Top 5 Tournament Moments

0934A3F9-353B-4A21-9DF5-9B30897E2A50Top Five Tournament Moments

Here are a smattering of some DreadBall tournament moments that for one reason or another are forever ingrained in my memory. I have many favorite moments from individual games, but these five stand out for completely….different reasons.

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I’d try timed games again….with the right amount of time!

5. The Clock! Adepticon. The first DreadBall tournament in the US of A, debuting at Adepticon. This was memorable not only because it was the first tournament, but because it experimentally decided to borrow the chess clock rules that were being used in Kings of War at the time. However, a misunderstanding of the rules packet led to the entire game being limited to 3O minutes, rather than 30 minutes per player for the one hour rounds. This resulted in the fastest four rounds of tournament DreadBall ever!

4. The Comeback! Adepticon. The start of the North American DreadBall Circuit was off with a bang, and the early favorites appeared to be a Hobgoblin team running a double Hulk build. 4-0 going into the Fifth and final round, the Hobgoblins found themselves in a rematch with an earlier victim from the day. An interesting quirk, in the NADC, five round tournaments sometimes result in rematches in the fifth round due to the nature of the size of the field, and the fact that the final round has the top two teams play each other, regardless if they have already played each other or not. Well, as luck would have it….or not, depending on your perspective, victory was not to be for the Hobgoblins. The characteristic aggressive play style marking their earlier victories was notably absent in the thrilling final to crown the North American Champion. The opposing coach had found themselves in a hole early in the day, but managed to climb back to the top with win after win to claim the NADC title!

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League in a Day is a fun format!

 

3. League in a Day! EVO Games. League in a Day is just a memorable experience no matter what. While this wasn’t the first one I had participated in, it was one of the most fun! There were several teams and a variety of play styles represented that resulted in some wonderful matches on the day.

2. Stomped into Submission! Adepticon. A woeful tale of so close, yet so far. Final match of the tournament for me and my Beltway Bruisers (Marauders), I was only having a so-so tournament. One final match could bring me a bit of redemption. However, Jon Carter and his Teratons were not having it! In a brutal back and forth affair, it looked like I might eeck out a victory, but in the end settled for a tie….or so I thought. In the final rush with the score tied, and very few scoring opportunities available, Coach Carter went with a foolproof plan…STOMP! The physical nature of the match up had taken a toll on my poor goblins, and only one was remaining on the pitch. Recognizing an opportunity, Jon managed to knock the goblin prone….and proceeded to mercilessly stomp on them despite the protestations of the referee. Time was called, and while the score was knotted at “0”, I had no remaining players capable of scoring left on the pitch—resulting in an unexpected loss! I constantly point to this match as an excellent example of situational awareness.

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And still in second edition, a well timed RI can change EVERYTHING

1. Slam from the bench! Gen Con. This was the first ever DreadBall tournament at Gen Con. For being thrown together last minute from a hospital bed, it had a pretty decent turn out too. At this time there were only Season one teams available, the game being less than a year old. Early on, there was a Veer-myn team that seemed primed to run the table. However, one play would turn their fortunes upside down. The rats looked poised to take down a Corporation squad early…they had a lead, and the ball, and were preparing to go for another big strike. The Veer-myn striker was carefully trying to skirt the defense outside the strike zone when it happened.

RUN.

INTERFERENCE.

A Corporation Jack came off the bench with one step and completely blindsided the rat, ball careening down the pitch. The abrupt end of the rush caused a huge momentum change. The corporation recovered the loose ball and immediately scored to take the lead and eventually the match. The rats, once poised to take the day, fell from the top table for good. Another classic example of how a single play can change the momentum of a match!

One History of Fantasy Sports Board Gaming part II

Coaches were left with a charge at the end of our last history lesson.  If a sporting footnote between 1982 and 2004 needed mention, comments were welcome.

Among all responders, loyal BreadDoll reader Mike Mueller was quick to reply with perhaps the most obscure title that preceded 1982’s Grav-Ball by three years!

From the annals of Wyrd, behold this relic from 1979;

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Troll Ball, 1979.

Greg Stafford and friends manipulated the Runequest combat system into a sports game. Competing troll teams face-off on a field of violent mayhem, with an objective of most points scored.  A “point” is earned by carrying a living trolkin across a goal line.

Troll Ball may very well be the first fantasy football sports board game, thus knocking Monsters of the Midway off my previous mantle.  Troll ball is very much a product of its time.  It’s a compact ruleset at five lean pages, but still includes team and character creation, as well as leveling.  And it’s funny to boot!  It’s also very DIY.  Coaches need to craft their own pitch!  Those with a spare 1/2″ grid map will be able to save time before the starting whistle.  Glorantha needs dedicated sports fiends to field Troll Ball.

Other responders were kind.  And… kind of off-mark.

The “One History of Fantasy Sports Board Gaming” is so titled for a reason.  There are parameters.  An editorial decision has been made, and consequently, a lot of games have struck the killing room floor.  Part of education is understanding boundaries, and part II now shifts focus to what is out-of-bounds.

If it’s a card game, it’s not part of this history lesson.

Slapshot (1982), Dream Team (1997), and Blood Bowl: Team Manager (2011) are fine games.  In fact, I’ll revisit Blood Bowl: Team Manager in a future lesson detailing the Blood Bowl franchise.  However, each of these titles and their poker deck sized brethren are not included.  A board is necessary, and by inference; tokens representing players.  Baseball Highlights: 2045 (2015) will most likely make a future appearance.  While a card game at its core, it does include a baseball diamond board and player pawns are fielded.

If there is no Board, it’s not part of this history lesson.

Guild Ball (2015), Darkball (1996), and Sports Fuzz (1995) are…  games.  Guild Ball has no board and frankly, no sport.  Dark Ball also has no board.  However, thanks to the nineteen nineties, it does have POGS!  Coaches mileage may vary depending on their experience with pogs, but Darkball is fine hybrid of sports gaming and tiddlywinks.  Sports Fuzz is another miniatures combat game disguised as a sports title, but it gets a mention on the BreadDoll for creativity.  Fuzz Ball is dependent on existing toy collections, their size and color.  It’s a “miniatures agnostic” game.  Any ruleset that champions cross pollination over publisher shackles gets a nod from this editor.

If it’s a race, it’s not part of this history lesson.

This distinction is arguably polarizing.  Racing is a tried, true, and tested form of competition.  Cockroaches.  Dogs.  NASCAR.  These qualifiers may describe North Carolina, but they also describe a small sample of countless speed-based sporting events. So does Arena Maximus (2003), Blood Race (1999), and Monster Derby (1994).  And yet, the BreadDoll’s history on fantasy sports board gaming ultimately exists to compare and contrast games with the greatest sport in the galaxy.  DreadBall.  DreadBall is a sport that pits two adversarial teams in direct conflict over a limited resource.  Racing and Ballin’ is like apples and oranges.

Missing Links, circa 1993 – 2003:

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Thunder Ball, 1993.

Mark Hanny’s take on basketball, now with Harry Potter-like antics!  If any title could use a refresh via Kickstarter,  Thunder Ball would be it.  A hex based court with multiple baskets and spells?  Think of a simplified DreadBall Xtreme meets Wiz-War.

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Jugger, 2002.

Lloyd Krassner’s turned medieval war machines into ball-smacking’ sportsmen!  Mentioned here only to lay groundwork for a similar themed game in a sci-fi setting.  Privateer Press will have an entry in part III!

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Peace Bowl, 2003.

Angelo Porazzi’s Warangel/WarBeast universe expands!  2-4 players push themselves around while trying to get a ball into one of three end zones.  Mentioned here only to lay groundwork for a similar game with a pop culture smash up.  CMON will have an entry in part III!

Is the history lesson still missing a gem?  Let us know!  In three weeks, we’ll dive into the 21st Century with full abandon.  2007, here we come!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—The Endgame!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—The Endgame!

“Begin With the End in Mind”—Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and probably DreadBall coaches too!)

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It all comes down to this, with just a snap of the fingers, the game will end…

Every coach, every team, has some sort of strategy for victory. Now, not every strategy is necessarily a good one, and sometimes they may be mismatched, but it’s there all the same. The best strategies have a clear goal in mind, a very specific end of game scenario, or solution if you will, to the puzzle the other team will pose to them. So ask yourself, once the teams are lined up, and the ball is set to launch…how do you see the match ending?

If you have a predilection for violence, you may envision the pitch nearly void of opposition and their sin bin strewn with corpses. Fair enough. But you also need to pay attention to the scoreboard too, which mean that while scoring may not be your focus, you can’t let the points difference get out of reach.

The opposite, however, may be true if you have a preference for flinging the ball over flinging bodies. That’s great too. You need to prioritize scoring early and often, and your “perfect ending” may mean grabbing a landslide. Or even a simple insurmountable lead with a rush remaining. But you have to keep enough players around for that to happen!

So while having a clear picture of your ideal end game is helpful, it’s actually managed rush by rush. To efficiently and effectively achieve your goals means wise allocation of your precious actions. Therefore, each Rush must also have a clear “end” in mind as well.

Let’s use the example of the bashy team above. Eager to lay waste to their opposition, they spend almost all of their actions on slamming or getting in position to mark or slam. However, if this coach wants to get to their endgame, they need to not neglect the fact that they are down by four points at the moment. They need to spend at least one action to pull the score back and keep the match alive for their long game!

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Action Tokens: The currency of victory!

Basically, you must:

  1. Define your goal.
  2. Each Rush, prioritize actions based on achieving said goal.
  3. Profit.

Of course, it’s never quite that simple as your opponent is trying to do the same, and thus the conditions of the match are in a constant state of flux. However, the coach that best adapts to the situation and stays focused on their priorities will often come out on top. The “art” of DreadBall comes in making each Rush build of the previous toward your inevitable end game scenario. Good Luck!