Rules and Regs: Threat (Part 1)

There are a few Abilities that tend to cause some confusion. Two such Abilities that seem to frequently come up are Gotcha and Threatening. Both of these Abilities affect the way Threat is applied in certain situations. Let’s start with a quick look at the basics of Threat.

Threat

Threat is a negative modifier on a test. All Players project Threat into their front 3 hexes known as that Player’s Threat Hexes.

basic_threat
FIG 1: Player A Threatens their front 3 hexes known as their Threat Hexes.

When a Player needs to make a test, if they are in an Opposing Player’s Threat Hexes they will have a -1 on their test. (Note: There are a few tests that are not affected by Threat as indicted in the rules. For example Armor Tests are not affected by Threat.)

basic_threat_minus1
FIG 2: Player B is attempting to Pick up the Ball but has a -1 (one less dice) because Player A is Threatening Player B

Threat modifiers stack but only to a maximum of -2. Threat does not apply if the Opposing Player is participating in the test because it is an (X) test (an (X) test is a test where your success’ are compared to your opponent’s success’, also known as an Opposed Test).

max_threat_minus_2
FIG 3: Player B is attempting to Pick up the Ball. Even though Player B is Threatened by 3 opposing Players (A, C, D), Player B is only at a -2 on their test because -2 is the most Threat possible
opposed_no_threat
FIG 4: Player A is Slamming Player B. Neither Player has any negative modifiers because Threat does not apply from Players involved in an opposed (X) test.

Threatening (Ability)

“This Player’s Threat Hexes always modify a test (up to the maximum) if the modifier is listed. For example, if a Threatening Player Slams an opponent then that target Player will receive a-1 modifier for being in the Slamming Player’s Threat Hex.”

Some Players start with or can aquire the Threatening ability. All Threatening does is change the rules for this Player so that their Threat DOES apply during an opposed (X) test.

threatening
FIG 5: Player A is Slamming Player B. Because Player A has the Threatening ability their Threat applies even during the opposed Slam test so Player B has a -1 on their test.

What tends to confuse some coaches is the part of the rule that states “(up to the maximum)”. This just means that even with Threatening the maximum Threat allowed is still -2.

Gotcha (Ability)

“Some Players are very tricky to get away from. Even a single Player with this ability causes the maximum -2 modifier for threatening an opponent during a test. A Player with Gotcha may Restrain an opponent as normal, taking the modifier to -3.”

The Gotcha ability allows a single player to apply the maximum Threat of -2 all by themselves.

gotcha_max_minus_2_
FIG 6: Player A is Slamming Player B with assistance from Player C. Player C has the Gotcha ability so is Threatening Player B for -2. Player B is at -2 on the test

The maximum Threat allowed is still -2. If a Player with the Gotcha ability and another player are both Threatening one of their opponents, that opponent is only at a -2.

gotcha_max_minus_2
FIG 7: Player A is Slamming Player B with assistance from Player A’s teammates Player C and Player D. Player C has the Gotcha ability so is Threatening Player B for -2. Player D is also Threatening Player B for -1. The combined Threat of Players C and D is -3 but because the maximum Threat allowed is -2, Player B is only at -2 on the test.

What can confuse some coaches is the mention in the Gotcha rules of a -3 modifier in the last sentence. The -3 only happens if the Player with Gotcha chooses to do a Restrain Foul when one of their opponents attempts to Evade out of one of their Threat Hexes.

Threatening AND Gotcha

Both the Threatening and Gotcha abilities are powerful on their own but when a Player has both of these abilities they are very powerful indeed.

This combination of abilities allows a single Player to apply a -2 Threat to an opponent even during a opposed test.

gotcha_and_threatening
FIG 8: Player A with Gotcha and Threatening is Slamming Player B. Player B is at a -2 on the test.

 

Hopefully this article has helped to clear up any confusion any coaches might have had regarding Threat.

If a future article I will look closer at the Stench and Keeper abilites and how they apply additional Threat and negative modifiers as well.

3 on 3 Team Building: Tier 2

3 on 3 Team Building: Tier 2

Little known fact: Blaine is a classically trained Shakespearean actor….probably

Building a team for 3 on 3 is a considerable part of the small game format charm. Getting to throw together a mishmash of alien scum to drub your fellows with is both fun and characterful. The final version of how I’d like to see this go is pretty in depth and is still in development. In the mean time, there is the quick “play with what you got” approach that we already have listed in the rules. I refer to those as “Tier 1” team building rules. The rules I’d like to get to are referred to as “Tier 3” team building rules, and will have a considerable amount of focus on campaigns and leagues as well.

No, I haven’t forgotten how to count. Today, I am sharing a “get you by” set of team building rules lovingly referred to as….you guessed it, “Tier 2”.

Tier 2 team building requires you to have access to the DreadBall Xtreme Players Manual. In this format, you design your sponsor as outlined in the DBX rules, picking your associated groups. The difference is, all the player types will use the costs from the DB2 manual. Additionally, if your sponsor is counted as a Stranger (0 matching groups) to the player they wish to hire, you must increase their cost by 100mc. If the player you wish to hire is an Ally (1 group match), the players cost is only increased by 60mc. Finally, if you are able to count the desired player as a Friend (2+ matches), there is no additional fee to hire them beyond their base cost.

Sponsors have a major impact on the types of players you will be able to hire….choose wisely!

To Summarize:

Stranger: +100mc

Ally: +60mc

Friend: No additional cost.

Now, of course, there are a few more player types that weren’t around when the Players Manual was created. Here are a few more entries:

Matsudan

Guard: Guard, Proud

Jack: DreadBall, Proud

Yndij

Guard: Hunter, Rebel

Jack: Hunter, Jack

Striker: DreadBall, Hunter

Neo-bot

Guard, Jack, Striker: DreadBall, Mr. Roboto

Cyborg

All players built as Cyborgs are considered: Outcast, Weird Science

Let us know how you get on with the Tier 2 team building rules, and 3 on 3 in general!

DreadBall 3-on-3!

Here it is! The completely unofficial, amateur, backstreet pickup game of DreadBall! DreadBall 3-on-3!

One of the variants of DreadBall that is currently (legally) growing in popularity is 3-on-3 DreadBall. 3-on-3, sometimes called StreetBall due to its origins, is a smaller fast paced DreadBall involving small teams on even smaller pitch.

Ah, the field of dreams….or maiming…..mostly maiming…

Alternating Activation

The biggest change for 3-on-3 is the Rush and Action structure. Coaches alternate taking actions. Each coach gets to spend only 1 action token on their turn.

Rushes

There are no Rushes in 3-on-3. Each coach has 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)

Action Tokens

Each coach starts with 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)

You can play any number of Action cards (still max 1 per player per turn) when it is your turn to play an Action token, but you still have to play a token either before or after or between playing Action cards.

So. Many. TOKENS.

Setup

Whichever coach is the underdog in a 3-on-3 match gets to choose Home or Visitor. Max of 3 players on the pitch….to start…..

Setup behind the center line of your side color (White for Home, red for Visitor)

Ball Launch

The ball launches from the center hex and scatters. If a player is occupying the center hex when the ball launches they might be hit. Roll a 3 dice 4+ test for the ball.

The ball cannot be caught in the center hex but can be caught when it scatters as if it was an inaccurate pass.

Strikes

There are no set Strikezones. Players can Throw Strikes from anywhere in range.

Strikes are still -1 for Throwing at a small target. All Strikes are worth 1 point.

Strike hexes are impassible, as there is a physical Strikepost in this space in a 3-on-3 game. No fancy holographic Strikehexs here.

Sturdy construction, timeless design. And ALWAYS in the way!

Dunking

If you attempt to throw a Strike from adjacent to the Strikehex you gain a +1 on your Throw.

Score

The team with the most points at the end of a match wins, as is usual. If at any point during the game one team is up by 5 Strikes it is a landslide win and the game ends. A tie will result in Sudden Death overtime. Coaches “reset” their allotment of Action Tokens and continue play.

Sudden Death

There are no “gates” to keep players from coming on the pitch, so there are no restrictions to bringing players on in overtime. However, in the true sense of the sporting term “sudden death”, whichever team scores next wins the match and ends the game.

Injuries

Injured players are not removed from the pitch. When a player is injured lay them prone and place a marker representing how badly they were injured in the Sin Bin (or use a prone model and place the regular mini in the Sin Bin) in their stead.

If the injured player is injured further while on the pitch move their injury token deeper into the Sin Bin, if this results in death, remove the player from the pitch and the injury token from the Sin Bin. Whenever a coach plays a Sin Bin Action Token, in addition to their regular action, they may move all fouling players through the Sin Bin and make a Recovery Roll for injured ones.

Recovery Rolls

At the end of each Sin Bin Action Token, every injured player from the active team must make a recovery roll. This is not optional. A player cannot attempt to Stand Up until they have recovered from all of their injuries.

Recovery Roll: a 3 dice Strength test (1).

-1 per opposing player threatening the hex you are in (maximum of -2).

Recovery Succeeds: the player removes one injury per success.

Recovery Fails: the player sustains one more injury as they continue to bleed out. If this takes the total to 4, then they die and are removed.

Fouls

There is no Refbot in 3-on-3, players are calling their own Fouls.

When you call a foul roll the Spot Test as usual.

The Argue (test that opposes the Spot Check in 3- on-3) roll is:

+1 for the player committing the foul

+1 if the player committing the foul is a guard

+1 to Argue if there is at least 1 teammate within 5 hexes of the fouling player.

Tie: Fouling player is sent to the Sub Bench

Spot Wins: Fouling player is sent to the “1” space of the Sin Bin

Argue Wins: Fouling player stays on the Pitch

Sneak Amendment: If a Coach ends an Action with more than 3 uninjured Players on the pitch, they are committing a Sneak Foul.

Momentum

Resources are crucial in 3 on 3…cards and free actions let you do more with your one token!

In 3-on-3 DreadBall there isn’t a big stadium full of fans. There are no fans checks, but teams can build up Momentum. There are two main methods of generating Momentum:

-Double a Strike

-Seriously Injure an opponent

When an action meets one of these conditions, draw a card and look at the pips.

If the card has 1 pip save it as usual.

If the card has 2 pips immediately discard it and take a Coaching Dice

If the card has 3 pips immediately discard it and take a Card into your hand

Once you have collected 3 pips of single pip cards you can immediately choose to take a Coaching Dice or Card in exchange.

Roster

Starting Roster funding: 600mc

Players can be purchased from all teams.

The minimum number of players on a roster is 3

The maximum number of players on a roster is 5

To represent the rag tag, pick up nature of the setting, you can not have more than one of the same kind of player (race and position).

Additionally, specialists (Strikers and Guards) are rare, most amateur and pick up players don’t have that level of training. To represent this, you may have no more than two specialists on your roster total. So, either 1 Striker and 1 Guard…or 2 Guards, etc.

No Assistant Coaches or Cheerleaders are allowed in 3-on-3

No cards or coaching dice can be purchased on a starting 3-on-3 roster

Lastly, players don’t normally earn experience. It’s not the players who level up and advance, but rather YOU, the Coach, the Manager, the Sponsor…….but more on that next time!

A new spin on an old favorite

So, last time I left of rambling about different versions of DreadBall in the DB universe. Really, it makes a lot of sense to me, and you see it in real sports all the time. I’m a big fan of rugby, but I really enjoy rugby sevens too. I used to watch football (erm, gridiron, or North American rules football to those in other parts of the world), but I was a season ticket holder to Arena Football.

Even in…other sports games, I really enjoyed variants. From multi race teams deep in a dungeon, to a smaller pitch with fewer players, each variation of the rules emphasized new ways to play and challenge yourself.

A lot of 3-on-3 is similar to Xtreme, including a focus on the Manager/Sponsor

Well, I’d like to do the same thing with DreadBall. The first variant of the game is a little thing we have internally referred to as DreadBall 3-on-3. It started as a thought experiment on how to capture a different feel and flow to the game and slowly morphed into its own at home version. Later, the variant developed a little further for capturing some of the rules cast to wayside from DBX when we moved to second edition. And finally, it was put together intended to be used as a mini game for conventions as a smaller, quicker, introductory game to DreadBall. Well, it never quite made it to that. So, rather than be lost to the ravages of time and my “to do” folder, it is being resurrected here on BreadDoll.

“Looks like a fun place to play…safe? NO. But fun…”

Over a series of articles, the back alley amateur version of DreadBall will be developed. The version of the game that is played by enthusiasts and wannabes as opposed to highly sought after professionals. The holographic strike targets and neodurium pitch of the pro ranks? Nah, here it’s concrete and cobbled together physical strike posts. It’s gritty and messy. It’s also chaotically fast. You won’t find any Cheerleaders or Assistant coaches either. Heck, your team will hardly be cohesive at all, and that is a good deal of the challenge. But, who knows? Maybe you’ve got what it takes to weld these dregs into a formidable force. Maybe charge up the semi-pro ranks. Maybe a talent or two gets discovered. Let’s find out! Next time we will peel back the curtain and take a peak at the fundamental workings of the stripped down amateur game.

Hobby Highlight: Sideline Card

When I play DreadBall I prefer a narrow low-profile pitch instead of the larger pitches. I like the smaller table space the low-profile pitches take up and the portability.

low_profile

One of the few drawbacks is the lack of a sideline to place Support Staff. The solution: Sideline Card.

Support_Staff_Side_Card

The Sideline Card is simply placed along the side of the low-profile pitch of your choice and used to track when your Support Staff (Assistant Coaches and Cheerleaders) are available to be used.

pitch-w-side-cards

If you don’t have or use Fan Support cards (Home/Visitor) to put your Fan Checks under you can also use an alternate version of the Sideline Card.

Support_Staff_Side_Card_w_Fan_Checks

The Sideline Card is designed to be printed on a ‘Big Card’ (3.5″ x 5.75″). Here is a suitably large card back.

large_card_DB_back

The Greatest Sport in the Galaxy!……?

The Greatest Sport in the Galaxy!……?

Most popular sport in the galaxy?

DreadBall is by far the most popular sport in the GCPS Core Worlds. It even has a sizable following in some of the outer spheres. But the further you get from the Core and all it’s niceties, far from all the glitz and glamor, you find “entertainment” can take wildly different forms. And heck, while as previously mentioned DreadBall may be the most POPULAR sport in Core space, it is certainly not the ONLY sport.

So, what other sports grace the tri-vids and holodecks of the far future?

Well, we know OF Razordisc. But not too much about it.

I imagine there is some kind of racing too.

If you ain’t first, you’re last!

I also firmly believe there has to be some kind of combat sport too….a futuristic MMA with cyborgs, aliens…and…and alien cyborgs! I’ve toyed with some rules for such a thing. Maybe I’ll actually finish it one day…..maybe.

Watch out for its left hook…..er, stabby thing

Another project I’ve looked at is a sort of mash up of American Gladiator meets Ninja Warrior. Basically, the Warpath equivalent of that cinematic masterpiece, The Running Man. I think that would make for a fantastically crazy fun game night! Star Saga tiles, some crazy big baddies (like my Barricade with two Strider Chainsaw arms!), and a couple of expendable runners….might have to dig into that one a little deeper!

“This ain’t the Price is Right!”

However, what I really think might be interesting, and given the focus of this blog, is what other variants of DB are there? We have the stadium game. We have the spectacle that is Ultimate. But what about that rumored underground version of DreadBall? That illegal variant that may just be a little too eXtreme for the masses? Well, let’s see where we can take that, but we might have to start in a back alley first, before venturing into the criminal underground…

Till next time, keep it legal!

Match Types: The Aggregate Match

The Aggregate Match

The greatest sport in the galaxy has many different ways it can be played. From the simple one off pick up games, to the chaos of a fully realized Ultimate match, each type has different aspects that can alter the types of challenges a coach may face. However, one that I find particularly interesting, yet underutilized, is the Aggregate Match.

For those unfamiliar, a DreadBall Aggregate Match is essentially two games as one. The same two teams play two consecutive matches, reversing Home/Visitor roles in the second game, and the winner is the team with the greater net score.

For example, Team A is Home in match one and wins the match by 2 points. In the second match, Team B is Home and they win by 3 points. Though each team won one match apiece, Team B would be declared the overall winner of the Aggregate Match by virtue of the score differential (3 points being more than 2, ya know).

Every point (and casualty!) matters in Aggregate play!

If you really want to get in the spirit of the aggregate match, there is a great one page piece of fluff in the Season 2 rulebook from first edition DreadBall on page 22. Perfectly encapsulates the difference of playing two matches rather than one.

Now, there are two things to consider.

One, I find Aggregate more interesting if teams don’t “reset”. By that, I mean it is more like league play in that casualties matter. Teams can’t ignore the effects of attrition and simply try to outgun their opposition if it means going into a second match seriously depleted.

Two, tiebreakers. What happens if both teams have the same score? Well, the simplest route to take is to simply set back up for a third “winner take all” Match. Another similar, yet subtly different approach, is to take the match into overtime. However, the key point is that you and your opponent have an agreed upon plan in place should a tie happen.

Anyhow, I think the Aggregate Match has a lot to offer in changing the way even casual games are played…even offering a taste of league style play to those who might otherwise not get much opportunity. Give it a go next time you hit the neodurium and let us know how you got on!

Fluffy Fluffy Fluff

Fluffy Fluffy Fluff

DreadBall is the Greatest Sport in the Galaxy! But even as fierce as the action is on the pitch, there are even more stories and events to be told off of it. What we mostly have is some “fluff” in the rulebooks, snippets of happenings and factoids that allude to the greater context the sport occupies. There is the fan fiction collection from the Xtreme KS, and perhaps a few pieces in the old Iron Watch. There also appears to be a DreadBall novel coming in the not so distant future.

There is so much that can be explored in DreadBall. Unfortunately, “sports fiction” can be particularly tricky to “get right”. In that sense, some times the smaller type of pieces in the rulebook can be better, to convey just a simple scene of action and leave it at that. However, getting behind the scenes entails doing a lot more, and I’m hopeful we will get something the excites that imagination as to what a DreadBall league or season can be like.

The fluff in the rulebook only scratches the surface of the DB universe!

My favorite type of pieces right now are the throw away one off remarks, like the Teraton Cheerleader disaster. I am also really fond of the one page piece of the Aggregate match interview between a Marauder and Corporation squad. Probably just because I like the Aggregate format as something a little more unique, but still, it offers a glimpse into the DreadBall world as more than a single match—which is prone to happen when you mostly play one offs, or even tournaments with the normal “reset” between rounds. At least in League play, you have to manage more than wins and losses…..for better, or for worse.

Oh dear, not another one….

Anyway, what’s your favorite bit of background from the DB universe? Or what would you like to see or find out more about?

Making A New Pitch: Part 1

I’m gonna keep it short and sweet this week. I’ve created many custom pitches since I started playing DreadBall. The design has evolved over time to my current favorite.

Dreadball_2018_Pitch_28x14_BreadDoll
My favorite pitch. The BreadDoll pitch.

The BreadDoll pitch has ball launch arrows, ball launch/scatter directions on both the Home and Visitor sides of the pitch, bounce direction references for maximum distance launches, and strike value pips. It’s a narrow, “low profile” pitch which I prefer for it’s portability.

While I’m still working (however slowly) on making a 3-dimensional pitch I’m also in the mood to make a new 2-dimensional (traditional) DreadBall pitch.

There a few pitches over the years that I started working on but never finished as well as a few I wanted to make but never started on. I’ve decided to work on one of the unfinshed pitches and finsih it up using all the design elements of the BreadDoll pitch (above).

Unfinished designs:

  • Lava Pitch
  • Z’zor Hive Pitch
  • Underwater Pitch

I’m leaning towards the water or Z’zor pitch but let me know which one you’d like me to work on.

 

To Dice, or not to Dice?

To Dice, or not to Dice?

Chessex is my usual choice for dice….typically Gemini

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.

Color match….acquired!

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.

Mmmm…..Beautifully Baked!

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?

Drop us a comment and share!