Recently I’ve got a bit mental for Dreadball, the extreme sportsy-boardy game from Mantic Games. That’s probably because it’s a damn good game, and loads of fun to play!
I got the Deluxe set for Christmas, and I’ve only managed to get round to playing some games over the past few weeks, but I’ve made for lost time! You get Human and Marauder teams in the box, and they’re what you may expect; the humans are good at everything but great at nothing, whereas the Marauder team is made up of Orx (big chunky bruisers) and Goblins (weak but quick).
In Dreadball, there are three player types; Strikers, Guards, and Jacks. Strikers are great at catching, throwing and running, but can’t tackle opposing players. Guards, on the other hand, specialise in putting the boot in, but can’t handle the ball at all. Jacks can do everything, but they can’t catch or throw as well as a Striker, or tackle as well as a Guard. Depending on your team, you’ll start off with a certain number of each role; for example, the Marauders start with three Guards and five Jacks, whereas Humans have only two Guards, but three Jacks and three Strikers. Some of the more exotic teams have stranger mixes of roles, such as the Judwan (Strikers only) or Robots (Jacks only, but can transform mid-game to Strikers or Guards).
As for a rules system, you couldn’t really ask for something more elegant. Dreadball is a dice pool system; the default dice pool is three dice, with fewer or more dice depending on the difficulty of the task. For example, a Jack throwing the ball into a Strike Hex (the goal) would have three dice, minus one for throwing at a Strike Hex, for a total of two dice. Then if at least one of dice scores equal to or higher than the stat being tested (Strength, Skill, or Speed), the action is successful! Of course, there’s usually a lot more to it than that, but that’s the basics.
There’s also a lot of high-risk, high-reward strategy that makes the game very exciting to play. Do you spend actions in slamming enemy Jacks and Guards out of the way so that your Striker has a clear run to the Strike Zone? Or do you try passing the ball around the main scrum, but risk losing control and ending your turn prematurely? Will you roll well enough on a catch or pick-up to get a free run action? How reliant are you on that being the outcome? Warhammer 40,000 wishes it could be as tense and tactical.
It helps that the models are pretty nice too. I’ve painted up the Marauders already. These are my Deathskull Pirates, a tribute to my last ever 40k army.
Yep, albino Orks. I wonder where I’ve seen that before…?
I’ve still got to put paint to brush for the human team, the Hiroyami Samurai, but the beauty of the Dreadball miniatures is that due to all their sports gear/armour, they’re easy to paint up!
It was Ian’s birthday recently, and due to his love of everything short, bearded, and belligerent, I got him the Forge Father team as a present. This is how his Kargrim Masons are currently shaping up…
I’m anticipating a grand smackdown between the Pirates and the Masons coming up soon!