Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TACTICS: Dealing with difficult teams... the Convicts

In my opinion, the Convicts may well be THE BEST TEAM IN DREADBALL. Having said that, they are not an auto-win for the coach playing them. Let's go over some schemes for defeating them.

The Convicts

With human stats for Strikers, a massive and Threatening Guard, and finally a use for Jacks (shocking, I know), the Convicts are a super strong team. In the right hands, they can be played as a scoring team, or a crush-your-opponent team. Let's discuss some ways around these strengths.

  • If you have Strikers with decent Skill on your team, Throw the Ball at the back of the Grogan Guard's head. If you are the Home team, do this immediately. If you are visiting, and not starting on your back foot (like 4 points down), do it the first chance you get. If you can take out the Guards, your chances go up quickly. If you can, do this to both Guards... yeah, I know... wishful thinking. :-)
  • DO NOT CLUMP! If you can in any way avoid it, do not set up your players in such a way that someone can threaten two players at once. If you do this, and the other coach is acquainted with his team, he will send in someone to shock them. This minimizes the potential threat of the Shock Collar.
  • Remember that the Convicts have an Offensive coach. This is important for planning your set up for your opponent's Rush. Assume that they roll the extra move, just assume it and plan accordingly.
  • Consider unique strategies that might not be otherwise obvious, like positioning two defenders in the following positions to defend the 4 point strike lane without allowing for the Shock Collar to take both defenders out:

  • This will pretty much go for playing any difficult team (any team really), play to your Strengths. If you are a scoring team, use that to your advantage. If your team specializes in Slams, then Slam! Do not get too distracted by the Convicts shenanigans, do your thing. Keep the pressure on with the skew that is for you, or if your team is more balanced, then concentrate on playing smart. The Convicts are not invincible.

I would love to hear your strategies for taking on difficult teams. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 24, 2015


This is my 100th post about the futuristic sports game that I love! 

A short recap of what has been on Dreadball Notebook so far:

What is in store for the near future?

  • I will continue the reviews of the Teams in Season 5 and Season 6.
  • I will need to update the earlier reviews in light of the newer teams.
  • More Sideline Reports, hopefully getting a format down that I would like to continue with into new installments. Including some DBX reporting.
  • Lots of more entries on TACTICS.
  • I would like to have some guest spots with other DB Coaches that have some ideas to share.
  • Hopefully a giveaway some time next year!

Any other suggestions? Please feel free to drop them as a comment below.

Finally, for the 100th post in Dreadball notebook, I would like to thank the following:

Thank you all! I do this blog out of love for Dreadball and my continuing passion for playing this fantastic futuristic sport! I hope to keep it going for as long as I am able.
Now, let's start the first Rush!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

TACTICS: Dealing with difficult teams... the Rebs

The Rebs
or "The Unincorporated" 

Following in the specialization trend that started with the Nameless, the Rebs are a a dream team of sorts. With pretty much the best Striker in the game, a Jack actually is a reliable receiver, a different Jack who doubles as a Guard, and a Guard who double as a double of himself, this team is dynamite. Looking at their stat line alone can make most coaches start down a losing path before ever putting a player on the Pitch. What is to be done?

  1. Let's look at this logically. The most dangerous player on the team is the Striker. Why? Because he can VERY reliably score very Rush. He needs to be your first target. A smart coach will only begin with one on the board, as not to lose both super-stars super quick. So, this is a background stratagem that should become a laser-focused-must if a Reb Striker is on the board. 
  2. Don't freakout too much over the damage potential of the Rebs. The best Strength on the team is 4+. A Gaelian Jack might hit you from downtown, or a Rin Guard might try to Pummel you, but you aren't up against a Hobgoblin Hulk here. Your odds on surviving are pretty good, depending on who you
    are of course.
  3. Remember, there is only 2 of each position. This can be used to your advantage if you watch the opposing coach closely. He will probably lean harder on some players than others-take them out. Make your opponent play a game he is not comfortable with.
  4. As far as the Gaelian goes, get in his face. If you are adjacent to him, he hits like a regular old Jack. This takes away his distance and momentum advantages. If he wants to go somewhere, at least he has to make a 2 Dice Evade test on a 4+.
  5. Guard the 3-4 point zone by clogging it up. Make your opponent have to clear this zone to score, because clearing it will be harder than scoring for him.
  6. Do not underestimate the Sorak Jack. If he gets in your strike zone, he has a good chance of scoring too. Normally, he won't be going for extra points, but I have seen coaches ignore him and regret it later.
My ragtag group of Rebels!

Hopefully, these few little tidbits helped alleviate some of the terror you might feel when you see the Rebs on the other side of the Pitch. Next installment, the Convicts, the newest "big bads" and deservedly so.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

COACH'S CORNER: Giants - Part Two

Giants - Part Two

First off, the model... meh.
If you know that you are up against a "turtling"-style team, like a Forge Father, Brokkr, or a non-Striker team - pretty much anyone who will have to retain the ball over time to control the pace of the game, the Synechdoche might be a pretty good choice you. Also good against Hobgoblins... just saying, taking control of a Hulk and Slamming the little guys on the Hobgoblin team is a sweet idea.
The Synechdoche's stat line is for crap, I mean awful, but that isn't why you are taking him. You take him for the ability Mind Control. With this ability you can take control of a player from the opposing team and basically have them hand over the ball, or set themselves up for a Slam, or move out of the way, whatever. Mind Control is a great ability, but a seasoned coach will pick up on the tactic pretty quickly. He won't be able to stop it, but he might be able to mitigate it some.
The question is, does this ability warrant only having 5 players on the Pitch and the expenditure of 15 MC. Cheap for a Giant, expensive for a regular MVP.
Grade: B

I am a sucker for this model. I love it.
Talk about making Big Mech completely redundant, wow. Brank has a 3+ Armor, due to being a Keeper, and Can't Feel A Thing. Taking him out is nigh impossible! And with his 3+ Strength, he is a force to be reckoned with on the Pitch.
He is slow... Forge Father slow, but for once, it doesn't really seem to matter. I mean, he even has a 4+ Speed-jealouos much Brokkrs? :-)
Oh yeah, and Skill matters some, he has a 4+ there too.
'Boom Fist' is not bad at all for an anchor piece on the Pitch. He is a big stompy thing that is almost unkillable. Plop him down in the 3 point Strike Zone and... nothing, just let him sit there, forever.
And he looks so cool!
Grade: A -

Model, ok I guess...
A fast, Threatening Jack with Stretch. I am not seeing the appeal. Really, just not. I would rather take Alpha Simian over this guy-though in all frankness, I am not sure I would ever take a Giant Jack.
For 20 MC, give me a Striker MVP and a Guard MVP, over Skarathron any day.
Am I missing something here?
Grade: C -

Crazy shark guy. Not crazy about the mini, it's ok though.
A Threatening Keeper with a Strength 3+, not bad at all. This is the damage-dealing other side of the 'Boom-Fist' coin. He has a Move of 5, so average on that. Speed 4+, so average on that. Skill 5+, eh, not great for a Keeper. But of course, with the better Armor (seemed to be misprinted as 4+ in the book, it should be 3+), he is still a monster. Pun intended.
You could do worse than Karadon for 19 MC, I put him up there as one of the better Giants for sure.
Grade: B +

So that puts my tiers of Giant Assessment as the following:

Tier 1 (A range)
Nameless Spawn - The Irresistible Force
Brank 'BOOM-FIST' - The Immovable Object

Tier 2 (B range)
Dozer - Our Lady of Wrecking Face
Karadon - Giant Shark of Destruction
Synechdoche - Strange ... the... the.. Greatest Player of All-Time Ever... I must serve Synechdoche...

Tier 3 (C range)
Skarathron - Big 'ole Fast Spider-Thing
Alpha Simian - Dreadball's Monster Ape
Barricade - Rolling Wrecking Ball

Tier 4 (D range)
Big Mech - Big Disappointment

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

TACTICS: Dealing with difficult teams... the Nameless

In my opinion, there are three monster teams to fear across the Pitch from you in Dreadball: The Rebs, The Nameless, and the Convicts. These three teams are really tough nuts to crack, and usually have the upper hand from the moment the ball is launched. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, and dealing with them can be nigh impossible without a plan... so, let's make one!

The Nameless

The original boogeymen and rightfully so! There is not a player slot wasted on this team. Both Guards have their purposes, one for Threatening and one for Slamming. And the Strikers are just plain great at moving the ball down the Pitch, and pretty good at scoring to boot! What should we do?

  1. Don't panic. The players might be from disparate races that resemble ancient deities worshiped in the dark recesses of mankind's undreamt past, but the coach is still human (probably). Watch for openings, he can't protect all scoring lanes and go after your players too. Take careful note of the positioning of Guards, it might tell you where he is aiming for on your team. Pray to your own gods that the dice do not favor him. ;-)
  2. If you are a squishy team, try to stay 6 or so hexes away from the Hard Guard. He can Dash for 6, but most coaches won't risk it. If you stay 6 away, then he will probably be using 3 Actions for an attempt at a Slam. One (maybe two) to get the Sticky Guard in place. Then one for a Hard Guard move. Then another to Slam. 
  3. Keep the pressure on the other coach to score. If you have a fast and decently skilled team, score. Then score again. Concentrate on the point total and keep the pressure on. If the opposing coach is playing catch-up, he has less time to be killing your players.
  4. If you are a bashy team, kill the Hard Guards. Team up and put them in the dirt. Do everything you can to take them out of commission. They only have a 5+ Speed, and if you can get behind them and/or them one or two dice down, you can at least send them off the Pitch. It might seems smarter to go for the Sticky Guards, but they have a 4+ Speed for a better Dodge, and they are only Movement 4, so less versatile. The smart money is on taking out the Hard Guards. I would be willing to entertain arguments for focusing on one of the other two positions if you think you have a good reason though.   
  5. Clog up the entire 3-4 back line. Leave the 1-2 point scoring zones open if you have to, but protect the back field. This will slow their advance tremendously.
  6. Don't panic.

Well, there's a start to playing against the boogeymen... next installment, those pesky Rebels!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

COACH'S CORNER: Giants - Part One

The next two Coach's Corners are going to be a two part look into the Giants of Dreadball, in a literal sense. Giants are an interesting aspect of the game that, quite honestly, very rarely see play in my neck of the wood. I think the main reasons for their absence are:

  1. We tend to play a whole lot of one-off games.
  2. In our last league, there weren't any Giants "for sale"... or maybe there were and no one "bought" any.
  3. Until very recently, only two of our local players had any Giants (and one was a rare attendee of game nights). 
We are trying to get more on the Pitch now though. So, we'll see. We have talked about doing more Exhibition Games rather than just straight-up one-on-one games.

I am splitting the section up into two parts:

  1. Part One is going to be a look at the Giants released in Season 3. This is the section below. 
  2. Part Two are the Giants from the Season 6 book, which are available already.
So, let us commence with Part One...

Giants - Part One

Alpha Simian
First off, I really dig this mini. Alpha Simian is a great sculpt. He looks very cool and was one of the poster children for Mantic's Giants.  
Ok, so first off he is a Jack, meh. But he has Slide and Stretch, hmmm, getting better. And he has a Speed of 3+... ok, now we're talking. In addition to that, he has a Skill of 4+. Throwing from or to a Giant is nice too, as you choose the "front hex"-they are hard to block. I am seeing a decent addition to the scoring side of a team.
So, decent at Slamming, and good at getting to where he needs to be and ball-handling. Is he worth 19 MC? Is he worth 19 MC when you compare him to other MVPs, like The Praetorian for 11 MC, or even Mellisandra for 10 MC (both from the same Season 3 book)? Well, probably not. At least, not as far as my play style goes. 
Grade: C 

Next up is Barricade. The mini itself is alright. I like that it has wheels. :-)
He's a Guard with a Move 6 which is great, but a Strength 4+, which is pretty middle of the road. He also has Stretch, Threatening and Comin' Through! All these abilities are good. The is all about barreling through your opponents and Slamming them from a decent distance away. Oh, and a Speed 3+... huh, that is unexpectedly good.
He is meant to be a cannonball, rocketing through the opposing team. I wish he were a regular-sized player though-this is really an overall trend in my way of thinking with Giants. For  cost of 18 MC, I can get me Buzzcut, or a Grak, and still have enough left over for another MVP (not necessarily a good one, but another body on the Pitch, which of course Giants count as 2 players).
Grade: C +

Big Mech
Very cool Deadzone-styled model. I love it!
Threatening, awesome! Can't Feel a Thing, excellent! Strength 3+, yes! Showoff, ok. Jack, what the ...
Had Big Mech been a Guard, he would have been SO MUCH BETTER, but alas, he is a Jack. And as bad as it is to be a Jack in regular DBO, being a Giant Jack is worse.
Sure, he is hard to take out, very hard to take out. Sure, he hits like a ton of bricks. But his effective Slam range is one hex away. Ugh.
I mean, I get the big Gorilla being a Jack, and he is a decent one at that, but I see Big Mech and my brain screams, "GUARD!" 
I can't see a situation where I couldn't find something better to spend 19 MC on.
Grade: D 

The model is fine... 
Guard, Threatening, and a 3+ Strength, now we're talking. I realize that she has a Move of 4, so she is slow, very slow, but she is finally a Giant worth really looking at! She has a Threatening Slam with 6 Dice on a 3+, with Brush Aside, nice! Very nice!
Plus, wanna hit her in the back? She ain't having it! With Teleport, she is outta there! This is a nice mitigation of one of the weaknesses of the Giants.
For 19 MC, she is a fair purchase. There might be better uses of your MC, but at least this one does not feel like a ripoff.
Grade: B +

Nameless Spawn
And finally, we have the Cthulu monster that apparently scares the bejesus out of everyone! Nice model for that!
Here we have a Guard, with the so-so Strength 4+ stat, but... but... but... THREATENING AND GOTCHA! Unholy crap! This Giant is freaking crazy. You realize, of course, that means you are on a 6 Dice Strength 4+ Slam against an opponent that is rolling minus two Dice (or minus three if you thought ahead and put another player Threatening him)! 
The Nameless Spawn is a murderer. Period. This creature excels at casting opposing players into an early grave. And yeah, go ahead and try to Slam him head-on... go ahead, at your minus 2 Dice. Good grief.
Oh yeah, and a Speed 3+ is pretty nice too!
Now 21 MC, that is still a steep price. If you had the perfect combination of MVPs, you could probably get a more powerful bang for your 21 MC... maybe. If it is an important game, and let's face it, what game isn't? The Nameless Spawn is not a bad choice.
Grade: A -

Next week, the second wave of Giants...



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

TACTICS: Tsudochan Scoot!

On an all Jack team, you often have to be creative in the way you move the ball around the board to score. Luckily, if you are the Tsudochan, you have a bigger tool belt than most, using your Push ability. This is a simple tactic, but hey, everything doesn't have to be deftly crafted by Hannibal to be valid.

Let's say you have a Jack go to pick up a ball on the Pitch, and sadly, he does not double the Pick Up, meaning he only has a single space to move and throw with his second action. Well, if you are using the telekinetic Tsudochan, this is not a problem. You can be up to 6 spaces away from where you would like to throw, and not incur the movement penalty (up to 7 if you don't mind being at minus one dice on that throw).

Orange - Tsudochan, Dark Blue - Other Team

Ok, our Jack is the only Tsudochan on the opposing teams side of the Pitch. We could try to Sprint someone over to that side and Throw the ball to them, either being Threatened or having to Evade once. Then our Jack would have to Throw the ball successfully, and that other Jack would have to Catch it... Too many points of failure, and maybe the only option for some teams, but not for the Tsudochan.

Instead, let's just use our "psychic" abilities and move our guy down the Pitch. Our first action was the ball Pick Up. The second, third, and fourth actions will be using other members of our team to move our Jack down the Pitch:

Then, "Tada!" Our Jack has our team's final action to attempt the 3 point shot with 2 Dice. Not bad at all.

Remember, when playing the Tsudochan, play the game your way, not the opponent's way. Use your Push to move your guys into position, or move the opposing coach's players out of the way. Look for lanes and how to use them. It requires a different mode of thinking, but it is a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

PAINTING: Ada Lorana

So, I attempted a similar technique that I used on my Crystallan team on my Ada Lorana team. I was not as happy with the result, and I am definitely going to experiment with completely painting my other team of Ada Lorana, but I am happy enough to put them on the table. It is hard to tell from the pic, but there are subtle shifts in the shades of blue on them.

One thing I did that I did definitely like the result of was painting the different positions a different color. I used Yellow for Strikers, Orange for Jacks and Red for Guards.

I do see that the yellow could use another coat... gotta get to that. 


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

TACTICS: Gaelian Get-Around

Here is a simple tactic that demonstrates just how amazing the Gaelian Jack is. It also shows how as a defender, you have to have very careful planning to avoid the Rebel charge.

Often, when a coach is on the defending side the Pitch, he will set up in a heavily defensive posture. This is a good idea usually, especially since the defending coach has to take it on the chin for the first Rush. A normal defensive setup is having players defending the Center Strike Lanes on each of the Strike Zones (especially the 4 Point lane of the furthest Strike Zone). When I say the Center Strike Lane, I am referring to the following:

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to clear up that center lane, and have a chance for your Ralarat Striker to throw in for that 4 Point score? Especially considering the Ralarat Striker is the best in the game at doing that... Of course, that would be nice. Well, with the Gaelian Jack, you have a solid chance of doing just that. Let's start with the players involved...

Orange - Gaelian Jack, Blue - Defender
So, the two players involved here as Gaelian Jack and your average Defender. Ok, usually the side of the Pitch in-front of the Gaelian Jack is clear. So, here is what you do, numerals are movement, the 10/11 Hex is a slight pivot to the left...

This sets you up for a pretty straight-forward Slam, and with Charge!, you are hitting like a Guard!

Now, the defender might not make this super-easy. The defender may well be a player with Speed 3+. The defender may be a Hobgoblin, or a Sphyr. But, more often than not, in what I have seen on the table, the player in that spot is a Guard (or a Jack). If they are a Guard, usually there Speed is less than their Strength, which means this rear Slam have a good chance of knocking them down. Which means, you have a good chance of getting that 4 point score.
BTW, don't follow-up on the Slam. :-)

This tactic might need to be altered slightly depending on the defender's setup. But with a Gaelian Jack with Charge!, you can probably figure out how to execute this maneuver regardless of what you opponent has done on his/her side of the Pitch.