Coaches’ Corner: Dean Winkelspecht

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.

Dean Winkelspecht is on the subs bench for this iteration, and he’s agreed to answer some BreadDoll questions while reflecting on the highs and lows of tournament play.  He won a regional NADC [North American DreadBall Circuit] tournament in 2017, and finished poorly in the 2018 NADC championship.

Dean Winkelspecht.  A compassionate brother, and beer connoisseur.  Also, a generous non-profit volunteer who donates his painting skills while playing board games.

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Dean Winkelspecht proudly cradling his Best Painted trophy from the BreadDoll sponsored ‘Clash of the Giants 3.’

1)    How did you first learn about DreadBall?

I first learned of DreadBall after I contributed to the King’s of War Kick Starter.  I wanted to get some inexpensive Greenskins to supplant my Warhammer Fantasy army.  Mantic sent information about their sports title DreadBall, and I felt it looked really interesting.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing the video game Deathrow, and DreadBall appeared to be it’s board game adaptation.  I backed DreadBall very early into the KickStarter campaign.  So in a twisted sort of way, Warhammer Fantasy led me to DreadBall.

2)    What is your favorite team?

My favorite team are the Veer-Myn.  I enjoy the fast pace of the team, although I find myself routinely frustrated by their Skill 5+ inability to score or do fun offensive things.  It is awfully rewarding when you beat the odds with the team and pull off some crazy score.  They feel like a high risk / high reward team and I find that thrilling. I also love the look and feel of the Veer-myn.  The whole ‘post apocalyptic nuclear rat’ look is really great.  I’m not sure who designed those minis, but he or she needs to be thanked.

3)    What is your favorite MVP?

Can I say Hector Weiss?  Honestly, I have not played with MVP rules very often.  I’ve painted a few, and my favorite painted one was Weiss.  I’ll probably homebrew some rules for him.  I know a few people that can help me out.  I’m partial to Reek Rolat, but he is now my Team Captain.  If we consider Giants, I love the shark formerly known as Karadon.  I wonder if Drake and the Dynamic Dinoborg is legit.

[Editor’s note:  Both Karadon, and Drake are legit in the second edition.  Hector Weiss, a character from the Speedball 2 IP, is not currently under Mantic license.]

4)    DreadBall is a galactic sports game.  Where have you traveled to play? 

I just got into ‘competitive’ DreadBall play during the past year.  My journey began at Origins in Columbus, Ohio.  I’ve been to Falls Church, Virginia [Victory Comics] a few times.  During my first trip to the Washington D.C. area, I had some hot dice and squeaked out a NADC regional victory.  That recently had me travel to Adepticon in Chicago.  We’ll see where I continue to travel, and I’m looking to stick around for a while in the DreadBall community.

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

In the past year, I travelled to Falls Church Virginia for tournament play.  We do get some one-offs locally [Harrisburg, Pennsylvania].  The local scene dried up just after Season 5 and Season 6 were released.  With 2.0 released, I am hoping to run a tournament at the Adventurer’s Guild and will be looking to get that started shortly as interest does seem to be there.  As far as the different ‘variants’ of DreadBall, Xtreme went over like a led balloon and that release seemed to disenfranchise the local scene more than it did to add to the game.  There were a quaint number of games played, but the different manner in team construction and other changes didn’t really appeal to other players.  I picked up the Challenge Cup and hoped to run a tournament, but considering most of the pitches would have required the Xtreme Xpansion, it too fell flat.  I’ve now played two games of Ultimate.  The first time I played was Origins [Columbus, Ohio] and the second time was Adepticon [Chicago, Illinois].   It is complete bonkers.  It’s a lot of fun and I look forward to more Ultimate games.  I really am hoping that with the release of 2.0, others will see the improvement of the game and interest peaks back up.  Hmmm.   Perhaps a BreadDoll tournament at the Adventurer’s Guild in Harrisburg would pique interest.

6)    Mentioning Adepticon, you attended for the first time in 2018.  What was your impression of the convention, and did you notice any difference between regional and continental DreadBall competition?

I’ve been to Origins and GenCon a few times.  I’ve been to the inaugural Pax Unglugged.  Adepticon was much smaller than the big cons, and I appreciated that.  I did manage to walk around, and check out the con.  My Adepticon was a bit compressed and rushed due to the foot of snow that ushered in Spring and delayed my flight.  I’ve heard that Punxsutawney Phil was hospitalized this weekend and I hope he fully recovers [Editor’s note: Punxsutawny Phil is a Pennsylvania marmot that forecasts winter weather].  As far as the difference in competition, the Dreadball community seems very tight and I’ve seen many of the same faces at each location.  Aside from a heightened ‘competitiveness’ in the continental setting, where the tournament isn’t so much about fun as it is winning – its similar.  The community is great and welcoming.  I’ve made a few new friends in the past year.

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The first game of the BreadDoll’s sponsored ‘League in a Night’ had Dean’s Dwarves face-off against co-editor Lee Montgomery’s Yndij.

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

Convicts.  Buggers will shoot you in the back.  Just the thought of that team and my experiences brings a bad taste to my mouth.  In fact, lets move on to the next question.

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

Hect…err… I would love to see expansions similar to Azure Forest.  I would love to see a new neoprene Azure Forest playmat [Editor’s note: it exists!] Hopefully, each pitch will have pitch rules and maybe some fun balls to go with the theme.  A yearly one would be excellent, and perhaps they can use this yearly cycle to tweak the rules and keep everything balanced.  They could bring a new team yearly and keep the game fresh.  I feel that would be a great way to expand the game and not overload it.  I feel much of what killed off our local scene was the rapid explosion and ‘confusion’ with the newer variants.  They could revisit and perhaps re-sculpt some of the older teams as part of this cycle.  I could have my Veer-myn pitch and a cheeseball.  Veer-myn love cheeseballs.

9)    What do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

I play a number of different board games, miniature games and video games.  I’m currently in a Blood Bowl league, and the playoffs are about to start.  Hopefully, I’ll advance to the semi-finals.  We just wrapped up a “Come and Play” Guild Ball League.  I play Warhammer 40K when I can.  That was the game that got me into miniature gaming, and remains my favorite.  Mostly, however, I am a hobbyist.  I assemble and paint miniatures.  I have hot and cold spells when it comes to painting.  I’m about ready to paint a team for a yearly charity, and that will take up much of the month of April.

10)    You play a lot of sports games.  How does DreadBall differ from Blood Bowl and Guild Ball and do you prefer one more than another?  Have you played Rumble Slam or Aristeia?

Ooh.  The big question.  I come from an area where “Blood Bowl is Life” and is considered a key region for the game.  We have some of the very best Blood Bowl players.  I am not one of them, though hopefully, I’m at least average.  DreadBall differs greatly from Blood Bowl.  Especially, when you look at the game from a recreational standpoint.  I look at Blood Bowl like a game of chess.  It’s long.  It’s tedious and after some games, you just feel drained.  I do love the game, but I don’t love to play the game all the time.  DreadBall, on the other hand, is fast paced and more exciting.  Even an average player can have a shot to win in the last few turns if they haven’t been landslided.   I’d say that if I wanted to sit down and have fun with a sports game, I’m going to play DreadBall. Guild Ball is another game that I do find fun and enjoyable.  It is quite different than the other two as it requires measuring and moving.  I would have preferred it to be on a hex-board, but it does nicely mix war-gaming and sports.  I’ve avoided Aristeia, as I dislike Infinity and have not played Rumble Slam.

11)    You’re from the Harrisburg Pennsylvania region, and heavily involved with a gaming club that hosts the Four Diamond Cup [Four Diamond Cup Facebook Page ].  It’s an impressive charity tournament that generates a lot of gamers and donations.  Tell us about it, and whether DreadBall could ever make an appearance.

We are currently in our eleventh year for Four Diamonds.  The event is run by a friend, Jamie Fischer, and he has built the event from its humble beginnings to earning around $33,000 for the Penn State Medical fund that looks to eradicate Childhood Cancer (https://www.fourdiamonds.org/). The event is a yearly Blood Bowl event and we have had travelers from all over attend.  Each year, we raffle off a painted dugout that is custom built by Jamie and serves as both a dugout and a carrying case.  We also raffle off a painted team that Jamie builds and I paint.  There are so many great sponsors and the player base is fantastic.  We have had a secondary game in the past.  Warhammer 40,000 and X-Wing have both been part of the day.  If there would be enough interest beyond those that already attend, I could see DreadBall being part of it.  It certainly would be worth having the folks at BreadDoll and our team look into it.

12)    Your Veer-myn team, the Three Mile Island Plague, are famous!  They not only won their regional 2017 NADC tournament, one of the Strikers is included in the Team Gallery of the DreadBall Collector’s Rulebook!  Tell us; do you feel the team was well adjusted for second edition rules?  What do you like most and least about the team?  And why does that Striker have gray hair?

I started off playing Skaven in Blood Bowl.  Who doesn’t love sporting rats?  Living in Middletown, Pennsylvania all of my life and sharing a zip code with one of the most infamous landmarks in the country adds appeal to the great fiction of nuclear evolved/mutated rats.  Moving from Skaven to Veer-myn, and keeping the TMI theme, works well.  As far as the update to second edition, I feel they are better.  However, I still have concerns as to whether or not they are a viable tournament team.  I did lose to a Veer-myn team during the Adepticon Cup, but my opponent failed to miss a single Skill 5+ roll against me.  I really want to play them in a longer league and see how they do.  A “Skill Up” striker would be so much fun.  I love their speed and their visual aesthetics.  They are dangerous from a distance and can turn the tide quickly on even the worst of days.  I just wish their claws didn’t get in the way so much (they prefer a soft cheese ball).

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The Three Mile Island Plague, displayed in Mantic’s Brush with Death competition at Adepticon 2018

13)    The Three Mile Island Plague are also one of many well painted teams in your collection.  Tell us about your preferred painting practice: model preparation, paints/brushes used, base configuration, etc.

Truth be told, I’ve just started to paint more DreadBall miniatures as I’ve become part of the competitive community.  There will be more coming!  I had painted my Forge Fathers for a BreadDoll tournament, and am currently deciding on which teams to paint for Origins in June and Mantic Day in September.  I wish I had the output of Geoff Burbidge.  Most of the teams I have fully painted have been raffle prizes.  As far as my practice, I find myself painting for a couple hours a week over a couple evenings.  I will usually try to batch paint a few models in a team, but I find myself enjoying the thrill of completion and end up painting one or two minis at a time.  I will clean up a model and then prime it in black.  I’ve never been a huge fan of white primed models.  I have started to use Gears and Gamers Kolinsky brushes.  The largest brush I will typically use (non-terrain or vehicle) is a size 1.  I stick to smaller brushes and work slowly.  I do wish I were a faster painter.  I stick to Citadel paints.  I’ve tried other paints and prefer the Citadel series.  Their base paints are amazing and even though I thin them down, it only takes a few coats to get a perfect base layer.  The Three Mile Island Plague are heavily orange in color, which can be notoriously difficult.  I start with a base of Khorne red and move it up from there.  I’m in the process of changing how I base my DreadBall minis, so I’ll wait until I settle on how I want to advance.  It will likely involve Geoff-Tech.

[Editor’s note: Geoff-Tech is a gaming aid outfitter led by BreadDoll co-editor Geoff Burbidge.]

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Dean’s Forge Fathers take to the pitch!
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?
It would almost be like a combination of the Last Supper and the Red Wedding.  I’d tear off the head and eat it.  Then, I’d offer other coaches to rip apart that little BreadDoll and I’d share in my tasty misery as we break and maim bread in a feeding frenzy to celebrate my complete suckage of the day.

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Many thanks to Dean for the interview, and may all of his future sixes explode.  Unless he’s playing me!  Also, Dean owes me a beer.  Let’s see if he won’t buy the BreadDoll staff a round while we discuss a sponsored tournament in the Adventurer’s Guild!

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Tournament Time: Adepticon 2018

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I was planning on writing a painting article on how I painted my Judwan for today’s article but instead I’m just going to talk about Adepticon 2018.

Adepticon 2018 starts tomorrow in Schaumburg, Illinois in the USA. I’ve been going to Adepticon for 4 years now (this is my 4th trip). I started going back in 2014 because I wanted to play DreadBall. It was great fun with a turnout of more than 20 coaches. I met many great people most of whom I now consider friends even if I only see them a couple times a year.

Since my first trip to Adepticon to play DreadBall the game has dropped off a lot of peoples radar. Every year there have been fewer coaches at the Adepticon tournament. With the release of 2nd edition DreadBall this weekend at Adepticon I’m sure this will be the first year, since I started going, that there will be more coaches at the Adepticon tournament than the year before. Exciting times.

There is a good deal of DreadBall going on at Adepticon this year besides just the tournament on Thursday. As I said 2nd edition is launching and will be on sale at the convention. There will be demos at the Mantic booth. Your very own BreadDoll will be running a League in a Night on Friday night. Saturday is Mantic Open Night and I’m sure there will be DreadBall demos in addition to a big game of DreadBall Ultimate for the top 6 coaches from the Adepticorp Tournament.

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League in a Night. League style played over 4 games on Friday night starting at 7pm in the Mantic room (Utopia D).

I look forward to Adepticon and seeing old friends and playing DreadBall every year. This year looks to be a great one and I’m looking forward to next year being even better!

AdeptiCorp Cup 2018 Tournament Rules

League in a Night Rules

Pitch Protocols: Famous Formations-The Castle

Famous Formations: The Castle

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Love it, or Hate it….it works.

The Castle refers to a defensive set-up where the 3-point Strike Zone is walled off with at least three players. The purpose is to nullify any strike attempts by the opposition without first having to shift players out of the way. Sometimes this will deter teams from bothering to attempt the big scores all together. More often, it means the opposing team will simply have to make a concerted effort to break the Castle if they want to score the big points.

The other three players of the Castling team are responsible for taking the game to the opposition. Where they set up at the start of the match is dependent upon being Home or Visitor, as well as the particular match up in question. More defensive minded coaches will opt for Pillars (placing players to block throwing lanes for bonus point strikes), or a Screen (trying to create more Evading rolls for the opposition to get where they may want to go). There are many variations and combinations we can look at in the future. More aggressive coaches or play styles will set up closer to the launch line, to more effectively get to work when it is their Rush.

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The Visitors are using a Castle with two Pillars. Additionally, the Striker in the middle creates a short Screen in the middle of the pitch.

Advantages
The advantage of the Castle is that a 3-point Strike is IMPOSSIBLE without the opposing coach first moving at least one of your players out of the way. This is often a favored set-up for Visitor teams, as the Home team usually has to spend several actions getting players into position to make the necessary Slams/Feints/Push/Illegal/Take a Dive/Shock Collar, etc….and even then, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to dice rolls. For many coaches, it’s the one way they feel like the can play “defense” in a game very focused on scoring. The Home team may be forced to opt for a smaller Strike attempt if their player removal plans don’t go well, setting up an opportunity for the Visiting team to take a lead on the scoreboard in their own Rush….or at least keep it level until the opportunity presents itself.

Disadvantages
One thing to be mindful of in the Castle, is that you are committing three players to being little more than spectators. However, for a lot of teams, especially single position or well-rounded teams, this is not as big a disadvantage as it would first appear. Since a player can take 2 actions, and with cards being a desirable thing to have and even more useful to use, three players are typically more than enough to get the job done.

However, where you have to be careful is when the opposing coach is patient and able to swarm your side of the pitch. Depending upon the match up in question, the three players outside the Castle can become Swarmed under by opposition, putting pressure on the Castle to break itself to respond, or find it under siege. When the game doesn’t leave your end of the pitch, the Castle starts to be a tenuous situation indeed.

Lastly, be sure to carefully consider WHICH players you Castle. Consider the match up in question and make sure you place the correct positions where they have the greatest potential to contribute in the game. In some cases, you may want to place your Guards in the Castle, to make them harder to shift…..but they may be more susceptible to Slams from behind for example. Also, if all your Guards are in the Castle, who are you going to use to move the opposition players out of the way for your own scoring attempts? You will also want to consider having a ball handler available to field the ball from your own end of the Pitch should an opposing Strike attempt go awry or you create a turnover situation that you want to capitalize on.

That concludes our look at The Castle. Next time, we will look at a useful anti-Castle tactic in The Sucker Draw.

League Logistics: Alternative Supporting Staff

DreadBall can be played in many formats: Single Matches, Ultimate, Xtreme, Tournaments, or my favorite – League.

I belong to a private gentlemen’s club affectionately named CORT, Citizens Of Rage Town.  We gather on scheduled intervals to smack talk, drink beer, and play games. More often than not, that game is DreadBall.  More often than not, our DreadBall teams have coaches.  As self appointed Minister of Miniatures for CORT, I created a set of alternative models for support staff use.  This is the story…

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When CORT was in it’s infancy, five gentlemen played Risk Legacy.  At campaign’s end, I recruited/held hostage all members to model for a painting.  I’m an artist who enjoys painting portraiture.  Especially masked portraiture of pop culture icons.  So it was with CORT’s sitting.  It was a painting of Marvel Superheroes.  The Avengers.  For another painting, I happened to have a Spiderman mask.  Thereafter, I loosely identified the OG CORT members as;
Alex P. = Cpt. America
Jamie E. = Thor
Zak B. = Hulk
Steve S. = Iron Man
Me = Spiderman

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Wodzianski, Andrew. Portrait of the Artist’s monthly Risk Group as the Avengers. 2012.  20×48″ Oil on canvas
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Wodzianski, Andrew. Self Portrait as Spider-Man. 2013. 26×24″ Oil on canvas

When CORT evolved into multiple seasons of DreadBall, I decided it would be fun to have avatars for our coaching staff.  I found some Marvel toys called “Handful of Heroes.”  They were a slightly larger scale than DreadBall, but the minis would never be considered players.  They would just be on the sidelines.  So I bought some.  Okay.  I bought a lot.  Fortunately, they were heavily discounted at a store called Five Below.  I ended up with close to 40 minis for 40 bucks.

I painted the original Avengers plus Spiderman. At this point, CORT had an additional member.  Ken C.  Ken was not part of the Avengers painting, so he needed an avatar.  I chose Doc Ock.  Ken can be a scheming evil bastard on occasion and he use to grope people at clubs*.  Made sense to me.

* This is an inappropriate lie I just fabricated.

Anyway, not knowing when to say when – I expanded everyone’s original avatar to three.  A DreadBall coaching staff can have three coaches, so CORT members should have three coaches as well.  I tried to group Marvel characters to personalities & rivalries, and kept one constant; every member would be issued a sculpt of the Hulk to use as an ‘offensive coach.’  I’ve inserted rationales to each member beneath their respective picture.

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Steve S. Do the robot! OG Iron Man cause you’re old. Mark 6 cause that’s the one you portrayed for canvas. Robot Hulk because your rage is always just an algorithm. You’re not programmed for real passionate freak-outs like the rest of us.
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Jamie E. Maestro is the only Hulk with a beard. Of course this should be your Hulk avatar. Thor recognizes your Ragnorok roots. Sabertooth acknowledges your blonde roots, gnarly fangs, and love of the outdoors.
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Andrew W. Spiderman is there because I once painted myself nude while wearing a Spiderman mask. Also, Spidey is a smart talking d**khead that’s not nearly as talented as he thinks he is. Professor Hulk is a f***ing professor. So am I. Also, he’s a nut. Also, bunny slippers. Venom represents that fact that I am my own worse enemy…
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Ken C. The Thing to represent your propensity at CLOBBERIN. Doc Ock to represent groping bodies and money. Dark Hulk to acknowledge that your skin tone is different from all of the other Hulk skin tones.
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Alex P. World War Hulk to protect yourself from wrangling alley cats. Black Panther to symbolize your oppression. I mean, to represent your affinity to cats. Captain American to resemble your handsome jaw.
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Zak B. Mad Hulk acknowledges that you have/had anger management issues. All Ages Hulk acknowledges that even more. DOCTOR DOOM… It took a while, but it just made sense. You’re a mastermind. A scheming, conniving, back stabbing plotter. That you do it with some bizarre Mid western charm is just as foreignly malicious as the Doctor from Bavaria.

Years later, we have two new members.  I really don’t know if our fresh CORT meat reads Marvel comics. I really don’t know if our fresh CORT meat plans on purchasing any coaching staff for their season 7 teams.  What I do know is – tradition is important.  CORT members can always choose from the official Mantic line of Supporting Staff models. There are some really cool ones (I dig the guy in the floating wheelchair).  However, I painted more Marvel models for the fresh meat, and they may choose them if they so desire.

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Brett P. Dr. Philip Stern, aka Madman. A well dressed, maniac. Well dressed, until he rips it all off. Ready to choke Hulk to the death. Gladiator Hulk has an axe. That’s overkill. You are overkill. Wolverine represents your outlier temperament while at the same time – your status as an Xmen. Your new classmate Gavrie also has an Xmen avatar.
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Gavrie K. Bi Beast respresents your take-down hatred of the Hulk*. Pipe bending Hulk to represent that beneath your smiling facade is a guy that can seriously f**k up some conduit. Colossus represents both silent strength and your Xmen class status. One that is shared with your other new classmate Brett. * Even though all CORT members have a Hulk model, I still consider Zak B. to be THE Hulk representative.

Hobby Highlight / Technical: Converting the models into DreadBall support staff was a fun learning experience.  Rustoleum‘s Universal Primer is the go-to primer for this particular plastic.  Once prepped, I had a blast painting such intense color schemes.  DeadBall bases were filled with putty, sanded, and primed The Army Painter Matt Black.  I gave each model a common front facing highlight as well at their projected threat.  Just in case they ever needed to enter the pitch…

Excelsior!