Dreadball Season 2 – A Review

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Okay sports fans, I’m slowly working my way through the backlog of reviews. I fully blame my daughter for being a baby and monopolizing my time with cuteness, vomiting and nappy changes in roughly even measure.

An impressive 2 and a bit months late, let’s take a look at Dreadball Season 2

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So what’s in the book? Well, at the risk of banging on: spelling mistakes.

You also get rules for cheerleaders, assistant coaches, new rules, new abilities, new teams and league rules.

Regular readers will know that I’m a bit of a Dreadball fan so I was quite looking forward to this supplement as it promised to expand the game beyond the one-off games the core rules rather leans towards.

First up: cheerleaders. My goodness the rules are fussy but Mantic went to great lengths to reflect the unpredictable and, essentially, unquantifiable effect cheerleaders have on any sporting game beyond the bloke at the back of the bleachers in the dirty mac. The funny thing is that despite their obvious benefit to the game the rules put me off bothering, plus the aforementioned benefit is far from certain. A positive move over Dreadball’s sperm doner, Blood Bowl, is that there is a limit to how many cheerleaders you can use at one time, which stops the big teams from gaining too much of an edge. That all said, the models have boobs so…yay.

Assistant Coaches on the other hand are so useful that if you use the Season 2 rules and don’t use Assistant Coaches you’re simply the silliest bugger in all of Dreadball land. You have to hire a coach for each type of play, which stops them from being over powered and forces you to commit to a style of play early in a league be it to augment a strength or ease the pain of a weakness. Obviously as the league progresses you can acquire others. The nice thing is that the coaches come in blisters of 3 so a single purchase sorts you out for the league. The best thing is that the bonuses you can gain from your coaches can be decisive if timed well but won’t break the game, which is nicely done considering how over powered some of the MVPs are.

League rules are a nice surprise as they’re written from the point of view of gamers, so it gives you rules for a league to suit you and your mates, rather than pushing you towards something overly complicated that results in you spending more time administrating the league than playing in it. The usual features are there such as player progression and MVPs but by far my favourite is the Cheating Death on the Cheap table which allows you to bring fatally wounded players back to life but on a budget. Although after a couple of trips to the quack you may just want to let you guy slip off the mortal coil and buy someone new.

If I’m honest, although the league rules are straight forward they’re a tad thin on the ground and I rather suspect that Mantic saw the rules for Cheerleaders and Assistant Coaches as part of it, which is fine but it should be presented as such.

The rest of the book is new skills and new teams (for the skills to go with) as well as a FAQ helping to decipher the woefully unclear rules from the core game. And I say that with love.

The new teams are actually quite fresh and original although it’s very much a case of special rules differentiating them from the Season 1 teams. Which isn’t a complaint perse because who doesn’t want a team of transforming robots, it’s just one of things that will inevitably slow play down because players will be referring to their rosters or the Season 2 book all the time.

For the money Dreadball Season 2 is very much worth it. It’s worth it for the simple league rules and the coaching staff. It’s worth it for the teams. The only thing that grates a bit is that Season 3 is imminent which means that Dreadball will stop being a really cool, quick, boardgame and become akin to Rogue Trader that required many tomes of rules and a large cart and donkey with which to transport them.

But until that day comes I shall continue to field my Lark Industries Iron Men in all their red and gold glory.

Dreadball Season 2 is available from Firestorm Games priced £8.99.
Dreadball Coaches are available from Firestorm Games priced £7.99.

 

Dreadball Pelgar Mystics – A Review

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The first my Dreadball Season 2 articles I take a look at the Pelgar Mystics, the Judwan team featured in the all new Dreadball: Season 2. The Judwans are the space hippies of the Dreadball universe boycotting the usual tactic of kicking in faces and instead try to out play their opponent. Had I read the rules first I may have just opted for another team, rather flying in the face of my usual style of crump things and run through the hole they leave.

That said, never let it be said I’m not up for a challenge.

So, a new Season in the life of Dreadball, does it mean a new standard of models? Well…no. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still cool and there’s some nice detailing but Mantic seem to holding steady on their ’3 model variants and that’s your lot’ line. Which is fine providing you know that going in.

The detail is better and sharper on the Mystics compared to the Marauder team and they do a pretty good job with the heads in terms of detail. Unfortunately mould lines run over all their heads and faces so meticulous filing is in order. But, because of the type of plastic Mantic uses they come away with minimal effort. Which is just as well really.

As a concept it’s nice to see a faction that has its roots in classic science fiction but with Mantic’s own twist.

Equally in game terms they more like the greys from X-Files than from Independence Day. The entire team is made up of Strikers so if you like a punchy gang, forget it. But they are quick – movement 5, with speed and skill rolls of 3+ and 4+ respectively. So all in all a pretty nippy bunch of buggers.

They also get Long Arms and Feint (Misdirect) which means they not only can throw the ball further than everyone else – and having a whole team that can is pretty tough to deal with – but they can pretty much dance around any bugger that tries to stop them. More over they get to turn any would be attackers in another direction which means their threat zones are pointing the other way. And that means the Judwans can run about the place with impunity. And that means scoring.

Although what’s a tad unfair, considering how massively tactically you have to play with the Judwans, is you don’t get bonus points when you score. So you can only score a maximum or 1 or 3 points, depending on the zone. It strikes me as a tad harsh considering how easily they’ll get their faces kicked in so every play will be a close run thing.

But I suppose the cocktail of speed, long throws and feints is quite potent. That said an MVP (or two) will be an essential purchase especially if you’re in a league as the Judwans simply won’t have the durability required when going up against teams more interested in the manging of faces than the scoring of strikes. In fact I’d probably try to take an MVP straight out the gate the points are available as you’re only allowed 6 players in your starting team so the team will be two players light. Which is a steep hill to climb on top of the other restrictions.

The Judwans quite clearly fall into the ‘experienced’ gamer column for Dreadball but that’s fine because they present a genuine tactical challenge that some players will find very rewarding in cracking. Against certain teams, like the Veer-mym that can match their speed they’ll have a tough match. Equally the Forge Fathers for their strength. But what it’ll be is entertaining. Which is kinda what Dreadball is all about.

The Pelgar Mystics are available from Firestorm Games priced £13.49. This time requires the Season 2 expansion book available from Firestorm Games priced £8.99.

New Dreadball Teams Revealed

Two of the teams for Dreadball Season 2 have finally been put up on the Mantic website.

First up we have the Corporation Void Sirens…

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The Void Sirens are one of the better-known all-female teams with a long and illustrious history. They have, at one time or another, beaten most of the top teams, and they are always worth watching on the tri-vid. The roster relies on their Jacks and their training focus on Running Interference. This, together with an extensive additional coaching schedule, enables them to react swiftly to opposing plays, and makes the Sirens very tricky to predict. Any offensive drive needs to punch a much bigger hole than usual to guarantee a way past the Siren’s nimble Jacks.

Next the Judwan Pelgar Mystics…

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The Judwan are a placid, calm and peaceful race and the tiny number of Judwanese teams play an odd game of DreadBall. They have neither Guards nor Jacks and never try to damage their opponents; they simply outplay them. A Judwan Striker needs no glove to catch or throw the ball, instead using his long, lithe arms and slender fingers to launch the ball with as much or more speed as other races. Their games are fast and often surprising, with a tendency to end suddenly in a 7-point landslide.

Dreadball Season 2

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With my review done and a rare blossom of excitement for a new game swelling in my chest I thought I’d take a look at some of the Season 2 concepts that are floating around the interwebs and it’s all looking rather groovy. Although Mantic are brave to rip off Transformers. Hasbro tend to sue people more readily than GW…

The Robots can…ahem…transform to take on different roles. The Zzor are bred to play in their position, which is a neat idea. The Judwan are…grey and the Sirens have boobs.

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And as an added bonus stuff that’s allegedly being lined up for season 3…

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