Home Pitch Advantage: A Different Crowd

Home Pitch Advantage: A Different Crowd

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As I’ve talked about previously, I love the idea of DreadBall taking place in different venues and on different worlds. These are not only thematically interesting, but can also pose unique tactical wrinkles to the game of DreadBall as well. While far from perfect, the 1st edition supplement Challenge Cup, was on the right track for the sort of experience I’ve been looking for.

One of the elements that could be paired with the Global Rule suggestion from Franchise Mode, is the concept of A Different Crowd. Not only can the venue itself pose different conditions, but the crowd can also potentially impact the game as well. This could add some thematic home field advantage. 

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A whole GALAXY to explore! Surely the game experience in some of these vastly alien worlds would vary drastically…

The premise is that not every crowd expects the same style of play, or appreciates the same elements of the game as another. For example, the Long Rock Lifers home crowd may be much more interested and excited in seeing players carried off in body bags or getting one over on the Ref than seeing skillful passing plays develop deep down the pitch. However, the fans of the Pelgar Mystics may have the exact opposite sentiment.

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For now, let’s assume there are broadly four types of crowds to start. The Typical Crowd, the Brutal Crowd, the Finesse Crowd, and the Demanding Crowd. The Typical Crowd is the same as the standard Fan Check conditions already described in the rules, so there is nothing to examine here. But let’s check out the other three:

The Brutal Crowd

These folks LOVE violence. They can’t get enough of it. Often the result is of little consequence to these fans, as long as someone gets pasted. Instead of the normal Fan Check conditions listed in the DreadBall rules, only the following triggers Fan Checks for a Brutal Crowd:

*Inflicting an Injury

*Committing a particularly successful foul

*Win a Distract test

*Any cards, cheerleaders or special rules that generate fan checks work as normal.

The Finesse Crowd

This type of crowd loves the fancy plays and seeing the high level of skill professional players possess. They actually care about points being scored! Instead of the normal Fan Check conditions listed in the DreadBall rules, only the following triggers Fan Checks for a Finesse Crowd:

*Doubling a Strike

*Catches a 9-hex pass. Once per Rush.

*Any cards, cheerleaders or special rules that generate fan checks work as normal.

The Demanding Crowd

There are some fans that just won’t be pleased with regular, run of the mill play. These folks need to be wowed, and only exemplary effort and skill move them to cheer. Instead of the normal Fan Check conditions listed in the DreadBall rules, only the following triggers Fan Checks for a Demanding Crowd:

*Catching a scattering ball.

*Dashes 3 or more times in the same Action without falling.

*Evades 3 or more times in the same Action without falling.

*Tripling an (X) roll with 3+ successes.

*Any cards or special rules that generate fan checks work as normal, but the Cheerleader Ability Work the Crowd has no effect.

In league play, a team could pick which type of crowd best represents their Home fans and use the modified conditions for Fan Checks when they are the Home team in a match. Or, if the game is more of a Neutral site affair, or you just don’t “know” what type of crowd is going to show up any given match, you could roll for it! Before the match begins, the Home coach rolls a dice and consults the following:

1: a Demanding Crowd

2: a Brutal Crowd

3: a Finesse Crowd

4-6: A Typical Crowd

Of course, there could always be more types of crowds…and maybe some support staff that could modify or interact with that as well, but alas, that’s for another time. Now get out there and get those fans on there feet!

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Hobby Highlight: No Pitch like Home!

No Pitch like Home!, part 1

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So, following on about Home pitches having global rules, I wanted to take on a Hobby project to make one of my own. Now, one approach would be to simply download one of the amazing pitches designed by an immensely talented pitch designer, BreadDoll’s own Geoff Burbidge. However, I, being a glutton for punishment, opted for a more three dimensional project. This is the first part of a “behind the scenes” in my pitch build project.

First, you need to come up with a theme. What kind of pitch is this going to be? I personally find the project to be more interesting if the theme offers a more “exotic” venue in contrast to the standard arena. What kind of strange planet or pitch conditions is the project meant to replicate? For this project, I was torn between two ideas that I really wanted to develop. However, the “easier” of the two was a simple ice world pitch. All most since the inception of the game, I’ve had some home brew rules developed that I’ve been keen to get on the table. Now I’m finally making a pitch to represent it!

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Now that I had a pitch idea to run with, I had to get on with making it! There are a few approaches I could have went with, but again, this time around I was taking the easy road. I pulled out the old quadrant zero mdf pitch to use as a base. Because of some of the other aspects of the pitch I wanted to incorporate, I needed to mount the mdf to a backer board. A simple sheet of plywood did the job nicely.

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Once mounted, I laid down some base colors. Going for a snow and ice look, I wanted to stay with cold colors like light blue and grey. And a little white dry brushing. The grey areas would be for the more snow covered places, while the blue would be for the more icy patches….though one need not completely exclude the other.

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After laying down some base color on the pitch itself, I used some insulation foam to build around the pitch. I simply used the score track mdf pieces as a template to get the edges right, lining them up half way onto the edge of the foam, then tracing the edge of the hexes as a template for cutting. Using a knife, I carved out the hexes.

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After cutting out the foam, I then glued the pieces into place around the exterior of the pitch. Once glued, I began putting some more paint layers on and the project begins to take shape.

Now the reason for the mounting of the pitch, was that I could do some decent sized ice patches this way in the recessed areas of the pitch. After getting the strike zones and launch lane painted, I used a hex and silver paint pen to trace the hexes in those areas, since there was no mdf pitch placed there. I also added some extra designs, some silver glitter glue snow flakes in the strike hexes and some white card stock snowflakes of a different design placed on the launch hexes. 

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With these extra decorations added, I then poured some water effect into those areas. I didn’t worry about doing it in separate applications, as this represented ice, cracking and splitting as the “water” hardened would actually be a desirable effect and add to the ice look.

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We will look at the final result in the next article!

Franchise Mode II: The Sequel

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Happy New Year BreadDollers! Last time I was let out of the bakery, I rambled about Leagues and radical rule suggestions. After receiving “treatment”, I’m back to continue talking about Franchise Mode! But no rules this time, just “ideas”….for now.

Home and Away

Anyhow, I’ve always been smitten with the idea of Leagues having a Home and Away schedule. In other words, the schedule dictates which matches you will be the Home team for, and for which ones you will be the Visitors. One way to approach this is, for each match up, to schedule a Home and Away series. You simply play the same opponent twice in consecutive matches, once as the Home team, once as the Visitors. This is easy on scheduling, and makes it simpler in real life for opponents to get together once and play both matches at once if convenient. It’s one way to easily double the number of matches in your leagues without adding a lot of extra weeks to your campaign.

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“It was at that moment, lying semi-conscious on the ice, that Tor realized there was just no place like Home…”

However, I am more of a fan of the matches being split up on the schedule. This way, if you get taken to task by your opponent in week one, you some time to circle the next meeting on the calendar, nurse a grudge, and gear up your roster for sweet revenge in the rematch later in the season. But to each their own. It does have the draw back of adding more time to the campaign, but this can be ameliorated in one of two ways. 

One, if you tend to meet as a group to play your games, you could still attempt two matches in an evening, albeit with different opponents. Or, probably more amenable, is depending on the number of players in the leagues you simply subdivide in to smaller conferences or divisions. The teams in the same divisions play a short schedule against each other with division winners qualifying for the playoffs. As always, though, there is more than one way to skin a….er, peel a banana, so simply do what works best for your group.

Global Rules

Now, Home and Away is all fine and good however you handle it. BUT, what a Galaxy spanning sport like DreadBall REALLY needs is a variety of interesting venues to play the game in. To add more immersion to the difference between a Home match underwater for the Nemion Oceanics, as opposed to the reality bending experience of playing at the home stadium of the Wu-Ling Wanderers.

The sort of thing I envision is akin to Azure Forest or the Challenge Cup. The rules for playing at a particular venue might include one or two simple “global” rules that are always in play. These may represent some of the particular nuances of playing DreadBall in such a unique environment. The same environment may also have a small specialized event deck, to further add to the character of the venue. 

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Simple and effective method for making each venue feel special.

I have a handful of venues in mind, some with house rules that have been played with a bit. I’ve finally gotten round to building a pitch for one of them and have much more grand plans for another. But in parting I’d like to ask, where in the world(s) do you want to be able to play DreadBall?

DreadBall: Franchise Mode

DreadBall: Franchise Mode

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Ah, League play. I’m a big fan of Leagues, especially for sports games. Getting to grow your roster over the course of the season, the ups and downs, and trying to build that dynasty season after season. I much prefer Leagues to Tournaments, they are just a simply more rich and rewarding experience overall.

Unfortunately, I have very limited opportunities for League play in DB. I have had a few small sampling’s, and a couple of the very fun League in Day/Night events that I have been able to participate in, but that is sadly it. The real joy, at least in my previous experience with “other” sports games, has been the season after season legacy….or “franchise mode” of the game. This doesn’t seem to be something done very often anymore. It would seem most folks prefer to start over with new teams each season. Certainly that can be fun too, and add a lot of replay value to the game using different teams. This also makes it more accessible to new players joining in on a new season, everyone starting at the same level.

However, I’d like to propose a few “radical” ideas for use in DreadBall Leagues that have worked well in other games too. I present to you, DreadBall: Franchise Mode!

The Franchise Campaign

The first thing to keep in mind with the Franchise approach is that it’s not just about the current season, but the subsequent ones as well. That legacy game mindset alone can completely change your decision making on how you choose to level players and which support staff to add to your rosters. Other than that, things play out pretty much the same as any other league. It’s the roll-over that makes things interesting. This is basically encapsulated in two main rules.

Salary Cap

For the start of “year two” of Franchise mode, there is a little quirk. You introduce a Salary Cap, which is a predetermined Team Value for starting teams. For our example, let’s say the Cap in season two is 1500. This would mean that all rosters would need to be trimmed to fit this value. If my team at the end of season 1 was, say 1700, I’d have some decision making to do on roster cuts. You essentially rebuy your team from your current roster using the players new values. Because, remember, when players rank up, their value increases accordingly. In dropping some veteran players, you may find yourself adding some new rookies to bulk out your roster as well. The nice part is, this still allows new players, or veteran coaches wanting to start new teams, an opportunity to join in the fun, they simply start with more credits to buy their roster using the same 1500 team value.

Waivers

Another fun quirk is to not allow MVPs in your leagues. Instead, you have players on Waivers. After players finish adjusting their rosters, any veteran players that were dropped from teams are put on a master list for the league, and become eligible to be hired by other teams as transfer players. This adds a lot to the continuity of the seasons as players grow and change teams and build stories of their own. The only MVPs are the ones who have been created before your very eyes on the pitch.

Wait, There’s more?!?

While Salary Cap and Waivers are the two main rules behind Franchise mode, one of the other appealing aspects of a Franchise campaign is having more options to save and spend your hard earned credits on….like upgrading your team facilities or having more staff options to explore. However, that’s a little outside of the scope of this article for now. Maybe we can revisit that in 2019. 

Anyway, what’s your favorite way to play DreadBall Leagues?

Pitch Protocols: Team Analysis—Ninth Moon Tree Sharks

Pitch Protocols: Team Analysis—Ninth Moon Tree Sharks

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Overview

The Yndij are well suited to playing a fast, high scoring brand of DreadBall. Fast and dodgy, this is a great team for coaches who love offense. 

Strengths

The Tree Sharks have three key strengths that a coach needs to take advantage of to get the most out of them on the pitch. With a Move of 6 across the board, they can keep up with any team, and even outrun most others. This is important as it makes them pretty forgiving with positioning and means there are few actions that will ever be out of reach.

Next, the Yndij possess excellent Agility. This makes them very apt at avoiding the unwanted attentions of opposing slammers. The high Agility also means it can be difficult to pin them down with threats as they Evade past opposing players. Yndij can also avoid slamming directly to retake possession of the ball, as their Strikers are quite competent at Stealing it back.

Speaking of Strikers, this is another “Strength” of the Tree Sharks. With Four Strikers on the suggested starting roster, they will not lack for Offensive specialists. They have all the Move and Agility of the Veermyn, but possess superior Skill to improve their success rate at Strike attempts.

Weaknesses

As is often expected from fast, Striker heavy teams, the team lacks a bit of punch in the Slamming department. Yes, they have access to Jacks, and even an occasional Guard, but their Strength is Average anyway. Now, against many teams, this won’t be too much of an issue. However, against Slam heavy teams, trying to play their game is a recipe for disaster.

Additionally, there are no starting abilities for the Yndij. They are well rounded, but lack a “trick” that some teams have to specialize. This makes them easier to pick up and play, but can make you one dimensional in certain match-ups.

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If you get to use the Captain and cards, try to get Yunker-hai. It’s an amazingly effective complement for a Cheer Factory squad!

Strategy and Tactics

The Yndij are a textbook example of an Alpha Strike team. Coupled with Cheer Factory, this can create a formidable offensive juggernaut. As Visitor, it’s worth considering the Deep Screen as an opening set-up. The Tree Sharks have the Move capability to overcome setting up deep and still be a threat, and if the opposition tries to counter with a Sucker Draw, they have the Strikers to pull off a Steal attempt.

In short, this is a team built for Run-n-Gun. The Jacks are competent, and it’s worth having a Guard for those times when you absolutely got to take a player out. However, do what they do best, SCORE!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

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Going for goal! The Teratons are not in a good position to respond if this goes in….

There is no denying that there is a lot of power in having the first Rush in a DreadBall match. For many teams, the most effective way to utilize this advantage is to immediately put the opposition under pressure. This can take many forms depending on the teams involved, but it is decidedly the opposite of Sucker Draw. Rather than “wrong-footing” your opponent, you want them on their back feet (or….claws?) and scrambling from behind, constantly forced to react the entire match. 

The Alpha Strike is simply an exercise in maximizing your first Rush opportunities and putting points on the board. What these opportunities are, depends on the match up. For a Bashy team, the opportunities are marking high priority targets for slams. Most likely these targets will be the oppositions biggest scoring threat, but sometimes a role player may be the better option (Undulan Guards, for example). Against other Bashy teams, you may look to take out their most punishing slammer, reducing the effectiveness of their retaliation efforts.

For more finesse squads, the Alpha Strike will be all about maximizing their own scoring efforts. This typically means going for the 3/4 zone, but situations may dictate a 2-point strike as more appropriate. For example, a Castle that your team just can’t seem to shift. Tactically, that could call for a change of plans and switching to a Slow Ball approach. However, if you’re confident in your team’s ability to make the strikes and outpace the opposition in scoring over the course of the match, sling away!

Of course, Alpha Striking a defensive set-up is exactly the sort of thing you want to try and pull off. Your opponent has positioned their team to try to defend that very scenario, and will be ill-equipped to immediately respond. There are a couple of tools you will want to remember to enable this.

  1. Don’t forget to SPRINT! To get the most out of your actions, you will need to cover a lot of the pitch quickly. To get a player in position to Slam open a scoring lane, consider Sprinting them into position….just be sure to stop at least one hex away so you can be sure to get the momentum bonus when you Slam.
  2. Abilities! Things like Phaser, Feint, Take a Dive, Push, Ram, Shove, Strong Tail, Shock Collar and Brush Aside can greatly assist your efforts on opening lanes, some time with relative ease!

To maximize your scoring opportunities, try and have a DreadBall card in hand when you make the Strike attempt. Either because you have one from your starting hand, have earned one through fan checks (Cheer Factory perhaps?), or just flat out buy one with an action. Having a reroll on hand helps increase your odds!

Lastly, don’t forget to think about the next Rush. It’s all well and good to grab the lead, but you want to be sure to either impede your opponents progress to respond in kind, or simply deny them opportunities to chip away at your roster in a battle of attrition. Odds are, you won’t be able to prevent everything, but you can certainly make their rush less efficient by having to spend more actions to get the job done!

Don’t forget, missing a Strike won’t necessarily be a detriment either. Having the ball deep in their end of the pitch still puts them under a certain amount of pressure, especially if they are a slower moving team that will struggle to advance it down to your end. Sometimes it’s simply the speed and the threat of your scoring potential that will force your opponent into less than ideal plays. Simple panic that shakes them off their game. It happens. 

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Put them under pressure, score early, score often.

Good luck!

Pitch Protocol: Tactics Talk—Put me in Coach!

Pitch Protocol: Tactics Talk—Put me in Coach!

One of the important aspects of managing your team, isn’t just the players, but also your sideline staff. As you can see from some of the articles on BreadDoll, we are rather fond of these assorted hangers on that help boost your teams performance in various ways. This week, let’s take a closer look at Coaching Assistants and how they can help your team perform their best on the pitch.

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A lot of variety…and useful too!

What do they do? 

Well, there are four main abilities that Coaching Assistants have access to, as well as a special fifth one we will get to in a bit. These are Hustle, Playbook, Challenge, and Prepare. Each has its purpose, but will be more or less useful depending on which team you are using and your style of play.

Hustle: This is the ace in the hole. It’s a flat re-roll and that can always be handy to have. Now, it may only be a single dice, but it only takes ONE success to make a Strike. And you never know when just one more success can mean the difference between Doubling your opponent or just winning a roll, or staying on the pitch, or…….or….you get the picture.

Playbook: Folks don’t use this one very often, but it’s designed for a particular style of play. Teams with Linked and Run Interference can get some mileage out of this, as well as coaches who just like to hoard action cards to do a lot of work later in the game….like Rebs perhaps? But by getting to draw an extra card and choosing which to use, you can help improve your chances of getting a card you want or need for your nefarious game plans…don’t want all those Specials getting in the way of those beautiful Blue Action cards now, do we?

Challenge: Okay, so this probably won’t be high up on the list for Matsudan, Ada-Lorena, or Judwan Coaches…..but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t used by Zee or Convict teams. Getting an extra dice to get away with playing dirty is nothing to sneeze at!

Prepare: This is a great way to set-up some otherwise impossible plays, or thwart those of your opponents. Watch them spend all those actions trying to “legally” run around your Hulk to hit him from behind…..only for you to be ready and turn to face them! Wanting to hit that deep pass, but you had to Sprint down there and are facing the wrong way? Not anymore! This in many ways is like granting yourself an extra Action in the right situation!

Now, those are the four main abilities that any Coaching Assistant can use. However, I can’t leave out Physio!

Physio: This is a special ability that can ONLY be used by Medi-bots. In fact, it’s the only ability they can use. But hey, there is something really comforting about having a team medic on the sideline. Should a player you are counting on get put out of the game, you can quickly return them to action! There is nothing worse than having your prized team captain or MVP put out early and incapable of contributing on the pitch….this lets you get the most out of your well spent credits! Not to mention, teams with questionable armour can get a lot of use out this too, keeping them in games that would otherwise be a losing battle of attrition.

Anyway, there you have it, a quick summary of Coaching Assistants and a few hints at how they may benefit your squad. Now don’t just sit there! Put ‘me in Coach, they’re ready to play!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—Cheer Factory

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“Gimme a……”

The roar of the crowd….there isn’t anything like it! In fact, some teams live for the adulation of their fans, playing for the approval of the masses. Win or lose, these teams just want to be the most popular!
In the game of DreadBall, this can lend itself to a very interesting and potentially devastating style of play. The Cheer Factory is based on gearing a team around winning the battle of popularity on the sidelines, rather than only on the pitch.

Why?

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Having a lot of cards, can create a BIG advantage! Cheer Factory helps you “make” your own!

Well, some teams seek to create advantage through numbers….by hook or by crook, they will try to outnumber your squad on the pitch by pounding your players into submission, either within the rules or out! A Cheer Factory takes a different approach to creating advantage, by vastly increasing the number of resources at the team’s disposal. The purpose is to create an avalanche of “free” extra coaching dice and DreadBall Cards that both increase the number and efficiency of your team’s actions on the pitch.
This approach largely centers around Cheerleaders. The reason is twofold. One, through their Work the Crowd ability, Cheerleaders can create fan check opportunities where there otherwise might not have been, OR, increase the number created from a successful action. Two, having MORE Cheerleaders than your opponent when making a Fan Check allows you to draw two cards and chose which to keep…increasing the efficiency of “pip” generation.

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Don’t forget DICE! Cards are often superior because of their flexibility, but even just one dice can let you attempt what would otherwise be impossible…..or just throw it in to give yourself more potential successes!

However, another approach is to load up on Fan Favourite and/or Show Off players. This can be done by either ranking up players in league play, or if a tournament allows, purchasing the additional rank for advancement and selecting the ability. Alternatively, you may purchase an MVP that has the abilities your seeking, if allowed.
That said, these approaches aren’t mutually exclusive, a combination of cheer creating players AND cheerleaders can be amazingly productive.
Get Busy!
Once the ball is launched, don’t waste anytime waiting for the “perfect” moment to create cheers. Get the crowd on their feet early and often. The sooner you start collecting pips, the sooner you can cash them in! Get your three pips and trade them in for either a Coaching Dice OR a DreadBall Card. Rinse, repeat. And with those additional resources, you will be able to take more actions, assisted with coaching dice and rerolls, that will in turn create even more fan check potential. Over the course of a match, this can turn into a MASSIVE advantage. It’s a viciously effective cycle…. IF you can get it rolling.
The tricky part is when you are the Visiting team, having to wait through your opponents Rush, hopefully with your playmakers intact. When you do finally get your turn, seek to create cheers out of even the most mundane of actions. And don’t forget about using your Cheerleader advantage for double draws! Make those checks count! Lastly, don’t let the desire to keep that advantage, prevent you from using cheerleaders to create cheers in the first place.
Now get out there, and wow that crowd!

Pitch Protocols—Tactics Talk: The Dao of Dirty DreadBall

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“I didn’t do nuffin’!”

“If ya ain’t cheatin’, ya ain’t tryin’!”

DreadBall is a game of strength, skill, and finesse…..at least, for some teams. For others, it’s an exercise in pushing the envelope of rules interpretations. And when simply “bending” the rules doesn’t get it done, well, they will undertake flat out BREAKING them with equal gusto. If this sounds like your preferred path to victory on the pitch, take head of the Fouling Foursome:

“Whadda ya mean that’s a Foul?!?”

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The Fouling Foursome

  1. Cheat early, Cheat often. For teams that make fouling a central pillar of their formula for success, there is no point in waiting till later in the game to do it. While dirty play can take many forms, often it helps to create numerical superiority on the pitch: whether that is from removing opposing players, sneaking your own on, or creating situations to maximize modifiers as if you had more players than you really do (Restrain). Additionally, Fouls can create fan checks. Fan checks, in turn, create resources in the form of coaching dice and DreadBall cards. By getting busy early, you create more opportunities to cash in for extra resources, giving you more to work with over the course of the match. Lastly, when you are the home team, there is no greater time to know exactly where the ref is going to be all the way until the end of the second rush: giving you a distinct advantage in planning your rules infractions in advance and to maximum effect.
  2. Manage the Killjoy. You know the one, that mechanical thing that chirps an annoying alarm every time your squad seems to do anything. Putting a little extra mustard on that Slam? BEEP! Running over to “check” on that opposing player flailing hopelessly on the ground? BEEP! BEEP! Geesh, it’s like some people (aliens, robots, whatever) think DreadBall is a Mu’shen’wan demonstration! Anyway, you know the ref isn’t gonna see your interpretation of the rules, so you will have to manage them accordingly. Have in the for front of your mind where you are most likely to attack with questionable tactics, and seek to move the ref as far away from that area as possible. Secondly, you still want to make sure that you have plenty of players available to quote the rulebook to the ref should a dispute arise, so plan accordingly. It is better to have plenty of your players in range to Distract the ref, yet within 7 of the foul taking place, than it is to have the ref on the other end of the pitch with no one to consult the manual.
  3. Make it count! Don’t get all willy nilly breaking rules just for the heck of it. Have a method to your madness. It doesn’t make sense to stomp on an Agility 3+ Striker without some assists. If your gonna take the risk of a foul, make sure that you make it with your while and put the player out! Maximize the impact of the action. The cost can be steep and cost you a player, make sure it will cost your opponent one first!
  4. DISTRACT! Aside from the obvious, “don’t draw attention to your foul”, you can’t forget to scrounge up every distract bonus you can manage. Firstly, your own players. As already mentioned, they should be managing that robotic killjoy with impunity. Try to make sure at least one of them is a Guard if you can, to cash in on the bonus dice from that. Next, don’t hesitate to use as many players as possible, particularly if it is your own Rush. The worse that happens to a distracting player is sitting on the subs bench. If you have actions left, you can immediately replace them….with them! Don’t forget that coach assistants can also be used to distract. Further, if you have a captain on the pitch, they can spend an action token to use the same ability. Costly, but potentially worth it if you really need the dice and the foul. Lastly, keep an eye out for cards that can benefit you as well. Inattentive Ref being a particular favorite, but even Vigilant Ref serves a purpose….either simply denying it to your opponent, or sabotaging any retaliation fouls they may have planned. Works great for a a reroll too. These cards can’t be counted on, but if you are following step one and generating some bonus cards, you improve your chances of drawing it.
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Some folks prefer a rougher style of play….and that’s ok too….I think….

There ya have it, The Fouling Foursome. Now go get down with some dirty DreadBall!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—Playing for Keeps!

Playing for Keeps

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Keepers: Strike-stuffing, Super-slammin’, tough as nails, and swagger for daaaaays. Yeah, they are pretty cool!

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:

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Make sure Keepers get put into position to do what they do best!

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. 

Happy Punting!