A particular DreadBall quirk of mine is that every team I use has to have their own set of dice. Not just any dice, mind you, these dice have to match the team colors and/or theme. I’m not really sure why I do it, there are some sets of dice I like better than others, but a habit is a habit. Last week for Origins found me buying a new dice cube just hours before the first launch of the tournament.
I also happen to use a completely different set of dice for coaching dice during the match as well. I only have a few sets of these, the most important part is that they are easily distinguishable from the “normal” dice I use during a match. My favorite set for coaching dice at the moment are the exceedingly beautiful BreadDoll dice, with the BD properly placed on that good ol’ exploding six.
Not that it matters too much, but I also have a habit of only using 16mm dice too.
It’s got me to wondering, what match quirks or habits do other DB coaches have?
At Adepticon back in March I decided to play a Cyborg team. I wanted to go for a chrome look. I mocked up some color tests. I liked the way the chrome effect looked in the tests and decided to see how it would look painted on the minis.
PAINTING MY CYBORGS
Primer: Airbrush Stynylrez Grey
Spray entire mini with Reaper MSP 09029: Earth Brown
Wash with Army Painter Strong Tone
Spray from above with white
Lighter spray from above with Army Painter Troglodyte Blue
Run black outlines along the armor lines and recesses
In the armor breaks use Army Painter Necromancer Cloak
Highlight the edges of the armor with white
Army Painter Necrotic Flesh
Wash with Secret Weapon Sewer Water
Highlight using Necrotic Flesh mixed with white
Army Painter Wolf Grey
Citadel Nuln Oil wash
Highlight with Wolf Grey
Army Painter Leather Brown
Wash with Citadel Agrax Earth Shade
Highlight with Leather Brown mixed with Army Painter Ash Grey
Paint the eyes white
Paint the glowy bits red adding a bit of a glow effect with a light drybrush
Add a white highlight to the red glowy bits
Paint the wires with Game Color Sun Yellow and then wash them with Secret Weapon Orange wash
Highlight the wires with a mix of Sun Yellow and white
I always like to do a fun logo for my teams when I have time. For Renewed Vigor I looked around for a zombie silhouette and then made it look a more cyborg-ish.
Here are a smattering of some DreadBall tournament moments that for one reason or another are forever ingrained in my memory. I have many favorite moments from individual games, but these five stand out for completely….different reasons.
5. The Clock! Adepticon. The first DreadBall tournament in the US of A, debuting at Adepticon. This was memorable not only because it was the first tournament, but because it experimentally decided to borrow the chess clock rules that were being used in Kings of War at the time. However, a misunderstanding of the rules packet led to the entire game being limited to 3O minutes, rather than 30 minutes per player for the one hour rounds. This resulted in the fastest four rounds of tournament DreadBall ever!
4. The Comeback! Adepticon. The start of the North American DreadBall Circuit was off with a bang, and the early favorites appeared to be a Hobgoblin team running a double Hulk build. 4-0 going into the Fifth and final round, the Hobgoblins found themselves in a rematch with an earlier victim from the day. An interesting quirk, in the NADC, five round tournaments sometimes result in rematches in the fifth round due to the nature of the size of the field, and the fact that the final round has the top two teams play each other, regardless if they have already played each other or not. Well, as luck would have it….or not, depending on your perspective, victory was not to be for the Hobgoblins. The characteristic aggressive play style marking their earlier victories was notably absent in the thrilling final to crown the North American Champion. The opposing coach had found themselves in a hole early in the day, but managed to climb back to the top with win after win to claim the NADC title!
3. League in a Day! EVO Games. League in a Day is just a memorable experience no matter what. While this wasn’t the first one I had participated in, it was one of the most fun! There were several teams and a variety of play styles represented that resulted in some wonderful matches on the day.
2. Stomped into Submission! Adepticon. A woeful tale of so close, yet so far. Final match of the tournament for me and my Beltway Bruisers (Marauders), I was only having a so-so tournament. One final match could bring me a bit of redemption. However, Jon Carter and his Teratons were not having it! In a brutal back and forth affair, it looked like I might eeck out a victory, but in the end settled for a tie….or so I thought. In the final rush with the score tied, and very few scoring opportunities available, Coach Carter went with a foolproof plan…STOMP! The physical nature of the match up had taken a toll on my poor goblins, and only one was remaining on the pitch. Recognizing an opportunity, Jon managed to knock the goblin prone….and proceeded to mercilessly stomp on them despite the protestations of the referee. Time was called, and while the score was knotted at “0”, I had no remaining players capable of scoring left on the pitch—resulting in an unexpected loss! I constantly point to this match as an excellent example of situational awareness.
1. Slam from the bench! Gen Con. This was the first ever DreadBall tournament at Gen Con. For being thrown together last minute from a hospital bed, it had a pretty decent turn out too. At this time there were only Season one teams available, the game being less than a year old. Early on, there was a Veer-myn team that seemed primed to run the table. However, one play would turn their fortunes upside down. The rats looked poised to take down a Corporation squad early…they had a lead, and the ball, and were preparing to go for another big strike. The Veer-myn striker was carefully trying to skirt the defense outside the strike zone when it happened.
A Corporation Jack came off the bench with one step and completely blindsided the rat, ball careening down the pitch. The abrupt end of the rush caused a huge momentum change. The corporation recovered the loose ball and immediately scored to take the lead and eventually the match. The rats, once poised to take the day, fell from the top table for good. Another classic example of how a single play can change the momentum of a match!
“Begin With the End in Mind”—Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and probably DreadBall coaches too!)
Every coach, every team, has some sort of strategy for victory. Now, not every strategy is necessarily a good one, and sometimes they may be mismatched, but it’s there all the same. The best strategies have a clear goal in mind, a very specific end of game scenario, or solution if you will, to the puzzle the other team will pose to them. So ask yourself, once the teams are lined up, and the ball is set to launch…how do you see the match ending?
If you have a predilection for violence, you may envision the pitch nearly void of opposition and their sin bin strewn with corpses. Fair enough. But you also need to pay attention to the scoreboard too, which mean that while scoring may not be your focus, you can’t let the points difference get out of reach.
The opposite, however, may be true if you have a preference for flinging the ball over flinging bodies. That’s great too. You need to prioritize scoring early and often, and your “perfect ending” may mean grabbing a landslide. Or even a simple insurmountable lead with a rush remaining. But you have to keep enough players around for that to happen!
So while having a clear picture of your ideal end game is helpful, it’s actually managed rush by rush. To efficiently and effectively achieve your goals means wise allocation of your precious actions. Therefore, each Rush must also have a clear “end” in mind as well.
Let’s use the example of the bashy team above. Eager to lay waste to their opposition, they spend almost all of their actions on slamming or getting in position to mark or slam. However, if this coach wants to get to their endgame, they need to not neglect the fact that they are down by four points at the moment. They need to spend at least one action to pull the score back and keep the match alive for their long game!
Basically, you must:
Define your goal.
Each Rush, prioritize actions based on achieving said goal.
Of course, it’s never quite that simple as your opponent is trying to do the same, and thus the conditions of the match are in a constant state of flux. However, the coach that best adapts to the situation and stays focused on their priorities will often come out on top. The “art” of DreadBall comes in making each Rush build of the previous toward your inevitable end game scenario. Good Luck!
At first glance, the Matsudan seem like the perfect blend of strength and skill….everything you would want in DreadBall team! However, they are not with out their drawbacks, DreadBall is a fast paced game after all, and these tubby lizards can have a hard time keeping pace with the opposition.
Obviously, the great Strength of the Matsudan is a key advantage. Loaded with Guards and Jacks to take full advantage of this attribute, the Tectonics can live up to their name and rock their opposition for sure with a devastating Slam game.
Additionally, the Matsudan all start with Grapple. This is an excellent ability, that can really give an advantage to shifting opposition players around the board.
Lastly, the Tectonics all start with Steady. This can make them very difficult to deal with, as since they all have pretty decent armour, there is a pretty good chance they stay standing and rearing to come after you for revenge!
Move….4. Speed…5+. The big weakness for the Matsudan, is that they are not getting anywhere fast. This can sometimes make it difficult for them to take full advantage of their great Skill. Matsudan Jacks will often have to resort to a Throw on the run, or have trouble reaching the deep strike zone all together. It’s not uncommon for Matsudan players to have to make either a second action where their opponents only need one, or have to risk some Dash rolls in order to try and preserve action tokens. This can put a real drain on their resources and how much they can hope to accomplish in a Rush.
No Strikers. While this need not be a huge disadvantage, and can be off set by the tremendous skill of the Matsudan, lacking a scoring specialist can still be a hindrance. One less dice on handling the ball can certainly add up, especially if your having to move on top of it. A Jack throwing on the run from short range is already down to one dice, and forget bonus strikes without coaching dice! And while it’s not the most likely set of occurrences, Matsudan Jacks can turn into prime targets for Bashy teams…if they take them out, you can’t score!
Also, I’d be remiss not to mention that they are Honourable, meaning you can’t intentionally foul with them. This means no sucker punches, so you will have to plan your slams accordingly. If you like to play dirty….this may not be the team for you!
Strategy and Tactics
There are many approaches to victory for the Matsudan…they can play to score, or they can play to kill. They can do equally well at both. As such, nearly every strategy is open to a Tectonics Coach.
However, to mitigate getting stretched on the pitch, consider adding or developing a Keeper on your roster. They can pay HUGE dividends for the Matsudan and keep them from wasting actions chasing the ball around the pitch. Baring that, perhaps keeping at least one Jack on each end of the pitch will give you some options too.
Be sure to make use of Sprint where applicable, it’s an action that sometimes gets forgotten is the hustle and bustle of dishing out pain. But for slow teams, you sometimes need to spend an action solely for the purpose of repositioning a player for future use. And while far from an “all the time” type of play, you may look at “risking” a Sprint for a pick up on your Matsudan Jacks. Yes, it’s only a two dice pickup, but on Skill 3+ it’s not the worst odds, especially if you have a card in reserve to burn for a reroll if necessary. It’s a great way to try and add some extra range to your plays where appropriate.
Lastly, don’t fall for your own strength. Many times bashy teams get caught up in slamfests, and in their eagerness to reach out and hurt as many players as possible, they stop spending actions on marking players. Now, certainly there is some wisdom in causing as much havoc as possible, and there are definitely many scenarios where support may be overkill. BUT, if there is a KEY slam that you absolutely HAVE to have for a play to work, don’t succumb to hubris and stack the odds in your favor. What matters more? Making more slams, or making them count?
I’m very proud of the base system I have settled on for my DreadBall minis. I call what I use now my Mark V base system (as it’s the 5th version I’ve made). You can read about the evolution of the design in my first article on bases: Base Design
Most people that see my bases like them and I’d like to share the 3d (STL) files here for anyone that wants to use them.
The bases are designed to be used with magnets. Specifically Neodymium magnets. The main, central magnet is a 10mm x 1mm disc magnet. The magnets for attaching the ball are 2mm x 1mm disc magnets (the ball will also require a matching magnet).
Neodymium magnets come in different strengths from N35 (weak) up to N52 (strong). I prefer the stronger magnets and try to use N50 or N52 for my bases.
You can find the magnets on eBay and Amazon with a bit of searching. Here are a few links to get you started.
So now everyone has the files and have printed the bases. Everyone has acquired magnets and are ready to put the bases together. How do we ensure that my bases are compatible with all of your bases?
As you are probably aware, magnets have a North and a South pole. This is the polarity of the magnet.
It is unlikely that your magnets with be marked to indicate which end is North and which South so we’ll need to determine the polarity ourselves. Thankfully once you have done this once you can simple use any previously assembled bases as a guide for the future.
The easiest way to determine the polarity of your magnets is either with a bowl of water and some foam/styrofoam or with a string.
tie a string around a stack of a few of your disc magnets
allow the magnets to rotate freely
when they stop spinning, the end that is pointing North is the North pole of the magnet
fill a bowl with enough water to float a small piece of foam or styrofoam in
take a stack of a few of your disc magnets and lay them on the foam in the water
the magnets will rotate around when they stop spinning, the end that is pointing North is the North pole of the magnet
Once you know the polarity mark it on the magnets with a sharpie (or similar) so you don’t lose track.
Now that you know the polarity of your magnets use the following diagram to glue in your magnets.
Red = North Polarity
Blue = South Polarity
If you follow these instructions then all of our bases and balls will be fully compatible when we meet up to play. We will be able to share bases and balls as needed.
If you have any questions please comment on the article or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tournament gaming is not really my bag. Still, it can serve as a useful challenge in a variety of ways to improve your personal playing style. It’s been through participation in tournaments that I’ve been able to develop a variety of tactics and strategies I may never have taken notice of otherwise.
Tournaments represent a great opportunity to step outside of your local scene and pit your DreadBall expertise against new faces and approaches to the game. The results can be eye opening. Folks who swear that the Castle is unbeatable, find it crumbling despite their efforts to the contrary. Coaches who insist Strikes are where it’s at, find themselves being ground out by bashy squads. And proponents of a brute force approach…..get circles run ‘round them by those favoring finesse over muscle.
Sometimes, people just simply get good at playing a certain type of coach, learning their individual ins and outs. When faced with new, unknown opposition, the game can radically change.
All this, to simply state, you are a result of your habits. You play the same people, teams, play styles, etc. You start to simply play the game a certain way. That’s where tournaments can shake things up, by turning what you think you know, on its head.
However, maybe traveling to a tournament isn’t in the cards for you. That’s fine, just try and adopt some of the same concepts into your regular games to keep things fresh, and give yourself the opportunity to expand your skills.
Tryanewteam. So, yeah, you are pretty much unstoppable with Crystallans….that’s great. How about trying Judwan? Taking a team drastically different than what you are used to can help you appreciate the game better. It may give insight into how to better defeat your antithesis (you know, the whole “know your enemy” thing), or better yet, you may discover a taste for a different play style than what you are used to and thereby increase your enjoyment of the game! SCORE!
Tryanewstrategy. Sometimes this is related to trying a new team, or sometimes it’s simply a different way of using what you already have. Perhaps you get a little more aggressive with your Veermyn Guards….or start flinging the ball around a bit more with your Corp squad. Again, tackling a different approach to the game can help you better understand both how to use AND how to defend against, different play styles.
DON’Tuseyourtriedandtrue. You don’t lose when you Castle. Great. But you don’t “win” either ‘cause everyone is crying about how broke it is. Fine. Don’t use it. At all. Dare yourself to play without that “one tactic” or strategy or what have you that is the normal key to victory. It will force you to grow your approach to the game. The Castle example, will force you to assess how to take advantage of the relative weaknesses of the approach, and search for the matchups to exploit within the game. This approach can be applied to any number of setups, tactic, etc.
Teachanolddog, anewtrick. Huh, Keepers look cool. But you’ve never used one. Make yourself do it! Find a skill, position, MVP, combo, etc. That you like the look of and just get it on the table to try it out. Theoryhammering is one thing, but playing is another. Pick something out and put it to practice and you just may surprise yourself with what you find.
Anyhow, enough rambling from me. Don’t get caught up in just “chasing wins”. Explore the game, and all it has to offer. It will enrich your DreadBall experience, and in time, the wins will start rolling in too!
The Neobots are a well rounded team that are deceptively average…..on paper. However, clever use of their Linked ability can allow them to be VERY active in their Rushes and get a lot of work done on the pitch.
One advantage of the All-Stars roster, is their access to specialists. They have Jacks, but their default roster contains three each of Guards and Strikers. This allows the team to be tailored to any style of play, and can make it easier to get a Specialist role in position to do what they do best.
While being “Average” can sometimes be a tongue in cheek derogatory statement, in DreadBall, it can actually be an advantage. Their is no obvious weakness in terms of stats to take advantage of from an opponents perspective. They can’t abuse your Agility, Strength, or Armour. Sure, sometimes might have an advantage, depending on the match up, but that doesn’t mean it’s a weakness for the Neobots. This can make the All-Stars a difficult matchup to prepare for, as they can do just about anything, making them unpredictable in the hands of crafty coach.
The true strength of this team, though, is their Linked ability. Linked can be very strong, but for most teams it has limited value as the ability requires another player to have the same ability to be utilized. Since the Neobots all start with it, that’s no problem for them!
Linked really could have its own article on effective use, but it primarily serves two main functions: 1) Do a thing better or 2)Do two things for the price of one. For example, I could “do a thing better” when I play a Slam card on a Guard, and use the Free Run to first move another player to threaten the target. Or, I can “do two things” by playing the same Slam card, but use the Free Run to pick up a loose ball with a Striker. Done well, Linked allows the All-Stars to really outwork the opposition in terms of total number of actions completed.
For some coaches, being “well rounded” is a bit of a weakness, as the squad lacks that single minded focus of having a specialty that they really excel at.
The major weakness for Neobots, however, is their “trick” has a limit. You spend DreadBall cards to activate it, specifically Action cards. Thereare ways to work around this, but it’s still a cost. It doesn’t help that the suggested starting roster only has one card, making it difficult to take advantage of.
Strategy and Tactics
While the matchup is always a factor in determining how to best defeat the opposition, it is especially so with teams that are “average”. Look for the opposing teams weakness and try to exploit it. High strength teams, for example, tend to lack in other areas, and you want to build your strategy around your advantage in those facets of the game.
However, another approach is to try and take advantage of Linked as much as possible, flatly outworking your opponent in terms of number of actions completed. Doing more each Rush can add up to a big advantage that steamrolls later in the game. Try and draw a DreadBall card each Rush that you can afford it, and in most cases choose a DreadBall card on Fan Checks to try and stockpile options. Not only do the cards themselves represent extra actions, but with Linked, it actually gives you two!
As I’ve talked about previously, I love the idea of DreadBall taking place in different venues and on different worlds. These are not only thematically interesting, but can also pose unique tactical wrinkles to the game of DreadBall as well. While far from perfect, the 1st edition supplement ChallengeCup, was on the right track for the sort of experience I’ve been looking for.
One of the elements that could be paired with the GlobalRule suggestion from Franchise Mode, is the concept of ADifferentCrowd. Not only can the venue itself pose different conditions, but the crowd can also potentially impact the game as well. This could add some thematic home field advantage.
The premise is that not every crowd expects the same style of play, or appreciates the same elements of the game as another. For example, the Long Rock Lifers home crowd may be much more interested and excited in seeing players carried off in body bags or getting one over on the Ref than seeing skillful passing plays develop deep down the pitch. However, the fans of the Pelgar Mystics may have the exact opposite sentiment.
For now, let’s assume there are broadly four types of crowds to start. The TypicalCrowd, the BrutalCrowd, the FinesseCrowd, and the DemandingCrowd. The TypicalCrowd is the same as the standard Fan Check conditions already described in the rules, so there is nothing to examine here. But let’s check out the other three:
These folks LOVE violence. They can’t get enough of it. Often the result is of little consequence to these fans, as long as someone gets pasted. Instead of the normal Fan Check conditions listed in the DreadBall rules, only the following triggers Fan Checks for a BrutalCrowd:
*Inflicting an Injury
*Committing a particularly successful foul
*Win a Distract test
*Any cards, cheerleaders or special rules that generate fan checks work as normal.
This type of crowd loves the fancy plays and seeing the high level of skill professional players possess. They actually care about points being scored! Instead of the normal Fan Check conditions listed in the DreadBall rules, only the following triggers Fan Checks for a FinesseCrowd:
*Doubling a Strike
*Catches a 9-hex pass. Once per Rush.
*Any cards, cheerleaders or special rules that generate fan checks work as normal.
There are some fans that just won’t be pleased with regular, run of the mill play. These folks need to be wowed, and only exemplary effort and skill move them to cheer. Instead of the normal Fan Check conditions listed in the DreadBall rules, only the following triggers Fan Checks for a DemandingCrowd:
*Catching a scattering ball.
*Dashes 3 or more times in the same Action without falling.
*Evades 3 or more times in the same Action without falling.
*Tripling an (X) roll with 3+ successes.
*Any cards or special rules that generate fan checks work as normal, but the Cheerleader Ability WorktheCrowd has no effect.
In league play, a team could pick which type of crowd best represents their Home fans and use the modified conditions for Fan Checks when they are the Home team in a match. Or, if the game is more of a Neutral site affair, or you just don’t “know” what type of crowd is going to show up any given match, you could roll for it! Before the match begins, the Home coach rolls a dice and consults the following:
1: a DemandingCrowd
2: a BrutalCrowd
3: a FinesseCrowd
4-6: A TypicalCrowd
Of course, there could always be more types of crowds…and maybe some support staff that could modify or interact with that as well, but alas, that’s for another time. Now get out there and get those fans on there feet!
EVENT HORIZON is a wrap, and all Coaches have returned to their locker rooms. Wounds must be mended.
On January 27, 2019 – an elite gathering of DreadBall Coaches descended upon a planet Earth watering hole titled ‘Franklin Hall.’ Adult beverages were consumed. Adult words were spoken. Below is a Tournament Organizer’s account of the day, followed by some stats. Scroll past images for their hilarious captions.
Shortly after the alarm clock rang, the TO had to bake a fresh BreadDoll.
While the oven was hot, a team and roster had to be determined.
Crunching roster numbers exacerbated the hang over from the previous night’s revelries. A trash bag was close just in case.
Prior to the loaded transport’s departure, it was time to announce my team of the day. An Xtreme team was constructed and aptly renamed, the Pojo Pussies.
The Pojo Pussies were a tight squad. 6 players and 1 MVP.
No team is complete without a logo. No longer can be admired unless it’s uploaded to DreadBall.com
Coaches arrived as soon as Franklin Hall unlocked their doors. Tabs were opened. Rosters, Home/Visitor cards, and Tournament Score Sheets were distributed. Balls were launched before high noon.
Four rounds of mayhem ensued. Mayhem is stressed, because all games were conducted with the Event Deck. Elmer and Dobbs know how to create crazy! Blinding lights, streaking fans, and countless brawls threw the most seasoned Coach into a tailspin. Random photos from various matches are posted below.
One of the most startling events witnessed was through a Matsudan Team Captain card.
Dave was on the ropes against Brett’s Neobots when this Event Card was drawn.
Despite a much needed reset, Dave couldn’t monopolize on the opportunity.
And at the end of the day, there was one Hero. North American DreadBall Circuit tournaments are equitable with sharing superlatives. Because Event Horizon was non-sanctioned, the lion’s share went to Kevin Cornell’s Marauder team – THE NUT PUNCHERS!
And… There was one zero. The BreadDoll‘s very own Miniature Master and Hobby Highlighter got the titular prize for last place.
By the numbers
Coach Name / Team Name (team type) / Tournament Points / Fan Check “Cheers” / Serous Injuries = record