New Rules and FAQ for DB

As Mantic have sent out the digital rules for DreadBall to all the Kickstarter backers it seems like a good time for me to upload a space for people to ask questions they may have about the DreadBall rules.

The site needs a good tidy up and reorganise, but the FAQ page (which will be along in a moment) will allow you to ask things now.

On the subject of FAQs, I’ve been very remiss in not updating the Pandora one, which I know needs doing more urgently than the others. The challenge is the finding the time to get my head sufficiently back into that mode of thinking, which I need to do so that I answer the questions accurately.

Anyway, new DB FAQ (with nothing in it yet) on the way.

Lee – ask away 🙂

This entry was posted in DreadBall - The Futuristic Sports Game. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to New Rules and FAQ for DB

  1. Lex says:

    So here’s the thing for me… the “How”, the exact errata and rulings about the rules, is much less interesting to me as the “Why?” or “Why did the rules end up as they did?”. What were the dead-ends you faced, what rules made it or did not make it and what tweaks and balancing were the hardest to make. Reading at that book we can only see glimpses of that, but I’m curious as to the reasons behind those quirks we see popping here and there…

    For instance:
    – Why different rolls for the Ref checks? Wasn’t there a way to fit it within the “normal rolls”?
    – What’s behind the costs for the players? Is there a “master formula” you started from to calculate cost?
    – What’s the logic behind . Why not for instance have Guards with an Armor of 3+ and Keepers get a +1 dice instead of the reverse? (That would have been a good progression… Striker 5+, Jacks 4+, Guard 3+). Did that end up unbalancing Guards?

    Anyway, feel free to answer or not at all, but that’s the juiciest part for me by far! 😉

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I’ll be writing more on this, but to take your specific questions:

      Ref rolls – I initially tried to fit the Ref rolls into the main system, but it wasn’t a tidy solution. I got rather attached to the system as printed as soon as I thought of it because it is really neat and tidy (and tiny). I like the way it incorporates whether there are one or two Refs checking and then ties in simply with how long you are sent off for, if at all. I couldn’t work the Refs into the core system in a way that was anything like as neat or as brief. I also find it almost a bonus (certainly not an issue) that they work differently because they are such a different part of the game – one of the very few bits that is the game itself, as it were, rather than one of the players.

      Player costs – I worked from a datum, and by starting at one end and referring back to what I’d worked out already at each stage. There wasn’t a fixed formula (which is what I normally use and what I prefer) as I didn’t have the time to develop one. To get a fixed formula correct takes a very long time and many iterations. So these are the result of a vague formula, experience and a great deal of playtesting that confirmed their accuracy. It helped that I only tried to work out the costs after I had worked out the teams and had played lots of games so that I knew they were balanced and therefore the points had to reflect that.

      Guard armour – this was initially 3+, but it worked less well in playtesting than changing it to what we have now. That was just a case of them being a bit too good and toning them down as a result of playing lots of games.

    • altaem says:

      Had a really detailed question about why the ball behaves so strangely. Nothing like a cannonball travelling at 200mph at all.

      Found the answer while digging through the rule book for references.

      page 7: “The game is played with a small silver ball made of face-hardened,
      weapons-grade titanium, containing a small anti-gravity pulsor to keep the
      bounce unpredictable and the action exciting.”

      I see, the small anti-gravity pulsor is code for “it will do whatever the game designers decide is best, physics does not apply”

      Guess that explains how a round ball can neatly park on the centre line after launch and how it “bounces” off a hologram in the case of a missed strike.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Physics as we know it cannot possibly apply as it has an “anti-gravity pulsor” in – something which sits firmly outside the current paradigm.

        In this regard, Digby and I have the same agenda of making the game more interesting to play. Early trials with unmodified balls were simply less fun to play, and as the ball was more predictable and could reliably be thrown further it was very much a passing game and other styles of teams were shut out. Hence the modification.

  2. Lex says:

    Hi, I’m back! 🙂 Thanks for your reply on my last question, it makes it a lot of sense. Interesting you going by Datum, I would think that this would complicate things for balance but seems you’ve got this covered.

    I’m very curious… This has been asked elsewhere (can’t find where but won’t pretend to paternity!), but: why restrict Guards from ball handling and Strikers from Slamming (and Stomping)? Seeing the current game design, I’m left with a feeling that it could easily have been a generic “-1 for Guards” or “-1 for Strikers”. Seeing as it’s already dicey to make a 2-dice Slam worthwhile, I would have thought things to be fairly balanced at that point. Even a Guard for a Skill 3+ team would have had a hard time making anything but 1-point strikes.

    Did it unbalance the Strikers/Guards to have those additional options? Were Jacks left “unspecial?”? Were players confused by the too many options? Were different teams affected differently? Did playtest somehow show this just not being fun?

    • I’ve also wondered about those points, but I’ve got to say having dedicated roles streamlines the game beautifully.

      There was one case that caught me by surprise.
      Page 72: “Their [Veer-myn] most famous team of all is the Skittersneak Stealers – winners of the Thudweiser League in ’37 and ’39, and holder of more “Most Fouls” awards than any other team in DreadBall’s history.”

      Who can gain experience table, page 57:
      “Injuring an opponent for 3 turns. Any player”

      And yet… Stomp is Guard or Jack only (page 45). I can see that it is described as a type of Slam which naturally excludes strikers. This doesn’t make sense to me. The prone player can’t fight back and thematically I like the image of Veer-myn and Forge Father strikers putting the boot in.

      If they get -1 die for being a striker then they’d be more likely to get themselves sent off than injuring their opponent. It could be quite comical.

      I can only conclude that such a change would make the Veer-myn team even better than they already are. Given their existing player values they don’t need another boost. Tempted to try house ruling it into our league; if only to try and get players to choose something other than Orx as their first preference.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      @Lex – this method of points calculation would struggle in a system that began with lots of teams at once, rather than being able to develop them in waves as with DB. In this case each wave can be balanced against the original teams who are a known quantity, but each tranche of balancing is only a couple of teams at a time.

      Contrast this with God of Battles where I was balancing 10 far more complex armies against each other simultaneously. That would have been far too complex to do in this style, and so I developed a detailed points calculation that was repeatedly modified in the light of playtesting and the points of all the units recalculated each time. That’s the best way to get points right across a large or complex set. Fudging in this context is disastrous to balance.

      I’ve been strongly against allowing Strikers to Slam and Guards to Throw since day 1. Ronnie kept asking me to put it in as he thought it might cause issues if people couldn’t. I think that any issues it might cause are all easily dealt with elsewhere and that the game is far cleaner and slicker (and has more interesting tactics) with this sharp differentiation of role. It also makes Jacks effectively redundant as being able to do both roles to a degree is one of their core strong points. In effect, you’re asking for a version without Jacks. Would that be better? Well after a few extra abilities or stat boosts from experience every team ends up with a similarly bland mix of players who can all do a bit of everything – and I don’t think that is nearly as interesting.

      So whilst it would have been mechanically simple to arrange, I don’t think it’s at all desirable to have everyone able to do everything. It’s not a question of game balance as much as it is tactical texture within the game (and that creates challenge and fun).

      @Stephen – there is more than one kind of foul 🙂

      My mental image of the Veer-myn Strikers is far more sneaky and underhand than simply putting the boot in. That’s more Orx territory. And Strikers wouldn’t want the blood on their boots anyway as that would be slippery. There is also a considerable pride in the specific types of duties each player role has, and so stomping is very much seen as not being the sort of thing a Striker would do. That’s why they brought the Guards (and Jacks). The Striker is off doing far more important things, like scoring.

      I don’t know whether it would make them much more powerful, I just don’t think it fits the background and their character. However, if you want to House Rule it for your leagues then be my guest. The game’s there for you to have fun with it 🙂

      • Great answer. I didn’t consider the risk of getting blood on their boots. Guess my perception of Veer-myn is heavily influenced by my blood bowl skaven who would foul every single turn for maximum damage.

        I spotted the opportunities for other dreadball fouls too. Veer-myn are fast enough to leave the back field empty and simply sneak extra players onto the field as required.

      • Lex says:

        Indeed, great answer. This makes a lot of sense, and I find it interesting that you held on to some basic design principles throughout playtest. I do see the interest of keeping player roles “special”.

        I have to say I also ran into some “getting used to” situations. For instance, for me Goblins were always meant to Foul beyond your wildest dreams, little bugger creature and all. So when I got there I realized that not being Guards and having Str 5+ meant they were just not very good at it, I had to adjust (same thing for Running Interference, by the way, since you can’t Steal during RI).

        I’ve dabbled with a few games, but I really can’t wait for the full and complete game to show up at my door. I’ve got a tournament planned for Christmas, and a League for January. We’ll talk in February 😀

  3. mattadlard says:

    I want to know more about the Robot teams this ones really appeals to me

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I’ll be posting some more details on these shortly. Season 2 has been keeping me busy and they’re obviously part of that. I’ll probably know more about what I’m doing in terms of posting stuff up early during next week.

  4. Chad Spencer says:

    Pardon my ignorance if I’m posting this in the wrong place or if this question has been answered, but I haven’t been able to source anything thus far.

    I’m new to the Dreadball universe and loving the game so far.

    My question revolves around the acquisition of my Dreadball team: the Chromium Chargers.
    They start out simply as Jacks, which is straightforward. My main question(s) is how the models act. I get 3 Guard models and 3 Strikers along with 7 Jacks. When a model transforms, they become the role but don’t take up a Roster spot as being an actual Guard for points calculation. If I only have 3 Guard models, does that mean I can only have 3 Guards total to transform or can all 6 become Guards (or strikers for that matter)?

    What happens when a transformed unit is removed from the game? Would I remove the actual Jack model from the game since it would be the true unit injured and return the Guard/Striker back to the pool? For example if ‘Bob the Jack’ transformed into a guard, and was inured 4+ turns, should I remove the Jack model from the game and put the Guard back into the ‘awaiting transformation pool’?

    Is there any way to get more starting jacks in the Subs bench at the start of the game, such as buying more units through normal League Rules means?

    Thanks you in advance for your time and response. Keep up the good work!

    • theearthdragon says:

      Hi Chad. Welcome to Dreadball!!

      The one downside of the Robot team is the amount of models you might need to actual field the models you want. You sure can field more then 3 guards or strikers at a time. You just only have 3 as setting you up with the proper amount would unfortunately cost Mantic way more then the other teams, and as an unfortunate result, we as the players end up having to shell out more. There are old packs that had 1 of each position and 2 of each position, making it easier to get more specialists, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to find those.

      As far as what happens when they leave the field, they stay the position they were. So if you turn a model to a guard and he goes to the sin bin for two turns cause you fouled or got slammed, that model stays a guard and would re-enter the field after serving his time as a guard. They only shift back to Jack after the game is over.

      You can purchase more players same as any other team. It would cost you 14mc per new Jack and you can have up to 12 (you can double the amount you start with on a roster). This is one of the big downsides to the team. They ramp up your TV fast with the pricey players, and are difficult to afford unless you are winning, or don’t have many on the roster already.

      Honestly, a very successful player I knew only maintained 3 on his roster for a league. Then he just rolled up FAs on the Season 1 Specialist heavy chart to fill in the holes. With those 3 players, he was able to adjust to whatever he got. Brilliant strategy really.

      Another useful tool is the Mantic Forums to ask these sorts of questions:

      Good luck on the Neodurium!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s