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.

Coaches’ Corner: Antti Jäppinen

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 interrogation is particularly special.  Both the interviewer and interviewee share a common hobby that lies beyond the spectacle of sporting science fiction.  The power of childhood, nostalgia, and fantastic plastic flows through these words.

Antti

Antti Jäppinen. Mini painter, He-Man enthusiast, and data plumber.

1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

I was quite new to Kickstarter, with the only projects previously backed either canceled or funding not met. One day, I spotted this sci-fi sports game that picked my interest. I had played Blood Bowl very actively around 2000, but that group had dispersed and this new game looked like it fixed many of the problems we saw in Blood Bowl. I loved the three dice / three Roles design and the general smoothness of the gameplay, and I think I backed all-in pretty early.  Subsequently, I’ve backed every DreadBall Kickstarter since, and talked a few friends into backing too.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

I don’t remember much anything about my first game, but fortunately I keep a record of all boardgame plays on boardgamegeek.com. Checking there, it seems I’ve played the first game against our older son who was 9 years old at the time, with me playing Tronteks and him playing the Smackers. We didn’t use cards. I won by four points. It took us a year of occasional matches to teach my friends and get them interested, before we started an actual league, and haven’t really stopped since.  Only the second edition completely rebooted the perpetual league. The boy is now 16, and has been playing with us for most of this time. He plays Teratons.

3.  What is your favorite team?

The Martians, probably. I love crossovers, and every time a surprising guest appears in a game – it makes me smile. The first edition team was pretty weak, but nowadays the shooting game is quite effective and amusing with the Slaughter ability. And the clear helmets! I’ve never played them personally, though. I own most of the DreadBall stuff our league plays (although we’ve made some purchases together), and somebody else has always opted for them. I think I’ll be switching back to Forge Fathers (my original team) when we go to our next season. Or maybe Mechanites, I love their variety, and the potential for randomness.

4.  What is your favorite MVP?

I don’t really know. The way MVPs interact with the game means they mostly are not used in our league. Switching all MVPs as Captains would be the way to go in my opinion.

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

Barricade, hands down. Giants in general are pretty nice, being big and imposing, but there’s something special about Barricade. Sadly, he’s not used in the game practically at all, as the players find MVPs not a good choice, and Giants weak in particular. My inspiration for Barricade’s paint job is the 1985 vehicle Bashasaurus from Masters of the Universe. The paintjob isn’t maybe quite what I’d now be able to do, but I am happy with it.

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Antti’s inspiration: part machine, part reptile. ALL BASH.

6.  Now that you mention it, many of your DreadBall color schemes mirror that popular 1980s toy franchise.  Several readers may know this BreadDoll editor is a resident of the Fright Zone, so it’s no surprise there is a lot of love for your Masters of the Universe palette.  What’s your connection to Eternia, Castle Grayskull, and Snake Mountain?

I grew up with Masters of the Universe, and never quite got over that. The muscular men of Eternia have been of my life ever since one way or another. Mostly it’s about slowly collecting MOTU Classics figures, buying too many MOTU-themed t-shirts, and buying any-and-all miniatures that are inspired by the franchise. Occasionally, I also customize MOTU action figures for others. I’m also part of a loose group of Finnish MOTU fans who meet every few months to just hang, eat, and watch a crappy film from the eighties.

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These stunning models are completely acceptable for Vanguard / Deadzone crossovers.

7.  Follow up; Who is your favorite MOTU character?

A tough question! Mosquitor is one of the coolest, and as a kid I loved Modulok and Multi-Bot. Trap Jaw is pretty menacing (not in the cartoon, though). I think I’ll have to go with Mosquitor. He would’ve made for a cool theme for a Z’zor team or maybe Koris, but I’ve painted both already. Not many people have love for New Adventures of He-Man (I think it was called Super He-Man around here), and Optikk from that line is also very cool. In fact I think the bad guys from New Adventures are all very nice designs (sans Skeletor).

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Mosquitor sucks!

8.  Do you have any future color schemes for teams that you’d like to share?  Perhaps another franchise to celebrate?

With DreadBall, I rarely deviate from MOTU, unless the mini is specifically from some other franchise, like the Martians, or Judge Dredd. My son’s Teratons were painted with TMNT in mind, though, for obvious reasons. I think the next team I’m going to paint is a Judwan team for one friend who I’m trying to lure into the league. She has never been a minis gamer but is an avid sci-fi, superhero and board game fan, and I’m unsure how much time she has for semi-regular gaming… But my plan is to paint the team inspired by Prince Adam, I doubt many people can resist that! I painted the Judwan Captain while he still was an MVP with Sy-Klone in mind, but the paintjob isn’t that good, I’ll have to repaint it. If I’ll do a Mechanite team, it has to be based on Multi-Bot!

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

I used to be head chef for an institutional kitchen and staff restaurant, but now I’m studying for a Business Information Technology degree and recently started a new job as what could be described as a data plumber, so studying and work takes a lot of my time. Most of my free time is eaten by painting miniatures, jogging and/or running, playing board games whenever possible, and spending time with my family.

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

As I mentioned we have an ongoing league. I has been going on with 6-8 players since 2013, and I’m hoping I can recruit two more players once we finish the current season next weekend. League play is where the game really shines! We do love Ultimate, and try to incorporate an Ultimate match into every one of our seasons (for us, a season lasts 3-12 months, depending on how busy people are with ‘Real Life’), but it’s hard to get three or more of the players together. During first edition we managed to play a compelete season with six players with exlusively 3-player Ultimate matches, with all teams participating in the finals game, and it was a blast! It was also the slowest of our seasons, as scheluding the games was so difficult. I own Xtreme, but have never tried and probably never will, although the modular boards from the expansion still intrigue me..

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

Our two best coaches are my friends Jaakko and another Antti, who currently play Z’zor and Veer-Myn respectively. I suspect I’ve never beaten either one in a game of DreadBall. Jaakko’s Z’zor, the Buzzspace Skyspies (inspired by Buzz Off from MOTU) are dreaded by all in the league, as his extremely tough Guard ”Bitsy” will mow down anyone and everyone on the pitch. In general we do play with pretty casual attitude, though, so there’s not too much actual dread involved. 😀

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Bitsy is going to seriously injure you bro.
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Buzz Off Bitsy!

12.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

I can’t pinpoint any specific Rush that sticks out. Many DB matches have very intense last Rushes that decide the match, and that’s one of the coolest things about the game.

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

There’s a couple of things in no specific order:

  • A captain and captain cards for Martians.
  • Maybe alternative Captains for the teams? To go along with this switch existing MVP’s as Captains. Many of them could be an option for several teams. Captain cards would be still team-specific.
  • I do think the game has enough teams as it is, but if a licenced team would come up, I’d be all over that. A specific licence of, say, Eternians would be very high on my to-buy list!
  • Upscaled minis for first edition teams is kind of on my wish list.. but as I own almost every team already, I’m not so sure I should be hoping for this. 😀
  • More event cards. We feel the event deck is nice but kind of stale, and some of the events are pretty big game changers.. seeing them come up isn’t that bad but they could be rarer. This could tie up to alternative Captains?
  • Change the Draft rules to simply give back a fixed amount of cash, making any exceptions meaningless. I feel this would balance the high starting cost players in a perpetual league better.
  • League and Team tracker app (preferably on iPhone). I kind of started my own but decided it’s too much a hassle to make on my free time.
  • Extended league systems? Like the Azure Forest. The new Captains could be tied in with these packs.
  • Active rules review and updates.

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 immediately and stuff as much in my mouth at once as I can. That’s how I usually eat.

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Many thanks to Antti for the Finnish fandom.  You sir, HAVE THE POWER.

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.

Coaches’ Corner: Sam Graven

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.

Sam Graven is in the sin bin for this iteration, and he’s agreed to answer some BreadDoll questions while reflecting on the chaos of multiplaying Dread.  He’s a commissioner for a tight knit and mercurial league – his family!

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Sam Graven.  Educator.  Game Influencer.  And, a man with an inexplicable fear of big boats (although he would argue the phobia is completely rational).

1)  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

Well, I suppose when the original Kickstarter came out.  It was a topic of general chat at my local club, but at that time I hadn’t really got back heavily into any kind of mini gaming: I played a lot as a kid, then moved on to RPGs and TCGs (fairly competitively).  Those TCGs were why I’m very wary of tournament play of any variety as I’ve got older – and only started coming back to minis with, of all things, Heroclix.  By the time DreadBall 2nd edition came around, I’d been back into gaming, and blogging about gaming over on bigcomicpage.com, for a few years.  I got a review copy, and I was hooked.

2)  What do you remember about your first game?

Chaos!  But in a really good way.  It was fast and intuitive, and I liked the way the score swung back and forth constantly.  The consistent 3d6 mechanic appealed to me too, as it gave a peg to hang everything else off.

3)  What is your favorite team?

You mean favoUrite team, right? 😉 [Editor’s note: Sam is our first interviewee from the UK].  That’s such a hard question.  Teratons were the first team I played with after the Marauders and Humans, and I still love their aesthetic.  I’m enjoying playing Crystallans a lot, at the moment, and I like the sheer variety – and challenge – of playing Rebs, especially against experienced opponents.  But for total unabashed fun, it’s got to be the Zees.

4)  What is your favorite MVP?

Now that’s easy, Nightshade, hands-down.  Occasionally hopeless, but usually incredible. I often play fairly slow and/or Jack-heavy teams, to give the kids a chance to try to outmaneuver me, but at the same time I want someone with serious speed and skills to give them a fright.  He ticks the boxes, and has only once ended up doing a comedy juggling act.

5)  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?

Probably Barricade?  Dynamic, fun to build, paint AND play with.  Although I like the lids on the small objects in X-Treme!  The tension they generate appeals to me, and they’re just a really nice bit of design.

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

Ultimate all the way.  Dreadball has social appeal to me.  I don’t often get to hang out at my local club that much nowadays (three kids) but it’s easy to rock up with a copy of the game and a bunch of teams.  It never ceases to surprise me how quickly folk get it by just watching, and in Ultimate that can mean you have full 6-player in no time.  Likewise, with two kids of gaming age, it’s good to have things which we can play together.  We play board games, of course, but a lot of mini gaming feels a bit clumsy with three players, or is horrendously time-consuming (and prone to the whims of a rampaging three year-old).  Ultimate is the ideal game for us to play together; the kids have painted up teams, so they feel more invested in the experience, and in fact my older son bought himself a Kalyshi team just because he liked the fluff.  Because we tend to play Ultimate, we’ve been experimenting with a host of other rules and spent this summer testing and playing an Ultimate League*, which has been great: a particularly jumpy Kalyshi Striker is now mounted on a flight stand, the Yndij Captain is notorious for stealing all the glory off the rest of his team, and woe betide anyone who goes near the legendary Crystallan Guard known simply as “Mr Hitty.”

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

Like so many gamers, I have terrible hobby ADHD.  I really like Superhero gaming, primarily DC stuff, though Kitbash Games’ new Supers Unlimited range is beautiful.  Gaslands is a heck of a game, who doesn’t love toy cars?  Wings of Glory, because for the first time in my life it’s a game my dad will play (he’s really into WW1 aviation).  Walking Dead, X-Wing, Harry Potter, and more Death Guard than’s remotely healthy – I run a very broad church.  Lots of Board Games.  A bIt of TCGing too – Transformers with my older, Warhammer Champions with the younger.  So the common thread in all of these is that I can play them with the kids.  The geek shall inherit, and so on.  Oh, and in real life?  I’m a teacher, Media and English, secondary school.  High school, in colonial parlance.

8)  Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

Oh, Yndij, easily.  All of my most memorable defeats are to them, and given that my younger son plays with his Ninja Sharks all the time, that’s a LOT of defeats.

9)  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

I’m going to cheat slightly with this (don’t tell the Ref).  We had a fantastic Mantic Scotland Day up at Common Ground Games in Stirling, organized by our local Pathfinder and good buddy, Gofur Hunter.  Myself, the kids, and a couple of other mates rocked up for a day of Ultimate whilst most folk around us played Kings of War.  We’d started to set up, and a couple of young lads asked if they could try the game, so we gave them the Yndij to play together vs my Zees, my older son with Z’Zor and another friend with Marauders.  They went last in the first Rush, managed to score 3, went first in the next, flipped a Faulty Scoreboard event, and scored 4 off their second ball!  They enjoyed it so much they went over immediately to hassle their dad into buying a copy of the game!  Job done.

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

Man, what a toughie.  Little things to spice up the game.  I think card packs would be great – like Azure League.  Limited Print-On-Demand, or even pdf packs, relatively low cost but would add a lot to the game.  Or a commercially available DreadBall Ultimate pack, with the second edition Ultimate cards and Subs’ Benches, as shown in the Collector’s Rulebook.  I ended making physical subs’ benches from Battlezones bits.  Other than that, maybe a pdf of Challenge Cup and/or Xtreme stuff, bringing it into the mainstream?  Which is kind of what we’ve been doing for Ultimate League, I suppose.  I don’t think there’s much needed model wise; could do with Beauty and the Mob being back in print!  Maybe some new Giants – who do I see about that? [Editor’s note: The Rules Committee has been play testing.  There is good news afoot]

11)  You often play DreadBall with your children.  What are the family dynamics during matches?

Tense!  My kids are great, my older maybe a bit too competitive, my younger a bit too sensitive, so I have to be Ref-Dad sometimes.  It’s always fun when they realise they have to stop bickering and gang up to take me down!  But it’s definitely a great way to spend time together.  The duck and weave of Dreadball beats pretty much everything else we could play hands down.

12)  You’re an educator.  How would you assess DreadBall and what distinction would it receive?

Well, you know, it’s not about grades any more – it’s all about giving productive feedback.  So, excellent work, just keep working on promoting the game as widely as possible!  I think Dreadball’s greatest and most underrated asset is the potential of the community.  And hey, BreadDoll is nothing if not the proof of how awesome it is.

13)  DreadBall exists within Mantic’s Warpath Universe.  What other Mantic titles do you play?

I like how you said play, not own… The Walking Dead: All Out War was actually the mini game that really got my kids playing.  Terrible parenting I know!  The wee fella was seven, maybe only six, the first time we played, and he immediately threw Carl to a Walker as a distraction to help win.  Genius, if somewhat terrifying.  We’ve found ourselves playing more Here’s Negan! though, as we like the hybrid mini/board game model.  I’m blown away by Hellboy, incredible sculpts and visuals – I’m a comic nerd, after all – the difficult curve on it is immense though.  That’s not a criticism, mind you.

14)  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?

The chances of me BreadDolling are very high! I would glory in it. Because at the end of the day, bread is amazing. When I was a kid I would eat bread like cake. Not much has changed.

* Sam’s mention of an Ultimate League caught the BreadDoll’s attention!  Loyal loaf lovers can look forward to a thorough explanation in the near future when we invite Sam back to become our first guest writer!

Coaches’ Corner: Dean Winkelspecht

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.

Dean Winkelspecht is on the subs bench for this iteration, and he’s agreed to answer some BreadDoll questions while reflecting on the highs and lows of tournament play.  He won a regional NADC [North American DreadBall Circuit] tournament in 2017, and finished poorly in the 2018 NADC championship.

Dean Winkelspecht.  A compassionate brother, and beer connoisseur.  Also, a generous non-profit volunteer who donates his painting skills while playing board games.

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Dean Winkelspecht proudly cradling his Best Painted trophy from the BreadDoll sponsored ‘Clash of the Giants 3.’

1)    How did you first learn about DreadBall?

I first learned of DreadBall after I contributed to the King’s of War Kick Starter.  I wanted to get some inexpensive Greenskins to supplant my Warhammer Fantasy army.  Mantic sent information about their sports title DreadBall, and I felt it looked really interesting.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing the video game Deathrow, and DreadBall appeared to be it’s board game adaptation.  I backed DreadBall very early into the KickStarter campaign.  So in a twisted sort of way, Warhammer Fantasy led me to DreadBall.

2)    What is your favorite team?

My favorite team are the Veer-Myn.  I enjoy the fast pace of the team, although I find myself routinely frustrated by their Skill 5+ inability to score or do fun offensive things.  It is awfully rewarding when you beat the odds with the team and pull off some crazy score.  They feel like a high risk / high reward team and I find that thrilling. I also love the look and feel of the Veer-myn.  The whole ‘post apocalyptic nuclear rat’ look is really great.  I’m not sure who designed those minis, but he or she needs to be thanked.

3)    What is your favorite MVP?

Can I say Hector Weiss?  Honestly, I have not played with MVP rules very often.  I’ve painted a few, and my favorite painted one was Weiss.  I’ll probably homebrew some rules for him.  I know a few people that can help me out.  I’m partial to Reek Rolat, but he is now my Team Captain.  If we consider Giants, I love the shark formerly known as Karadon.  I wonder if Drake and the Dynamic Dinoborg is legit.

[Editor’s note:  Both Karadon, and Drake are legit in the second edition.  Hector Weiss, a character from the Speedball 2 IP, is not currently under Mantic license.]

4)    DreadBall is a galactic sports game.  Where have you traveled to play? 

I just got into ‘competitive’ DreadBall play during the past year.  My journey began at Origins in Columbus, Ohio.  I’ve been to Falls Church, Virginia [Victory Comics] a few times.  During my first trip to the Washington D.C. area, I had some hot dice and squeaked out a NADC regional victory.  That recently had me travel to Adepticon in Chicago.  We’ll see where I continue to travel, and I’m looking to stick around for a while in the DreadBall community.

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

In the past year, I travelled to Falls Church Virginia for tournament play.  We do get some one-offs locally [Harrisburg, Pennsylvania].  The local scene dried up just after Season 5 and Season 6 were released.  With 2.0 released, I am hoping to run a tournament at the Adventurer’s Guild and will be looking to get that started shortly as interest does seem to be there.  As far as the different ‘variants’ of DreadBall, Xtreme went over like a led balloon and that release seemed to disenfranchise the local scene more than it did to add to the game.  There were a quaint number of games played, but the different manner in team construction and other changes didn’t really appeal to other players.  I picked up the Challenge Cup and hoped to run a tournament, but considering most of the pitches would have required the Xtreme Xpansion, it too fell flat.  I’ve now played two games of Ultimate.  The first time I played was Origins [Columbus, Ohio] and the second time was Adepticon [Chicago, Illinois].   It is complete bonkers.  It’s a lot of fun and I look forward to more Ultimate games.  I really am hoping that with the release of 2.0, others will see the improvement of the game and interest peaks back up.  Hmmm.   Perhaps a BreadDoll tournament at the Adventurer’s Guild in Harrisburg would pique interest.

6)    Mentioning Adepticon, you attended for the first time in 2018.  What was your impression of the convention, and did you notice any difference between regional and continental DreadBall competition?

I’ve been to Origins and GenCon a few times.  I’ve been to the inaugural Pax Unglugged.  Adepticon was much smaller than the big cons, and I appreciated that.  I did manage to walk around, and check out the con.  My Adepticon was a bit compressed and rushed due to the foot of snow that ushered in Spring and delayed my flight.  I’ve heard that Punxsutawney Phil was hospitalized this weekend and I hope he fully recovers [Editor’s note: Punxsutawny Phil is a Pennsylvania marmot that forecasts winter weather].  As far as the difference in competition, the Dreadball community seems very tight and I’ve seen many of the same faces at each location.  Aside from a heightened ‘competitiveness’ in the continental setting, where the tournament isn’t so much about fun as it is winning – its similar.  The community is great and welcoming.  I’ve made a few new friends in the past year.

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The first game of the BreadDoll’s sponsored ‘League in a Night’ had Dean’s Dwarves face-off against co-editor Lee Montgomery’s Yndij.

7)    Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

Convicts.  Buggers will shoot you in the back.  Just the thought of that team and my experiences brings a bad taste to my mouth.  In fact, lets move on to the next question.

8)    What would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

Hect…err… I would love to see expansions similar to Azure Forest.  I would love to see a new neoprene Azure Forest playmat [Editor’s note: it exists!] Hopefully, each pitch will have pitch rules and maybe some fun balls to go with the theme.  A yearly one would be excellent, and perhaps they can use this yearly cycle to tweak the rules and keep everything balanced.  They could bring a new team yearly and keep the game fresh.  I feel that would be a great way to expand the game and not overload it.  I feel much of what killed off our local scene was the rapid explosion and ‘confusion’ with the newer variants.  They could revisit and perhaps re-sculpt some of the older teams as part of this cycle.  I could have my Veer-myn pitch and a cheeseball.  Veer-myn love cheeseballs.

9)    What do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

I play a number of different board games, miniature games and video games.  I’m currently in a Blood Bowl league, and the playoffs are about to start.  Hopefully, I’ll advance to the semi-finals.  We just wrapped up a “Come and Play” Guild Ball League.  I play Warhammer 40K when I can.  That was the game that got me into miniature gaming, and remains my favorite.  Mostly, however, I am a hobbyist.  I assemble and paint miniatures.  I have hot and cold spells when it comes to painting.  I’m about ready to paint a team for a yearly charity, and that will take up much of the month of April.

10)    You play a lot of sports games.  How does DreadBall differ from Blood Bowl and Guild Ball and do you prefer one more than another?  Have you played Rumble Slam or Aristeia?

Ooh.  The big question.  I come from an area where “Blood Bowl is Life” and is considered a key region for the game.  We have some of the very best Blood Bowl players.  I am not one of them, though hopefully, I’m at least average.  DreadBall differs greatly from Blood Bowl.  Especially, when you look at the game from a recreational standpoint.  I look at Blood Bowl like a game of chess.  It’s long.  It’s tedious and after some games, you just feel drained.  I do love the game, but I don’t love to play the game all the time.  DreadBall, on the other hand, is fast paced and more exciting.  Even an average player can have a shot to win in the last few turns if they haven’t been landslided.   I’d say that if I wanted to sit down and have fun with a sports game, I’m going to play DreadBall. Guild Ball is another game that I do find fun and enjoyable.  It is quite different than the other two as it requires measuring and moving.  I would have preferred it to be on a hex-board, but it does nicely mix war-gaming and sports.  I’ve avoided Aristeia, as I dislike Infinity and have not played Rumble Slam.

11)    You’re from the Harrisburg Pennsylvania region, and heavily involved with a gaming club that hosts the Four Diamond Cup [Four Diamond Cup Facebook Page ].  It’s an impressive charity tournament that generates a lot of gamers and donations.  Tell us about it, and whether DreadBall could ever make an appearance.

We are currently in our eleventh year for Four Diamonds.  The event is run by a friend, Jamie Fischer, and he has built the event from its humble beginnings to earning around $33,000 for the Penn State Medical fund that looks to eradicate Childhood Cancer (https://www.fourdiamonds.org/). The event is a yearly Blood Bowl event and we have had travelers from all over attend.  Each year, we raffle off a painted dugout that is custom built by Jamie and serves as both a dugout and a carrying case.  We also raffle off a painted team that Jamie builds and I paint.  There are so many great sponsors and the player base is fantastic.  We have had a secondary game in the past.  Warhammer 40,000 and X-Wing have both been part of the day.  If there would be enough interest beyond those that already attend, I could see DreadBall being part of it.  It certainly would be worth having the folks at BreadDoll and our team look into it.

12)    Your Veer-myn team, the Three Mile Island Plague, are famous!  They not only won their regional 2017 NADC tournament, one of the Strikers is included in the Team Gallery of the DreadBall Collector’s Rulebook!  Tell us; do you feel the team was well adjusted for second edition rules?  What do you like most and least about the team?  And why does that Striker have gray hair?

I started off playing Skaven in Blood Bowl.  Who doesn’t love sporting rats?  Living in Middletown, Pennsylvania all of my life and sharing a zip code with one of the most infamous landmarks in the country adds appeal to the great fiction of nuclear evolved/mutated rats.  Moving from Skaven to Veer-myn, and keeping the TMI theme, works well.  As far as the update to second edition, I feel they are better.  However, I still have concerns as to whether or not they are a viable tournament team.  I did lose to a Veer-myn team during the Adepticon Cup, but my opponent failed to miss a single Skill 5+ roll against me.  I really want to play them in a longer league and see how they do.  A “Skill Up” striker would be so much fun.  I love their speed and their visual aesthetics.  They are dangerous from a distance and can turn the tide quickly on even the worst of days.  I just wish their claws didn’t get in the way so much (they prefer a soft cheese ball).

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The Three Mile Island Plague, displayed in Mantic’s Brush with Death competition at Adepticon 2018

13)    The Three Mile Island Plague are also one of many well painted teams in your collection.  Tell us about your preferred painting practice: model preparation, paints/brushes used, base configuration, etc.

Truth be told, I’ve just started to paint more DreadBall miniatures as I’ve become part of the competitive community.  There will be more coming!  I had painted my Forge Fathers for a BreadDoll tournament, and am currently deciding on which teams to paint for Origins in June and Mantic Day in September.  I wish I had the output of Geoff Burbidge.  Most of the teams I have fully painted have been raffle prizes.  As far as my practice, I find myself painting for a couple hours a week over a couple evenings.  I will usually try to batch paint a few models in a team, but I find myself enjoying the thrill of completion and end up painting one or two minis at a time.  I will clean up a model and then prime it in black.  I’ve never been a huge fan of white primed models.  I have started to use Gears and Gamers Kolinsky brushes.  The largest brush I will typically use (non-terrain or vehicle) is a size 1.  I stick to smaller brushes and work slowly.  I do wish I were a faster painter.  I stick to Citadel paints.  I’ve tried other paints and prefer the Citadel series.  Their base paints are amazing and even though I thin them down, it only takes a few coats to get a perfect base layer.  The Three Mile Island Plague are heavily orange in color, which can be notoriously difficult.  I start with a base of Khorne red and move it up from there.  I’m in the process of changing how I base my DreadBall minis, so I’ll wait until I settle on how I want to advance.  It will likely involve Geoff-Tech.

[Editor’s note: Geoff-Tech is a gaming aid outfitter led by BreadDoll co-editor Geoff Burbidge.]

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Dean’s Forge Fathers take to the pitch!
14)    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?
It would almost be like a combination of the Last Supper and the Red Wedding.  I’d tear off the head and eat it.  Then, I’d offer other coaches to rip apart that little BreadDoll and I’d share in my tasty misery as we break and maim bread in a feeding frenzy to celebrate my complete suckage of the day.

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Many thanks to Dean for the interview, and may all of his future sixes explode.  Unless he’s playing me!  Also, Dean owes me a beer.  Let’s see if he won’t buy the BreadDoll staff a round while we discuss a sponsored tournament in the Adventurer’s Guild!

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Coaches’ Corner: Don Squires

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.

Don Squires is on the subs bench for this iteration, and he’s agreed to answer some BreadDoll questions while polishing his latest trophy – first place at the Clash of the Giants III tournament.

Don Squires.  A Baltimore Ravens fan with Scottish blood and temperment.  Also, a consistent DreadBall tournament winner.

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1. How did you first learn about DreadBall?

A local game store had it set up as a display.  I inquired about the game and was basically told it was a sports minis game, sort of like Blood Bowl.  For the record it’s not like Blood Bowl, but for a brief two minute sales pitch I guess it works.  My son is really into sports so I thought I’d investigate further to see if it would be something interesting for the two of us to play.  After finding the Dreadball Academy videos online and watching them, I picked up the game itself.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

I had a pretty good handle on the rules after watching the videos so it was mostly a teaching game with my son.  I know we played Trontek vs. Smackers, but I don’t remember who was who or who won.  However, I enjoyed it enough to keep playing.

3.  What is your favorite team?

Oh, tough one.  I can find reasons to like pretty much any of them.  Right now though, I’m really digging the Rejects.  So versatile, and I love the non uniformity of the team.  Like a school yard pick, here; you guys are a team now.

4.  Who is your favorite MVP?

Another tough one.  Buzzcut and No. 88 are favorites for obvious reasons.  The Pretorian was one of the first ones I ever purchased, so it has a special place in my heart.  Hector Weiss (Speedball II), I just love that guy, I’m really saddened by him not being included in the second edition.  House rules here we come!

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

League. My son and I run a league.  It’s just the two of us, but we switch off all the teams, make a schedule for them, and mutually agree on upgrades or purchases
for each.  We just started our seventh season, our biggest yet.  Twenty four teams.  When it’s all said and done we’ll have played two hundred and forty games of Dreadball for the season, not including playoffs.  It’ll probably take six months.

6.  What do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

I work, try to maintain a household, all the usual stuff. I’m an avid gamer though.  I’m currently participating in both a Blood Bowl and a GuildBall league.  I also have a D&D group that meets weekly.  I also enjoy the X-wing minis game, and sometimes other games hit my table.  I’m sad to say that I haven’t even opened my Star Saga yet.

7.  Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

In the old rules it was the convicts, hands down.  Shock collar was just crazy powerful. Now though, I’m not sure I dread any of them.  Mantic has done a great job balancing the teams.

8.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

So many.  Needing a three point Strike to tie the game in the last Rush, I was blocked off by my opponents castle.  With no Guards or Jacks available I had a Striker dodgeball an opposing Jack in frustration.  Not only did the Jack get knocked down, the ball scattered to another of my Strikers, who doubled the catch and scored the the game tying Strike.

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9.  The second edition has just reached Kickstarter Backers’ hands.  Still, what would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

I honestly don’t know.  It already has a glut of teams and mvps.  Maybe some more exotic pitches and locations like the Azure forest.

10.  How far have you traveled to play DreadBall?

 About an hour and half.  I’d be willing to travel farther though.

11.  You are an accomplished tournament coach.  HOW DO YOU KEEP WINNING?

 Familiarity.  Playing as much DreadBall as I have, with as many different teams as I have, gives me good insight.  Not just with the game, but with my team, and my opponents team in most cases.  Playing a lot has prepared me for any situation I might encounter on the pitch, because chances are, I’ve encountered it before.  Also understanding exactly how my chosen team plays and what it can and can’t accomplish helps a great deal too.  Finally, understanding my opponents team.  When I sit down and look across the pitch, chances are I’ve played with that team multiple times before.  So, just like understanding my own team, knowing what my opponent is likely to try and do, gives me an advantage.  That’s all very Sun-Tzu like there, but its true.
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12.  You play a lot of sports games.  How does DreadBall differ from Blood Bowl and Guild Ball, and do you prefer one more than another?

 All three are very different. Fundamentally, each tries to emulate a different sport, so the differences are right there without even getting in to the rule sets.  For tactical depth, I honestly have to say Guild Ball is the best.  It’s rule set is deep, and the way the characters interact with each other and their opponents adds layers upon layers. DreadBall, is a little lighter tactically, but offers speed of play.  I can knock out a game in a hour, where the others take two or even three!  Blood Bowl is the weakest of the three.  It offers very little tactically, and seems like no matter what team you play, there is only one way to play.  It’s also more of a dice fest, and a very unforgiving game.  Not that it isn’t fun.

13. Jesus Ortiz!  Why are your teams unpainted?

Painting is an aspect of the hobby that I like least. I love minis, I hate painting them. Also, I’d rather play than paint, so if there is a chance to play, I’m in. Painting takes time away from my play time. Also, I’m lazy when it comes to painting.
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14.  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?

Me, earn a BreadDoll? Inconceivable! LOL. No, if I did, I’d eat it right there.  It’s all in fun, and a great way to poke fun at yourself.

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Many thanks to Don for the interview, and may all of his future sixes explode.  Unless he’s playing me!

Also in the Coaches’ Corner:

Coaches’ Corner: Andrew Wodzianski

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.

As a Kick-Off to the BreadDoll blog, the Chef-in-Chief is interviewing the BD co-editors.  Consider these interviews as introductions to your future opponents!

This particular interview is half-baked.  As in; I’m interviewing myself!  Mr. Burbidge and Mr. Montgomery have assisted this schizophrenic exercise with a few custom questions.  I may include them…

Andrew Wodzianski.  Artist.  Educator.  Raconteur.

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1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

I have an incredibly long answer for such a short question.  However, I’m fond of this nerdy tale about adult men banding together to push toy soldiers around a table…

I learned about Kickstarter in April of 2012.  I dipped my toes into board game crowd funding with ‘Z-Pocalyse,’ followed almost immediately by ‘Zombicide.’  Despite having no nostalgic love anything Steve Jackson, I also backed ‘Ogre Designer’s Edition.’  After those three investments, I followed Kickstarter on a regular basis, waiting for the next interesting game project.  A few months later, DreadBall was launched.  I did some research and decided I needed to make a pitch to my six-member gaming group.  Without edits, and in full disclosure, here’s a cut and paste of that email request from September 23, 2012.  There is vulgarity, but I’ve asterisked it out.

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“Gentlemen, I have a proposal.

I’m going to make a pitch, and ask for money.

I need us to collectively agree, or bail, on this idea.

I want us to jointly pre-order a futuristic sports game that supports league play.  $45 each.

The game is called Dreadball, and it’s currently in the last week of a Kickstarter campaign.  I’ve been closely following the campaign since its inception, and have done an embarrassingly large amount of research over the past two weeks*.  Before making a pitch to the gaming group, I had to convince myself.  I am a hard customer when it comes to a game like Dreadball, especially when considering my past.

My past (preamble);

I am a Blood Bowl enthusiast.  For those not aware, Blood Bowl is a fantasy American football/rugby table top sports game played with miniatures.  Orcs, Elves, Dwarves…  That kind of stuff.  It’s a Games Workshop release from 1988 and has seen three editions, a “Dungeon Bowl” variant, a living rulebook, two video games, and a card game spin off.  With the exception of the 1st edition, I own them all.  My heyday was in the mid-nineties, but I’ve recently fallen back in love due in part to the card game and a new video game iteration.  The Blood Bowl board game is f***ing awesome, but I’ve only been able to see it shine once.  It was 1994.  I played in a league for an entire summer.  League play is where Blood Bowl really rocks as you develop your fictional Tolkein a**-kicking players into goblin killers.  League play continues to this day, with groups all over the world.  I joined a league in Northern Virginia that’s been together for twelve years, but I’ve never attended a match.  They only meet on Fridays, and frankly – I’m not driving to NoVa on Friday nights.

However, there are problems with Blood Bowl.  It is an old game that shows it 1990s design roots.  Modifications have been made through the Living Rulebook (currently v.7), but there’s no denying; it’s a simple premise with a hell of a lot of nuances.  Subsequently, the game can have a steep learning curve.  The game is not actively supported by Games Workshop.  They sell the same 3rd edition that I bought in 1993 (though they provide the Living Rulebook for free on their web site).  They sell a Blood Bowl miniature line that has not changed in 18 years.  The game is expensive.  Even though I own four teams from the second edition, the models are crude and identical.  I do own two teams from the third edition, and these models are nice with different sculpts for each position.  Still, purchasing a new team from Games Workshop costs at least $50 for a dozen, and then you need to augment with minis that are $9-15 each.  Third parties sell “fantasy football” miniatures, and they look cooler – but they’re not cheaper.  Perhaps the biggest problem with Blood Bowl – is the long play time.  To accurately play, a single game can take 2.5 hours.  And while this shouldn’t be a consideration – I’m really good at Blood Bowl.  If we were to say, play a league – I would kick all of your nuts. 

Our possible future;

I think Dreadball is a uniquely different game.  In bullets!

  • Developed by former Games Workshop designers.
  • Matches play in 1/2 the time.  Average 60 – 70 minutes.
  • Lower price point with a Kickstarter pledge.
  • Future sci-fi theme instead of Medieval fantasy theme.  Steve could theoretically play robots.
  • Less American Football / Rugby, and more Rugby / Ice Hockey / American Gladiators’ Powerball.
  • Supports League Play.
  • We could learn a new game from scratch, so I wouldn’t immediately destroy you.

I also think Dreadball has some challenges.  In bullets!

  • We are men.

I’d buy the damn thing myself if I hadn’t blown my gaming budget for 2012.  Also, if we invest together – we may be more committed to play on a “regular basis”.  By “regular basis”, I’m completely cognizant that we are grown men with real life obligations.  It’s difficult for us to schedule one day a month for us to get together.  I thought if we supported Dreadball, we could agree to play it quarterly.  Six of us (maybe more?) could play side by side matches, and realistically get two matches played during one get together.

  • Dreadball is unpainted.

With my proposed Kickstarter pledge, we’d each own a team and then some.  We could swap team factions and stuff, but regardless – the minis are unpainted.  I’ll go ahead and agree to paint our teams, but that’s a big order and I’d need some time to do it.  We may not be able to play with fully painted minis for a while down the road.  Of course, you’re welcome to paint them yourself.  But I reserve the right to make fun of you.

[editor’s note: I regret this pledge.]

  • Dreadball is a miniatures game.

With all miniature games, there’s a chance for a money pit.  I’m a big fan of all-inclusive games that don’t require extra bulls*** to play.  The extra bulls*** in Dreadball is on the way, but it’s not integral.  Coaches, cheerleaders, prone players, and keeper/goalies will have their own sculpts, but we don’t need them.  The same was true for Blood Bowl.  It’s bling.  Nice, but not necessary.

I think Dreadball is a safe investment.  In bullets!

  • The basic rulebook has already been released.

The developers know full well that Dreadball is being compared to Blood Bowl.  To waive off jaded f***ers like myself thinking it was a blatant rip off – they posted game demo videos and the basic rulebook.  *Of course, I’ve watched them, and I’ve read the rules.  I’m so out of control – I built a proxy pitch using Heroscape tiles and played with extra Battleball miniatures.  Yes, I played with myself…  Point is, the game works.  It’s fast, but also smart with lots of tactical options.

  • If we don’t like it, there’s eBay.

While I don’t think this will be the case, if we played Dreadball and decided it wasn’t for us – we could sell it.  Chances are good that we’d get our money back.  If Zombicide is any indication, our Dreadball investment would be a fast sell because we’d own a lot of Kickstarter exclusives that make fanboys open their wallets.

Summary:

We chip in $45 (or, we could low ball it to $35 – 40)**.  We support Dreadball on Kickstarter.  We get a ton of s***.  We try this game out!  Or not.  I’m only gonzo if we go in together.  I’ll consider this stupid long email and my two weeks of research as due diligence for my favorite hobby, and the guys that let me share it.  Let me know how we feel.  the Kickstarter campaign wraps up next weekend.

Here are the links:

http://www.dreadball.com/

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/129731/dreadball-the-futuristic-sports-game

League Play stuff released so far – http://quirkworthy.com/2012/09/15/dreadball-design-notes-leagues/

Andrew

(** if we’re interested, I’ll detail our price breakdown.  It starts with the ‘Striker’ Pledge level.)”

###

We bought the game at the ‘Striker’ pledge level, plus a handful of extras.  We’ve been playing ever since delivery.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

My first game was a learning game against gaming-group member Ken.  I log all games played on boardgamegeek.com and below are my notes from December 12, 2012:

“Ken and I learned the game with the humans and rats. Ken stomped me with the humans, 6pts. Then, he squeaked by with the rats in the last rush, 2 pts. We didn’t really incorporate fouling, but we did try almost everything else. Once the game logic is understood, the pace is pretty fast. It’s very offense oriented, at least with these two teams. I need to put some identifying mark on the hex bases’ threat angles/zones.”

3.  What is your favorite team?

Too many!  I’m an offensive player who likes to run and pass.  Consequently, my early favorite was the Judwan.  I was most successful with the Veer-myn.  And despite playing poorly with them in my last league, I really enjoy the Ada Lorana.  Those blue bundles of boom-boom have served me well in a few tournaments.

4.  What is your favorite MVP?

Throughout league play, I think I’ve only ever fielded six different MVPs.  As far as performance, I’d have to declare the Praetorian my favorite.  Cool looking.  Fast.  Reliable Striker.  I expect I’ll shift my preferences to No.88 when the second edition is enforced.  Jacks see improved play in the second edition, and that will make an already exceptional MVP even better.  Mentioning enforcement, I like the Enforcer too.

5.  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?

I had a lot of fun painting Grak, though I think my favorite sculpt is Alpha Simian.

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

League play, league play, league play!  I organize regional tournaments, and get my fair shake at tourney play.  I enjoy tournaments, but I adore sustained seasonal play.  I rarely play one-offs, Xtreme still mystifies me, and Ultimate gets a little bit of love after each league season when coaches play an “all-star” match.

7.  What do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

I wear many hats.  I’m a studio arts professor and an artist (shameless plug; http://www.wodzianski.com).  Those professions keep me pretty busy.  Then I have other roles; husband, son, brother, reader, cat herder, gamer, runner, and raconteur.

8.  Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

It’s a tie: Convicts and Hobgoblins.  I can’t decide which is the bigger disruptor between shock collars or Hulks.  When I see two Hulks on the pitch, I know I’m in trouble.  When I see shock collars, I know chaos in coming.

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9.  Who is your primary play DreadBall opponent?

Members of my gaming group, affectionately called CORT [Citizens Of Rage Town.  At least, that’s what it means for BreadDoll readers.].

10.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

To settle last place in a CORT DreadBall league, the lowest ranking coaches play in the ‘Sacko.”  Whoever loses has to prominently display a scrotum-inspired trophy until the conclusion of our league’s following season.  Last season, my Ada Lorana team was faced against Ken’s Judwan.  Each of us had a share of MVPs deployed.  In the final Rush, and down by 2 points, I sent Brute Force into the back castle.  She opened a lane, and my only reliable Striker followed up for a 3 point win.

11.  The second edition of DreadBall just reached Kickstarter Backers’ hands.  Still, what would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

I think there’s a lot of opportunity for annual, organized play kits.   I’d love to see unique rules, pitches, cards, and MVPs deployed on a yearly basis that all sanctioned tournament settings would embrace.  A World Championship Tournament would be fab.

12.  How far have you traveled to play DreadBall?

I live in Washington D.C.  I traveled to the Chicago suburbs for the North American DreadBall Championship at Adepticon.  Not to brag, but I beat fellow BreadDoll co-editor Geoff Burbridge to win the 2017 medal!  And Geoff was playing my team nemesis; the Convicts!  Fellow CORT members helped me practice, and it paid off!

 

13.  Do you listen to music when playing DreadBall? If so, what is your playlist? If not, what would you like to hear?

This is a dumb question and should be replaced.  League play usually occurs in one coach’s man-cave.  His house, his music.  Fortunately, it’s Guns N Roses.  Myself, I’ve been compiling a DreadBall soundtrack that’s primarily electronica / house.  I have a lot of Daft Punk in that mix.  The Tron Legacy soundtrack is an appropriate alternative.

14.  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?

Knowing full well that all powers of the BreadDoll are bestowed upon the devourer, I would immediately eat it.  Then, I would start flipping cars in the parking lot in acts of revenge.

Coaches’ Corner: Lee Montgomery

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.

As a Kick-Off to the BreadDoll blog, the Chef-in-Chief is interviewing the BD co-editors.  Consider these interviews as introductions to your future opponents!

Lee Montgomery.  Educator.  Tactician.  Shark aficionado.

1. How did you first learn about DreadBall?

Well, I’ve been a gamer for a looooooong time.  I had heard of Mantic, and been following them for a little bit.  They had just recently run this thing called Kickstarter to further develop Kings of War.  However, being a little behind the times, I did not really understand what Kickstarter was.  Then, I saw this video on Beasts of War with Ronnie [Renton} talking about this futuristic sports game….and it looked and sounded AMAZING.  I signed up for a Kickstarter account and when the DB KS went live, I was along for the ride and have been ever since.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

Oh man, just how FAST the game played, and how so many games seemed to come down to the final rush….it was definitely the sports game I was looking for!

3.  What is your favorite team?

Without a doubt, the Sphyr are my undisputed favorite team!  However, I do very much enjoy the variety of teams, races and play styles that exist in DB.  I look forward to getting more familiar with the Matsudan too.

4.  What is your favorite MVP?

Oh geesh….there are some really good ones, but Karadon is pretty much my run away favorite, though I do wish he was just a wee bit larger as a model.  I really like Grak, Raidan and Crypt too.  I think General Crypt’s backstory is intriguing and hope he pops up leading some Crystallans in Deadzone someday!

5.  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?

Hmmm…that’s tough. The Sphyr Jack is one of my absolute favorites.  I really love the heads on the model and hope that Mantic may someday see fit to release some as bits.  I was fortunate to have had one of my Sphyr team boxes mispacked; a Jack head on a Guard model which made for some fun conversion opportunities. I also really like the Grak model, as it came out so clean.

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

One-offs make up the bulk of my games, though I am a NADC regular.  As much as I play one-offs and tournaments, I aspire to be involved in a league….maybe someday.  I feel leagues are where this type of game genre need to excel.

7.  What do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

Ooooo, um, a lot!  I have five children that I enjoy spending my time with.  I also spend a lot of time coaching or researching….or even–sometimes–playing, *gasp*, OTHER games!

8.  Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

There are only a few teams that give me pause when I sit at the table, and even then it sort of depends on match-ups.  I very much dislike the sight of those licensed bottle-headed aliens…..but I also tend to anticipate a rough day with Nameless.  Though in second edition, I think I will find some other teams to be scary opponents as well.

9) Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

Oh, I’ve had a lot of them.  From back when you could double the catch on a launch and score in your opponents turn, to the first time I had an Orx Guard have 12+successes on a Slam….but probably one of my most memorable comes from Adepticon.  Last Rush, game is tied, Jon [Carter] with his Teratons and myself using Marauders.  Jon has one action left, but rather than use it to attempt a tough Strike, he opts to make a Stomp on my last remaining goblin Jack.  Needless to say, the goblin was pasted.  He then won the game as I no longer had players capable of scoring on the pitch once overtime started.  It was certainly a case of very clever situational awareness on his part!

10.  The second edition has just reached Kickstarter Backers’ hands.  Still, what would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

Oh wow, I have a huge wish list.  Highlights include more special venues, like an Ice world pitch, an underwater one, etc.  I also would like a sort of “Franchise mode” supplement, more immersive league rules, rules for home stadiums, sponsors, etc.  Maybe a few more unique MVPs.  I also think it would be cool to have some more “free agent” level aliens that could be used in a similar fashion as the Rejects and used as transfers OR become teams of their own (like the Fyrit, Elastopods, etc.).  The Warpath Universe is full of so many great ideas and opportunities for fun and unique model opportunities!  That said, I really want some sort of Mammoth dude miniature!

11.  You often play DreadBall with your son, Cael.  What are the family dynamics during matches?

When it comes to DreadBall, they don’t exist.  We are totally cut-throat!

12.  You have an athletic background, and are a sports enthusiast.  How does an abstract sports board game like DreadBall appeal to you differently from passively viewing a competition, or participating in a physical match?

Well, it allows you to do things that aren’t always possible in real life.  DreadBall, for instance, is a game I would want to see that doesn’t (currently) exist.  It also gives you a sort of perfect control over things that you don’t always get while coaching too.  It’s also more accessible….I can up and decide to throw down a game of DB, I only need to find one opponent.  If I opt to play a sports game in real life, I need two TEAMS!  Certainly, the sense of accomplishment is much greater in actual physical participation and competition, but gaming can be rewarding too.

13.  You’ve a DreadBall Rules Committee member for a long time.  What is your favorite contribution?

Oh, well……hmmm. So much of what we do is by committee, so it’s hard to really point to anything as any one persons contribution.  We all bring ideas to to the table, and they rarely survive contact with the group intact, being made better by the contribution of others.  That said, I enjoyed getting to work on the Challenge Cup, there were a lot of fun ideas and opportunities for expanding the game that I hope we get a chance to revisit in some way for second edition.  I specifically enjoyed The Gauntlet as a venue.  Lastly, I really like league options and adding depth to teams and their rosters.  We had developed a lot of unique coaching assistant options, but they survive now as  the abilities they are able to use.  Hopefully we can still do more of that sort of thing.

14.  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?

IMMEDIATELY! I’m told it’s powers are best consumed fresh….may as well revel in that glorious moment of consumption!

Coaches’ Corner: Geoff Burbidge

Photo of Geoff

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.

As a Kick-Off to the BreadDoll blog, the Chef-in-Chief is interviewing the BD co-editors.  Consider these interviews as introductions to your future opponents!

Geoff Burbidge.  Graphic Designer.  Fanatic.  Custom King.

1.  How did you first learn about DreadBall?

I played Necromunda back around 2000.  I really enjoyed the hobby aspects of it; collecting, modding, painting.  My friend that played Necromunda with me moved away, and the hobby dried up for me.  But, it was always in the back of my mind.  In 2012 I was finally thinking I’d like to get back into playing a miniature game.  I was thinking I would give Blood Bowl a try.  I wanted a game that would let me paint up a small number of models to get started and wasn’t too heavy.  The drawback to Blood Bowl (for me at the time) was that it was out of print (not so bad as a lot of 3rd party companies were making miniatures).  It was also set in a fantasy world, and I’m not a fan of that setting.  I was very close to pulling the trigger and buying some Blood Bowl minis when I stumbled across DreadBall on KickStarter.  DreadBall was perfect for what I wanted.  It was a sci-fi themed miniatures game similar to Blood Bowl but new and exciting.  I was hooked immediately and backed for a Striker pledge.

2.  What do you remember about your first game?

After I received my KickStarter stuff it sat in the box, unused, for a long time.  I wanted to play, but I had no opponent.  I subscribed to the BoardGameGeek DreadBall page and in October 2013, I got a message on BGG from a guy that lived about an hour away from me asking if I’d like to meet up and play a game of DreadBall.  I decided that I would meet this guy and play.  Motivated, I broke out my stuff.  I don’t remember if I painted my human team before, or after that first game, but I remember the game.  We played the classic humans vs orks matchup.  I played the humans and won the game.  I don’t play much with that guy any more, but we did meet up and play a fair bit for a while.  We even had a small league going for a short time.

3.  What is your favorite team?

My favorite team is usually whichever team I’ve recently finished painting.  I don’t think any one team has risen about the other for me overall.

team
“I recently finished painting my Judwan”

4. What is your favorite MVP?

I haven’t played with too many MVPs since I mostly play one-off and tournament games.  I really like the original Blaine MVP from the first KickStarter as well as Wyn Greth’zki, and Buzzcut.

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5.  Across the entire DreadBall line, what is your favorite model?

My favorite DreadBall miniature is probably either Dozer or Karadon, the giant MVPs.  The giants are great fun to paint because of their larger size and those two have a great look to them.  Also they are two of my favorite miniature paint jobs I’ve done so that helps me like them more.

 

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

I play mostly one-off games with local friends, or tournament play.  I’d love to get a league going but in my area there aren’t enough players.  I’ve never had the time to try and organise anything.

7.  What do you do when you are not playing DreadBall?

For work I am a computer programmer.  When I’m not at work I spend time with my family and work on the hobby side of my gaming.  I’ve been teaching my daughter how to paint which is fun.  She seems to like it and does pretty well as far as a five year old’s focus and concentration will allow.  With any luck in a few years she’ll be able to play DreadBall with me.

8.  Which opposing team do you… Dread… the most?

I probably “Dread” playing the Hobgoblin team the most, specifically facing the Hulk. The Hulk is a deadly guard that can easily injure players off the pitch as well as walk right over the best defence.

9.  Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.

I can’t think of any particular rush that sticks out in my mind.  One of the things I love about DreadBall is almost every game has those exciting rushes where you need to chain together several actions in order to score or it’s all over.

10. The second edition has just reached Kickstarter Backers’ hands.  Still, what would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?

I’d like to see continuous support for DreadBall;  annual or semi-annual tournament packs, new/alternate team captains, and updated sculpts for the older teams.  I’d like to see DreadBall Xtreme updated, and brought in line as an expansion for 2nd edition DreadBall.  No more of this DBX as a separate game nonsense.

travel-radius11.  You are renown in North America for tournament travel. How far have you traveled to play DreadBall?

My general rule of thumb is I will drive up to about eight hours to play DreadBall.  I have traveled a bit farther than this (to get to Washington DC for example).  I started my travels for DreadBall with Adepticon 2015 in Chicago.  Since then I’ve returned to Chicago several times, Ohio for Origins, Indianapolis for Gencon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Baltimore, and Washington DC.

12.  You are a very prolific DreadBall hobbyist.  What is your favorite project to date?

I’m pretty proud of the DreadBall base design I’ve ultimately come up with.  It took a number of iterations to get it to where it is but I’m very happy with it.

[editor’s note: check out Geoff’s Hobby Highlight post about his bases!]

13.  Follow up: what’s your next DreadBall project?

I want to sculpt a miniature.  One of my goals for 2018 is to digitally sculpt a miniature, and given my love for DreadBall it is extremely likely that miniature will be for DreadBall.

14.  It’s almost over!  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 bite it’s head off in front of everyone! Intimidation!