Coaches’ Corner: Shawn Grubaugh

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.

This shake-down of queries is big.  As big as the state of TEXAS!  The Lone Star State is known for many things: The Alamo, Succession, Cowgirls, and…  Shawn Grubaugh.  Shawn has a long and storied history with the Greatest Game in Galaxy, and he’s “agreed” to reveal some of it’s more interesting developments.

Shawn Grubaugh.  YouTuber.  Mantic Pathfinder.  Gamer.

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This is Shawn’s chest. Covering it is a t-shirt his wife had painted for him. That is what marriage is all about.

1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

While watching Gen Con videos (well before I was able to actually attend) – there was an interview with Ronnie Renton of Mantic Games.  He was talking about this cool game coming to Kickstarter called Dreadball – A sci-fi sports game. I was immediately intrigued.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

It was a learning match with the core set of Corporation against Marauders. I was getting my butt handed to me by my son Garrison. It was day one of the league, and we were being taught the basics.

 

3.  What is your favorite team?

My favorite team will always be my Neo-Tek Phantoms [Corporation]. They went undefeated for two leagues, three tournaments, and I won the inaugural Gen Con tournament with them.

 

4.  What is your favorite MVP?  Is the miniature cast in…  Metal?

The greatest MVP – Shawn “Patient Zero” Grubaugh!! Cast in metal!!

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Patient Zero, literally rendered in a beautiful sequence of ones and zeros.

Of course, of course.  Please elaborate.  You chose to back the DreadBall Xtreme Kickstarter at a level that granted you development of an MVP.  Explain to loyal BreadDoll readers how and why this character went from zero to hero.

Yea. Mantic Game sent several models to choose from, and then did a few mock ups. The original head had a spiked Mohawk! That’s not really my style, so I asked for long wavy hair and bang – Patient Zero! For the fluff and rules I had a couple ideas and friends contributed. Two really good friends significantly helped. Tom Taylor in the fluff, and Brian Taylor (no relation) on the rules. It was really a collaborative effort.  Ultimately, I wanted Patient Zero to look just like I do: young, muscular, long hair, and athletic!  Mantic Games did a great job! 😉

5.  Yes.  The similarity is…  Striking…  Let’s discuss pitches.  DreadBall was quick to find custom efforts from fanatical fans, and the first this BreadDoll editor remembers seeing was something called the Neo-Tek Tesla Dome.  Please explain its origin, development, and refinement.

Wow.  So I really love this game and wanted a cool pitch that would catch the eye. I have ZERO artistic abilities and had no idea how to start. I found free software call gimp, and began a lot of research on how to use it; what a layer was, using python to create the hex grid, editing pics, etc…  The first version was roughly 30 layers. I started looking for cool ideas and thought lightning would be cool! It was literally a couple months of work. Some time later I went back for version 2 on a bigger mat and adding places for cards, coaches, tokens, etc… It was a great experience, and I still love to see pictures of people all over the world playing on my pitch!

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So. Many. Layers.
 

6.  Tangentially related, when I play on Mantic’s Neoprene GrubaTek VII’s Coliseum Deluxe Pitch – your last name seems to be staring at me.  Or is it?  Please explain how this optical distraction came to interfere with my matches.

It is actually named for me. The year after Dreadball was released I finally attended Gen Con for the first time! Knowing Mantic Games would be there, I decided to take the version of my pitch I had printed on neoprene to show the guys. When I met Ronnie at the Mantic booth, I pulled out the mat. To my surprise he was really impressed and was very interested that it was on neoprene. He even invited me to Mantic Night at Colt’s Grill to play him a game on it. Little did either of us know: that game would probably be the greatest game either of us played. Ever. It was a back and forth battle that ended in a draw. When asked if we should go to OT, Ronnie said, “A game this great should end in a draw!” I couldn’t agree more, it was truly epic. SO. I gave the mat to Ronnie as a memento of the great game. What was really cool is a couple months later, James M Hewitt (yes, the awesome game designer who used to work at Mantic Games) contacted me over Facebook.  He said when Ronnie brought the pitch back to the office and the guys all loved it. He was asking my permission to use it in the office league! “Heck yeah!” I said. I had no idea what was to come. A few months later, Dreadball Xtreme was on Kickstarter.  The campaign had a new version of the game, new teams, and a new neoprene mat. Ronnie contacted me and explained they wanted me to name the mat. Gruba-Tek VII was born! The Dreadball pitch created by the father of the seven Grubaugh children who, would take over the galaxy’s largest company and rename it Neo-Tek. “Neo-Tek, If we don’t make it, you don’t need it!”

Yea.  I’m really into Dreadball, and I’ve created my own fiction for it!

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It’s not Gen Con if there are no cargo shorts. Ronnie Renton and Shawn Grubaugh captured in a moment of civility and good sportsmanship.
 

7.  You are one of the few Coaches from North America that has visited Mantic Games in Nottingham, UK.  That’s very cool, but really…  How cool was it?

It was awesome.  I got there and really had no agenda.  I just wanted to hang with the team for the day, see what happens behind the scenes etc… It was a great day! They showed me how the metal and resin models were made.  I got to play a game of Dreadball 2nd Edition with Stuart Gibbs before it was shipped (I lost by 1 point, but was told I was the closest to beating him of everyone). I even got to sit in on a secret meeting discussing future projects.  Yes, I knew about Hellboy before the rest of the world! It was a very hard secret to keep, but keep it I did!  It was a great day.

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

I have a YouTube channel – The Game Room – Texas Gamer Geeks. We do a lot of unboxings, game plays, and painting tutorials. I also paint a lot when I can. That whole “I’ll never run out of minis to paint” thing, yea – I really live it. We love games like Infinity, Gaslands, Deadzone, and The Walking Dead.

9.  You attend gaming conventions with your family, and your entire clan plays games.  What are the positives and negatives of such travel plans?

I love having the kids play games with me. Going to conventions really gives us a connection I wouldn’t replace. They look forward to it every year whether its; PAX South, a local convention, or Gen Con. The only negative is the expense as Dad foots much of the bill. But the time spent together is worth it. Some of the older kids have started helping cover costs, which tells me they cherish the time and fun together as much as I do!

10.  Back to the Galaxy’s greatest sport, how do you primarily play DreadBall? [One-off, league, tournament, Xtreme, Ultimate]

Leagues are the best way to play; to watch your players gain experience, and get better, and then become targets! I remember my level 5 Striker was the league’s biggest target, everyone wanted to kill him!! During the last few games of the league season – he only came onto the pitch for the last Rush or two when I needed the winning Strike. That was a great season.

11.  Which opposing team/Coach do you… Dread… the most?

Garrison Grubaugh! I don’t think I’ve been able to get a win on camera against him in years!

12.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

My Neo-Tek Phantoms against a Veer-myn team. At Rush 13, it was three in my favor and my opponent just missed the Strike attempt that would bring the score to zero. For the Final rush of the game, we could have just called it.  However, we were both in need of experience points. The final Rush for which I needed all 5 actions required: Sprinting to the back of the pitch, Picking up the ball, getting the extra action, Running, Throwing, Catching with the extra action, then two Dodges, another Throw, another Catch with the third extra action, a couple more Dodges and a finally – a 4 point Strike attempt…  A 7 point victory! The required successful die rolls were insane!

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The infamous Neo-Tek Phantoms!
 

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

Thats a hard one.  It’s a great game, but support seems to have dropped. I think new life could be brought into it with new teams released maybe every 6 months. Maybe a rules update.

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?

Oh eat it there! Last place – Embrace the SUCK!

Thank you Shawn!  This BreadDoll editor is going to celebrate an excellent interview and history lesson with some Texas toast and Tito’s.

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