Cardiff League – Conclusion

by paet the pagan-gerbil25. June 2014 08:00

My first four games in the league have been good so far – my first experiences against the Robots at the top of the rankings, which I think may have been orchestrated to get me a head-start on income since I was inheriting a poor, downtrodden team with no experience. This catapulted me to a high enough team ranking that I couldn’t get MVPs or Free Agents any more, and the second two games (Corporation and Teratons) ended in wins to the monkeys.

I’ve missed one game so far, the player has been MIA from the Facebook page and the club and everyone seems to be waiting on them for a game (that explains why ‘weeks five to nine’ would be five games, not four…).

Game 5 – Home vs the Wrong-Tech 69ers (S1 Corporation)

This game went awfully for my opponent. I actually managed to turn up in person, intending to play someone else but I ended up playing one of my missed games from a previous week since I could start a little earlier and be sure to catch the train.

Having twelve Zees available really helped, but I wasn’t able to get all of them on the pitch at the same time. My luck was up exactly when I needed it and two Zees scored 4-pointers. The cheerleader was placed on the score track again but was never used, and I ended up scoring a landslide in the thirteenth rush. Luke managed to score a three pointer, killed a Zee and injured a couple of others. That got his Guard the Strength upgrade he was holding out for and his Striker (already a superstar) getting on the cusp of another rank. The underdog bonus also favoured him, getting almost twice as much in income as I got!

The End?

At this point, a ‘break’ was announced and an offer for someone else to run the league for a while. I had two more opponents to play, but having altered my hours slightly in work I was finding it harder to get to the club and one of those opponents has been completely absent for a while. It looks like momentum has dropped out of this league as well, and the results haven’t even gone up.

Conclusions

I found this league more enjoyable than the previous leagues I’ve played in. The big difference is that instead of being a completely open format, the Pathfinder running it was very hands-on. You could play friendlies, but the league games were set at a rate of one per week, and it was arranged for you. I’m not sure whether this was randomly determined of the ‘remaining matches’ or if there was an algorithm to determine who was best placed. It was good for me coming in late to play against a team as far as ahead as the robots I played, because the underdog bonus catapulted me ahead.

The other nice thing was the pace. Both leagues were double-round-robin leagues, but where the Cardiff league set your matches for you one a week it gave an incentive to arrange and play the game. In Bristol, I was on the forum every week saying what days I was free and getting very few replies.

The only downside is the way that this league has ended – much the same as the previous ones I’ve been in, the momentum fizzled out (in Bristol, who knows why and in Cardiff, because the organiser took a break). In both of them there was no end, no event, nothing to mark the league as ‘over’ at all. Even in the Bristol leagues where the ‘last day to play’ was announced, it was after the league was already unofficially over and the date came and went with nothing really happening at all.

So what are you going to do about it?

Well, I don’t know if I can play a league in Cardiff again. It’s not easy to fit around family and travel and things. I enjoy the team progression of a league format – the standard 120TR tournament format is nice, but there’s no growth from game to game. There’s no feeling of ‘ooh, my star player just levelled up again’ or ‘let the rookie take the shot’.

I might even start a long-form league between friends, since we can get together for a day and play a few games together it should be possible to make a lot of progress in short bursts.

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Welsh Regional Tournament 2014

by paet the pagan-gerbil11. June 2014 08:00

There wasn’t really any way that I could miss this one, as last year’s winner. It almost looked like it had been cancelled too, as the local Pathfinder was no longer able to run it. I was offered the opportunity to both run it and play, and as I was planning on being there anyway it seemed like a simple enough deal!

I wouldn’t need to do any of the tricky stuff like arranging a venue, sorting tickets or prizes or anything like that, just sort out who plays who in each round and give out the toys at the end (provided by Mantic, given to me at the Open Day). In addition, since I was still allowed to play (and win – I checked).

This helped to decide my team for me – I was dithering between Nameless and Zees, since I’ve used them both this year and enjoyed them, but the Zees are quite a complex team and if I was going to be called by anyone else for rules queries, I didn’t want to have to cut a game short with my current opponent in order to answer a rules query for someone else. Not a lot of people have played with or against the Zees, and not everyone has the Season Three book, so quite a few people are unfamiliar with the way that they play and all their odd rules – they’d be likely to cause rules queries, and I didn’t want there to seem to be a conflict of interest. Finally, a Zees game can take a while (more rules, more decisions, less ability to score) and I wanted to have time to go around and take pictures, collect results and get the next round sorted out as early as possible. With all that involved, I figured the best choice was to take the Nameless. They have fairly well-known rules already, their errata and FAQ are very simple, no strange Running Interference, Teleport or Dirty Tricks to annoy people with obscure rulings, timings and loopholes.

Game One – Dan’s Brigstowe Raiders (S1 Corporation)

I started off well with a rematch of last week’s game in the Azure Forest tournament at the Open Day. This went much more my way with good rolls, and I hit a landslide win to take the game. I even managed to kill two models, putting on top in points, strike difference, kills and cheers!

Game Two – Oli’s Saltford Slappers (S2 Corporation)

My lead didn’t last long – Oli plays Running Interference perfectly, and held up all of my strike attempts. He did manage to take a win, putting him in the lead overall.

My Game Two

Game Two - Dan vs Andy

Game Three – Andy’s Arkham Harleyquinns (S2 Corporation)

I first played Andy back at the Bristol Megalofunotron, and he was the only player at the Welsh Regional who hadn’t come from Bristol! He travelled up from Exeter. He was even hotter on the Running Interference than Oli was, and took a landslide win in turn five.

Seeing as three of the four teams were painted by me and I was the organiser, I decided against giving a prize to 'best painted'.

I was feeling bashy on the day - this player saw a lot of action!

 

Game Four – Dan’s Brigstowe Raiders (S1 Corporation)

As there were only four players, we had to duplicate our results and I ended up playing Dan again for the final game. Again, I managed to take a landslide win – and so early, that we started off a friendly game – swapping sides to try out the opposite teams.

Oli gets serious for the last game, after being told it wasn't yet cut and dry victory...

Dan has a habit of doing this to people...

The moment where Andy cemented his win in all tie-break categories, just to be sure...I've heard from so many people that DreadBall tournaments are the friendliest around - I have to agree! Everyone had so much fun, winning and losing.

Results

It was slightly disappointing having a small field again, it would have been nice to have some of the guys from the Cardiff League turn up but unfortunately it was left a little unconfirmed until about three weeks before (hence my being drafted in to keep things running).

I managed to pull third place, Dan unfortunately had last (losing every game, as compared to his standing in the Open Day tournament). Oli and Andy were so close going into the last game that if it was a draw, Oli had won. If Andy won by two points or more, he had won. It went backwards and forwards all game, it could have gone either way.

It came right down to the last couple of dice of the game, and time ran out… It finished with three points to Andy, and his strike difference won the tie-breaker. In fact, cheers would have been identical if the final event of the game wasn’t ‘Bored Fans’, losing a fan check card and putting Andy on top there too.

It was a fantastic day, it was nice that everyone had a chance to play everyone else even though it was a low turnout. We all had a good laugh, the final game on the ‘top’ table was good and nail-biting (as is only proper).

I didn't get any sort of spoon, there were too many other prizes. Seasons One and Two for the loser!

Second place, and Oli chose the Season Three book to complete his set.

One champion hands over his title to the next... see you next year, Andy!

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Azure Forest Tournament May 2014

by paet the pagan-gerbil24. May 2014 08:00

I was pretty disappointed that the Open Day in May didn’t originally have a DreadBall tournament planned. The Open Day last year was the first tournament I’d ever been to, and got us both into the tournament thing. When first announced, they said ‘bring a team – get a few pick-up games.’ Coming from Bristol, it’s a pretty long way to go since we don’t play Kings of War, Deadzone, or any of the other Mantic games and we’re not likely to pick up new toys on impulse. Three hours drive each way, a B&B and getting babysitters for the weekend are just too much for a seminar which may talk about the games we’re really interested in and a look at the shiny DreadBall Xtreme models currently in development.

So when they finally announced the tournament at the event, I was over the moon. The fact that it’s an Azure Forest tournament is even better, as I like the changes it introduces. We may still miss the seminars (like we have previously) but I think they did a good job last time of trying to give everyone the chance to attend, and I’ve heard that this year there’s a seminar specifically for event participants timed around the games so we should be able to have a look this time.

The Gang

In the 2013 ManticBowl, Jen and I went on our own. For the November Charity Tournament, we managed to drag Oli up to Nottingham too. This May, Oli was busy but we convinced Dan and Chris to come along with us. Both are new to DreadBall, have played a couple of games each, and convinced they are going to come last but at least only one of them can! At the last second, Jen got ill and wasn’t able to attend – but the other three of us were on our way.

Dan took the S1 Corporation team (the one Jen usually takes, since he had practiced with those and Jen wasn’t using them) and Chris took the Judwan, as he figured using a team of all Strikers would be less to remember. I painted up a Nameless team, putting my faith in extra ranks rather than cards. I put an ability on two Strikers (hoping to get Skill 3+) and an ability on each of my Sticky Guards (hoping to get 360 Vision, so I can sit them in the three-point Strike zone as a super-defender). Without cards, I’ll be vulnerable against bad weather events but hopefully that will be as much of a hindrance to my opponent.

Game One – Adam Cooper’s Crimson Corpse Creators (Marauders)

Adam and I have an Open Day history – we played in the first ManticBowl (I beat him by a landslide), the Gamers For Life charity tournament (I beat him), and we were drawn first in this tournament. He took his Marauders again, and for the majority of the game the weather was ‘heat haze’ that lets us get away with fouls. Despite that, neither of us had to foul to get the advantage. My luck was awful here – I flubbed pick-ups, evades, dashes, and when I got there – strike attempts too. The game ended at a one point loss to me.

Game Two – Dan’s S1 Corporation

My second opponent, and again someone I’ve played before (since I taught him the game and brought him with me…) Again, my luck was foul. Dan managed to get me six points down – I pulled it back with a four-pointer. He jumped up to five points… I pulled it back to two… he got back to four points, and there we sat on his last turn. I’d just failed a strike attempt, so the ball was in the high-scoring zone with my Striker. He slammed me, I doubled the dodge and stepped onto the ball. Doubled the pick-up, threw the strike, and pulled it back to another one point loss in his turn (for a couple more fan checks). Still, not making great progress in the tournament.

Game Three – Charlotte’s Veer-myn

I met Charlotte at the 2013 Nationals back in March, but hadn’t played her. She’s the only other Veer-myn player that I’ve seen in a tournament, and was able to match me bad roll for bad roll. This was the first game that I rolled skill upgrades for my Strikers, so I was able to score quite easily. I killed a Guard and managed to get a landslide win! Quite a reverse from my other fortunes today.

Game Four – Nick’s Judwan

We suffered for most of the game with a Scorcher weather effect in play. It forced me to make more slams, and with less players, he was unable to use all five tokens most turns. It started off tit-for-tat scoring, but we both failed a few and I was getting my guards up to the full 3-pt defence to try and get some more opportunities. In the last couple of turns, I killed four Judwan – clearing out that nasty defence, failing every strike up there, and taking a two-point loss.

Conclusion

So with a barely-positive strike difference, I wasn’t anywhere near the top. There were 7/8/9 players total, probably because of the Open Day, Kings of War game, Deadzone campaign, Loka tournament, and everything else happening. Several people I’d seen playing previously were also working as Pathfinders on the day, so there’s some more potential players out.

I don’t think my plan was too bad, but the dice failed me on the day. I didn’t work hard enough to push my guards to the back to open my opponents defence, or maybe I need to write off the first couple of turns to just smash my opponent’s scoring potential. I’m still not sure I’ve worked out how to use the Nameless – or bashy teams in general – yet.

The overall winner was also using Nameless, and there was a third somewhere around that I hadn’t seen. Chris managed to take away the Wooden Spoon prize – a Rebs Starter Box for Deadzone!

The Open Day

I walked around the Open Day, but I didn’t really dip into anything other than the tournament. I went to the ‘tournament players’ scheduled seminar and heard a lot about Dwarf King’s Hold, but didn’t get into anything else. I had a quick chat with many people I’d seen at previous Open Days, which is great fun, and picked up the prizes for the Cardiff Regional next week. I was also just about coming down with something nasty that knocked me out of work for three days, so I think that affected my enjoyment on the day – I was exhausted, I didn’t bother taking any pictures (after promising myself that I would) and didn’t make the time to try anything out (Project Pandora and Deadzone were high on my list to sample between games). If I’d known the seminar would be dominated by Dwarf King’s Hold, I might have gone for another game or to have a better look at the ‘studio’ – a table with painter, sculptor, and lots of unfinished/pre-release models. I really regretted not talking to the Mantic painter, but didn’t realise this till later when I had the time to run the day through my brain and work out what I’d missed.

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Sinister Statue Skirmish

by paet the pagan-gerbil10. May 2014 08:00

I finally got around to playing a game of Warhammer with the new Dark Elves, against my regular opponent (once every year or two is regular, right?) with his Warriors of Chaos. We made it 3000 points, to get a few neat toys in, and stuck with the Pitched Battle to keep things simple.

We managed to remember a good deal of the rules between us, and everything just seemed to work the way that I intended. I took a horde of 30 Corsairs with a Battle Standard Bearer, a horde of 30 Witch Elves with the Cauldron of Blood, 10 Cold One Knights, 21 Black Guard, 3 Bolt Throwers, some crossbowmen and a Death sorceress (level 2), a Kharibdyss and finally Morathi as the general.

I was up against a Tzeentch force led by Vilitch the Curseling – there were some knights, a Fire wizard, two units of warriors, some Forsaken and Marauder Horsemen, a chariot, a Mutalith Vortex Beast, some Warhounds and a Hellcannon.

We placed a Bretonnian ruin, and grabbed a Buddy Christ dashboard ornament to sit inside it – flicking through the rulebook, this was designated a Sinister Statue and we completely forgot to roll for it about 30 seconds later. Still, it looked good.

On my left flank, the Warhounds kept running, rallying, regrouping, and running again from the Kharibdyss. By the time I got the hint and pulled it back to deal with other threats, it was almost too late to reach anything. It’s last action was to declare a charge against the Warriors with the Fire wizard, who fled right off the table. It never saw combat.

Morathi was extremely powerful. I took Dark magic, to get the maximum benefit, and loved the fact that all the little things that should work together did. The Hellcannon focused on destroying the Black Guard, while Morathi snuck behind the tightly packed lines and successfully cast Shroud of Despair. Just outside of the effect, the Cold One Knights destroyed the Chaos Chariot easily – causing a panic test in the Marauder Horsemen who were inside the Shroud’s bubble. The following turn,  another unit caused a panic test over there, and the effect just kept stacking… At the same time, outside of the effect, my Death wizard cast Doom and Darkness on the Chaos Knights while the bolt throwers caused casualties enough to make them run off. They probably would have gone off of the table, if I hadn’t taken Doom and Darkness off of them at that point, thinking it could do more good elsewhere.

It didn’t all go well for me – the Witch Elves were charged by the Vortex Beast, and dragged out of the way of being able to slam the fleeing Chaos general’s unit in the flank, Morathi was charged by the Hellcannon and needed to be rescued by the Cold One Knights, the Black Guard crumbled to the Forsaken and the Corsairs fell to the other unit of Warriors, who overran into a bolt thrower.

The Forsaken moved onto the Witch Elves, but they were destroyed in short order. Once the Hellcannon was dealt with, the Cold Ones charged Vilitch’s unit (now rallied) and broke it (even though Morathi’s second Shroud failed) and the Chaos Knights charged Morathi. The game was called at that point, as I still had more than half of my army and there was only the Warhounds and 2 Chaos Knights left, but I insisted that we finish the turn and the Chaos Knights finished Morathi off with that, so it wasn’t a complete rollover.

I think the main boost in that game was the Shroud of Despair scattering and disorganising the Chaos lines, and being pleasantly surprised that Morathi isn’t too bad in combat. In particular, her Leadership test for Enchanting Beauty (designed to be failed) along with the Shroud of Despair (everyone suffers from failing Leadership tests) means that you could end up with a big penalty to a unit’s Leadership, for crossbows or bolt throwers to force a panic test in.

On the Warriors side, the Chaos knights did alright to kill Morathi (even with that crippling penalty), and the Hellcannon did impressive damage against the Black Guard in a single shot. I think the top unit had to be the Warhounds for getting the Kharibdyss out of the game, essentially, and being the only Chaos unit to not suffer a single wound.

So what do I think of the new Dark Elves? The magic I used was mostly the subtle stuff, but in concert with other effects it was devastating. Getting everything lined up, in the right place and at the right time, might be a challenge if the opponent knows what is coming though. Murderous Prowess was a nice bonus, and occasionally gave me an extra wound, but nothing special. Always Strikes First is a massive boost, much better than Hatred was in the previous version. The Dark Magic lore attribute was too difficult to remember, and feels a little weak for what it does. Maybe if I wasn’t using Morathi, I’d be throwing more dice at spells and then would be doing a little more with it, but by the time I remembered that ‘hey, I have a lore attribute!’ I only cast a couple more small spells and didn’t get a double or triple to trigger it.

I wasn’t too impressed with the Cauldron of Blood. It’s a nice Ward save for the Witch Elves, and makes them a little more deadly in combat, but I didn’t get into any big units to really try that out in this game. It’s a very expensive way of boosting Witch Elves as well, being 200+ points of Hero allocation. In a smaller game, I don’t know that I could justify it.

Next time, I would either repeat the Shroud of Despair with a Bloodwrack Shrine nearby to try and really force the issue, or I’ll replace the ‘powerful wizard’ magic with some Doomfire Warlocks, and completely swap the subtle stuff for the big blasty stuff. Hopefully, the next game will be less than 12 months away…

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Serenity RPG – Part One

by paet the pagan-gerbil26. April 2014 08:00

Our group is taking a break from the ‘Four Islands’ RuneQuest game, and a new GM is trying out a new system – the Firefly RPG. The other players had created characters the previous week, and the ones that turned up on the first ‘real’ session were: Dave Cocknocker, a fightin’ sort; Hammy, a slightly weird type; Bacon, a decent pilot (good friends with Hammy – both grew up on Persephone); and a cleric whose name escapes me.

I rushed through my character creation since I’d been warned it can take a while. I asked what characters they had and what they needed – we had a medic and engineer on top of the ones above, but those players weren’t there. The one thing that no-one had taken was the leader, the captain. So I slipped into that one and grabbed a quick but focussed build – I’m fair with guns (specialising in the exotic energy weapons), but not a fighter. I put many points into Influence – both Leadership and Persuasion, with high Intelligence and Willpower.

As my Assets, I chose Leadership (I can give people a bonus if they are working towards my stated goal) and Steady Calm (should come in handy to maintain control in a panic situation) – both minor. I was given two minor complications – Traumatic Flashes (I may lose control while I relive a terrifying memory) and Greedy (mo’ money, yo).

Since I was greedy, I put a few points into Gambling – if I ever get the chance to play Poker, then a high Persuasion (for bluffing) and a good Gambling should give me a fair shake.

So without further ado (or the time to think up a decent name – I’ve gone with ‘Not Mal’ and the nickname ‘Sir’), we began our first session!

Our crew was meeting for the first time on Persephone. They had met on a Cortex hub (OKCrewpid) and some of us had bought shares in a ship – a Firefly class vessel with nice sensors and a full tank o’ fuel. There’s enough fuel for 16 days flying and food for a month. A box had been delivered to the ship – inside was a lady cleric. Dave and Hammy had no immediately obvious skills, so I expect them to pay their way at some point and in the meantime to do the heavy lifting tasks.

Introductions out of the way, we checked the local Cortex for available jobs. There’s only one worth our time – a chap called Randall Lee wants a box delivered to Londinium (an Alliance world near the core), for 50K credits. Bacon stayed with the ship while Dave and I headed to meet Mr Lee and try to find out more about the job.

The box is 6ftx4ftx4ft, approximately 90kg, wooden, no special transport requirements, and a ‘no-open’ clause (payment is reduced to 25% if it’s opened). Sounds very much like it contains a small human.

Being a jolly persuasive fellow, and Mr Lee having extremely low Willpower, the terms of the job were renegotiated. 56K for delivery, 50% if it’s opened, and 30K bonus if we make it in 5 days (Bacon had plotted a course that would take 4 days).

When the ‘negotiators’ got back to the ship, they found that the Alliance had sent some ‘blue-hands’ over to inspect it and to advise the crew that there were pirates operating between Persephone and Londinium. They left without incident when the crate arrived, along with all the papers that we’d need for passage and landing and so on.

Despite dire warnings, we actually made it to Londinium without meeting any pirates. We did salvage a small crate of high-grade protein foods which should be good for some cash out on the rim worlds. We also landed on time without any problems, delivered the crate to the Alliance Security centre and got paid. We were not allowed back to the ship though, and everyone had to follow the guards and goons (of which there were dozens and dozens!) to a small office. After a short while, we were released back to the ship.

As we approached the ship, we spotted a guard leaving our ship on his own. Since there were no other guards around, we ‘coerced’ him back onto the ship once Hammy had told us that he wasn’t really a guard, and was trying to rob us (though just opportunistically, not targeting us specifically). And so we had a prisoner! Stripped naked and interrogated, we intended to turn him in for a meagre bounty when we got back to Persephone. However, he suggested we decided to keep him on board (tied up in the airlock) when he tipped us off that we’d been double-crossed and our payment had vanished!

We immediately suspected Randall Lee of doing something dodgy, so devised a plan to get our money back. He was well known as a gambler and mule-racer (the little quad-bike, not the donkey thing) so we challenged him anonymously to a race. While preparing for the race we realised that he was unguarded in the shed with his winning Mule, so we dropped a Stun grenade through the window and kidnapped him, and stole the Mule.

As is our standard procedure when interrogating prisoners, we stripped him naked and put him in the airlock (our other prisoner was cuffed to a table in a shuttle, out of the way) and interrogated him while Bacon put us in orbit around Persephone.

It turns out that even though we robbed the poor sod blind (I have a new hat and laser pistol, as well as the contents of his wallet) he had also been double-crossed by Ton Ting, the Pirate King, who had given him the job (that he farmed out to us) in the first place. We had to take on the Pirate King to get our cash back.

Ton Ting’s base (or lair, if you will) is on an abandoned asteroid mining station between Persephone and Londinium (hence all the pirate raids). We took the ship in close (but hidden), and flew a shuttle off to the asteroid. We landed in secret, thanks to our cleric’s covert operations training, and undetected by the guards nearby.

And so we wait for the next session to assault the Pirate king base…

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The Four Islands: Part Four

by paet the pagan-gerbil12. April 2014 08:00

When last we met, the party were sailing away from Ogre-land to rescue the captive boy-king Uther of the Bretons from Drow/Drannei.

Shortly after setting off, Captain Rengrave changed our course away from the Drannei ships towards the island of Sanctuary to get some help from the wise man there (who may or may not be a wizard, magic being illegal nudge-nudge wink-wink). He couldn’t join us as he sort of stole a sword from the wise man; we discovered later that this sword belongs to the King of the Bretons and that Rengrave had given it to Uther. So it’s not completely stealing.

The Island of Sanctuary is full of hippies who don’t enforce rules as stringently as other nations and this makes it a prime location for pirates (like our dwarf Ungrud) to visit and trade. That being said, it’s not a thriving metropolis or a bustling port or any other cliché, instead it’s a rather sleepy little village.

The wise man told us that the Drow had probably taken the boy because the Island of Lost Time can only be entered by a prince or king of virtue and that being only 12, Uther was probably virtuous enough. First, he would be taken to the Drow capital in order for them to ascertain his virtue. What they want with the Island of Lost Time is a complete mystery, and we were referred to the one person who claimed to have been there – an ex-associate of Ungrud, to whom Ungrud owed about two ships-worth of gold. Ungrud declined to join us in our interrogations. We were also left with a couple of zen statements – “when there is no time, there is always time” and the like.

In the pub, we found our adventuring dwarf who was only too happy to give up information. Apparently, the island appeared frozen in movement. Clouds moved overhead but no wind was felt, branches on trees did not shift and nothing moved on it’s own. No sounds. At night, the dead moved and watched him, with lips sewn shut, accompanied by faceless beings. He believes that they didn’t attack because of an amulet that he had, and freely gave to us (mentioning that wearing it felt like it took part of his essence). We left the amulet in our bags and headed back to the ships.

The only place to land on the Drow island was a place called Safe Landing. It had a temple on stilts that looked like a boat, dedicated (so a plaque said) to ‘The Only God’. Not a good sign to people with as varied a pantheon as us. We followed the river to the capital, and en route were ambushed by ten camel riders. We hunkered behind our horses, and defended ourselves well (while trying to retrieve my war boomerang, I ended up leading two riders on a jolly chase where one fumbled and threw themselves to the ground to be trampled later) while the dwarfs and single human cut down the remainder.

As we looted the bodies, the sun set rapidly. We set a watch and a camp, and used looted blankets to keep warm in the cold desert night. During the night, we were awoken by a crowd of people who could apparently see in the darkness. We were invited to their camp for the night, guided by a ‘skrillfex’ – a fox that they call their ‘day guide’. After a nice sleep in a comfortable yurt we did some investigating. The yurt was being guarded by two blindfolded men, and we learned about this tribe from a foreign mercenary called Tankred. He explained that these are the night people, and they never take their blindfolds off in the day. They are not fans of the Drannei, but would not help us recover the boy. Instead he directed us South, over the river, to a temple where we might find help.

The temple was a large, magnificent structure with domes and minarets, and many pillars all made of marble. Inside, the floor was covered in sand and as we walked across it, a small dervish whirled up in front of us and formed into a Djinn, who attacked. We defeated the Djinn and were greeted by the priestess of the temple who informed us that we had ‘passed the test’.

We were given a guide to aid us, who had taken a vow of silence – but seemed to have a pad of paper, so that wasn’t too bad. On our way through an abandoned and partially buried village, we took shelter from a sandstorm for the night. During that night, I had an odd dream… I woke up in the room as it would have appeared long before, when it was populated. I looked in a mirror, but the reflection was gone. Out of the window, I saw a beautiful city filled with life. A woman came into the room and started pouring water, and said “Find us” – but did not interact with me, or show any sign that she knew I was there.

Outside of the building, I tried to get breakfast from a market seller but my hands went through everything and he didn’t seem to know I was there. I headed to the nearest baths, and there saw Neptune. As a devout worshipper of the sea god (makes sense for a sailor), I genuflected and kneeled before him. He told me to bring time back to this place – time was taken, and time has to be brought back. It appears to be a spear with an hourglass scribed on the point.

Waking up, I explained the whole thing and am filled with a holy purpose. It’s not every day that one’s god gives them a mission personally! Our guide showed us an underground cavern filled with granite statues that looked exactly like the people I had seen in the dream. There were also hundreds of soldiers, all in granite. Our guide asked us (through passed notes) if we felt older (apparently, we did), and that we should leave immediately.

Resuming our journey to the capital to get the boy (who can go to the Island of Lost Time, being a prince of virtue, where we think we can find the spear), we are ambushed by desert warriors. Ungrud wandered off towards a mirage, I was trapped by bolas, the Ogre merchant fell into a ditch and our rigger was almost attacked by a bandit… who fumbled, and stayed underground, apparently. It took us a while to take them all out, one even continuing to fight after losing a leg (completely chopped off, fell on the floor, bleeding heavily, etc etc).

I’ll finish this off with a guest recap from one of our party, an elf (not me) that has unfortunately missed most of our sessions – may not have turned up since before we got to the Ogre capital!

Here we go!

Our intrepid heroes wandered the desert for many days, looking for a way out. They were tired and hungry and more than a little bit mad when they came across a strange sight indeed.
Sat before them, atop a small mound of rock, topped with the symbol of th e god of time, was a fat, bald man, who looked to be in his twenties. Around him were similar mounds of rock, each with a different holy symbol above it. In front of the man were bowls containing assorted nibbles. Some of the nibbles had been nibbled.
"Who are you?" Asked an adventurer.
The bald man replied; "I am... actually, I can't remember my name."
“Deckard Cain… that’s  a name…”  Mused one of the adventurers.
“What?”
“Oh, nothing…”
The  heroes turned back to the bald man.  "Why are you here?" Asked  one, curious.
"In my youth, I murdered a man for sleeping with my wife, and then I murdered my wife for being unfaithful. Now I seek atonement from my god." Answered the bald man.
"How long have you been here?" Asked a third adventurer.
"Enough with the questions! If  you must know, it's been 100 years, 10 months and 11 days... do you want the minutes?"
"No, no..! 100 years? Bloody hell, mate, you look good for your age."
"Yeah, well, my people are immortal, you see, on account of them worshipping time and all that."
"That's pretty cool. From whence do you hail, oh bald man?" Asked a forth adventurer.
The bald man looked at him wearily, clearly tired of this incessant questioning. "I'm from Niceass. It's a lovely city in the desert." His eyes glazed over as he recall ed his home town with longing.
The adventurers looked at each-other, in uncertainty. One piped up, "Er... bald man..?"
"What is it?" Snapped the bald man, "I'm not used to visitors, y'know. I do hope you'll all bugger off soon, so I can enjoy the afterno on sun in peace."
"Well it's just... You see..."
"Out with it, man! I don't have all day, you know! This atonement business is busy work!"
"You might as well just tell him," said another adventurer.
"Look. Your town's dead. Everyone is dead. Niceass is a dead town. It's been dead for ages. Dead."
The bald man sat in shocked silence for a few minutes.
"Way to break it to him gently..." One of the adventurers muttered. 
There was some shifting of feet.
"Right. Well... Bugger."
[Later that day, the group stands once again before the bald man with no name.]
"Well he clearly gets his food from somewhere..."
"Yeah, a bunch of dark elves drop it off every week." Chipped in the bald man, munching a mushy banaramitz.
"Right, so we j ust wait here for a bit. Follow the elves back... get the girl and hightail it out of there."
"Boy,"  came a voice from the back.
"What?"
"Boy. Get the boy and hightail it out of there."
"Since when has any story been about rescuing a boy?"
"Look, I don't write them, okay? I'm just here, in the desert, with a pocket full of mouldy bananaramitz and sunburn, just like the rest of you."
"Mouldy banan... you've still got your bananaramitz??"
"Yeah..!"
"Damn... I wondered what that stink was..."
Most of the group of adventurers, as one, step away from one of their members, who looked a bit redder.
[Later still, a small band of dark elves appears on the horizon...]
"They're here, look busy!"
The adventurers scurry around. One of them tries to hid e behind a small pebble, before following the others to sit atop one of the remaining piles of stones.
[The dark elves come...
The dark elves leave...
The group follows the dark elves... ]
As they thought, the   dark  elves travelled back to their city in the desert. It was a monstrous place, with high walls and a closed gate.  In the shadow of the wall sat a slum – a ramshackle place of lean-to houses and mud. As the group entered, they were assessed and the two elves were inked with a “B”  for “Breeding Stock”. There was much jesting, and the  human was  much put out at the fact the ugly elf was marked for breeding, yet he was not. 
During the night, it was established that breeding  might not  necessarily  be a good thing…  The group hatched a plan that involved sneaking out of the cam p and through a secret entrance in the wall. Their  guide had got them this far and was sure he could get them into the city.
Sadly, the best laid plans  sometimes fail, and this one  wasn’t  one of the best. As the group snuck out of the camp, one of their members tripped over and  was spotted by a lookout.  Before he could try and talk his way out of trouble ,  one of  the other heroes tried to slit  the throat of the lookout, but only scratched his neck. The lookout screamed out in pain and woke several others. With the camp
heating up, the group ran for it, almost leaving behind the unfortunate adventurer with the blunt knife.
And so we leave our adventurers, having entered the city and headed towards the temple in the centre. Will they find the boy  they seek there?  What of all the female elves in the city – perhaps our men wish not to leave after all  (*wink wink*) ? Will they meet the queen of the dark elves herself?
Find out next episode…  maybe…

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Bristol Megalofunotron Tournament Review

by paet the pagan-gerbil30. March 2014 09:00

This was another local tournament, like the Bristol Blitz last year. It would be nice to bring every different team to a tournament at some point, to get proper use out of all of them, and given that I’ve been using Zees a lot this year (especially in the Cardiff League) it would be a good chance to get those out for a bit.

The tournament has a slightly different format to the traditional tournaments we’ve been to, and instead of just being four plain identical exhibition matches this was more of a surrogate league – each game is an exhibition match with more credits, and the team you use each game is based on the team you had in the previous game. Unlike a league, any rank increases are rolled at the beginning of each game, and deaths are ignored (instant, free resurrection between games).

In addition, it’s a five-game tournament and the final game was an Ultimate multiplayer game.

Game 1 – Andy’s S2 Corporation (4pt win)

Andy was great fun to play against – I got a good six-point lead early on but he refused to let me get the landslide. We made it through to the end of the game, where I got a final point to put me on four and with the three-point strike hex blocked up with two on the bonus lane, it was going to be impossible for the Corporation to score a win. This is one of the games that I expected to be the hardest, since the Zees had the fewest upgrades. The Monkey Business dice didn’t favour me much, but the Offensive coach was very useful.

He did kill a monkey though.

Late in the game, and the score is in my favour

Game 2 – Rob’s Asterians (7pt landslide loss)

The Asterian Dirty Tricks and Dive-Taking failed to do too much to the monkeys, as expected. Rob played well and blocked the three-point strike hex from me, and with their 3+ Speed there was nothing I could do to open it up. Like the last times I played Asterians (at the Charity Open Day and 2013 Nationals), I was permanently on the back foot trying to slow down what seemed like an inevitable loss. I managed to hold off until turn 12, which is pretty good for a Skill 5+ Jack team against one with Skill 3+ Strikers.

The neon-green Asterians kept falling over!

The best moment of this loss was pointing out that he hadn’t called any fouls all game, and I’d had ten models on the pitch uncontested for almost the entire game. It clearly didn’t help me, but it was rewarding nonetheless. On the flipside, I didn’t notice that he’d had 7 players on the pitch for at least half of the game himself.

Game 3 – Cai’s Teratons (3pt win)

Cai was a sharp player, he knew how to use the Teratons to best effect and made it difficult for me to pick up the ball by applying threat hexes to it. At one point, I played the Ball Shatters card to my own player because he wouldn’t be able to safely Evade out of two threat hexes. When relaunched, the ball landed in the only spot with two threat hexes on it, so it didn’t really help me at all. He called foul almost every one of my actions, but found it difficult to kill off the monkeys quickly enough to stop them scoring.

Game 4 – Josh’s Robots (7pt landslide win)

I wasn’t too sure how I would end up doing against the Robots, and Josh didn’t know about the Zees. I managed to kill a Robot Guard by slamming them in the back (with plenty of threat hex support, obviously) and in my final turn, took a one-dice 4+ chance at a 4pt Strike to get the landslide… and got it.

I don’t think Josh is used to someone fouling against him, and I feel a little bad about fouling, but the Zees require the foul to be able to do anything. Still, he called more fouls than Rob did and got a few monkeys sent off – just not enough.

Coach Ronnie points at the rush tracker and casts an impressive shadow

Josh had a great, simple paint scheme for his robots – white undercoat with a coloured wash for position. One of the big problems with robots is determining player role, since they are all so similar, but this made it so easy for me to tell what was a Jack, a Striker or a Guard.

Game 5 – ULTIMATE!

The Ultimate game involved Andy, Rob and Josh from my previous games, as well as a Nameless team and an S1 Corporation team (Tom, who I’ve played in previous tournaments) to make a full six players.

Clockwise, from the Zees - Josh (Robots), Tom (S1 Corp), Andy (S2 Corp), Rob (Asterians), Curtis (Nameless).

I called Defensive plays for the first couple of turns, but didn’t need the dice and didn’t get much done in those turns. I’m not sure whether it was subsequently calling Offensive plays or just having more Zees on the pitch closer to the action that did the trick but I started scoring again. At one point, I was tied for first place with Tom’s Corporation and Rob’s Asterians but Tom scored an extra couple of points on me to pull himself ahead and push me down to third place when the time ran out and we ended the game.

I think I liked this game more than the others in the day – I even managed to pull a couple of nasty surprises on people (Running Interference cards!) and took a Nameless Hard Guard off for three turns thanks to many threat hexes and a slam in the back (with a few unused Monkey Business dice).

The Zees have left the subs bench... can you spot them all?

Conclusion

Overall, Jen and I did pretty well – she won her Ultimate game by a landslide, and we were both tied on tournament points with Tom (who won our Ultimate game). Taking into account strike difference, Tom came in second, I was third and Jen was fourth. I think that’s a brilliant turnout for the Zees. I think it was even better for Jen, who had misunderstood the format and was reducing her tournament bonus each game, instead of adding it on, and effectively was being outranked by her opponents in games two and three. I think – although I’d need the complete results to be sure – that if the Ultimate game hadn’t happened I would have been in second place.

The overall winner was Rob Taylor with his Asterians – I’m definitely going to have to arrange some practice games against them, since they are the team I do the worst against.

The aim of the ‘league-ish’ format was to encourage other teams to come who are perceived as needing a bit more development to be competitive – teams like the Zees, the Robots and Z’zor. I think it definitely helped the Zees to be able to spend more than 20mc since they need an Offensive coach to really push for the big scores but 5+ Skill (and unpredictable coaching dice) is even more crippling for them than it is for the Veer-myn. On the other hand, every other team had the same number of upgrades as I did so it was still a set of four balanced matches.

I like the different format, it kept things interesting and I was really pleased to have done so well with the Zees. I hope that other people will take them in the future, since I have not yet played against them – I think they’d be an interesting challenge. It was also very good to have two full Ultimate games – no dead Strike zones – with all the chaos that entails. I’d like to play another tournament in this format one day, but it’s quite tiring – four hour games and a two-hour Ultimate game to cap it off is a gruelling schedule.

The giveaway for this tournament was a set of custom acrylic tokens with a Bristol Vanguard logo on them (a Banksy bear throwing a dice) – Jen and I picked blue and red to supplement the green Kickstarter ones we already have.

I choose to believe that the shade of blue was deliberately chosen to be as close to 'Bristol Blue' glass as possible.

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DreadBall Nationals 2013

by paet the pagan-gerbil16. March 2014 08:00

Planning

After my disappointment that they had not gone ahead in November, and then the slight irk as I felt they had been replaced by the Ultimate game I passed on at the Charity Open Day, I was understandably thrilled when the Nationals were announced, postponed, for March 9th.

Not the most convenient day, as it means travelling across the country and arriving home quite late on a Sunday, but there was no way that I could miss this one. I got my ‘crew’ together – Oli’s S2 Corporation (borrowing our Steelbridge Emperors again) and Jen’s S1 Corporation (our Starport Starlets, as usual) and that left me to decide how to go ahead.

What with one thing and another, there’s been no time to practice or paint. I wanted to stand a chance at winning so that left either Judwan or Veer-myn, two teams I felt that I could do quite strongly with and were already painted to at least a playable standard.

There was some sense to bringing the Veer-myn, as that’s what got me there in the first place. On the other hand, they didn’t really rampage quite as well at the Open Day as they had at the Welsh Regional tournament, and maybe I needed a little more skill (hence the Judwan).Jen and Oli practice while I try to decide which team to bring.

The other consideration was whether or not it would be immodest to bring the metal pitch I won in that Regional, especially since with the extreme lack of practice (I think I had two or three games since Christmas, including teaching new players) I was not confident in being able to think my way out of any problems.

The Day

After all that to-ing and fro-ing, I ended up with the Veer-myn. I’d packed both, just in case, but if someone clogged up the three point strike zone, the Judwan would never be able to get the points needed to come back.

The perfect place to pray for 6s...

The venue was amazing. I thought it was being held in a church hall, it was actually in an abandoned church. It fits the purpose of a gaming hall perfectly, with plenty of space but was very cold. I imagine this will be sorted in time, but they’ve only been open since October after the church was empty for 12 (or 20?) years. It’ll be nice to see what it’s like in the summer. A nice bonus was lunch included in the ticket price, I like this as it keeps everyone together rather than spreading out and keeps the cost of the day down for everyone.

Game One – Shaun Riley’s Triple Rs (S1 Corporation)

Shaun was a great player, I had a really fun game here. He also had a special wipe-clean mat with spaces for coaches, spent action tokens, cheerleaders, etc and he could write notes on them for every game and wipe it off when it was no longer needed. It’s a really good idea and I’ll see if he’s put it on the DreadBall Fanatics Facebook group.

Shaun was playing his Corporation aggressively, and did a good job defending his strike zones. We hovered both sides of the 0-point mark all game but in the last rush, it was one point in his favour. The Veer-myn had completely failed practically every Evade test that they had to take. I normally risk one or two without thinking because a three-dice 3+ test is almost a certainty.

So I was off to a bad start, but it was the best lose that I could go for (only one point conceded and a pile of cheers).

Game Two – Gareth Humphreys’ Goram Reavers (Marauders)

As Shaun was bottom of the winners and I was top of the losers, we were picked to play again but instead swapped with two others. I got placed against Gareth’s Marauders, and again he played aggressively. So aggressively, he killed four of my players! Kills don’t count, however, and I managed to get a hard fought landslide win – back in the running.

Gareth was another great opponent, good fun to play against and really polite as he murdered my rats. He went on to win Most Bloody, after he took out three of Jen’s players in a later game. We accounted for more than 75% of the casualties that got him there!

Game Three – Dan Haslam’s Sonic Strikers (Judwan)

Dan had terrible luck this game, and his Judwan were totally unable to dislodge me from the three-point strike zone – or at least, were unable to do so when they had the ball and could get up to score. By the time he had, I had replaced the Striker and blocked the gap. I mashed the three-pointers and pulled another landslide win.

I’m not a nice enough person to open that three-point strike zone, and I feel bad about giving Dan a game he found very difficult. Hopefully he still had a good game, and I enjoyed having a chat with him – another player who knows his stuff, and is good fun to play against. There’s not a lot that can be done against that sort of defence, especially when the Judwan have had their speed reduced. I think they’re pretty competitive in general (and too competitive in skilled hands) with the good speed, and not competitive enough by far without it. I don’t have any better ideas though, so have to leave it at that.

Game Four – Ian Fielder’s Ellshar Smashers (Asterians)

Asterians… why did it have to be Asterians? I got lucky in this game – his Jacks threw themselves down but few players got sent off, Dirty Tricks was fired from the Guard without anything, and Inattentive Ref came out early and wasn’t replaced for half of the game. That deterred any further shenanigans, for the short term. This was also the first game were none of my players got the Skill upgrade, meaning I was playing against a team practically the same, but a little bit stronger. He also adapted to my focus on three-pointers quickly and moved to block that off, since 5+ skill will make it difficult to get two-pointers in the lower strike zones.

OK, so this is Jen playing against Ian in game two. I had too much fun to take pictures of my own games.

I managed to kill an Asterian, but that didn’t help too much. He focused his upgraded Strikers (who did get the Skill bonus) on two-pointers, and I barely managed to scrape it until rush 13 when the landslide loss hit me. I was pleased to keep the game going that long, and Ian had a mastery of the game – he was perfectly clear on everything, and we clipped through the rushes at a good pace.The Veer-myn watch the Asterians score again... and again... and again...

Conclusion

I loved every minute of the day! The venue was excellent, albeit pretty cold, there were plenty of tables and lots of space, the tea was nice, lunch was plentiful (several trays of Subway) and opponents wonderful. I hope I get to see them at another event this year. Jen and I are planning on going to the Mantic Open Days – one in May, and possibly another one later in the year – if they have DreadBall tournaments again.

The winner was Leon Chapman, the South-east Regional Champion using a Nameless team. I’d be interested to hear how he plays the Nameless, I’ve only tried them a couple of times and feel like there’s never enough action tokens to make full use of their team synergy. Second place was Ian with his Asterians, the only person he didn’t get a landslide win against was Leon. I think this shows that in the right hands, any team can do well.

Overall, I had a slight loss, a landslide loss and two landslide wins. This gave me six tournament points (just behind James M Hewitt himself) at fifth place. Oli had two landslide losses, so ended up down in tenth place with hardly any cheers – his worst result, I believe. Jen had a better day than both of us – she took a landslide loss with Ian, but got two landslide wins and a plain win and ended up on seven tournament points in third place! I am so incredibly proud of her, I didn’t even think about my own placing. I am happy with how I placed, but ecstatic with Jen – she puts it down to luck, but she beat Oli by a landslide in a practice game the night before. I think the lack of practice recently hit me and Oli hard, but Jen has managed to keep her skills sharp (possibly sharper?) over the Winter months. I think that also means that officially, she is the third best DreadBall player in the UK?

Because the top positions were taken by pathfinders or staff members, their prizes trickled down to the first civilians… which meant Jen and I walked away with new toys! Having gotten everything in the Kickstarter, we called up a friend to find out what they wanted and donated it to their collection.

I thought this picture would come out a lot worse - still didn't do the models justice.

Unlike recent tournaments, Season Two Corporation teams were very thin on the ground – only Oli brought one. Nameless and Teratons are still popular with two teams each, two Judwan teams, two Veer-myn (on the rise?), only one Marauder and Asterian team (down from the last tournament) and, as usual, three Corporation teams. Plain old humans are always popular, it seems.

We had a few chats with James and Tim from Mantic who both told us that the DreadBall community was one of the nicest gaming communities that they’d ever seen. Apparently other game systems can have less friendly people at the top tables (and I’ve heard something similar from the Warhammer podcasts that I listen to), but DreadBall tournaments all feel like club games and friendly atmospheres. There were two Teraton players at the Nationals who weren’t even looking at winning, necessarily – just trying to outdo each other on body count (and were both outstripped by Gareth’s Marauders!) This event cemented my love of the hobby and the scene and I aim to attend as many local tournaments as possible and whichever of the official Mantic events we are available for. I love that it’s something I can do with my wife, and my friends.

Oli's S2 Corporation vs James' S1 Corporation

The next tournament on the horizon is the Bristol Megalofunotron at the end of March, and then there’s nothing planned until May. I need to get out of my painting funk and start getting something done again – I’m OK for Bristol (I intend to take the Zees) but I still have a lot of other teams to paint before my Xtreme Kickstarter delivers at the end of the year!

Your princess is in another castle...

Leon Chapman, who won the tournament, has written his own experiences of the day on the Mantic forums.

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The Four Islands – Part Three

by paet the pagan-gerbil9. March 2014 08:00

Having finished off some guards last time outside the bandit cave, we cautiously entered. We were met just outside the cave by some Ogres sent by King Rulf to assist us – two players who can’t attend as often as they’d like to. They’re brothers, twins, and very strong (even if one is a little short). One is a merchant, the other a priest, who supports the general Ogre religion and was clearly sent to us by Rulf because he didn’t want to be told he wasn’t warlike enough.

We just loved the view of Ogre merchants and priests. “You will buy this for 10!” and “REPENT!” being repeated while the target is lifted and shaken until they give up and do as they’re told!

Investigating the caves, we found a very small shieldwall in a narrow corridor, big enough for only three to stand abreast. It was hard to break them since our missile shooting was poor (and mostly rocks) – even though I gave my bow to someone with twice the skill I had. We charged in, such as we could and then smash. Slowly. Their shields were good. When we finally broke a gap in the line, our Ogre merchant took advantage of the gap by tossing our rigger (a Dwarf) into it to cause surprise and smash heads. Thankfully, he got a special roll on the throw and the Dwarf landed perfectly.

Then out of the melee the bandit leader came out and shouted to us, asking if anyone would challenge him on-on-one. Since even with his clan around him we outnumbered them, I thought ‘why bother? it only benefits him!’ and that was the majority view until one of our party chose to sacrifice himself (the player wanted a new character). We didn’t want to throw his life away though, so he cast Strength on himself, and we cast Demoralise on the bandit chief. He lasted a few rounds, and at some point I thought we’d all best sneak around and kill off the chief anyway – one-on-one honour for a thief? Pah! Then a good hit took him out, and the clan surrendered. We have stripped them, looted every nook and cranny of the cave and got some good gear for our new recruits (and some of us still wearing animal furs) and intend to take them back to King Rulf for a bounty.

I missed the next week, but the party made it back to the King’s camp, managed to sell the loot and buy some nice full suits of armour (the problems of missing a week, you miss the good gear), and got a new boat to take us to the capital – the SS Sea Otter Foreplay. It’s like an Ogre yacht, and I think it’s fair to  say that we were all thinking of the Lonely Island video “I’m on a boat”.

Our Ogre merchant almost lost an arm to a shark (gaining in return a crippling fear of water and finding himself the religion of the Earth god), and the party stole a farm. They were told that they found some good grazing land, and as I understand it they forged some ownership documents to prove that they owned it?

When I rejoined the party, we were sailing to the capital. We found a couple of uninteresting islands (no more vulnerable farms, armour merchants or deadly sharks) and then came upon the capital just in time to see a bunch of nasty looking, sleek and rapid ships leaving the harbour. They were recognised as the Drannai, the evil Elves that use magic who live on the central island. We pretty much guessed what they had just stolen.

The party were told that ‘slaves’ – non-Ogres – could not wear armour or be armed, even when we offered to help against the Drannai. I successfully claimed that my stiff leathers weren’t armour, just ordinary (tough) clothes. Good thing too, as we made our way to the shipyards to find Captain Rengrave, we saw a Dwarf helping them who used to be the first mate of the SS Shagnasty. He called the guards, who didn’t actually care too much about him, even when he claimed that we wanted revenge for his betrayal and defection to the Ogres.

We challenged him to a duel – a rather simple affair, we were given weapons at random by the Ogres. He dodged my scythe, he missed with his flail, then I critical-kicked his leg and almost killed him. We claimed the Dwarf as our slave and took him back to the boat to interrogate, but not before another member of the party was dragged into another, unrelated duel. Both sides rolled poorly, neither landing a blow on the other, till the slave he was fighting fumbled with a kick and broke his own leg.

After interrogating the Dwarf traitor, we found out that the captain was being held at the castle. We used the captive to trick our way into the castle, and found Rengrave lying on a hospital bed. He told us that he was the Ogre King now – the King must accept a challenge every year, and lost to Rengrave somehow. Which made the next request easier. We got the best ship that the Ogres have, and made ready to go rescue the boy that the Drannai, surprise surprise, had kidnapped.

We set off into the shiny blue ocean, to track down the boy.

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Beginners Guide to DreadBall

by paet the pagan-gerbil2. March 2014 10:15

DreadBall as a game has grown rapidly, and now has a violent younger sister – DreadBall Xtreme. If you’ve seen the game, tried the game, and want to know where to go next, this page is for you.

This is intended to be a guide to new players, to plan their progression through the DreadBall universe. If you love the Z’zor and want to play Xtreme, what do you need to buy?

Important note: As Xtreme doesn’t actually exist yet, some of this information is speculation and subject to change as more information is released from Mantic. To get it on the Xtreme Kickstarter, or pick up DreadBall components at an excellent discount, go to the DreadBall Xtreme Kickstarter!

What Are All These Boxes?

  • DreadBall Deluxe
    This is the recommended starting point for the original DreadBall. It is identical to the original box that Kickstarter backers got, apart from the name ‘Deluxe’ on the front.
  • DreadBall Kick-Off
    This is just like Deluxe, except with no ref-bot model and no cards. The rulebook is half-sized, and doesn’t have the rules for leagues, MVPs, cards or fouls.
    • Extra Time
      This is a pack with a ref-bot, cards, and code for a digital version of the full rulebook. It upgrades a Kick-Off box to be the same as Deluxe.
  • Limited Edition DreadBall: Azure Forest
    This is Deluxe, but with a different (limited edition) cardboard pitch and contains the Galactic Tour Series: Azure Forest expansion. All references to Deluxe apply equally to this one.
  • DreadBall Ultimate – Season Three
    This is an expansion for DreadBall, and adds rules for multiplayer games and giants. It cannot be used on it’s own, and needs either DreadBall Deluxe or Kick-Off to play. It’s available as both the Season Three rulebook separately, or the DreadBall Ultimate box.
  • DreadBall Xtreme
    This is an entirely separate game that shares many of the core rules. It does not require any of the other boxes to play, and it is not required for those.
  • Galactic Tour Series
    These are small expansions that modify the way that the game is played. They absolutely need the base game to play.

So what do I need to start?

There are two flavours of DreadBall – ‘Original’ and Xtreme. Original represents the official, licenced, major league sport. Xtreme represents the ‘illegal boxing’ version, played without the same regulations as the mainstream game.

  • To get started with DreadBall, you’ll need either the Deluxe or Kick-Off box – not both!
  • To get started with Xtreme, you’ll need the Xtreme box.

Why do you recommend Deluxe over Kick-Off?

Kick-Off and Extra Time together will give you practically the same as Deluxe, for £5 less. The Deluxe set will give you a few extra models and hex bases for all of them (these are really useful). It will also give you a full-size physical copy of the rules – Kick-Off gives you a half-sized basic rulebook, with a digital version of the Deluxe rules. I prefer proper rulebooks that I can carry with me, and I don’t have a tablet to refer to things digitally.

Original DreadBall – Where are the rules for…?

You need Deluxe or Kick-Off to play the game, as a bare minimum.

  • Cards – you need Deluxe or Extra Time
  • Ref/Fouls/Ref Checks – Deluxe or Extra Time
    • Ball Hog Foul and errata to Stall – Season Three
  • Leagues – Deluxe or Extra Time
    • Advancement Tables – Deluxe or Extra Time, and an alternative set in Season Two
  • Coaches - Season Two
  • Cheerleaders – Season Two
    • There are also expanded Cheerleader rules in Galactic Tour: Azure Forest
  • Multiplayer games – Season Three
  • Giants – Season Three
  • Weather – Galactic Tour: Azure Forest
    • These also require the cards in Deluxe or Extra Time
  • Jungle Blessings – Galactic Tour: Azure Forest
  • Errata

What do I need to play Team X?

This is very dependant on what version of the game (Original or Xtreme) you want to play. I’ve included everything that you’ll need, to avoid confusion. Season Three contains a summary in the back (also available in the free rules on Mantic’s website) which will ‘get you by’ for Z’zor and S2 Corporation, but you will need the Season Two book for the new skills for the Robots and Judwan.

Quick key:

  • Kick-Off = You need Kick-Off or Deluxe.
  • Deluxe = You need Deluxe, or Kick-Off with Extra Time.
  • Grey and italic = The rules haven't been released yet, information here is speculative.
TeamDreadBall OriginalDreadBall Xtreme
S1 CorporationKick-OffXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
MaraudersKick-OffXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
Veer-mynKick-OffXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
Forge FathersKick-OffXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
JudwanKick-Off, Season TwoXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
S2 CorporationDeluxe, Season Two/Season Three*Xtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
RobotsKick-Off, Season TwoXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
Z’zorDeluxe, Season Two/Season Three*Xtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
ZeesKick-Off***, Season ThreeXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
AsteriansKick-Off***, Season Two, Season Three**Xtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
NamelessDeluxe, Season ThreeXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
TeratonsKickOff, Season ThreeXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
ConvictsKickOff/Deluxe, Season FourXtreme
Kalyshi AsteriansKickOff/Deluxe, Season FourXtreme
MartiansKickOff/DeluxeXtreme
Plague MutantsKickOff/Deluxe, Season FourXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
MechanitesKickOff/Deluxe, Season FourXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
BrokkrKickOff/Deluxe, Season FiveXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
CrystellansKickOff/Deluxe, Season FiveXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
SphyrKickOff/Deluxe, Season FiveXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
RebsKickOff/Deluxe, Season FiveXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
KorisKickOff/Deluxe, Season SixXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
HobgoblinsKickOff/Deluxe, Season SixXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
Ada-LorenaKickOff/Deluxe, Season SixXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion
TsudochanKickOff/Deluxe, Season SixXtreme, Xtreme Xpansion

* S2 Corporation have a summary in Season Three (and in the free rules on Mantic’s website), and no skills that aren’t in the main rulebook.
** Asterians start with a Defensive Coach, the rules for which are in the Season Two book.
*** Asterians and Zees both have special rules that depend heavily on Ref Checks/Fouls - these require either the Deluxe rulebook or the digital version of that rulebook in the Extra Time pack. The small one in Kick-Off doesn't cover Fouls or Ref Checks. It's possible to play the teams without them, but the full experience will be missing!

What do I need to play this MVP?

Like teams, MVPs are dependant on which variant of the game that you want to play.

Quick key:

  • Kick-Off = You need Kick-Off or Deluxe.
  • Deluxe = you need Deluxe, or Kick-Off with Extra Time.
  • Grey and italic = The rules haven't been released yet, information here is speculative.
MVPDreadBall OriginalDreadBall Xtreme
BuzzcutDeluxe 
Number 88Deluxe 
John DoeDeluxe 
Reek RolatDeluxe 
“Lucky” LoganDeluxe 
Slippery JoeDeluxe 
Gorim IronstoneDeluxe 
The EnforcerDeluxe 
Anne-Marie HelderDeluxe, Season Two 
DBR7 – “Firewall”Deluxe, Season Two 
LudwigDeluxe, Season Two 
Mee-kel JudwanDeluxe, Season Two 
NightshadeDeluxe, Season Two 
Rico van DienDeluxe, Season Two 
WildcardDeluxe, Season Two 
Wyn Greth’zkiDeluxe, Season Two 
Yurik YuriksonDeluxe, Season Two 
MellisandraDeluxe, Season Two*, Season Three 
The PraetorianDeluxe, Season Three 
RillerDeluxe, Season Two*, Season Three 
Big MechDeluxe, Season Two*, Season Three 
Alpha SimianDeluxe, Season Two*, Season Three 
Nameless SpawnDeluxe, Season Three 
BarricadeDeluxe, Season Two*, Season Three 
DozerDeluxe, Season Three 
The VeteranDeluxe, Free rules (also printed in Azure Forest), Season Two* 
Thunder ChrisDeluxe, Free rules (also printed in Azure Forest), Season Two* 
DrakeDeluxe, Free rules (also printed in Azure Forest), Season Two* 
Jonathon “Gabe” GabrielDeluxe, Free rules 
BlaineDeluxe, Free rules 
A’teo AdysiDeluxe, Azure Forest, Season Two*
BrickbatXtreme
Deadman DavitzXtreme
KailasaXtreme
AsylumXtreme
Chovar PsychozoanXtreme
Brute ForceXtreme
Lyra the FixerXtreme
WeissXtreme
Iron AncestorXtreme
CryptXtreme
Blitz the Great DrakeDeluxe, Xtreme Challenge CupXtreme, Xtreme Challenge Cup
IrsalaXtreme
GaldoXtreme
Sann-garXtreme
HexanDeluxe, Xtreme Challenge CupXtreme, Xtreme Challenge Cup
Alo-KhanDeluxe, Xtreme Challenge CupXtreme, Xtreme Challenge Cup
Eko'oDeluxe, Xtreme Challenge CupXtreme, Xtreme Challenge Cup
Shnorkel the AvengerXtreme
The ExcavatorXtreme
MediBotXtreme
KryphosXtreme
TychoXtreme
GrakXtreme, Furon Arena
PhantasmXtreme
GeminiXtreme
M'zei KeinXtreme
Slalaran VeshXtreme
Creed Xtreme

* Some of these MVPs have rules printed in the Season Two rulebook. There is a short, one-line summary in the back of the Season Three rules (and in the free rules on Mantic’s website) but for the full background and rules descriptions, it’s recommended to use the Season Two book.

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