DreadBall Details – Follow Up Sequencing

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…

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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.

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11 Responses to DreadBall Details – Follow Up Sequencing

  1. james says:

    Can i ask what the recourse is for getting your money back for the game when your 6 year old son whoops your 7-0?

    i don’t want to play any more

    seriously though im really enjoying this game and its simple enough that he can grasp it but tactically very deep.

  2. pewc says:

    Tis true and Jake bought it up on a game at the playtest day. To be honest we had fallen into the habit less from a time saving background than a having to get the model out with ease and put them down in a cramped hex only to have to fiddle to get them out again. Mainly when there was quite a scrum going on. Most of the time we just say if we are following up but then often forgot to. So yes it isn’t a good habit to get into as you can decide not to follow up if they have left the pitch which then may give an advantageous facing. So kids … Don’t do it.
    🙂

  3. moocifer says:

    Interesting .. I haven’t encountered this in any of my games, but then maybe that’s because I am a stickler for rules as written and would have jumped up & down if spotted.

    Also, thinking about it a bit more .. having played a lot of SAGA in the last six months the order of events is “EXTREMELY” important when determining dice and abilities etc .. so perhaps that is another reason why I don’t have this bad habit.

  4. Y. Chung says:

    Related to this – when a player is carrying the ball and is slammed, and doubled, when do you do the ball scatter? Before or after he’s been pushed back into another hex and fallen over? If he’s fallen over, which direction is he facing (for ball scatter)?

    • Sami Mahmoud says:

      It’s not amazingly clear, but see p31 point 1b. You scatter from a fallen player, and the player is only ever fallen in the hex he finishes in. Direction isn’t determined by player facing in that instance, see the same point.

  5. Jake,

    One thing I like a lot from your examples is that you take time to explain your design without either seeming condescending nor defensive. I also appreciate it that you can admit to design weaknesses (such as the Judwans’ original mechanics) and be humble enough to confess it to the merciless Internet crowd and still manage to seek to better your rules doing so. It’s a good, constructive, positive attitude that I really enjoy reading.

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