is important to note that TWO of these have the “!” on the back. Know what that means? YES! That’s right, they are Event Cards. These are here to add team themed events to your Event Deck IF, and only if, you are using the Event Deck in a match. Otherwise, set them aside. Now, the other 8 Cards? These are fun. These are the ones that you shuffle and deal yourself when you hire a Captain in the first place. The Cards you select are then added to your roster, and it means that EVERY match that your Captain takes place in for your team, you start with those cards in your hand. The other cards are not used at this time. HOWEVER, if your Captain gains an advancement, they may forgo the normal advancement tables in favor of again shuffling and dealing the remaining Captain cards and choosing one to again add to your roster. And man-o-man, there are some FUN captain cards. But don’t listen to me, shuffle ‘em up and try them out yourself!

 

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Captain Cards have their respective team logo in the bottom left hand corner. In this case, these are for Raidan, captain of the Matsudo Tectonics!

Get your Decks out and PLAY!

Well, after this little overview, hopefully you will feel a little more confident handling all those decks now. As for the tactics and strategies of how best to use them and when? I’m sure we will get to that in the Playbook down the road. Until then, deal yourself in for some fun!

Pitch Protocols: The Playbook pt.1 – Phase Play

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Ah! Fresh Neodurium: Orchestrate a coaching masterpiece!

DreadBall—The Galaxy’s greatest sport! You already know that, you’re a coach right? But listen up, rookie coaches sometimes have a hard time adjusting to the pace and intricacies of the major leagues—you ain’t in the minors anymore! Coupled with some of the recent off-season changes, it’s high time we took a step back, get back to the basics, and consult…The Playbook.

***adapted from The Playbook: A DreadBall Primer, 3rd edition, by “Wombat” Wiggins***

Chapter 1-Phase Play

DreadBall is hyperkinetic, and constant, non-stop action. In order to be successful, every DreadBall coach has to recognize that the game is essentially broken up into three main phases. Each phase is essential if you and your team are to secure victory. A working knowledge of phase play is also crucial for deeper strategic and tactical planning—as well as game analysis. In short, if we are to comprehensively and effectively breakdown and discuss the game, we have to have a framework with which to do it.

Enter: Phase Play.

 

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The team is kitted out and rearing to go…but are YOU ready, Coach?

Know your Phases
The three main phases of DreadBall are Pre-game, In-game, and End-game. Each phase has its own unique set of challenges and considerations, yet, they are all intimately interconnected. A team whose Pre-game strategic considerations don’t mesh with their In-game tactics, for example, will struggle to find the win column on match days.

Pre-game
Games can be won…or lost, in this phase alone. Pre-game is where a coach has the most control they are going to get before chaos breaks loose at launch time. A good coach has several facets they need to consider during Pre-game. The first, and most basic, is Understanding Your Team. Next, based on your understanding of your team—you will have an Overall Strategy for the match at hand. Then, a coach must assess the Match Up between their own team and that of their opponent. Lastly, all this information will be utilized for what is the most pivotal aspect of the Pre-game—your Set-up. Will you Castle? Use the Three Pillar formation? Swarm? Deep Screen? The answer will vary based on the teams and match-ups in question.

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Set-ups are a critical component of the Pre-game…which will you use?

Next time, we will dig deeper into the previous aspects of the Pre-game phase; Understanding Your Team, Overall Strategy, and Match-ups. This will help coaches to determine the optimal Set-ups for their team in their quest for DreadBall glory!

Tournament Time: Clash of the Giants 3

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DreadBall returns!
Once again, Victory Comics graciously hosts a DreadBall Battle of Big Brutes. It’s time for Clash of the Giants 3!

Sunday, January 28, 2018, 11am – 6pm

Victory Comics, 586 S Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046, USA

Tournament Organizer Andrew Wodzianski declares the following rules and regulations, procedures and policies:
2nd edition rules, with the following distinctions:
  • Recommended Team Builds only. No Martians.
  • 285 mc for inducements.
  • Giants may be purchased as part of inducements.
  • If one Coach has a Giant on their roster, they may choose between home and away. Otherwise draw.

Inducement costs:

  • 140 – 285mc = Giants
  • 80mc = Coaching Assistants (max three)
  • 60mc = Cheerleaders (max four)
  • 75mc = DreadBall cards (max seven)
  • 50mc = Coaching Dice (max seven)

 Please note: Because the second edition arrived in North America in early 2018, this tournament will be considered a “learning tournament.” Many coaches will be playing with the second edition rules for the first time. Consequently, this tournament will focus on the basics. Plus Giants!
Chin up! Future tournaments may include; custom rosters, transfers, team captains, mvps, galactic tour planets, etc.

1/28/2018 Schedule:
11:00 – 11:30 = registration and set-up
11:30 – 12:40 = game 1
12:50 – 2:00 = game 2
2:10 – 3:20 = game 3
3:30 – 4:40 = game 4
4:40 – 5:00 = awards and clean-up

 Entry Fee:
$12

 Awards:
  • 1st Place
  • 2nd Place
  • 3rd Place
  • Most Violent Coach [highest number of serious injuries]
  • Most Sporting Coach
  • Most Popular Coach [highest cheers]
  • Best Painted
  • Most Experienced Player [Coach with player earning the most experience]
  • BreadDoll*

 Want to bring new coaches? Do it! Want to join us at Space Bar after the tournament? Let’s go! Any other questions? Ask TO Andrew.
*The BreadDoll is proud to sanction Clash of the Giants 3 as its first event!  All coaches will receive ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ cards!  Additionally, coaches will have their teams recorded towards an epic goal.  It’s top-secret for now 😉