Sunday, May 31, 2015

TACTICS: Asterian Forward Commanders Setup and Hobgoblin's Middle Irk Setup

Please note, these two setups are to be understood independently of each other, they are just presented on a single pitch because one was for a Home team and one for a Visiting team. In the future, I will display only one side at a time for individual team setup.

Asterian Forward Commanders (Home)
Red - Guard, Orange - Jack, Yellow - Striker

I like this setup for the Asterian for a number of reasons if you are the Home team. 
The first reason is that you have your Guard on the Pitch at the beginning of the game. With the ref starting on the Visiting side, it is much more likely that you Dirty Tricks is useful on the first Rush--use it! Try to take out a Striker, or failing that a pretty hefty Guard. Once the first Rush is over, and you find a Rush that you have two Actions left (this seemed to happen a good bt with the Asterians believe it or not), then exchange him for one of the Jacks. The Jack will do just as good at Dodging as the Guard, so blocking the 4 point hex line works fine, plus you always have that Taking a Dive to use. 
Second reason, you have a Jack positioned in the direct center of the Pitch to move down and try and clean a path to either a 3 or 4 point goal using Taking a Dive. If this isn't necessary for some reason, he is still a decently reliable player (heck, an Asterian Jack is nearly as good as many teams' Strikers!). This give a bit of flexibility, which is nice.
Speaking of Jacks, if that center jack does not use his Taking a Dive, perhaps in the third Rush, one of those jacks in the 1/2 point zones can use their Taking a Dive. You are bound to have some of the opposing coach's players on your side, and they are surly asking for a Foul!
Finally, the pinnacle of the Asterian team, the Strikers! These guys are amazing, if you didn't know! Use their incredible movement and Speed to get into position to score that 3 or 4 points. You can go for a 1 or 2 pointer, and you might have to depending on you opponent, but push the Strikers to move down the Pitch and try every time for a 3/4 point goal. They can easily get there and score without breaking a sweat on the very first Rush--they may need the Jack to try and clear a path though.

Hobgoblin's Middle Irk (Visitor)
Dark Blue - Guard (Hulk), Light Blue - Jack, Green - Striker

For this Hobgoblin setup, what I focused on was getting to the second Rush. If the opposing coach is smart, the first thing he does to the Hobgoblins is remove their Hulk, or try to at least. So, this setup first and foremost is about protecting the Hulk. 
The Hulk is flanked by a Jack on either side*, their Threat Hexes, combined with Stench, helps protect the Hulk from ever side and angle--unless you are going to come all the way around and Slam/Throw the Ball at the Hulk from directly behind him. Once you are in the second Rush, these two Jacks become the Hulk's little buddies. They should lead an advance and have the Hulk follow, devastating the opposing team. 
One Jack stays back to protect the 4 point hex.
The two Strikers are guarding the 2 point lanes on either side. They are there because you will need them on the second Rush, to hopefully score. Should the other coach go after one... good, the Hulk can turn them into paste next turn. 

*One note about this little threesome, it can also work if all three move back a hex, putting the Hulk in the 4 point hex, but I generally like them as far forward as possible. Either is extremely effective.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

TACTICS: Basic DBO Starting Setup

I thought I would explore a few of the myriad starting set ups for a standard DBO game. Now, do keep in mind, these will vary drastically depending both on which team you are playing and which team your opponent is playing. And these are basic setups, I plan on exploring more in-depth setups with positions and team-specific setups at a later time.

Standard Offense and Standard Defense (and Standard Defense Option 2)

This is a very standard board setup, at least in what I see played casually. 
Offensively (Home), it covers your extra point hexes in all three scoring zones and it gives the starting player a decent spread of his ball carriers up front. This allows the Home team coach to focus on grabbing the ball and trying to score quickly, while still having some basic coverage for his backfield. 
Defensively (Visitor), this set up is for trying to keep your opponent's initial points, should they score, to a minimum. The Visitor team coach has all the extra point hexes covered, but in addition, the entire 3 point scoring zone is blocked by three players in a defensive line. To add yet another deterrent, there is a player in the extra point hex itself. This set up makes the Home team have to really put forth a lot of effort to score anything more than 1 point. *This is one of my favorite setups for the Crystallans, btw!*

A slight variation that I see a lot for the Visitors is to bring that player in the 4 point hex forward to the front. This gives you a 1 in 6 chance of a Threat on the ball. That player can act as a lure to the other coach sometimes too. And finally, if that player is left alone, and your opponent scores, you at least have one player in position to grab the ball upon the new launch.

Bestial Setup and Threatening Setup

These two were setups that I used early on in my DBO career, when I was trying different ideas on the very basics of the game. I enjoyed the highly aggressive posture of both of these. Of course, I will emphasize again, these are better for some teams than for others--for instance, these are for highly bashy teams.
On the Home team side, we have what I call the Bestial Setup. Generally I would use this as the Visiting player, not Home player, but I wanted to display it with the other setup, because the two have some similarities. Bestial Setup gives full Threat Hex coverage, protecting your side of the pitch. If your opponent is a team with a low Speed value, this can really work for you (even worse if they have low Movement too). You are forcing Evade tests, and anytime you can do that, it is a good thing. This is in some ways a betting strategy too though. Half of the pitch is almost double covered, where your players are thick, if you prefer a little more of a balanced defensive line, perhaps instead go with... 
The Threatening Setup accomplishes everything the Bestial Setup does, but with the heavy bet on a few hexes. Plus, the Threatening Setup does give you the one player in line of the 4 point goal. This setup is a bit more stable, and I prefer it for sure at this point, and still use it sometimes.

The Arrow and The Pyramid

The Pyramid (Visitor) is a pretty standard style of setup, but is far enough away from the "Standard", that I thought I would mention it. It protects against those extra point shots. It gives you a player remaining in the middle to either run for offense when it is your Rush, or assist in crushing someone in your backfield on your turn. It also gives you some defense on the outside of the pitch. The outer players make it more difficult for movement around your players, and they also are extra defense against the 2 point goals. Those two outer players are also in great spots to respond to your opponents movements.
The Arrow(Home), on the other hand, is meant to be an offensive punch, to be a hyper-aggressive attempt at the 3/4 zone. A few Guards and a few Strikers making a push to punch through to make a 3 or 4 point goal. It takes some practice, but is a decent starting setup for a Home team with a balanced number of positions. 

The Practiced Void and Standard Symmetry

Standard Symmetry, is one more variation on the Standard setup. It is one that I see a lot. Though the outside players near the launch line are sometimes over a hex or two toward the outside.
Ok, I know I said I wasn't going into team-specific setups, but... The Practiced Void (Home), is a fun setup a Void Siren team, or should you draw a Run Interference card at the start of the game (and have Jacks, of course). This setup can work equally well as a Home or Visitor team. You have a pretty basic setup upfront, but the three players in the rear give someone with Run Interference an exciting opportunity. With the three players positioned in the center of the Strike Hexes, you are defending the entirety of your score zones. If you are the Void Sirens, you are causing your opponent to play an extra layer of strategic planning. If you just have a Run Interference card, you are just being sneaky... sort of.

Feel free to share your starting setups, I would love to hear them.

I am hoping to do more of these TACTICS in the future. Please comment below on what you might like to see.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PAINTING: Orx and Goblins team

In my Hobgoblins painting post, I mentioned that I was doing my Orx and Goblins in the more traditional shades of red. Well, here they are. I used a few different reds on them and tried to vary the players some for a tiny bit of flavor. I am happy with the results and hopefully they will be great for beginning players to see and play with in demo games!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TEAM: Sulentic Shards (Crystallan team)

Sulentic Shards (Crystallan team)
Just some initial thoughts after the beta test release...

A Team of Bruisers - Having 5 Guards with an Orx Strength is no joke. These guys hit like a ton of bricks. Every single Rush you should be Slamming a couple of opposing players. This team is not for the timid.

Pitch Perfect - Harmonics is a very strange ability, it definitely has some depth to it. Having the plus to Movement in most cases is a must. The extra dice to Speed comes in handy more often than I would have initially thought, and when you can get the extra dice on Strength for the Slam, that is amazing.

Defensive Chops - With the right setup, defending your side of the pitch is made easier by the Harmonics ability. Spacing your players to grant bonuses to other players is key. Knowing the capabilities of your opponent will help you know whether to set up for the blocking of the front 1-2 point zones or blocking the 1-2 centers and crowding the 3-4.

No Strikers - Well, scoring is not easy with the Crystallans. A jacks only team is a challenge, but this is not an insurmountable obstacle, I mean look at the Orx. :-)

Clumping - If you are not careful, you will find your players clumped together. An astute opponent will try to get you to maneuver your players into areas that will handicap your ability to defend. This is also made even more difficult by one's own brain constantly saying, "Yeah, but 6 dice Slams!"

They Are Big Rock Guys - Terrible Speed and Movement. Now these are mitigated by the Harmonics, but you cannot rely on it all the time.

MVP Recommendations:

I am going to wait on this until I can see the Crystallan MVP and the other Season 5/6 MVPs are capable of.

Don't fall into the trap of HAVING to have full Harmonics on everything you do. Crystallan Guards are utterly amazing BEFORE the extra dice from Harmonics. Take advantage of the single bump from Harmonics that 1 other Crystallans near you grants, this is a great advantage in and of itself. Use the plus to Speed to keep your players safe from those in the back Slams, and when you need to Steal (but you had better be Threatening the ballholder with at least one other Crystallan too!). If you are willing to put in the time on the Sulentic Shards, I have a feeling that the reward will proportional. If you are a fan of the Orx from Season One, I think you might enjoy the Crystallans.

C +

Sunday, May 24, 2015

PAINTING: Hobgoblin Prototypes

Got a little bit of painting done today during nap time. I wanted to go with a different color than the studio Hobgoblin team. Thought about red, but my Orx are a traditionally painted red team. I liked the idea of brown due to silly connection to the "Stench" ability. I like the way they are looking, but they still need a little cleanup.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

MANTIC UPDATE: Dreadball Updates from this week...

This week saw a number of Mantic updates, and a good number of them were for Dreadball! I thought I would hit a few things that I thought were some of the highlights:

The Year of Dreadball Continued... Reveal #5

  • The Season 5 Teams are officially: The Kalyshi, The Convicts, The Mechanites and The Mutants. Perhaps this was common knowledge to some, but I was not sure which teams were going to be Season 5 and which were going to be Season 6, especially after the switching around for Season 4.
  • Free Agent tables for DBO are to include the Free Agents from DBX! I love the idea! These guys are very flavorful and very different than the standard "player from team X" normally on the tables.
  • The new MVPs are going to be fun!
  • And finally, a link to a Kickstarter updates page that showed off some pics, the best of which was the Koris! Most likely playing them in the next league--they are too much fun on the pitch!

Player Manual... Reveal #6

The Sponsors, the DBO players included... this is where DBX really begins! I believe that the Player Manual is the thing that is going to break Dreadball Xtreme wide open. I have friends who really enjoy DBX, but the limited number of options put them off. "Just wait...", I said. Now here it is! Options galore!

  • Variable Pitches are just an awesome idea! I love these and what they could bring to the game. 

  • Riot Foam, Force Pulse and Zzzzzap! traps usable by the Sponsors sounds great! I believe DBX might overtake DBO as the standard by next year.
  • Medi-bots, I am curious as to how these will work. They look great though.

  • Multi-player DBX games! and Giants!

A great week of announcements. I think that Dreadball Xtreme is going to explode in the next few months! The way it sounds, it is going to be a riot to play and leagues are going to be awesome.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

GAMING: Some DBX Photos from last night

I was fortunate enough to play a DBX game with a good friend of mine last night. We played the standard Blaine team (me) vs the standard Warden team (my friend). The game was ridiculously bloody and brutal, mostly thanks to the Thugs! But I did manage to just snag the victory with a one point dunk, even though ALL OF MY STRIKERS WERE DEAD! Also, the last Rush saw my opponent bring a Runner around the center and nearly make it to the strike zone before running past a small crate that  knocked him down--I was sweating! Great game!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

MANTIC UPDATE: Mantic Open Day Dreadball pics

Originally, I saw these posted on the Dreadball Fanatics page on Facebook, by one of the group members (I won't post his name here out of respect for it being a closed group--though a thousand thanks to him and everyone who is posting the pics). Here are some of the pics:

Really like the look of pretty much everything, but especially the Koris! Very excited to get the next wave of the Kickstarter! Hopefully it will be here by early next month.

Then there were a lot posted at: . Here are the DB ones I saw:

Hopefully there will be more revealed soon!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

TEAM: Fran-Taar Philosophers (Tsudochan team)

Fran-Taar Philosophers (Tsudochan team)
Just some initial thoughts after the beta test release...

Never lift  finger - You don't have to worry about evading. No one can block your scoring lanes. You can thwart your opponent's plans with movement choices he never ever made. Telekinesis is of course their shtick, and it is a crazy one.

I use the pitch my own way - When you play the Tsudochan, you have decided to play a different style of game than everyone else. You have decided that you are going to do as you please on your turn, getting where you want, and moving other players out of the way. Board Manipulation is their thing! It is a great addition to the styles of play for DB.

You DO know Jack - Well, some teams suffer from having only Jacks... and this is one of them. Only Jacks on the squad makes it a bit harder to Pass the ball, to Score, to Slam (although, you can position players into Threat Hexes easier), to everything. I think that the all Jack teams feel this a lot more than the Jack-Heavy teams.

Different Playstyle - I know this is the same as the strength from above, but it is also a disadvantage. Newer players might find it hard to "not play the game". Seasoned players will find that normal stratgies don't work (which is good in many ways too). Add to this no Guards and no Strikers, and you have a difficult team that needs a lot of practice.

MVP Recommendations:

I am going to wait on this until I can see the Tsudochan MVP and th other Season 5/6 MVPs are capable of.

I'll have to play these guys more to really get a handle on their play style. Much like the Koris, I think that positioning of the players is key. It is nice to have another Board Manipulation team on the pitch. I bet in a league they would do pretty well.

C +

Friday, May 8, 2015

TEAM: Wu-ling Wanderers (Koris Team)

Wu-ling Wanderers (Koris Team)
Just some initial thoughts after the beta test release...

Portals - The portals are just so much fun! They add another layer on the game. Use them to Score. Use them to Slam. Use them to block line of sight. Use them to help guard your back. Use them to clog up your opponent's path. The possibilities are endless!

Finally, Jacks that I can live with... - I love the fact that now, I can use one jack to place a portal, then use another jack to move one space, that becomes one space on the other side, then still Throw the ball. I think this is a huge boon for a jack-heavy team. I finally have some jacks that

Gotcha! - With the two Guards working together, or a Guard and a Jack working together, Gotcha! is fantastically powerful, even if you only have the Strength of a Corporation Guard.

Maybe the four legs work independently? - Movement the same as a Forge Father is never good. Of course, because of the portals this is mitigated a good bit, but it is worth a mention, because... Movement 4 is bad.

One Striker - Want to paint a big target on someone's back? Make them the only Striker on the team. This will be the first person that gets killed on your team, and rightly so. Protect him... or use him as bait. :-)

MVP Recommendations:

I am going to wait on this until I can see the Koris MVP and th other Season 5/6 MVPs are capable of.

I really enjoy playing these guys - I can't wait to have the actual models! They really open up a new level of game play, both you and your opponent. I think that the DB community is going to find a lot of interesting and innovative ways to use them. I might use them in our next league... we will see.

B -
But definitely an "A" for fun factor!