This gets increasingly Blue Sky, but what the heck. Might as well talk about it now, right? Once DreadBall is out, and assuming that we’ve sailed through the Kickstarter levels to get Season 2 out as well, we’ll have a fully developed game with 8 nicely balanced teams and, let’s say, 20-30 MVPs. We’ve got coaching staff, cheerleaders and a slick league system. What else could we possibly need? Well, remember I said yesterday that games have a natural size? This one ain’t done yet.
Ultimate DreadBall is the end of the first cycle of DreadBall – the clean and shiny DreadBall in its official and sanctioned format. This is the one you see on the tri-vids and is where the big name players strut their stuff. What we haven’t touched on yet is three main areas: really big players, variant pitches, and multi-team games.
Of course, while I’m about it I might as well include 4 more teams and a bunch more MVPs. It’d be rude not to. Exactly who these might be is a little fuzzy still, but some candidates include Asterians and a team of John Doe-like aliens (and their friends). These and other teams will probably be closely related to the new rules.
My, You’re Tall!
The larger models in DreadBall already make the hexes squeak at the edges, and I have a hankering for some really big players. I mean, it’s science fiction, and if I can’t have rampaging giant robots then, when can I? I’d also like to do some enormous alien monstrosities because they’d be fun too. All of these mean multi-hex models, and that causes all manner of problems with rules and rule clarity. That’s why they come at the end – more playtest time.
In a practical sense, I think that 3 hex beasties is about the biggest you could have without making all the 1 hex players completely redundant (which would be another, different game entirely). They would still be a pretty imposing sight on the pitch, and would be very dangerous for their opponents. Getting this to balance into a fun game, plus keeping the rules simple, is going to be tricky and will need a lot of testing. By the time I’m done it will be clean and slick and you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about, I’m sure
Actually, I’ve just had a thought. I wonder how many hexes a Forge Father Iron Ancestor takes up. He’d need new arms, and is possibly a tiny bit too big to be practical, but it gives you an idea where I’m heading here.
The pitch you will be familiar with is the standard format for league matches. However, there are other types of pitch with different patterns of Strike Zones and different overall shapes. Most of these have not yet been playtested as we’ve been concentrating on making the core game as solid as possible. However, I keep all these ideas in notebooks, so if everyone is as keen as I am then I can roll them out
Would they be posters, mounted boards, acrylic or MDF? I don’t know. That level of detail is getting ahead of ourselves. I’m just letting you know that arenas come in more than one shape and size. Multi-hex players may also need a size and shape arena all their own.
Two player games are great, but once things get all crazy with Ultimate DreadBall I’d like to introduce bigger arenas with giant robots, monstrous aliens and, of course, more than two teams at a time. This is the sort of thing for grand finales of leagues, spectacular demonstration games and other grand events. It’s also loads of fun. It is Ultimate DreadBall.
Mechanically, it’s another headache because one of the central features of DreadBall is its speed of play. More players means more downtime between Rushes, so this requires some serious tinkering with to retain the frantic atmosphere. I have some options in mind, and I’m confident it can be done. But again, it’s more fiddling and a load more bespoke playtesting, which is why it comes at the end of the cycle.
Still, it’s an exciting development
So in summary, UDB will add more teams and more MVPs, many of which will be playable in your normal games. It will also add rules for the events after which it is named: Ultimate DreadBall – bigger arenas, multiple teams, giant players!
And while this is the pinnacle of the neat and clean DreadBall, we’re still not done with the sport yet. I have a niggle at the back of my brain that tells me there is one final twist in the tale.
Tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about my ideas for DreadBall Xtreme.