Scattered Scullery: Fancy Balls

As mentioned in my last article “The Law” there were rules in 1st Edition DreadBall for an alternate referee: Ref Dredd. It’s a small change that can be made when playing the game that can add a bit of variety and a lot of fun. Along the same lines I present a few alternative DreadBalls:

The Adepticorp DreadBall

adepticorp_dreadballRules: If playing with the Adepticorp DreadBall any player that takes damage from being hit by the ball is treated as Fragile when rolling their Armor Test. Additionally if the Ball Shatters card is played all players in the same hex as the ball or adjacent hexes must make a Dodge test vs 6 dice (4+) or be hit by shards of the ball.

 

The Mark 2 DreadBall

mark2_dreadballRules: If playing with the Mark 2 DreadBall, the Ball cannot shatter. If the Ball Shatters Special card is played ignore it’s effect. Instead the player that played the card may look through the discard pile and take any 1 card they find there into their hand. The Mark 2 DreadBall is not only more durable, but also more aerodynamic with advanced gravity generators. When throwing the ball farther than 4 hexes treat all distances as 1 hex less.

 

The Bumper DreadBall

bumper_dreadballRules: The Bumper DreadBall bounces. If playing with the Bumper DreadBall, after a the ball is launched roll to scatter it. The ball can be caught on this scatter. The Bumper DreadBall allows a Bounce Pass. When throwing the ball to a player on your team or at an opposing player it can be bounced off the wall of the pitch. Any time the Bumper DreadBall scatters (other than after launching), always scatter it an additional time.

 

These alternative DreadBall and their associated rules can be swapped into any game of DreadBall for a bit of flavor and extra fun.

Rules Reference Cards:

 

Here are STL files if you are so inclined to print a ball to play with using these rules:

Adepticorp DreadBall

Mark 2 DreadBall

Bumper DreadBall

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DreadBall: Franchise Mode

DreadBall: Franchise Mode

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Ah, League play. I’m a big fan of Leagues, especially for sports games. Getting to grow your roster over the course of the season, the ups and downs, and trying to build that dynasty season after season. I much prefer Leagues to Tournaments, they are just a simply more rich and rewarding experience overall.

Unfortunately, I have very limited opportunities for League play in DB. I have had a few small sampling’s, and a couple of the very fun League in Day/Night events that I have been able to participate in, but that is sadly it. The real joy, at least in my previous experience with “other” sports games, has been the season after season legacy….or “franchise mode” of the game. This doesn’t seem to be something done very often anymore. It would seem most folks prefer to start over with new teams each season. Certainly that can be fun too, and add a lot of replay value to the game using different teams. This also makes it more accessible to new players joining in on a new season, everyone starting at the same level.

However, I’d like to propose a few “radical” ideas for use in DreadBall Leagues that have worked well in other games too. I present to you, DreadBall: Franchise Mode!

The Franchise Campaign

The first thing to keep in mind with the Franchise approach is that it’s not just about the current season, but the subsequent ones as well. That legacy game mindset alone can completely change your decision making on how you choose to level players and which support staff to add to your rosters. Other than that, things play out pretty much the same as any other league. It’s the roll-over that makes things interesting. This is basically encapsulated in two main rules.

Salary Cap

For the start of “year two” of Franchise mode, there is a little quirk. You introduce a Salary Cap, which is a predetermined Team Value for starting teams. For our example, let’s say the Cap in season two is 1500. This would mean that all rosters would need to be trimmed to fit this value. If my team at the end of season 1 was, say 1700, I’d have some decision making to do on roster cuts. You essentially rebuy your team from your current roster using the players new values. Because, remember, when players rank up, their value increases accordingly. In dropping some veteran players, you may find yourself adding some new rookies to bulk out your roster as well. The nice part is, this still allows new players, or veteran coaches wanting to start new teams, an opportunity to join in the fun, they simply start with more credits to buy their roster using the same 1500 team value.

Waivers

Another fun quirk is to not allow MVPs in your leagues. Instead, you have players on Waivers. After players finish adjusting their rosters, any veteran players that were dropped from teams are put on a master list for the league, and become eligible to be hired by other teams as transfer players. This adds a lot to the continuity of the seasons as players grow and change teams and build stories of their own. The only MVPs are the ones who have been created before your very eyes on the pitch.

Wait, There’s more?!?

While Salary Cap and Waivers are the two main rules behind Franchise mode, one of the other appealing aspects of a Franchise campaign is having more options to save and spend your hard earned credits on….like upgrading your team facilities or having more staff options to explore. However, that’s a little outside of the scope of this article for now. Maybe we can revisit that in 2019. 

Anyway, what’s your favorite way to play DreadBall Leagues?

Scattered Scullery: Dobbs and Elmer 01

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Oh, those two… What sort of hilarity will they express next?

For the BreadDoll’s December membership drive, we’ll be giving away another custom miniature*.  Subscribe to this blog during the next week, and a random Coach will be drawn for a Secret Santa surprise!

*We’re not saying exactly what you’ll receive, but it’s bound to be finger-licking’-good!

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Hobby Highlight: The Law

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Back in November of 2016 my fellow BreadDoll editor Andrew hosted a DreadBall tournament call “Judgement Day”. The idea was that the referee for every game in the tournament would be Judge Dredd.

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For those that aren’t familiar. Back in 1st Edition DreadBall there were alternate referee rules for using Judge Dread instead of the RefBot. Mantic produced a Ref Dredd mini. It was great fun.

Although Andrew was providing Ref Dredd models to use on the day I still decided to paint my own (above). I also decide to take it as far as I could and create a whole team of Judge Dredd themed judges to use as my team in the tournament. A conversion was needed.

I found some heads that were the key to my conversion at Puppetswar. They are sold as “Executioner Heads”.

I decided to use the Trontek 29ers as the basis of my conversion. Before buying the heads, which looked perfect, I did a few mock-ups in Photoshop.

I was happy with the mock-ups. I ordered the heads. Looking more at the mock-ups while I waited for the parts to arrive, it occurred to me that the conversion would need one more thing. Badges. I set about designing a tiny little badge in 3D and doing another mock-up.

Again the mock-up pleased me and the 3D badge design looked good. It was time to send the 3D file off and get it printed. I sent my design for printing using Shapeways and the result was perfect.

I cut off the Trontek 29ers heads using modelling clippers. Some crazy glue and patience later I had attached the new heads and badges. It was time to paint them. A quick color test to start.

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To paint the blue body of the judges I used Army Painter Ultramarine Blue. I washed the base color with Army Painter Dark Tone before applying another layer of Ultramarine Blue as a highlight.

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The green boots & gloves were base coated in Army Painter Army Green and washed with Army Painter Green Tone. A highlight of Army Painter Goblin Green finished it off.

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The yellow bits were base coated using Army Painter Lava Orange. Reaper MSP Candlelight Yellow was applied over the orange base.

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Some red, black and flesh details completed the look. Clearly it was far from my most complicated paint job but the results were satisfactory. The team was done and the conversion looked great. The Law was ready for Judgement Day!

Pitch Protocols: Team Analysis—Ninth Moon Tree Sharks

Pitch Protocols: Team Analysis—Ninth Moon Tree Sharks

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Overview

The Yndij are well suited to playing a fast, high scoring brand of DreadBall. Fast and dodgy, this is a great team for coaches who love offense. 

Strengths

The Tree Sharks have three key strengths that a coach needs to take advantage of to get the most out of them on the pitch. With a Move of 6 across the board, they can keep up with any team, and even outrun most others. This is important as it makes them pretty forgiving with positioning and means there are few actions that will ever be out of reach.

Next, the Yndij possess excellent Agility. This makes them very apt at avoiding the unwanted attentions of opposing slammers. The high Agility also means it can be difficult to pin them down with threats as they Evade past opposing players. Yndij can also avoid slamming directly to retake possession of the ball, as their Strikers are quite competent at Stealing it back.

Speaking of Strikers, this is another “Strength” of the Tree Sharks. With Four Strikers on the suggested starting roster, they will not lack for Offensive specialists. They have all the Move and Agility of the Veermyn, but possess superior Skill to improve their success rate at Strike attempts.

Weaknesses

As is often expected from fast, Striker heavy teams, the team lacks a bit of punch in the Slamming department. Yes, they have access to Jacks, and even an occasional Guard, but their Strength is Average anyway. Now, against many teams, this won’t be too much of an issue. However, against Slam heavy teams, trying to play their game is a recipe for disaster.

Additionally, there are no starting abilities for the Yndij. They are well rounded, but lack a “trick” that some teams have to specialize. This makes them easier to pick up and play, but can make you one dimensional in certain match-ups.

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If you get to use the Captain and cards, try to get Yunker-hai. It’s an amazingly effective complement for a Cheer Factory squad!

Strategy and Tactics

The Yndij are a textbook example of an Alpha Strike team. Coupled with Cheer Factory, this can create a formidable offensive juggernaut. As Visitor, it’s worth considering the Deep Screen as an opening set-up. The Tree Sharks have the Move capability to overcome setting up deep and still be a threat, and if the opposition tries to counter with a Sucker Draw, they have the Strikers to pull off a Steal attempt.

In short, this is a team built for Run-n-Gun. The Jacks are competent, and it’s worth having a Guard for those times when you absolutely got to take a player out. However, do what they do best, SCORE!

Tremendous Tools: One Book to Rule Them All

Good Coaches are compulsive Coaches.  Compulsive Coaches know how to organize, and the best of the compulsive crew know how to implement their organization into winning strategies.  Herein lies a relatively easy strategy to strengthen any DreadBall Coach’s neat and tidy toolbox.

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With apologies to those Coaches of Faith among us…

Coaches with the best record are Coaches who know the rules, wherein “know” means; live, breath, eat, sleep, and defecate the rules.  Knowing the rules is easier if the rules are accessible.

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In the beginning, there was ONE rulebook. Lean, mean, and efficient. The binding was not user-friendly, but it’s brevity was the counterbalance.

Knowing a rulebook becomes a challenge when there are multiple sources.  Such was the case with the rapid expansion of 1st edition DreadBall material.

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Six (SIX!) rulebooks to rule them all.

Multiple volumes of 1st edition rules could be remedied with the assistance of a photocopier and a binder.

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Bind them. BIND THEM!
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A dense, but comprehensive rules summary tucked into the binder’s cover. Courtesy of the elusive BGG user RangerBob. Jesus Ortiz shines his ball on you good sir.
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Six seasons means six tabs. Plus, the Challenge Cup. Plus, the NADC. There should be a ninth tab to represent the FAQs, but nine tabs are known to open the gates of hell.

One of the best aspects of Kickstarting DreadBall’s second edition was the Collector’s Edition Rulebook.  Finally, there would be ONE BOOK TO RULE THEM ALL.

And yet.  There was a problem.  The binding.  A dense paperback tome that required strenuous use was not going to last the tests and tribulations of multiple seasons.  A remedy was needed…

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The solution! Michael Carter of Ohio War Kings was the inspiration. Mike’s Kings of War books were handsomely bound with a spiral. “Mike! How did you do it?”

The remedy was a SPRIAL.

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Mike replied, “Office Depot.” And so it was. A visit to Office Depot, a twenty minute wait, and a five dollar charge.

A rulebook is not a sacred and delicate text to be reviewed with white gloves on rare occasions.  No.  A rulebook is an engine.  An engine needs to be used and maintained.  A spiral binding allows ease of use, and its laminate front & back cover keeps blood and beer from deep penetration.

It is not without faults.

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The print shop technicians at Office Depot are not miracle workers. Some information will inevitably be sacrificed to the margin Gods. Layout designers take note; fancy graphics may look slick on a monitor but they don’t mean jack-squat if  legibility is compromised in print form.
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The biggest casualty in the binding was the rules summary. However, it was an odd choice to print the rules summary on the inside of the back cover anyway.

Cropping issues aside, binding a DreadBall rulebook is awesome and well worth the minimal investment.  Embrace the compulsion.  Tune your engine.  Know your engine.

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Also, the BreadDoll held a contest a few months ago as part of a membership drive.  One lucky Coach was randomly awarded an alternative Coaching Assistant.  It turns out the recipient was a robot fishing for hits.  It is not known if the robot was a Metabot, a Mechanite, or a Neobot.  No idea.  So another name was randomly selected.  Congratulations jtumbry!  You are the real flesh-and-blood winner of not one, but TWO alternative Coaching Assistants.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fitz, and a Squirrel.

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Fitz and Squirrel are going to a new home (pitch). Do YOU want to win custom swag? Follow/Subscribe to this blog!

Fan Support Cards

What are Fan Support cards?

In DreadBall 1st Edition, the game came with 52 game cards in the deck as well as 2 Fan Support cards as seen below.

DreadBall Ultimate in 1st Edition also came with Fan Support cards.

How are Fan Support cards used?

Fan Support cards are used to help manage your fan checks. Your Fan Support card is placed on or beside the pitch. When you draw a fan check it is placed, face up, underneath the Fan Support card such that the pips are still visible. As soon as you acquire 3 (or more) Fan Check pips you take all the Fan Check cards that contributed and turn them over face down underneath the Fan Support card.

 

 

 

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Fan Support card placed beside the pitch.
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Fan check cards face up underneath the Fan Support card with the pips visible.
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Fan check cards flipped face down once 3 (or more) pips are collected.
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New fan checks face up under previously flipped fan checks.

The Fan Support cards are also used to determine which coach takes the first rush when it is determined randomly. Shuffle the Fan Support cards and place them face down on the pitch. One coach chooses a card determining if they are Home or Visitor.

What about 2nd Edition?

In 2nd Edition DreadBall the card deck comes with 54 game cards and no Fan Support cards. The Fan Support cards were dropped in favour of a couple more game cards. More game cards is a good thing but it was sad to see the Fan Support cards not included in the game. While Fan Support cards are not strictly needed to play they add to the overall easy and organisation of DreadBall.

Since the launch of 2nd Edition BreadDoll has created and given out Fan Support cards to all the coaches at all BreadDoll sponsored events in 2018.

I highly recommend playing with the Fan Support cards. I even made new ones for 2nd Edition DreadBall Ultimate.

Scattered Scullery: Happy Halloween!

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Confronting the brute strength of Buzzcut is scary.  A Hobgoblin Hulk is a fright to all.  But for the holiday of haunt, what if there was an entire team of terror?

Happy Halloween Coaches!  Before you lies a morgue of marvels (pun intended).  The BreadDoll presents a Mantic-Marvel crossover; THE LEGION OF MONSTERS!

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Originally conceived as a ghastly gang of coaching assistants, this editor-in-chief collected a batch of Heroclix miniatures for easy conversion.  A few witching hours later, and their true intent was clear.  The monsters needed to play!

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Custom teams are silly.  It’s the flaccid writing of fandom and fanatics.  And yet, here’s a DreadBall team of Silver Age monsters.  Why?  WHY?!  A horror hound at heart, this BreadDoller just wanted some menacing coaches on the sidelines.  After the little terrors were beautified*, and ready for a roster – I couldn’t stop wondering.  What if Dracula was a DreadBall player?  Werewolf by Night?  The thought experiment reached an inevitable and creepy conclusion.  The character stats are wonky, buy thematic.  They’re over-powered, but not without vulnerabilities.  Fun?  Absolutely.

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Beautiful creatures?  It can be done.  Heroclix are numerous, and with limitations set; inexpensive.  Cut ’em off their base, mount ’em to your painting support, and spray ’em with a Matt varnish.  The varnish will serve as a transparent “primer” for your custom brush work.  They need the attention, because their pre-paint jobs are truly terrifying.  Nevertheless, don’t strip ’em.  Just use the pre-paint horror show as an undercoat.

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Put them under pressure, score early, score often.

Good luck!

League Logistics: Season Starter & Preferred Play

A new DreadBall season has launched!  A new CORT DreadBall season.  Long time BreadDoll readers will know this editor-in-chief throws the most Strikes in league play.  League Play is the best play.  The Citizens Of Rage Town have been fortunate to compete and curse one another over seven seasons.  Rivalries have formed.  Collusion has been plotted.  Membership has expanded and traditions have been established.  Tradition is important.  Without ritual, import can lessen, brotherhood can diminish, and hazing cannot be exacted.

Some CORT league traditions were plotted.  Like trophies.  Other traditions were impromptu.  This BreadDoll post chronicles a lesser known tradition for CORT; the announcement of team selection for an upcoming season.

Since CORT’s second season, Coaches take turns announcing their team selection over a private group in a popular social media site.  The tradition is rather simple.  From the previous season’s last place Coach (Sacko winner) to the Champ (DreadBalls Trophy Champion), announcements must be made within a seventy-two hour window.  Selection is strategic, and the meta-game must be considered.  Too “bashy?”  Movement too low?  What’s the Skill on those Strikers?!  Coaches pick wisely, and find the perfect method of deliver announcement.  Sarcasm, snark, and sniping are in order.

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A new season requires a new banner. CORT season 8 is… “THE OCHO.”
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Coach Dave bucks the trend. Dave is our newest CORT inductee. New Coaches get their pick of the litter. Dave originally posted a picture of his beautifully painted MATSUDAN team. The rest of CORT was appreciative, but we ‘asked’ him to follow-up with an announcement that was a bit more… CORT.  He delivered.  Welcome to CORT old chap.
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CORT Season 7 Sacko winner Gavrie announced his selection with a locust swarm. He’s buffing his Z’ZOR exoskeletons.
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Coach Steve is an amazing fine arts photographer. His forte? Framing shots of miniature robots/automatons destroying humanoid dioramas. This pic not only captures one of Steve’s creations, it also captures his team selection. MECHANITES.
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I had a tough season 7 with the Z’zor. Hubris got the best of me, and my two glorious Bug Guards got sent to the locker room before the playoffs. This time around? I wanted a team with a theme I could get behind. I’m a horror hound, and I love blood and bots and bits. My selection deliberately took 71.5 hours, and I chose the CYBORGS.
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Coach Jamie fielded the brutal and brutally slow Matsudan in season 7. In season 6, his weapon of choice were the Tsudochan. Fed up with slow movement and too many Jacks, season 8 is built for speed. He posted a video of the ‘Renegades of Funk.’ Catchy, because his YNDIJ team name is ‘Renegades of Drunk.’
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Coach Alex was subtle? He posted this pic, and left many of us guessing. I thought, “CONVICTS!” Another coach thought “REJECTS!” Nope. Alex schooled us all with a US of A college football reference; Ol Miss. REBELS.
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DreadBalls Trophy Champion x 4, and nemesis to all, Coach Zak posted a video. The BreadDoll can’t afford to post videos, so here’s another still. Quint makes a declaration after an evening of drinking. It ain’t good. SPHYR.
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And last year’s DreadBalls Champion, Coach Brett, drops this little gem. A bit of a deep dive unless you graduated from Hogwarts or Trump University. NAMELESS.
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Scheduling eight professional adults is tricky business. Season 8’s Kickoff was no exception, and we could only muster 6. And so dice were rolled. Coach Zak and Dave had to square off on their own (Dave won).
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A new tradition is made! At least for this season. For every game with the Renegades of Drunk, a celebratory shot MUST be consumed!
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‘Reach’ is total BS.
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These robots are buckets-of-broke against space cats/squirrels.
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This match looks like a Greek lunch platter.
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Seafood and guests and DreadBall. 3 day limit.
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And so, CORT’s DB S8 wraps a evening of play sans two Coaches. Their numbers still need to be recorded, but here begins the new record! May the best Coach win.

DreadBall is a splendid game.  Not without warts, but a deep dive does not go without reward.  One-offs are fun, and tournaments are an occasional hoot.  But if any BreadDoll reader can wrangle a few like-minded mates together?  There are few things more enjoyable than a 90 minute game of miniature Space Jam, coupled with pints and close friends.  League play!  Do it!