Just for a change of pace, I’d like to talk about where I’d like to go with DreadBall in a design sense. Before I go further, let me say that none of this is carved in stone. The nearer stuff is more solid, but we still haven’t published the core game or finished the Kickstarter yet!
Ronnie, being Ronnie, has already spilled many of the beans with update 26 for Kickstarter. Pesky blighter just beat me to it. I’ll assume you’ve read that.
When I design a game, I find that it has a natural size – an amount of rules and number of options that just suits it perfectly. Sometimes it’s big, and other times petite, but if you listen to a game it will always tell you.
I may have said something similar with Dwarf King’s Hold because I wrote a similar article for that. We’re most of the way through that vision now, and I am looking forward to the next (very exciting) step. For DreadBall things are a bit different.
Apart from Mantic having a bit more experience about this whole board game lark (making production and so on much smoother), there is the whole Kickstarter thing. That has a couple of facets which make me very excitable, and neither of them are the money. At least, not directly.
The first thing is that (thanks to everyone’s support) I can get my vision for the game done much faster and probably better than would otherwise be the case. Me telling Ronnie that I want to do 4 boxes of DreadBall games sounds less silly if everyone is keen 🙂
Secondly, and probably more importantly for me, it creates an instant community. I don’t know about you, but I am often an early adopter of any game that isn’t one of the top 3. That means I am the one investing time, money and effort finding the game, learning it and then trying to persuade enough people locally to have a viable group. The internet is a bit of a game changer in many ways, but it still doesn’t get me local games. I’ve been reading a lot of forums lately, and have posted quite a bit myself. Talking to people, I’m getting a strong impression that whole groups are getting on board with DreadBall, and people are going out and persuading their friends that it’s looking like something to keep an eye on. And, of course, it is 😉
What all of this means is that instead of a shiny new box coming out and you being the first to get it, there will be a whole community of gamers on the day of release. And for a game like DreadBall which has so much entertainment value lurking in a set of league rules, this is really valuable. It’s a very different situation, and one made possible only by the enormous support the Kickstarter has had so far. Of course, the bigger it gets the bigger this community will be, which is a real win all round.
So thank you for your support, and for those who read this after it has closed, you missed a really exciting time 🙂
Like I said, a natural size. At least in my head. I’ll talk about the 3rd (Ultimate DreadBall) and 4th (DreadBall Xtreme) tomorrow because I can already see that this is going to be a bit long. For now, let me focus on DreadBall and its immediate expansion: DreadBall Season 2.
DreadBall is a stand alone game, designed to be entirely self contained. There is no need for you to go and buy a bunch more stuff. Except that you will want to because it’s cool 😉
The DreadBall box includes complete rules for one off games and leagues, as well as 4 teams and 8 MVPs. It’s not half a product, because that’s not how I do things. It’s a whole game. Let’s be clear on that.
However, I often struggle to fit my whole idea into a single sane size of product. It’s usually bursting at the seams with ideas, then I have a few more and they have to go somewhere – hence an expansion. DreadBall Season 2 is an opportunity to add a little bit of chrome to the rules with some Coaching Staff, Cheerleaders (because everyone wants them – and why not), 4 more teams and as many MVPs as I can fit in. The core rules won’t change (they don’t need to), and the extra rules will be there purely to allow those additions. I’m very conscious of the cleanliness and sleekness of the system as it stands and don’t want to bury it under fiddly nonsense. Always have to keep a weather eye out for that.
Abilities are a good way to define the character or style of a team or MVP, so I’d expect to include a few of those. A lot can be done with stats, combinations of player roles and so on, but every now and again you need to stick in something new.
Glad you asked.
This quartet of new teams has undergone a number of iterations so far, and this isn’t entirely final though I feel like we’re getting close.
- Ladies First. Yes, the girls really ought to go in here. They are still humans, and will have human stats the same as the Trintek 29ers, but there is a spin or two I’d like to introduce to change their playing style a bit and make them a separate team in their own right. I think I can do this without adding any new rules too, which is a bonus. Needs more playtesting though. Of course, you could still use the miniatures to play as a 29ers sort of human team if you like.
- It came from… who knows? It’s the ZZor, and they’re not telling. This is one of the Warpath races which hasn’t seen the light of day on those battlefields yet, but which we might get to see first on the DreadBall pitch. nasty, nasty bitey things, so lord knows how they got to be in teams. Maybe mind control devices and shock sticks, controlled breeding programmes, stunt doubles or some other cunning piece of showmanship. Perhaps their hive minds just like a bit of sport. I suspect their Guards might be quite mean.
- Robots! Well it’s the far future, so it would be rude not to. I had a really cool (in my head, anyway) idea for this team, and have sort of dumped a production headache on Mantic. I want the team to be able to change roles as the game goes on. Not like Transformers visually, but a similar idea of mutability. The headache is how to do this as models. However it works it will probably be a bit more effort and cost to collect a robot team because you will need the extra models when they change role (as different player roles will look different). Still, none of the teams is a huge investment, and at Mantic prices I can’t see that people will grumble. Especially as the idea is so much fun. Need another Striker? Sure, I’ll just swap this one out. Should be crazy on the pitch.
- Judwan. Who? Well they are made up aliens (it’s science fiction, remember). These were spawned by an MVP I was working on, whose race suggested a whole different play style, and that’s what you need for a really good new team. I’m going to try them out with only Strikers, and we’ll see if they work as see them in my head…
As you can see, it’s a varied bunch.
I want to draw from a few sources for this. There will be some weird aliens, some more for the existing races, plus specific MVPs for the new teams. I’d also like to include a few jokes and you might find homages to some real world sporting legends. Just because I can 😉
Overall, Season 2 will add greater breadth to an already tactically deep game, and this in turn will add even more depth to the tactics and counter-tactics (especially for leagues). With more teams and more MVPs the combinations of possibilities for really interesting matches just gets even bigger.
I look forward to the debates about which team is best 🙂