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.


  1. Despite being a long-time Blood Bowl player, I had no idea where to start with Dreadball. Your post is a fantastic introduction and should be part of the official rulebook. Thank you for posting it!

    1. Thanks, James! Glad to hear it helped you!