Playing for Keeps
I have always been fascinated by the concept of the Keeper position in DreadBall. Honestly, when trying out the game waaaaaay back during the first Kickstarter, it was probably one of my most looked forward to aspects of the game. Even one of the pledge levels was called Keeper. The concept art for them looked ridiculously cool. Big, Heavy armour. Presumably some great goal tending skills too.
Alas, it is an understatement to say that Keepers were….underwhelming in first edition. Sure, they lived up to their heavy armour reputation, but that was about it. They contributed nothing to goal tending, at least no more than any other player, and their ball handling ability was more liability than asset.
Enter: Second Edition.
Now, Keepers play like they should! Placing a Keeper in a Strike zone allows them to threaten any Throw in it, even if they are not adjacent. This makes scoring a little more challenging if the Keeper is not dealt with. Additionally, Punt is now an action worth taking and can be an extremely useful ability, particularly for slower teams that can’t afford to be running back and forth across the pitch. It only scatters ONCE now, and doesn’t end your Rush. Meaning you can clear out your end of the pitch and continue playing. Don’t worry though, Keepers still have their heavy armour, but it does cost them a little movement now in exchange.
Here are a few tips for playing with Keepers:
1: Setup DEEP and CENTER. Place the Keeper right in front of the Strike hex. This does two important things: a) it keeps the entire strike zone in their front arc, allowing them to threaten throw attempts. b) it blocks bonus point strikes completely. While this is far from fool proof, it often has the benefit of forcing your opponent to spend actions on dealing with the Keeper, meaning they have less left to mark your other players and still score.
2: Slow teams should consider TWO Keepers. One to guard the 3/4 zone, and one to roam the middle of the pitch to punt the ball down to their ball handlers in the opposition end of the pitch. Teams like Matsudan, Forge Fathers, and Crystallans have such slow Movement, that they can’t afford to spend actions running back for the ball and still setup good scoring opportunities in the same rush. Keepers let them play on the other end of the pitch with a little more freedom.
3: COUNT your scatter potential before you Punt. When you go to Punt, be sure to look at the possible directions and distances of scatter from your ball placement. If the pitch is fairly open, you can be fairly confident on the general area the ball will end up. If you try to Punt into a more congested area, subsequent scatters may ensue and make the ball’s final resting place a little more….dicey. This is also a great time to play those cards that let you choose direction or distance of scatter for pinpoint punting precision.
4: Don’t forget the Double! If you double a Punt, the Keeper can make either a free Run to reposition for goal tending duties, or take a free Slam-punishing would be Strike scorers no doubt!
Lastly, paint one! Treat yourself. Because, honestly, some of the coolest models in the DB range are the Keepers. And seeing as how it’s a thing in real sports, being a Keeper let’s you kind of alter your team color scheme for some extra pizzaz.