Coaches’ Corner: Rob Burman

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.

Rob Burman has been pulled from his GCPS issued desk for this interrogation.  It’s a coup for the BreadDoll editors, as Rob is the first interview from Mantic Headquarters.

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Rob Burman.  Goblin lover, Bigfoot believer, and ex-Donkey Konga UK champion.

1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

By accident, really. I stumbled across Mantic just after the first Kings of War Kickstarter but just before the DreadBall Kickstarter launched. Although I had been out of the hobby for about 13 years, it totally looked up my street and I immediately went all-in! Since then I haven’t looked back… I mean, obviously I’ve looked backwards when driving and stuff. I just haven’t metaphorically looked backed. Apart from memories… oh, you get the idea.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

I didn’t actually play a game for a long time. Instead, I spent time (really badly) painting the teams I got from the Kickstarter. Eventually I found a local club in Nottingham and they had a few players who said they would teach me the ropes. I think my first game was playing with Veer-myn and I got absolutely swept off the pitch, but I loved every minute and was immediately hooked.

3.  What is your favorite team?

Woah, that is like asking me to pick a favourite child or pizza topping. It changes all the time. For the longest time I was a hardcore Veer-myn player because I loved their speed. Then I changed to Rebs (while still in First Edition). In Second Edition, I thoroughly enjoy playing Matsudan and Yndij (and played both of those for a while). However, I’ve recently returned to my greenskin roots (and the first team I painted), with the Marauders. These guys are absolutely top notch in Second Edition and I can see myself sticking with them for a while.

4.  What is your favorite MVP?

Bit cheesy but probably the Praetorian, in terms of stats. You really can’t argue with a 3+ Skill and he’s relatively tough, thanks to Can’t Feel a Thing. I had the Praetorian in my DreadBall UK Championship winning side back in 2018 and he won the tournament for me, really.

5.  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?  If you painted it, how did you do it?

Actually, going back to the Marauders; I really love the orcs and the plastic makes them very easy to re-pose. They’re nice, big, chunky models so you can get quite a lot of detail on the paint job.

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

Nowadays it’s mostly tournaments with the odd one-off on the Mantic live stream. I wish I could play more, to be honest, because it’s still my absolute favourite game.

7.  Shifting gears for a moment, what do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

Cry, solemnly.

8.  You work at Mantic!  Without jeopardizing your employment, please describe your position.  Any advice on how to find a gainful salary in the gaming industry is welcome (asking for a retired DreadBall Coach).

I am the Online Sales and Social Media Manager, with is a bit of a mouthful. In terms of getting a job, it’s all about pursuing your passion. Once I got back into the hobby, I hit it hard. I became a senior committee member at the club, started writing blogs, shared my (often terrible) painting progress and eventually managed to persuade my boss in a previous job to let me start a tabletop gaming magazine. I think if you can demonstrate that sort of commitment to the hobby and industry in general, then someone is bound to pick you up.

9.  Back to the Galaxy’s greatest sport, which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

I see what you did there… I don’t think it’s necessarily the team, it’s more the Coach. Facing off against Geoff [Burbidge] at Adepticon was a humbling experience – even though he was playing Brokkrs, who I normally wouldn’t be scared of. Likewise, a humbling defeat recently came at the hands of the Trontek 29ers, who I have previously dismissed as complete rubbish. However, I must admit that I fear taking on a competitive Zee player. Having that many players to block all the strike zones is a pain in the backside.

10.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

I love those Rushes when absolutely everything goes to plan (although it doesn’t happen that often). During the Co-Prosperity Cup 2019, I was down one Strike in my final Rush but there was an outside chance I could grab the ball and score. For that to happen, I had to; get the right card (Any Player, Any Action), pick up the ball, double it, and then Dash several times to sneak into the two point Strike Zone. It really shouldn’t have been possible but, against all the odds, I pulled off everything.

I also love the fact you can swap Fan Checks for extra cards now. That really encourages you to try crazy stuff (nine hex passes, triple Dashes, etc.) to generate the Fan Check and get a card, which could turn the tide.

And, of course, every Rush I played against Crazy-A at Gencon 2019 was sheer joy. [Editor’s note: Mantic has nicknamed this BreadDoll editor “Crazy-A.” It’s not… inaccurate.  Regardless, our Gencon match ended in a tie.]

11. What would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

To be honest? More people playing! There’s quite a good UK community bubbling away at the moment. Franticon had 20+ players earlier this year and WOFcon recently had a similar number. There’s already an event planned for early next year, and I’d like to see another at Mantic HQ.

With more people playing, we can then release more products. I would be wary of ‘just more teams’ because we already have a shed load but perhaps a resin classics edition, with re-poses of the original teams? Something like that would be very cool.

I’d also like to see some sort of global tournament, a little like the Deadzone campaign we  [Mantic] did last year.

12.  You often play DreadBall on both sides of the pond.  Have you noticed different coaching styles between North American and British opponents?

I haven’t, really. I was expecting the Americans to be more violent (although Shane [Knerll and Geoff [Burbidge] both obliterated my NeoBots at Adepticon), but that isn’t always the case. I think good players are good players both sides of the pond.

13.  You frequently appear on Mantic video feeds competing against colleague Elvis Fisher.  More often than not, you dominate the matches.  Have you considered facing-off against other Coaches, like Crazy Bobby?

Crazy Bobby has been banned from the live stream after an ‘incident’. I have had my backside handed to me on the live stream by Martin [Thirwell, Mantic employee and all-around sexy man] though – in fact, I don’t think I’ve won a game on the live stream against Martin. He intimidates me off camera by threatening my children with a shiv. I’m always up for playing more games on the live stream (apart from Rob Taylor, before he asks).

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14.  Lastly, 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?

I would eat it while sobbing in the shower.

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Many thanks to Rob for agreeing to answer such pressing queries.  After two Brits in the Coaches’ Corner, should the BreadDoll aim for a hat-trick?  Who should be interviewed next?  Let us know in the comments below.

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