Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Put them under pressure, score early, score often.

Good luck!

Pitch Protocol: Tactics Talk—Put me in Coach!

Pitch Protocol: Tactics Talk—Put me in Coach!

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

A lot of variety…and useful too!

What do they do? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—Cheer Factory

worst staff2
“Gimme a……”

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


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

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

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

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

Pitch Protocols—Tactics Talk: The Dao of Dirty DreadBall

“I didn’t do nuffin’!”

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

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

“Whadda ya mean that’s a Foul?!?”


The Fouling Foursome

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

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

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—Playing for Keeps!

Playing for Keeps

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

I have always been fascinated by the concept of the Keeper position in DreadBall. Honestly, when trying out the game waaaaaay back during the first Kickstarter, it was probably one of my most looked forward to aspects of the game. Even one of the pledge levels was called Keeper. The concept art for them looked ridiculously cool. Big, Heavy armour. Presumably some great goal tending skills too.

Alas, it is an understatement to say that Keepers were….underwhelming in first edition. Sure, they lived up to their heavy armour reputation, but that was about it. They contributed nothing to goal tending, at least no more than any other player, and their ball handling ability was more liability than asset. 

Enter: Second Edition.

Now, Keepers play like they should! Placing a Keeper in a Strike zone allows them to threaten any Throw in it, even if they are not adjacent. This makes scoring a little more challenging if the Keeper is not dealt with. Additionally, Punt is now an action worth taking and can be an extremely useful ability, particularly for slower teams that can’t afford to be running back and forth across the pitch. It only scatters ONCE now, and doesn’t end your Rush. Meaning you can clear out your end of the pitch and continue playing. Don’t worry though, Keepers still have their heavy armour, but it does cost them a little movement now in exchange.

Here are a few tips for playing with Keepers:

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

1: Setup DEEP and CENTER. Place the Keeper right in front of the Strike hex. This does two important things: a) it keeps the entire strike zone in their front arc, allowing them to threaten throw attempts. b) it blocks bonus point strikes completely. While this is far from fool proof, it often has the benefit of forcing your opponent to spend actions on dealing with the Keeper, meaning they have less left to mark your other players and still score.

2: Slow teams should consider TWO Keepers. One to guard the 3/4 zone, and one to roam the middle of the pitch to punt the ball down to their ball handlers in the opposition end of the pitch. Teams like Matsudan, Forge Fathers, and Crystallans have such slow Movement, that they can’t afford to spend actions running back for the ball and still setup good scoring opportunities in the same rush. Keepers let them play on the other end of the pitch with a little more freedom.

3: COUNT your scatter potential before you Punt. When you go to Punt, be sure to look at the possible directions and distances of scatter from your ball placement. If the pitch is fairly open, you can be fairly confident on the general area the ball will end up. If you try to Punt into a more congested area, subsequent scatters may ensue and make the ball’s final resting place a little more….dicey. This is also a great time to play those cards that let you choose direction or distance of scatter for pinpoint punting precision.

4: Don’t forget the Double! If you double a Punt, the Keeper can make either a free Run to reposition for goal tending duties, or take a free Slam-punishing would be Strike scorers no doubt!

Lastly, paint one! Treat yourself. Because, honestly, some of the coolest models in the DB range are the Keepers. And seeing as how it’s a thing in real sports, being a Keeper let’s you kind of alter your team color scheme for some extra pizzaz. 

Happy Punting!

Pitch Protocols: Famous Formations—The Press

Famous Formations: The Press

Wonder what they’re up to?

The Press is a series of variant offensive formations where at least half of the teams players are situated on the launch line at the start of the match. However, The Press can also be combined with other formations, depending upon the match up in question to provide some defense, and then becomes more a “tactic” than purely a formation. Either way, it tends to be utilized by more aggressive teams, or simply by teams that are Home. It would also be possible to use the five across variant as a sort of Forward Screen for a Visiting team looking to mix it up, but that takes careful consideration of positioning and matchup to keep from getting exploited by your opponent.


The Press allows the Forge Fathers ample slamming opportunities and gives them the range to go deep on Strike attempts.

There are many viable variations of The Press, but there Advantages are fairly similar across the board. Firstly, it allows a Bashy team to get as many bodies as possible close to the action to start laying down the hurt. Secondly, it positions slower teams to have greater “reach” with their actions, being positioned to get into the opponents half of the pitch on their first move. It can also be psychologically beneficial when setting up as the Home team, as it often can force your opponent into a more defensive formation to try and counter your slamming game….thereby minimizing their own first rush opportunities.


One of the main draw backs is usually defensive orientation. Committing so many players to attack tends to leave your own end of the pitch open to counter strikes. However, if you start to win the war of attrition, this can be increasingly less of an issue. Also, it kind of tips your hand as to what your going to do and can allow the opponent to minimize the damage you intend to cause them with their own setup. This would, in turn, be a good time to counter with a Sucker Draw and slow ball them with an attrition game if you have a decided advantage in slamming. The main key is to not get so caught up in slamming that you win the battle, but lose the war…..pay attention to that scoreboard!


The Press is often as much about how you use it, as how you set up for it. This screams Sucker Draw and Slowball attrition.

The Press doesn’t have to be all the players, all the time. You could combine a Press with a Three Pillars for instance, the only difference really being intent of how you plan to utilize it. As mentioned, while typically a Home formation, it can be used defensively as a Screen, or even to exploit Run Interference trickery.

You’ve got a lot of options Coach, make ‘em count!

Pitch Protocols: Famous Formations—The Deep Screen

Famous Formations: The Deep Screen

2018-03-23 19.18.23
Deep Screen Variant. Here, the Yndij have opted to leave the wings of the pitch open in order to try and benefit from the presence of their Captain. They have also added a Pillar to the 3/4 zone should any one break through the screen. Two of the Yndij are serving dual roles, they are both part of the screen, while simultaneously serving as Pillars in the short strike zones to minimize dinking.

The Deep Screen is another defensive oriented formation. The general set-up is to create a Screen of players that maximize threat-hex coverage the width of the pitch. Additionally, these players are set-up deep in their own half of the pitch. This serves two purposes. One, it serves as another way of deterring 3/4 Strike attempts by placing players or threat hexes in the path of the opposition. Two, it minimizes attack opportunities by the opposition as attacking players will need to spend some actions to move into position first. As such, this formation will be typically used by a Visiting Team, though it could be utilized by a Home squad that is planning on slow balling or using a Sucker Draw as well.


One of the main advantages of the Deep Screen is the width the formation provides. This leaves very few options for teams that prefer to run around opponents rather than through them. It also creates lots of passive defense opportunities in the form of Evade rolls. Another advantage is that, while still defensive in nature, the players are still free to be more active than if they are in a Castle, so long as they maintain their relative position to their teammates.

Teams with great Movement, defensive abilities (like Duck and Weave, Gotcha!, etc.), and solid Strikers can play an attrition game of giving up short zone Strikes, while countering back to equalize or take the lead. This plays to the strength of being the Visitors, setting up a game winning rush for the end game phase. 


Having your team set-up so deeply can limit your attacking or counter-attacking opportunities. This can be mitigated, however, in careful assessment of the match-up at hand. If the team you are playing against, or even their coach, prefers a more aggressive style of play, you may find that they will do the bulk of the movement work for you, giving you more actions to counter attack with anyway. Another drawback is that it leaves the front of the pitch open for the opposition to dink and dunk 1’s and 2’s, or to counter with a Sucker Draw. However, if you are the Visitors, it will be easy to assess how much of a threat those options are based on the Home team formation and can be countered accordingly.

Pitch Protocols: Famous Formations—3 Pillars

Famous Formations: 3 Pillars

2018-03-23 19.18.57
The Sphyr have opted for a 3 Pillars formation. As the Visitors, they have opted for a more defensive arrangement, committing two players to a short-screen in the middle of their end of the pitch. Additionally, a second player has been tasked with guarding the 3/4 zone by taking up position on the bonus hex.

The 3 Pillars is a flexible formation that can be utilized by both offensive and defensive minded coaches. The Pillars refer to the players who take up position in the middle of each Strike Zone. Their purpose is to deny bonus point Strike opportunities, and in the hands of some teams, can even serve to frustrate regular Strikes as well. This allows some passive defense in each Strike Zone, and still leaves players free to take the match to the opposition. Like always, there are many variations, and you will usually see Pillars added to other formations to make full use of a teams roster and set-up.


Having players in each scoring zone make its easier to respond to opposition threats on your end of the pitch. The Pillar players are able to be a little more active and responsive in your Rush due to this positioning. And, in a similar fashion to the Castle, if the opponent wishes for bonus points, they are going to have to expend actions to shift players. Depending on the match-up, this can be beneficial in and of itself.

Additionally, certain abilities make the formation even more potent. Extended Interference and Alert, for example, can give you the opportunity to not only deny bonus strikes, but threaten or disrupt regular ones as well. Other abilities like Keeper and Stench, can be used for similar effect.


A formation like this again necessitates committing half of your team to your own side of the pitch. For some teams, this is not much of a draw back. However, if you depend on numbers or raw aggression for your plays to succeed, this can be a bit of a detriment. Additionally, it doesn’t really take that much to shift a single player. This is where careful consideration of the match-up at hand is required, to ensure placement of the right players for the job, or even changing formations all together.

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—The Sucker Draw

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—The Sucker Draw

2018-03-23 19.18.30
Well, that’s annoying….

It is just about launch time, your team is frothing at the mouth to put a hurt on the opposition. The crowd is going crazy, you are the Home team after all. But then, as you scan the opposition, you realize that they’ve committed to cowering near their subs bench, castling up, or setting a deep screen. Being so far removed from where the action is, your left with some less than optimal decisions. Do you spend most of your Rush simply getting into position? Do you dole out only some token hurt, lacking the necessary actions to punish the opposition in earnest? Their devious deep set-up leaves you with a less than fulfilling Rush that they will surely capitalize on….or does it? Enter: The Sucker Draw.


Why waste actions going to them, when you make the opposition come to you? That’s what the Sucker Draw is all about. Spin their game plan right back on to them. This works particularly well if your team is geared for attrition and likes to play a bit of slow ball.

To start, get hold of the ball, and turtle up a sizable distance away (preferably at least two move actions from the nearest opposition). Make sure to have a barrier of some of your own players for opposing players to have to navigate around. With no easy routes to the ball, they will have to spend their whole Rush stretching themselves to get into position. If the opposing team has some players close to the center, swarm them with a vengeance to knock them off the pitch if possible. Otherwise, use some actions to position a pair of players in preparation for besieging the opposition defensive line or Castle.

Done well, the opposing team will have very little to effectively do, save moving. On your subsequent Rushes, your ball carrier must play a little keep away. The rest of your players systematically eliminate the closest opposition players or biggest threats. Where possible, always try to keep a pair of players working in tandem to keep the opposition formation under pressure.

Do not panic if you lose the ball. If you position yourself well, there will often be very little that your opponent will be able to do with it, if they get it, having spent most of their actions simply trying to get in position in the first place. In doing so, they have most likely stretched themselves out without support, leaving you plenty of opportunities to team up on them and Slam at will. If the ball is lost, simply start the process over: secure the ball, turtle up, beat down nearest threats.

Admittedly, this process is best utilized by strong, Slam heavy teams. However, with some forethought and clever positioning, most squads can use this tactic capably. As the Home team, you do still need to make sure you get some points on the board. The ideal end game scenario is that you are able to decimate the defense and score big late in the match. When the opposition finally gets a chance to handle the ball on or near the last Rush, they will ideally find themselves low on numbers and out of position to capably Strike back with the equalizing score.

One of the true strengths of this approach, is that by decimating the players not set in a screen or Castle, the opposition is often forced to break their own formation to field players capable of coming after you—doing the hard work for you and opening up those prized scoring lanes while presenting more targets for slamming in the process!

The Sphyr have been cagey with the ball for almost the entire match. Now, with the clock winding down, they move to score on the stretched out Judwan.

While this tactic is described from the set-up perspective, it can be used later in the game if the opportunity presents itself. The key is patience, and a fair amount of practice. It can also be put to devastating effect by a Visiting team, clinching the game winning Strike in the final rush. Also, it should be noted that it’s not a strategy that needs to be committed to for an entire match. You may find that once you start to create a deficit of players for the opposing team, you are more than willing to trade strikes with them, having properly handicapped them in the process!



Pitch Protocols: Famous Formations-The Castle

Famous Formations: The Castle

Love it, or Hate it….it works.

The Castle refers to a defensive set-up where the 3-point Strike Zone is walled off with at least three players. The purpose is to nullify any strike attempts by the opposition without first having to shift players out of the way. Sometimes this will deter teams from bothering to attempt the big scores all together. More often, it means the opposing team will simply have to make a concerted effort to break the Castle if they want to score the big points.

The other three players of the Castling team are responsible for taking the game to the opposition. Where they set up at the start of the match is dependent upon being Home or Visitor, as well as the particular match up in question. More defensive minded coaches will opt for Pillars (placing players to block throwing lanes for bonus point strikes), or a Screen (trying to create more Evading rolls for the opposition to get where they may want to go). There are many variations and combinations we can look at in the future. More aggressive coaches or play styles will set up closer to the launch line, to more effectively get to work when it is their Rush.

The Visitors are using a Castle with two Pillars. Additionally, the Striker in the middle creates a short Screen in the middle of the pitch.

The advantage of the Castle is that a 3-point Strike is IMPOSSIBLE without the opposing coach first moving at least one of your players out of the way. This is often a favored set-up for Visitor teams, as the Home team usually has to spend several actions getting players into position to make the necessary Slams/Feints/Push/Illegal/Take a Dive/Shock Collar, etc….and even then, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to dice rolls. For many coaches, it’s the one way they feel like the can play “defense” in a game very focused on scoring. The Home team may be forced to opt for a smaller Strike attempt if their player removal plans don’t go well, setting up an opportunity for the Visiting team to take a lead on the scoreboard in their own Rush….or at least keep it level until the opportunity presents itself.

One thing to be mindful of in the Castle, is that you are committing three players to being little more than spectators. However, for a lot of teams, especially single position or well-rounded teams, this is not as big a disadvantage as it would first appear. Since a player can take 2 actions, and with cards being a desirable thing to have and even more useful to use, three players are typically more than enough to get the job done.

However, where you have to be careful is when the opposing coach is patient and able to swarm your side of the pitch. Depending upon the match up in question, the three players outside the Castle can become Swarmed under by opposition, putting pressure on the Castle to break itself to respond, or find it under siege. When the game doesn’t leave your end of the pitch, the Castle starts to be a tenuous situation indeed.

Lastly, be sure to carefully consider WHICH players you Castle. Consider the match up in question and make sure you place the correct positions where they have the greatest potential to contribute in the game. In some cases, you may want to place your Guards in the Castle, to make them harder to shift…..but they may be more susceptible to Slams from behind for example. Also, if all your Guards are in the Castle, who are you going to use to move the opposition players out of the way for your own scoring attempts? You will also want to consider having a ball handler available to field the ball from your own end of the Pitch should an opposing Strike attempt go awry or you create a turnover situation that you want to capitalize on.

That concludes our look at The Castle. Next time, we will look at a useful anti-Castle tactic in The Sucker Draw.