Currently, the DreadBall 3-on-3 rules utilizes a boatload of Tokens:
Each coach starts with 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)
Rebs cannot spend 2 action tokens on the same player on consecutive turns.
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.
While you could still use tokens if you wish, BreadDoll is making some nifty cards to use in their place. They are a little easier to manage, easier to distinguish different types, and future proofs for a few other little twists we are developing. While they are in fact cards, they will still be referred to as “Tokens” so as not to create confusion with the DreadBall Action cards. It’s important to be able to distinguish between the two.
The total number of tokens will still be 25, but the breakdown is slightly different.
The 25 tokens now consist of:
5 Sin Bin
2 Activate and play another token
3 Activate and draw a card
15 Standard Activation
As you may notice, there are few new types of tokens. The sin bin and standard activation tokens have dropped in number to accommodate the new types.
The Activate and play another Token is somewhat self explanatory, and really powerful. Being able to play two activations together is always strong in 3-on-3, but is usually limited to when you double a pick up or catch, or play an Action card—which can be difficult to come by. This gives you two opportunities per match to make a decisive and potentially game changing play! It should be noted that you can’t use both of them together, ie, you can’t play Activate and play another token to activate a player, then play your other Activate and play another token. Trust me, it’s not the most efficient use of it anyway.
The Activate and draw a card token gives a little more utility and flexibility in playing the game. It can be difficult to spend actions on drawing cards and give your opponent essentially two uninterrupted activations. Sometimes it pays off to stock pile action cards to do a lot in a single activation later in the match, but you have to be careful not let your opponent steamroll you in the meantime. When you play an Activate and draw a card token, not only do you get to Activate a player, at the end of the players action, you may also draw a DreadBall card. Oh the options! But be careful, you only get three for the match, after that you have to earn the cards the hard way!
Anyway, our resident awesome thingie maker, Geoff, will be putting together a file for the tokens. Print them out when they are available and give it a go!
There are some Abilities that can be confusing. Abilities that modify or change the way Threat works are often misunderstood. In Part 1 we looked at Gotchaand Threatening as well as the the basics of Threat. In Part 2 we will look at the Keeperand StenchAbilities.
The Keeper Ability allows a Guard to project 1 Threat onto any hexes in the Strike Zone that are in their front arc as long as the Player with the Keeper ability is also within the Strike Zone. This is a goal tender Ability meant to allow a single Player to better protect a Strike Zone.
Keeper and Gotcha
The Gotcha Ability does not improve the Keeper Ability. If a Player has both Keeper and Gotcha Abilities they still only project 1 Threat on the hexes of the Strike Zone in their front arc, not 2 Threat. The Player with Gotcha would still project 2 Threat into their regular Threat Hexes.
Stench projects a negative modifier of 1 into all adjacent hexes of the Player with the Ability. Any Opposing Player in one of these adjacent hexes is affected and suffers a -1 modifier on all tests.
Stench does not apply Threat. Stench applies a separate negative modifier that stacks with Threat. Stench does not stack with other Stench. As you can see in the image the negative modifier is still only -1 where the Player’s Stench Abilities overlap.
Keeper and Stench
A Keeper with the Stench ability would project 1 Threat to any Strike Zone hexes in their front arc (as long as they were in the Strike Zone) and the Stench modifier would stack with this in any of the Keepers adjacent hexes increasing the overall negative modifier to 2.
Keeper, Stench, and Gotcha
A Keeper with the Stench and Gotcha Abilities would project 1 Threat to any Strike Zone hexes in their front arc (as long as they were in the Strike Zone) and the Stench modifier would stack with this in any of the Keepers adjacent hexes increasing the overall negative modifier by 1. The adjacent hexes in the Keepers front arc would be under 2 Threat from Gotcha so the total negative modifier in these hexes would be 3.
You and the gang head out for a nice “friendly” pick up game of the greatest sport in the galaxy. The players are gathered, but what’s this? The usual playing space that you use for a pitch is a cluttered mess! After carefully cutting the locks on the warehouse, you’d think the least they could do was leave some open play space for DreadBall…..geesh!
It is an inevitable fact, when you don’t have access to professional venues, things are going to try and get in the way of your game. However, rather than stopping the action, it can be a way to add to the fun!
Obstacles in DreadBall 3-on-3
Below you will find rules for incorporating the first three types of obstacles players typically run across in their pickup matches of DB. Obstacles help add variety to pitch layouts, and can come in handy when using non-“standard” pitches as well. But more on that at a later time.
Veterans of the game will recognize the first two types as having been originally introduced in Xtreme. The third type is something of a necessity for defining when using some non traditional layouts.
The first type of obstacle, is the Tall obstacle. Tall obstacles are typically things like support columns, large shipping containers, pillars, etc. Even the strike post, is considered a Tall obstacle. Tall obstacles block the ball path when trying to make a throw or scatter, in much the same way as an opposing player or wall. Additionally, a Tall obstacle can not be moved through nor can it be Jumped over.
The second type of obstacle, is the Short Obstacle. This category can include other types of obstacles as well, such as traps, but typically includes things like crates, debris piles, dead bodies….that sort of thing. Short obstacles can not be moved through, but they CAN be Jumped over. Additionally, Short obstacles do NOT block the path of a ball being thrown or scattered.. However, a ball that ends its movement on a Short obstacle must be scattered immediately.
A third obstacle type is an impassable wall. Impassable walls, obviously, can not be moved through, and also block the path of the ball in the same manner as walls in regular DreadBall. This needs additional defining only in the sense that there may be more walls than usually found on a standard DB pitch. Pick up games will sometimes be played on pitches that have unusual angles in the walls that might make it difficult to ascertain if another player is eligible to make a Throw to a specific target. Simply draw an imaginary line from the hex of the throwing player to the target hex. If it crosses a hex with an impassable wall, or even simply a boundary wall, then the throw can not be attempted.
Anyway, there is much more to explore in the way of obstacles. Don’t let them get in the way, but make it part of how you play!
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 interview is important. Very important. It’s not just a series of Q&A. It’s not just an opportunity for some terrible puns, double entendres, and strings of alliteration.
This interview is educational. It’s a history lesson. It’s a design lesson. It’s a business lesson. It’s all thanks to the mind of James Hewitt. His paws have touched your favorite, and soon-to-be favorite, games; DreadBall, Blitz Bowl, Goreschosen, The Silver Tower, Hellboy, League of Infamy, and Robot Fight Club to name a few. Let’s find out why.
James Hewitt. Desiger. Cat Herder. Funniest guy in the room.
0. Have you seen the Saturday Night Live episode where comedian Chris Farley incompetently interviews Paul McCartney?
…It’s great to be here.
1. DreadBall’s original design is credited to Jake Thornton. However, there is legend that you played an integral part in the game development. What can you share about DreadBall’s origin?
Ha! Straight out the gate with the big questions, eh? It’s a long and complicated story, and I can only tell you what happened from my perspective, and with a gap of nearly a decade (dear God) since it all happened. Details might be vague, I might have a few things in the wrong order, and I’m certain that there’s a whole other story to be told from the other side!
The short answer is: I was involved in the earliest stages of the core DreadBall engine design, but everything after that was Jake.
I first started interacting with Mantic when my former boss from Games Workshop retail (who was Mantic’s trade sales manager at the time) heard that Ronnie Renton was looking for someone to design a sci-fi sports game. He knew that I was really keen to design games for a living – I’d been doing it in my spare time for years – so he hooked me up with a meeting. I came up with a game called Razordisc, which was basically brutal sci-fi ultimate frisbee. (I actually did a walkthrough of Razordisc on the Needy Cat Games patreon page – www.patreon.com/needycatgames – if anyone’s interested.)
I worked on it for several months, figuring out what worked and what didn’t – I had a while as they’d only been talking about it in vague terms, and weren’t ready for a pitch meeting or anything for quite a while. Eventually I took it to Mantic and showed it to Ronnie and the gang; in hindsight, knowing what I know now as a professional game designer, I wince a bit when I think about how much time I spent worrying about laying out the rulebook and mocking up prototypes. I think it was very clear that I was an amateur punching above my weight!
Despite my hindsight misgivings they really liked the game, but they were appropriately cagey about handing a big project to someone so fresh-faced and new. To give some context, this was before Mantic started using Kickstarter – it was around the time that Project Pandora came out – so they weren’t at the point where they wanted to be taking big risks. Ronnie’s suggestion was that he’d bring Jake onto the project and we’d work on it together. We’d be credited as co-designers, and so on – it would be a collaboration, developing Razordisc and making a sellable product.
Jake and I got on fine, but he was very keen to scrap the game and start again from scratch, as he obviously had plenty of ideas of his own. At the time he told me he never ever got around to reading Razordisc, but I’ve never been sure, because there are definitely a lot of similarities between that and the early drafts of DreadBall. So once a week I’d go over to his place and we’d work on stuff, testing out ideas and figuring out what the game would look like, debating the finer points of rules, and so on. The fact that it was a sports game played on a hex grid with dice pools (just like Razordisc) meant I had several months’ headstart when it came to knowing what our potential pitfalls would be, and I felt like I was really helping shape the core game. Also, Jake seemed very keen to borrow elements from Blood Bowl (which he’d been in charge of for a while during his time at GW). I argued quite strongly against at every opportunity, because I felt like this was a chance to make something fresh and different.
As time went by I got the feeling that Jake was less keen to have me on the project. He started standing his ground more and more firmly and shooting down any feedback I offered, and being more cagey about sharing rules documentation with me. I gradually got less and less involved – I was working full time, and where we’d previously been having meetings at Mantic on days when I could take a long lunch or something, that stopped being a consideration, and Jake started having solo meetings with them. In the end I was barely working on it at all, just writing bits and pieces of fiction or helping run playtest events.
There’s actually a pretty clear demarcation between the stuff I worked on and the stuff I didn’t; the core rules (not the ref, and not the cards) and the Corporation and Marauder teams were done by the two of us working together, and everything after that was Jake working on his own. (Back when the first edition “Kick Off” boxed set was released, I could very easily point at it and say ‘I was involved in everything in there!’) Eventually, when he handed over the manuscript, he’d credited me as “Lead Playtester”; the Mantic guys disagreed and changed it to Supporting Developer without asking him. The whole situation was pretty sour, and felt like it caused a lot of bad blood that I’d never wanted – it was especially awkward when I ended up working at Mantic full-time, and had to work on things with Jake! Because the ‘official line’ was that Jake designed the game by himself, I wasn’t in a position to say anything about my involvement, which is why it’s probably become some weird urban legend. These days I don’t mind being a bit more open about it!
In the intervening years we’ve bumped into each other at shows, and we always have a nice catch-up, so I hope it’s all water under the bridge.
2. What were your reactions during the first DreadBall Kickstarter campaign, and were there any memorable challenges or opportunities during that crowd-sourcing effort?
It was mad! By that point I wasn’t heavily involved with the game any more, but Chris from Mantic got in touch to ask if I wanted to help out by answering some comments on BoardGameGeek and the like. I was more than happy to – despite the slight awkwardness I was incredibly proud of the game, so I was dashing around answering questions in loads of places (which eventually led to me being offered the community manager job). Kickstarter back then was the wild west! No one really knew what worked, or how big things could get. It was Mantic’s second Kickstarter and the first one that really took off, so the biggest challenge was figuring out what would come next. Obviously the game ended up having a huge pile of stretch goals – from my perspective, it was a challenge to keep up with everything so I could answer questions!
3. Your designs at Games Workshop are impressive (thank you for Gorechosen). In particular, you developed the rules for the Blood Bowl (2016). Did your work with DreadBall influence that other sports game?
Not Blood Bowl, because that was a cut-and-paste job. We just took the existing living rules document and laid it out into a book. But Blitz Bowl (the spinoff game which is currently only available in Barnes and Noble in the US, and certain stores in Germany) was very much influenced by what we’d done with DreadBall. It addressed a lot of the same issues – how do you take a game like Blood Bowl and distil it down into something that’s fun and challenging in a 30-45 minute play time? Smaller teams, fewer punitive rules and multiple ways to score are all common themes between the two games.
4. Follow up; how would you compare DreadBall to Blood Bowl?
I like them both but in very different ways. Blood Bowl is a commitment. Each game can be an absolute slog. It’s also horribly punishing; it has a nasty learning curve that goes out of its way to make new players cry, and you can find yourself playing for two hours after you’ve realised that you can’t win. But the league rules are incredibly deep and the fanbase has to be seen to be believed. They have regular events with 500+ attendees. It’s madness. DreadBall, on the other hand, is fun and light and entertaining. It’s always surprising, it rewards risky play and it’s regularly hilarious to watch.
5. Hilarious.. I”ll get back to that in a moment. Mantic Entertainment and Games Workshop are on your resume. Recently, you began your own game company – Needy Cat Games! What drove you in this independent direction?
Several things! I’ve always wanted to design games for myself. I’d been hanging around GW for about four years, designing rules for games, and it was increasingly apparent to me that I wasn’t a good fit. There was too much work to do everything to a good standard, and I hated the idea of doing what I saw as a sub-par job, so I was working myself to the bone. There was also a constant pressure from different managers, all pulling in different directions, and sometimes it felt like I was screaming into the void. Then a colleague passed away unexpectedly in his early forties, and I realised that life is short and you sometimes need to take a leap of faith if you’re not happy somewhere.
So I did!
Sophie (Significant other) was helping out part-time at first, then came on full-time within the first six months (she ended up doing most of the heavy lifting on Hellboy, after I’d designed the core rules). We haven’t looked back. It’s terrifying sometimes (this is our only income – and we have a mortgage and a four year old daughter) but it’s constantly rewarding, and we’re free to drive in the direction we want. We always end up doing way too much work, but it all looks like it’s starting to pay off!
6. Robot Fight Club is an upcoming title from Needy Cat Games. Can you offer our Coaches a compelling pitch?
Why yes, I could! 😉
Robot Fight Club – coming to Kickstarter soon! – is a two-player arena combat game in which each player builds a pair of customisable robots and sends them into battle against their opponent’s team. Gameplay is fast and tactical – you’re playing cards from a limited selection to active one of your robots each turn, trying to second-guess which robot your opponent will be activating based on the board state and the cards that you know they’ve already played. A bout lasts about 15-20 minutes, and you play to the best of three, so a full game usually takes less than an hour. There are a lot of parallels with DreadBall – two players, short play time, lots of interesting decisions and a game engine that rewards risk-taking! If you want to know more, check out www.needycatgames.com or find us on social media.
7. Reddit is technically a social media site, though arguably it’s more akin to a cesspool of scumbags, criminals, and perverts. You have countered the site’s trend of negativity with some positive contributions. Specifically, a 2018 thread of Q&A. You generously answered dozens of grognard head-scratchers. One of your remarks has lingered with this BreadDoll editor; the difference between a “good game” and a “good enough to sell” game. Can you elaborate on that observation?
Ha! I’ve been on reddit for about 11 years, and I find that the trick is to tailor the subreddits that you read. The default subs are pretty dreadful. Reddit lets anyone create as many anonymous accounts as they want, and we all know what anonymity leads to online! Still, if you find some decent subreddits that are a bit off the beaten track, you’ll find some incredible, friendly communities. /r/boardgames is great, as is /r/tabletopgamedesign – in fact, most of the tabletop games related subs are pretty awesome. I imagine any of the ones that are tied to a special interest are gonna be pretty good.
Anyway! That wasn’t the question.
To expand on the observation you mentioned, there are different reasons that games get designed. If an indie publisher puts out their very first board game, and they haven’t got a license or any big names tied to it, the game will sell entirely on its own merits, so the game design has to be good. And it probably will be, because it’s probably been designed for the same reason George Mallory climbed Everest. (Many game designers can’t imagine not designing games.)
However, once you step outside that, you get games which are made for more ‘corporate’ reasons. I don’t say that as a bad thing, I just use the word to describe games that are designed to support a product or meet a business need. For example, a company has a gap in their release schedule, or they have a range of miniatures that needs an accompanying rule set, or they need a £15 game that fits in a small box and can be sold as an entry-level product. Or whatever. That’s where freelance designers like us come in – companies come to us with a game need, we go away and work on a pitch, and if it all goes ahead we’ll make a game which fits their brief. It’s also how the vast majority of companies with in-house designers operate.
The problem is, “be an awesome game” is rarely a business need, so as a designer you have to find the balance between the awesome game you want to design and the one that fits the brief and is achievable in the time frame. At Needy Cat we take a lot of pride in always designing our games to a high standard, but when you get games designed by in-house designers who are never gonna be credited anyway, I absolutely understand why they might let their standards slide, especially when their managers tell them that the only thing that matters is that they have “a game” to sell, regardless of whether it’s any good. I can’t remember if I told this anecdote on reddit – I probably did – but at GW I was once told by a manager that I was working too hard and making a game “good” instead of “good enough”. From his point of view, he’d already ticked the box he had to tick – yes, we have a product which contains miniatures and rules and which can be sold for £90 as a game – so he didn’t understand why I was so keen to keep working past that point. From my point of view I was designing a game that people would have fun playing, so it had to be good.
And that’s the difference.
8. Back to hilarity. You have some professional experience in comedy. How important is humor in game development?
I wonder what you’ve been reading! Yeah, I come from a family of musicians and entertainers. My uncle’s a fairly well-known comedian in the UK, and in my early twenties I spent several months working on his UK tour, setting up props and doing silly walk-on parts and generally seeing how the entertainment industry functions.
I think it very much depends on the game. I think the best games are ones which a) give the players meaningful decisions and b) make the players feel something. That might mean making players laugh, or making them feel tense, or excited, or sad, or anything else. Gaming can be incredibly cathartic – we’ve all felt the rush of endorphins when we’ve committed to a risky play in DreadBall and it’s paid off and we’ve scored big. So games that can make people laugh are a big winner, as far as I’m concerned – as long as they’re laughing with the game and not at it, and as long as it fits the theme. If a game’s meant to be creepy and scary, a nervous laugh is a good thing, but a belly laugh because something is ridiculous is less good. We look at all of this stuff when we test our games!
One side note, I think a game that generates ’emergent humour’ – fun moments that arise from the gameplay – will always be better than one which goes out of its way to be funny with silly card names or the like. Those silly card names will get old after you’ve played two or three times, so you’d better hope there’s a good game underneath them…
9. And now back to the Galaxy’s greatest sport! What was your level of involvement with DreadBall’s second edition, and what excited you the most about returning to the pitch?
I didn’t have anything to do with the actual development, but the timing was such that I was just starting up Needy Cat as it was about to go to print, so I was asked to give it a rules review / editorial pass. It was really fun to come back to the game after several years away, and look at it with fresh eyes. I really like the changes that came about, especially the ones that make Jacks more interesting and the changes to the stat-line. The original engine was definitely creaking once all the different teams had been added, and the new edition seemed to address a lot of those issues on a fundamental level.
That said, I’ve hardly played it since the new edition! I’ve played precisely one game of it, at a Mantic open day just after it came out, against Stewart Gibbs (who led the development of the new edition). Stew is a really solid player and he was using his Teratons, who I remembered as being pretty nasty. I took my old Corporation team and managed to get a landslide, which made me really happy! Normally, when I work on a game, I utterly suck at it, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case with DB.
10. So how do you primarily play DreadBall [One-off, league, tournament, Xtreme, Ultimate], and why?
Well, as I said, I haven’t played in far too long! When I used to play it was mostly one-off games, but I really enjoy a league. We used to have a Mantic studio league which we did away from the studio – we’d all go out to the pub on a Monday night and play some DreadBall. Those were good times!
11. Ah, the memories… What is your favorite DreadBall team?
Boring answer, but it’s gotta be the Corporation. I love my Corp team – they’re vanilla, but they don’t suck at anything. People used to underestimate them, and I really enjoyed proving them wrong.
12. Describe your most memorable DreadBall Rush.
See, now you’re asking me to reach back through the mists of time and recall something from a long time ago! I don’t think I can recall any real details, so here’s a general answer. One of my favourite moments when showing someone the game (and this goes back to those first, pre-release demos) is when they realise just how much you can get away with in your turn if you’re willing to play dangerously. When you show them how they can set up an action chain and pad their odds with some coaching dice, multiplying their available actions and pulling off a mad passing play that turns a hopeless defence into a 4-point Strike. To me, that’s the heart of DreadBall.
So… a rush where that happened. There you go. 😉
13. That’s great! But enough of the past. What would you like to see from DreadBall in the future?
There were some ideas we threw around way back that I’d love to see. A more detailed league system – the one we’ve got kinda copies the Blood Bowl structure, but I think the sci-fi setting gives you so much more scope. I love the idea of tracking each team’s misadventures off the pitch as well as on – giving your players individual personality so they’re not just a collection of stats. Oh, and the other thing I love the idea of is more interesting arena designs. Xtreme kind of touched on this, but I think it would be really exciting to switch things up and have arenas with moving obstacles, or arenas that are split into two or more parts and linked by jump pads or teleporters, or arenas with irregular shapes and narrow chokepoints. Fun fun fun.
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’d tear it out of the organiser’s hands and devour it there and then, while staring into the eyes of whoever got first place. It’s all about establishing dominance in these situations.
…it’s made of bread, right?
James has guessed the primary ingredient of the BreadDoll. It’s bread. Twisted, but sprinkled with sugar. Hand crafted with love. Delivered in jest. And usually… Devoured in spite. Earn your own in March at the Adepticorp Cup – The NADC’s National DreadBall Championship tournament.
A big Slamming thanks to James for taking the time to educate, formulate, and elucidate our Coaches.
There are a few Abilities that tend to cause some confusion. Two such Abilities that seem to frequently come up are Gotchaand 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 is a negative modifier on a test. All Players project Threat into their front 3 hexes known as that Player’s 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.)
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).
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Building a team for 3 on 3 is a considerable part of the small game format charm. Getting to throw together a mishmash of alien scum to drub your fellows with is both fun and characterful. The final version of how I’d like to see this go is pretty in depth and is still in development. In the mean time, there is the quick “play with what you got” approach that we already have listed in the rules. I refer to those as “Tier 1” team building rules. The rules I’d like to get to are referred to as “Tier 3” team building rules, and will have a considerable amount of focus on campaigns and leagues as well.
No, I haven’t forgotten how to count. Today, I am sharing a “get you by” set of team building rules lovingly referred to as….you guessed it, “Tier 2”.
Tier 2 team building requires you to have access to the DreadBall Xtreme Players Manual. In this format, you design your sponsor as outlined in the DBX rules, picking your associated groups. The difference is, all the player types will use the costs from the DB2 manual. Additionally, if your sponsor is counted as a Stranger (0 matching groups) to the player they wish to hire, you must increase their cost by 100mc. If the player you wish to hire is an Ally (1 group match), the players cost is only increased by 60mc. Finally, if you are able to count the desired player as a Friend (2+ matches), there is no additional fee to hire them beyond their base cost.
Friend: No additional cost.
Now, of course, there are a few more player types that weren’t around when the Players Manual was created. Here are a few more entries:
Guard: Guard, Proud
Jack: DreadBall, Proud
Guard: Hunter, Rebel
Jack: Hunter, Jack
Striker: DreadBall, Hunter
Guard, Jack, Striker: DreadBall, Mr. Roboto
All players built as Cyborgs are considered: Outcast, Weird Science
Let us know how you get on with the Tier 2 team building rules, and 3 on 3 in general!
Here it is! The completely unofficial, amateur, backstreet pickup game of DreadBall! DreadBall 3-on-3!
One of the variants of DreadBall that is currently (legally) growing in popularity is 3-on-3 DreadBall. 3-on-3, sometimes called StreetBall due to its origins, is a smaller fast paced DreadBall involving small teams on even smaller pitch.
The biggest change for 3-on-3 is the Rush and Action structure. Coaches alternate taking actions. Each coach gets to spend only 1 action token on their turn.
There are no Rushes in 3-on-3. Each coach has 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)
Each coach starts with 25 Action Tokens (18 standard tokens and 7 sin bin tokens)
You can play any number of Action cards (still max 1 per player per turn) when it is your turn to play an Action token, but you still have to play a token either before or after or between playing Action cards.
Whichever coach is the underdog in a 3-on-3 match gets to choose Home or Visitor. Max of 3 players on the pitch….to start…..
Setup behind the center line of your side color (White for Home, red for Visitor)
The ball launches from the center hex and scatters. If a player is occupying the center hex when the ball launches they might be hit. Roll a 3 dice 4+ test for the ball.
The ball cannot be caught in the center hex but can be caught when it scatters as if it was an inaccurate pass.
There are no set Strikezones. Players can Throw Strikes from anywhere in range.
Strikes are still -1 for Throwing at a small target. All Strikes are worth 1 point.
Strike hexes are impassible, as there is a physical Strikepost in this space in a 3-on-3 game. No fancy holographic Strikehexs here.
If you attempt to throw a Strike from adjacent to the Strikehex you gain a +1 on your Throw.
The team with the most points at the end of a match wins, as is usual. If at any point during the game one team is up by 5 Strikes it is a landslide win and the game ends. A tie will result in Sudden Death overtime. Coaches “reset” their allotment of Action Tokens and continue play.
There are no “gates” to keep players from coming on the pitch, so there are no restrictions to bringing players on in overtime. However, in the true sense of the sporting term “sudden death”, whichever team scores next wins the match and ends the game.
Injured players are not removed from the pitch. When a player is injured lay them prone and place a marker representing how badly they were injured in the Sin Bin (or use a prone model and place the regular mini in the Sin Bin) in their stead.
If the injured player is injured further while on the pitch move their injury token deeper into the Sin Bin, if this results in death, remove the player from the pitch and the injury token from the Sin Bin. Whenever a coach plays a Sin Bin Action Token, in addition to their regular action, they may move all fouling players through the Sin Bin and make a Recovery Roll for injured ones.
At the end of each Sin Bin Action Token, every injured player from the active team must make a recovery roll. This is not optional. A player cannot attempt to Stand Up until they have recovered from all of their injuries.
Recovery Roll: a 3 dice Strength test (1).
-1 per opposing player threatening the hex you are in (maximum of -2).
Recovery Succeeds: the player removes one injury per success.
Recovery Fails: the player sustains one more injury as they continue to bleed out. If this takes the total to 4, then they die and are removed.
There is no Refbot in 3-on-3, players are calling their own Fouls.
When you call a foul roll the Spot Test as usual.
The Argue (test that opposes the Spot Check in 3- on-3) roll is:
+1 for the player committing the foul
+1 if the player committing the foul is a guard
+1 to Argue if there is at least 1 teammate within 5 hexes of the fouling player.
Tie: Fouling player is sent to the Sub Bench
Spot Wins: Fouling player is sent to the “1” space of the Sin Bin
Argue Wins: Fouling player stays on the Pitch
Sneak Amendment: If a Coach ends an Action with more than 3 uninjured Players on the pitch, they are committing a Sneak Foul.
In 3-on-3 DreadBall there isn’t a big stadium full of fans. There are no fans checks, but teams can build up Momentum. There are two main methods of generating Momentum:
-Double a Strike
-Seriously Injure an opponent
When an action meets one of these conditions, draw a card and look at the pips.
If the card has 1 pip save it as usual.
If the card has 2 pips immediately discard it and take a Coaching Dice
If the card has 3 pips immediately discard it and take a Card into your hand
Once you have collected 3 pips of single pip cards you can immediately choose to take a Coaching Dice or Card in exchange.
Starting Roster funding: 600mc
Players can be purchased from all teams.
The minimum number of players on a roster is 3
The maximum number of players on a roster is 5
To represent the rag tag, pick up nature of the setting, you can not have more than one of the same kind of player (race and position).
Additionally, specialists (Strikers and Guards) are rare, most amateur and pick up players don’t have that level of training. To represent this, you may have no more than two specialists on your roster total. So, either 1 Striker and 1 Guard…or 2 Guards, etc.
No Assistant Coaches or Cheerleaders are allowed in 3-on-3
No cards or coaching dice can be purchased on a starting 3-on-3 roster
Lastly, players don’t normally earn experience. It’s not the players who level up and advance, but rather YOU, the Coach, the Manager, the Sponsor…….but more on that next time!
So, last time I left of rambling about different versions of DreadBall in the DB universe. Really, it makes a lot of sense to me, and you see it in real sports all the time. I’m a big fan of rugby, but I really enjoy rugby sevens too. I used to watch football (erm, gridiron, or North American rules football to those in other parts of the world), but I was a season ticket holder to Arena Football.
Even in…other sports games, I really enjoyed variants. From multi race teams deep in a dungeon, to a smaller pitch with fewer players, each variation of the rules emphasized new ways to play and challenge yourself.
Well, I’d like to do the same thing with DreadBall. The first variant of the game is a little thing we have internally referred to as DreadBall 3-on-3. It started as a thought experiment on how to capture a different feel and flow to the game and slowly morphed into its own at home version. Later, the variant developed a little further for capturing some of the rules cast to wayside from DBX when we moved to second edition. And finally, it was put together intended to be used as a mini game for conventions as a smaller, quicker, introductory game to DreadBall. Well, it never quite made it to that. So, rather than be lost to the ravages of time and my “to do” folder, it is being resurrected here on BreadDoll.
Over a series of articles, the back alley amateur version of DreadBall will be developed. The version of the game that is played by enthusiasts and wannabes as opposed to highly sought after professionals. The holographic strike targets and neodurium pitch of the pro ranks? Nah, here it’s concrete and cobbled together physical strike posts. It’s gritty and messy. It’s also chaotically fast. You won’t find any Cheerleaders or Assistant coaches either. Heck, your team will hardly be cohesive at all, and that is a good deal of the challenge. But, who knows? Maybe you’ve got what it takes to weld these dregs into a formidable force. Maybe charge up the semi-pro ranks. Maybe a talent or two gets discovered. Let’s find out! Next time we will peel back the curtain and take a peak at the fundamental workings of the stripped down amateur game.