In this second of these ‘catch-up’ posts I’ve been making, I’ll be looking at Dreadball.
A couple of years ago fellow blogger Darren and I looked at Dreadball – Darren got the Kick-off set, we played a few games and really enjoyed it, but it never really took off in our group. Fast-forward to late last year and the Dreadball 2 Kickstarter really grabbed everyone’s attention, so we all went about picking up teams and getting printouts of the Dreadball 2 play-test rules.
Sadly we missed the Kickstarter, but we all got lucky with a Firestorm games clearance sale recently which allowed us to pick up a whole heap of cheap Dreadball stuff, including Giants for most of our teams. This meant the group I game with have now all bought into the game with various teams (some of us picking up more than one!) and a league has kicked off (pun very much intended). We’ll be playing it out over the course of the year, hopefully rounding it up around the time Dreadball 2 officially launches.
Barricade is clearly designed to be the Robot Giant (while all Giant players can be hired by any team, the guys in my group have all tried to buy Giants that match our primary teams), and so I painted him up in colours to match my Robots. I’ve only used him in one game so far and he didn’t really do that much for me, but I’m sure I’ll bring him out to play again at some point. There’s every chance I’ll be able to recruit him during our Dreadball League as it goes on!
One of the cool things with Dreadball 2 is that it’s going to come with all the bits to play Dreadball Ultimate as well. Ultimate is the 3-6 player variation of Dreadball, and it looked like so much fun that we just had to try it!
I decided to design a Dreadball Ultimate mat after seeing the updated layout Mantic showed during the Kickstarter. Once I had this printed we all got together to play on it, and I must say, it’s been a lot of fun! More recently I managed to find a set of Dreadball Ultimate cards on eBay, so we’ll be using those next time we play it (for the other games we’ve played we’ve used the standard Dreadball Cards). I’ve also treated myself to some acrylic Dreadball Ultimate tokens as well, which are in the post – for the games we’ve played so far we’ve used any old tokens to track actions, scores etc, and to be honest they’re nowhere near as nice as a proper set! On top of that, I’ve also ordered a few sets of coloured dice because my OCD-like nature requires that our dice match the section colours as well!
For the league, I’ve decided to use my Robot team, since they’ve been with me since my first foray into Dreadball. My team setup was nothing out of the ordinary really, although I swapped out a single team member for a Team Captain. A Robot Captain costs the same as a regular Robot player, but instead of being able to Transform, he has the position of Keeper. Since I always tend to leave a player back to cover the 3-point Strike Zone, it makes perfect sense.
I played my first league game this week vs Jay’s Marauder team, and – despite a nasty kicking – I was able to eke out a 1-point win against him. I was plagued by some duff dice early on which saw my (usually reliable) transformation rolls failing multiple times, which allowed Jay to get off to an early 4-point lead. His Guards were on fire and put the majority of my players off the pitch, but a late-game punt from my Keeper saw the ball and a couple of my remaining players in the right position to grab it and make a desperate 3-point score followed fairly swiftly by a cheeky 2-pointer which pulled me back for a 1 point win. I pulled through by the skin of my teeth there! It was great fun, especially as the games have a bit more ‘meaning’ now. I can’t wait to play more league games! We plan to play a mid-season and end of season finale game of Dreadball Ultimate as well, which I’ll be sure to try and document for the blog!
After several games with the Robots, it’s become clear that some of my opponents
are blind find it difficult to tell the players apart, so I’ve decided to add some extra colours to make it clear exactly which position is which. Hopefully now it should be easier to tell the various player positions apart -the Guards have red shoulder pads, Jacks have the little white ‘teeth’ on their shoulders, while the Strikers are sleeker without any additional colours on their shoulders.
I also managed to pick up the Robot MVP, DBR7 ‘Firewall’. For some reason he’s no longer available on Mantic’s site, either individually or in a pack with other MVPs. Luckily someone was selling him on eBay, so for the frankly extortionate price of £2.75(!), I now own one! In Dreadball 2, the MVP models will be used as Team Captains, so I’m pleased I was able to pick this guy up. His colours are the same as the rest of the team, unsurprisingly!
Another issue we ran into during league play is remembering which robot has transformed into which position – this makes it harder to track progression, XP gains, injuries etc per player. In an ideal world I’d have enough alternate player models to be able to have a Guard and Striker model for each team member (ie: all having the same numbers). Sadly this isn’t the case and so I’ve had to come up with an alternative method.
Jay gave me the idea of using coloured pegs to track each player. I’ve got plenty of pegs spare from the Dropfleet base sprues, so I’ve painted different colours on the tops of a few of them and drill a hole in the base of every Robot. What I’ll then do during games is transfer the peg across from model to model as they transform – that should make for a simple yet clear way of telling who’s who by the end of the match – by that time most of the players have transformed from their Jack mode.
In addition to all the league madness going on, I’m also still working on the club’s Dreadball teams – the Convicts are done, the Kalyshi are part-way through, and then after they’re done I’ll be working on all the Free-Agents from Dreadball Xtreme. I’m looking forward to seeing how they play as the league goes on and some of us inevitably hire some Free Agents.
That’s all for this post on Dreadball, next time it’s Infinity!