Yesterday I was talking about Ultimate DreadBall and how this was the end of the first cycle. What I mean by that is that DreadBall, Season 2 and Ultimate DreadBall all focus on the official game, run by the DreadBall Governing Body (commonly known as the DGB or “Digby”). But DreadBall has a darker, unsanctioned side. This lacks the glitz and glamour of the stage-managed spectacle in the big arena. In its place it has more grime and sweat, and a lot more blood.
These days, Digby has enough political clout and certainly enough money to be able to influence governments, and for this reason it is actually illegal to hold unsanctioned DreadBall games. Technically even a pick-up game of Street DreadBall is illegal, though in the case of kids the rules are often waived. The real target of the laws were the underground circuit of games at which vast amounts of cash change hands, both as hiring fees and as bets. The aficionados of this version of the sport want their blood too, and the illegal status of the games makes player casualties murder victims. At least in the eyes of the law. So the players are often masked, or otherwise disguised.
Games are held in hidden locations, organised secretly by shadowy figures who only release the information at the last moment. Digby’s own security forces fight a constant battle of infiltration and skullduggery to prevent these matches, with far less success than they would like. This has led to a huge campaign of media suppression in an effort to deny the existence of DreadBall Xtreme, even if it cannot actually be stopped.
So, we have a different, but related game. Current thinking is that this will be a completely self-contained boxed game. I say current thinking as I am writing this when the DreadBall Kickstarter is still running, and I have no idea how well it will be supported. I’d love to get all the way to writing DreadBall Xtreme, but that depends on the fan support. If there’s a demand, then I’m way ahead of you 😉
How will it play?
Well that’s not entirely nailed down yet. As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been focussing our playtesting on ensuring that the core game was as solid as possible. However, I’ve got some ideas and have tried a few out which looked promising.
Whatever happens it will be fast and furious, just like normal DreadBall. It will also be guaranteed to have more casualties.
The main features of the game as they stand in my head now are:
- No Ref, so no fouls. Do what you like. There is one exception to this to avoid complete anarchy, which is the maximum number of players in the arena at once. Apart from that, I can see a lot more injuries and deaths.
- Less armour. Another likely cause of major casualties is the lighter and more makeshift armour. Digby controls the manufacturing of official armour and there is no real incentive to fabricate major protection when what the crowd wants is blood. Xtreme will be a lot more gladiatorial than official DreadBall, though you should never lose sight of the fact that you still win the game by scoring Strikes.
- Fancy holographic Strike targets is a bit beyond the ad hoc nature of most Xtreme arenas, so the arenas themselves are laid out a bit differently. I am also toying with the idea of every Strike Zone being usable by both teams, but with a different points value for each team at each Zone, if you follow me. For example, in the Zone nearest my end of the pitch I can score for 1 point, but you get 3. This may not work as I envisage, but I’ll give it a go.
- Teams and team building will work very differently. In the secretive and illegal huddle of DreadBall Xtreme, teams are more fleeting and variable than normal. They form around a Backer who can pay for the hire of enough players. This is usually just for a single game. As players get injured or killed (or arrested) they come and go from the line up. In reality, what happens if that a Backer will have a large pool of players that he knows, and he will hire whichever ones he can find or wants for each match on a per match basis. This single match contract is the basis for the difference between official and unofficial teams. Normal DB players sign up for years, and so the teams change only slowly. In the board game, this means that you (the Backer) buy your team from a much wider selection of players and races than normal, and most Backers have a similar set to draw from (though I need to work on this to add more variety – I’m not happy with that yet). Regardless of the details, it’s a very different team set up from normal DB.
- The core moving and action system will remain the familiar one from DreadBall. It’s a violent parody of the same game, so there’s no need to fix what’s not broken. However, I’m toying with the idea of only 3 Team Action Tokens per Rush to reflect the lack of coordination in these temporary teams.
- The card deck will be replaced with a heavily revised version to better suit the different character of Xtreme.
- The league system will be modified to accommodate the different team system. It is possible that league hiring will all be auction based, like current MVP hiring. This might be a bit slow though. We’ll see how it goes.
The player types you will see in DreadBall Xtreme are the scrapings of the barrel. They include all manner of cutthroat scum, ex-convicts, disgraced big league players, military deserters, criminal enforcers (not the combat unit), mutant aberrations as well as all manner of alien dregs.
Should be a laugh 😉