Building a team for 3 on 3 is a considerable part of the small game format charm. Getting to throw together a mishmash of alien scum to drub your fellows with is both fun and characterful. The final version of how I’d like to see this go is pretty in depth and is still in development. In the mean time, there is the quick “play with what you got” approach that we already have listed in the rules. I refer to those as “Tier 1” team building rules. The rules I’d like to get to are referred to as “Tier 3” team building rules, and will have a considerable amount of focus on campaigns and leagues as well.
No, I haven’t forgotten how to count. Today, I am sharing a “get you by” set of team building rules lovingly referred to as….you guessed it, “Tier 2”.
Tier 2 team building requires you to have access to the DreadBall Xtreme Players Manual. In this format, you design your sponsor as outlined in the DBX rules, picking your associated groups. The difference is, all the player types will use the costs from the DB2 manual. Additionally, if your sponsor is counted as a Stranger (0 matching groups) to the player they wish to hire, you must increase their cost by 100mc. If the player you wish to hire is an Ally (1 group match), the players cost is only increased by 60mc. Finally, if you are able to count the desired player as a Friend (2+ matches), there is no additional fee to hire them beyond their base cost.
Friend: No additional cost.
Now, of course, there are a few more player types that weren’t around when the Players Manual was created. Here are a few more entries:
Guard: Guard, Proud
Jack: DreadBall, Proud
Guard: Hunter, Rebel
Jack: Hunter, Jack
Striker: DreadBall, Hunter
Guard, Jack, Striker: DreadBall, Mr. Roboto
All players built as Cyborgs are considered: Outcast, Weird Science
Let us know how you get on with the Tier 2 team building rules, and 3 on 3 in general!
Here it is! The completely unofficial, amateur, backstreet pickup game of DreadBall! DreadBall 3-on-3!
One of the variants of DreadBall that is currently (legally) growing in popularity is 3-on-3 DreadBall. 3-on-3, sometimes called StreetBall due to its origins, is a smaller fast paced DreadBall involving small teams on even smaller pitch.
The biggest change for 3-on-3 is the Rush and Action structure. Coaches alternate taking actions. Each coach gets to spend only 1 action token on their turn.
There are no Rushes in 3-on-3. Each coach has 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)
Each coach starts with 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)
You can play any number of Action cards (still max 1 per player per turn) when it is your turn to play an Action token, but you still have to play a token either before or after or between playing Action cards.
Whichever coach is the underdog in a 3-on-3 match gets to choose Home or Visitor. Max of 3 players on the pitch….to start…..
Setup behind the center line of your side color (White for Home, red for Visitor)
The ball launches from the center hex and scatters. If a player is occupying the center hex when the ball launches they might be hit. Roll a 3 dice 4+ test for the ball.
The ball cannot be caught in the center hex but can be caught when it scatters as if it was an inaccurate pass.
There are no set Strikezones. Players can Throw Strikes from anywhere in range.
Strikes are still -1 for Throwing at a small target. All Strikes are worth 1 point.
Strike hexes are impassible, as there is a physical Strikepost in this space in a 3-on-3 game. No fancy holographic Strikehexs here.
If you attempt to throw a Strike from adjacent to the Strikehex you gain a +1 on your Throw.
The team with the most points at the end of a match wins, as is usual. If at any point during the game one team is up by 5 Strikes it is a landslide win and the game ends. A tie will result in Sudden Death overtime. Coaches “reset” their allotment of Action Tokens and continue play.
There are no “gates” to keep players from coming on the pitch, so there are no restrictions to bringing players on in overtime. However, in the true sense of the sporting term “sudden death”, whichever team scores next wins the match and ends the game.
Injured players are not removed from the pitch. When a player is injured lay them prone and place a marker representing how badly they were injured in the Sin Bin (or use a prone model and place the regular mini in the Sin Bin) in their stead.
If the injured player is injured further while on the pitch move their injury token deeper into the Sin Bin, if this results in death, remove the player from the pitch and the injury token from the Sin Bin. Whenever a coach plays a Sin Bin Action Token, in addition to their regular action, they may move all fouling players through the Sin Bin and make a Recovery Roll for injured ones.
At the end of each Sin Bin Action Token, every injured player from the active team must make a recovery roll. This is not optional. A player cannot attempt to Stand Up until they have recovered from all of their injuries.
Recovery Roll: a 3 dice Strength test (1).
-1 per opposing player threatening the hex you are in (maximum of -2).
Recovery Succeeds: the player removes one injury per success.
Recovery Fails: the player sustains one more injury as they continue to bleed out. If this takes the total to 4, then they die and are removed.
There is no Refbot in 3-on-3, players are calling their own Fouls.
When you call a foul roll the Spot Test as usual.
The Argue (test that opposes the Spot Check in 3- on-3) roll is:
+1 for the player committing the foul
+1 if the player committing the foul is a guard
+1 to Argue if there is at least 1 teammate within 5 hexes of the fouling player.
Tie: Fouling player is sent to the Sub Bench
Spot Wins: Fouling player is sent to the “1” space of the Sin Bin
Argue Wins: Fouling player stays on the Pitch
Sneak Amendment: If a Coach ends an Action with more than 3 uninjured Players on the pitch, they are committing a Sneak Foul.
In 3-on-3 DreadBall there isn’t a big stadium full of fans. There are no fans checks, but teams can build up Momentum. There are two main methods of generating Momentum:
-Double a Strike
-Seriously Injure an opponent
When an action meets one of these conditions, draw a card and look at the pips.
If the card has 1 pip save it as usual.
If the card has 2 pips immediately discard it and take a Coaching Dice
If the card has 3 pips immediately discard it and take a Card into your hand
Once you have collected 3 pips of single pip cards you can immediately choose to take a Coaching Dice or Card in exchange.
Starting Roster funding: 600mc
Players can be purchased from all teams.
The minimum number of players on a roster is 3
The maximum number of players on a roster is 5
To represent the rag tag, pick up nature of the setting, you can not have more than one of the same kind of player (race and position).
Additionally, specialists (Strikers and Guards) are rare, most amateur and pick up players don’t have that level of training. To represent this, you may have no more than two specialists on your roster total. So, either 1 Striker and 1 Guard…or 2 Guards, etc.
No Assistant Coaches or Cheerleaders are allowed in 3-on-3
No cards or coaching dice can be purchased on a starting 3-on-3 roster
Lastly, players don’t normally earn experience. It’s not the players who level up and advance, but rather YOU, the Coach, the Manager, the Sponsor…….but more on that next time!
So, last time I left of rambling about different versions of DreadBall in the DB universe. Really, it makes a lot of sense to me, and you see it in real sports all the time. I’m a big fan of rugby, but I really enjoy rugby sevens too. I used to watch football (erm, gridiron, or North American rules football to those in other parts of the world), but I was a season ticket holder to Arena Football.
Even in…other sports games, I really enjoyed variants. From multi race teams deep in a dungeon, to a smaller pitch with fewer players, each variation of the rules emphasized new ways to play and challenge yourself.
Well, I’d like to do the same thing with DreadBall. The first variant of the game is a little thing we have internally referred to as DreadBall 3-on-3. It started as a thought experiment on how to capture a different feel and flow to the game and slowly morphed into its own at home version. Later, the variant developed a little further for capturing some of the rules cast to wayside from DBX when we moved to second edition. And finally, it was put together intended to be used as a mini game for conventions as a smaller, quicker, introductory game to DreadBall. Well, it never quite made it to that. So, rather than be lost to the ravages of time and my “to do” folder, it is being resurrected here on BreadDoll.
Over a series of articles, the back alley amateur version of DreadBall will be developed. The version of the game that is played by enthusiasts and wannabes as opposed to highly sought after professionals. The holographic strike targets and neodurium pitch of the pro ranks? Nah, here it’s concrete and cobbled together physical strike posts. It’s gritty and messy. It’s also chaotically fast. You won’t find any Cheerleaders or Assistant coaches either. Heck, your team will hardly be cohesive at all, and that is a good deal of the challenge. But, who knows? Maybe you’ve got what it takes to weld these dregs into a formidable force. Maybe charge up the semi-pro ranks. Maybe a talent or two gets discovered. Let’s find out! Next time we will peel back the curtain and take a peak at the fundamental workings of the stripped down amateur game.
DreadBall is by far the most popular sport in the GCPS Core Worlds. It even has a sizable following in some of the outer spheres. But the further you get from the Core and all it’s niceties, far from all the glitz and glamor, you find “entertainment” can take wildly different forms. And heck, while as previously mentioned DreadBall may be the most POPULAR sport in Core space, it is certainly not the ONLY sport.
So, what other sports grace the tri-vids and holodecks of the far future?
Well, we know OF Razordisc. But not too much about it.
I imagine there is some kind of racing too.
I also firmly believe there has to be some kind of combat sport too….a futuristic MMA with cyborgs, aliens…and…and alien cyborgs! I’ve toyed with some rules for such a thing. Maybe I’ll actually finish it one day…..maybe.
Another project I’ve looked at is a sort of mash up of American Gladiator meets Ninja Warrior. Basically, the Warpath equivalent of that cinematic masterpiece, The Running Man. I think that would make for a fantastically crazy fun game night! Star Saga tiles, some crazy big baddies (like my Barricade with two Strider Chainsaw arms!), and a couple of expendable runners….might have to dig into that one a little deeper!
However, what I really think might be interesting, and given the focus of this blog, is what other variants of DB are there? We have the stadium game. We have the spectacle that is Ultimate. But what about that rumored underground version of DreadBall? That illegal variant that may just be a little too eXtreme for the masses? Well, let’s see where we can take that, but we might have to start in a back alley first, before venturing into the criminal underground…
The greatest sport in the galaxy has many different ways it can be played. From the simple one off pick up games, to the chaos of a fully realized Ultimate match, each type has different aspects that can alter the types of challenges a coach may face. However, one that I find particularly interesting, yet underutilized, is the Aggregate Match.
For those unfamiliar, a DreadBall Aggregate Match is essentially two games as one. The same two teams play two consecutive matches, reversing Home/Visitor roles in the second game, and the winner is the team with the greater net score.
For example, Team A is Home in match one and wins the match by 2 points. In the second match, Team B is Home and they win by 3 points. Though each team won one match apiece, Team B would be declared the overall winner of the Aggregate Match by virtue of the score differential (3 points being more than 2, ya know).
One, I find Aggregate more interesting if teams don’t “reset”. By that, I mean it is more like league play in that casualties matter. Teams can’t ignore the effects of attrition and simply try to outgun their opposition if it means going into a second match seriously depleted.
Two, tiebreakers. What happens if both teams have the same score? Well, the simplest route to take is to simply set back up for a third “winner take all” Match. Another similar, yet subtly different approach, is to take the match into overtime. However, the key point is that you and your opponent have an agreed upon plan in place should a tie happen.
Anyhow, I think the Aggregate Match has a lot to offer in changing the way even casual games are played…even offering a taste of league style play to those who might otherwise not get much opportunity. Give it a go next time you hit the neodurium and let us know how you got on!
DreadBall is the Greatest Sport in the Galaxy! But even as fierce as the action is on the pitch, there are even more stories and events to be told off of it. What we mostly have is some “fluff” in the rulebooks, snippets of happenings and factoids that allude to the greater context the sport occupies. There is the fan fiction collection from the Xtreme KS, and perhaps a few pieces in the old Iron Watch. There also appears to be a DreadBall novel coming in the not so distant future.
There is so much that can be explored in DreadBall. Unfortunately, “sports fiction” can be particularly tricky to “get right”. In that sense, some times the smaller type of pieces in the rulebook can be better, to convey just a simple scene of action and leave it at that. However, getting behind the scenes entails doing a lot more, and I’m hopeful we will get something the excites that imagination as to what a DreadBall league or season can be like.
My favorite type of pieces right now are the throw away one off remarks, like the Teraton Cheerleader disaster. I am also really fond of the one page piece of the Aggregate match interview between a Marauder and Corporation squad. Probably just because I like the Aggregate format as something a little more unique, but still, it offers a glimpse into the DreadBall world as more than a single match—which is prone to happen when you mostly play one offs, or even tournaments with the normal “reset” between rounds. At least in League play, you have to manage more than wins and losses…..for better, or for worse.
Anyway, what’s your favorite bit of background from the DB universe? Or what would you like to see or find out more about?
A particular DreadBall quirk of mine is that every team I use has to have their own set of dice. Not just any dice, mind you, these dice have to match the team colors and/or theme. I’m not really sure why I do it, there are some sets of dice I like better than others, but a habit is a habit. Last week for Origins found me buying a new dice cube just hours before the first launch of the tournament.
I also happen to use a completely different set of dice for coaching dice during the match as well. I only have a few sets of these, the most important part is that they are easily distinguishable from the “normal” dice I use during a match. My favorite set for coaching dice at the moment are the exceedingly beautiful BreadDoll dice, with the BD properly placed on that good ol’ exploding six.
Not that it matters too much, but I also have a habit of only using 16mm dice too.
It’s got me to wondering, what match quirks or habits do other DB coaches have?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
“Begin With the End in Mind”—Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and probably DreadBall coaches too!)
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!
Basically, you must:
Define your goal.
Each Rush, prioritize actions based on achieving said goal.
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!
At first glance, the Matsudan seem like the perfect blend of strength and skill….everything you would want in DreadBall team! However, they are not with out their drawbacks, DreadBall is a fast paced game after all, and these tubby lizards can have a hard time keeping pace with the opposition.
Obviously, the great Strength of the Matsudan is a key advantage. Loaded with Guards and Jacks to take full advantage of this attribute, the Tectonics can live up to their name and rock their opposition for sure with a devastating Slam game.
Additionally, the Matsudan all start with Grapple. This is an excellent ability, that can really give an advantage to shifting opposition players around the board.
Lastly, the Tectonics all start with Steady. This can make them very difficult to deal with, as since they all have pretty decent armour, there is a pretty good chance they stay standing and rearing to come after you for revenge!
Move….4. Speed…5+. The big weakness for the Matsudan, is that they are not getting anywhere fast. This can sometimes make it difficult for them to take full advantage of their great Skill. Matsudan Jacks will often have to resort to a Throw on the run, or have trouble reaching the deep strike zone all together. It’s not uncommon for Matsudan players to have to make either a second action where their opponents only need one, or have to risk some Dash rolls in order to try and preserve action tokens. This can put a real drain on their resources and how much they can hope to accomplish in a Rush.
No Strikers. While this need not be a huge disadvantage, and can be off set by the tremendous skill of the Matsudan, lacking a scoring specialist can still be a hindrance. One less dice on handling the ball can certainly add up, especially if your having to move on top of it. A Jack throwing on the run from short range is already down to one dice, and forget bonus strikes without coaching dice! And while it’s not the most likely set of occurrences, Matsudan Jacks can turn into prime targets for Bashy teams…if they take them out, you can’t score!
Also, I’d be remiss not to mention that they are Honourable, meaning you can’t intentionally foul with them. This means no sucker punches, so you will have to plan your slams accordingly. If you like to play dirty….this may not be the team for you!
Strategy and Tactics
There are many approaches to victory for the Matsudan…they can play to score, or they can play to kill. They can do equally well at both. As such, nearly every strategy is open to a Tectonics Coach.
However, to mitigate getting stretched on the pitch, consider adding or developing a Keeper on your roster. They can pay HUGE dividends for the Matsudan and keep them from wasting actions chasing the ball around the pitch. Baring that, perhaps keeping at least one Jack on each end of the pitch will give you some options too.
Be sure to make use of Sprint where applicable, it’s an action that sometimes gets forgotten is the hustle and bustle of dishing out pain. But for slow teams, you sometimes need to spend an action solely for the purpose of repositioning a player for future use. And while far from an “all the time” type of play, you may look at “risking” a Sprint for a pick up on your Matsudan Jacks. Yes, it’s only a two dice pickup, but on Skill 3+ it’s not the worst odds, especially if you have a card in reserve to burn for a reroll if necessary. It’s a great way to try and add some extra range to your plays where appropriate.
Lastly, don’t fall for your own strength. Many times bashy teams get caught up in slamfests, and in their eagerness to reach out and hurt as many players as possible, they stop spending actions on marking players. Now, certainly there is some wisdom in causing as much havoc as possible, and there are definitely many scenarios where support may be overkill. BUT, if there is a KEY slam that you absolutely HAVE to have for a play to work, don’t succumb to hubris and stack the odds in your favor. What matters more? Making more slams, or making them count?