Serves me right for trying to be clever.
This was, of course, supposed to be published yesterday as a Sunday Support article, but when I did the clever scheduling thing I went and set it for the wrong date…
Slams and Their Aftermath
When one player Slams another the rules list a specific sequence to follow for the results. What I’ve seen a couple of times now is Coaches cutting some corners in this and I’d just like to point out why I think that this isn’t such a good idea.
DreadBall is, at its heart, a game about positioning. Somethings this is a general and broad concept – have you got a model at that end of the pitch? Mostly though, the positioning in DreadBall is a matter of details – are you in this hex or one to the left? Which side of the hex are you facing? How many hexes are you from that Strike Zone?These details matter for threat hexes, Evades, ranges of movement and Throws, etc, etc, and as you learn the game and develop your tactical skill you will find yourself thinking about the exact positioning of your players more and more.
The corner that people sometimes cut is to roll armour for a player that is knocked down before their opponent decides whether to follow up or not (instead of after). This is a bad idea because it takes away an important tactical decision on the part of the winner. Do you follow up or not?
The sequence in the rules asks you to make this decision when you know that you’ve knocked your opponent down and you know he’s got to roll for his armour, but you do not know whether he will make the roll or not. You must decide if you want to follow up, placing a threat hex on the fallen player, thus making it more difficult for them to stand up if they remain on the pitch. Or, do you remain in your current hex and risk leaving the opposing player on the pitch and unmarked so they can stand up and run off to do mischief without hindrance in their next Rush. Whether the opponent remains on the pitch or in the Sin Bin is critical to your decision, but you don’t know whether they will or not so you have to evaluate the current situation and weigh the risk. The exact positioning of your player can be very important depending on what’s going on around them at the time. Making this decision a risk to be weighed by the Coach was a conscious design choice on my part and I think it’s a real shame to lose it.
If you roll the armour before you choose to follow up then the decision is simple and without risk. In other words, dull and uninteresting.
It’s a detail, to be sure, and some might not think it important. However, it’s a collection of this sort of detail which goes together to make DreadBall a game of tactical skill, and whilst you may find it saves a second or two to cut the corner I think you’ll find the loss of the tactical choice a poor trade in the long run.