DreadBall Card Commentary

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Last update 13th Jan 2013

When I designed DreadBall I included a short card commentary in the rulebook, thinking that I would eventually have to expand on it here. As it stands, very few of the cards seem to have caused difficulty, which is great! However, because I think that it is still a useful resource and worth separating off, I’m collecting any card-related FAQs and discussion here.


The following are dealt with in 3 steps rather than the more common 2. As well as a Question (Q) and an Answer (A) I’ve included a Discussion (D) section  so that I can talk around the topic as needed. This might explain why a rule is as it is, the history of its development or the tactical implications among other things. The intention is to give you a better insight and understanding into the decisions behind the rules as well as the rules themselves.

Q: Can you play a card you just “bought” (with an action) immediately, for instance getting a 3rd action for a player on the very same turn?

A: Yes.

D: Coaches often buy cards towards the end of a Rush, but there is no reason why they have to. Obviously buying a card in the hope of getting a specific action for a player who has already had 2 actions this Rush is a bit of a desperate move, but sometimes that’s what is called for. This is the kind of tactic that experienced players know is available and the lucky ones even make work for them!

Q: If I buy a card and it turns out to be an Event do I have to play it immediately?

A: No.

D: If you buy a card then you can keep it until you want to use it. This applies to all Event cards including The Ball Shatters. This choice of timing is the crucial difference between cards that are bought rather than simply turned to resolve something. Timing your use of the cards can be very powerful, regardless of their type.

Note that when you play an Event card from your hand it may be during either player’s Rush, but it only takes effect after “the current action and all associated dice rolls and card draws have been completed”. This stops you being able to interrupt the middle of a sequence of throw and catch, Slam and fall, etc, which is just as well because interrupting generally makes a huge mess of the rules and leads to a great deal of confusion.



Of all the Event cards, this one stands out because of the word Instant on the card. In the early versions of the DreadBall cards, there was more variation in when Events were played, but it became obvious after a while that most of this was simply unnecessary. Little was added to the game, and so I decided to make them all what were originally called “Remains in Play” cards. All, that is, except for The Ball Shatters, which obviously has to be resolved and then discarded. That’s what Instant refers to: the resolution of the card is a single moment in time as opposed to something that lasts as long as it takes to draw another Event card.

For everyone who doesn’t know the history of the card development the word Instant may be a bit confusing, and some folk think that this card must be played immediately. Not at all. It is resolved just the same as any other Event card: when it is turned if it is a random draw or when the owning Coach chooses if it has been bought into a hand.

Apart from its specific effect, the only difference between this Event card and every other one is the length of time it remains in play.


To keep things tidy, comments and questions will be deleted from this page once they have been included in the Commentary.

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11 Responses to DreadBall Card Commentary

  1. Alphawog says:

    We’ve been assuming that when the event “The Ball Shatters” is drawn on a fan check that the event happens and the players put the card under their Home/Visitor card and gets the 1 fan provided by it. Is this correct? We are assuming because it seems to be the only event that has a fan value.

  2. OrxMenace says:

    Does the Ball Shatters count as an interrupt? Meaning if I play it in response to a player attempting a strike does the ball shatter before or after the strike attempt?

    • Vinsss says:

      I believe when you play a card it takes effect right before or after an action, not in the middle – except for RI that can be played after each moved hex.

      So if your opponent declared a Strike, your Ball Shatters event will only take effect after the attempted strike. You got to play the card before he can make an attempt.

      Well… I believe.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The important thing about interrupting other coaches is that you cannot interrupt a set of dice rolls. So, once someone has started a throw-catch sequence, or a slam-push-armour-etc sequence then you have to wait till they’ve finished. This is simply because allowing otherwise opens a huge can of worms of awkward combinations.

      • Lex says:

        We’ve house-ruled that you have to play that card immediately should you draw it. If you draw it during setup you have to re-shuffle it, and if you draw it during play you can draw a replacement card (you still get the 1 Fan)

        While the thrill of having the ball shatter on you keeps coaches on their seat and the game interesting we found that this card alone can make or break a game. It became a bit too “luck of the draw” for us.

  3. Bidge says:

    The Ball Shatters

    Thats not supposed to happen.
    Remove the ball and launch a new one. This doesn’t end the current rush.

    Specifically in relation to an attempted strike.

    If playing this from a card from your hand, my interpretation is that the card needs to played before any dice are rolled and before the throw action has been declared. Thus it needs to be used before the the throw action is declared in a strike attempt. But is this correct interpretation or can it be used after a successful dice roll on a strike attempt to stop that score happening?

    Scenario 1: Player A attempts a strike, rolls the appropriate dice and scores. Can Player B play the card upon seeing the successful roll to nullify the score?

    Scenario 2: Player B has to use the card before Player A even declares a throw action. As soon as the throw action is declared then Player B can not influence the outcome of the throw with the Ball Shatters event card.

    Which scenario/interpretation is correct way to use this card?

    Scenario 2 is the way we play it, but during play the other day we started to question if this is the right way after all!


  4. MajVictory says:

    Can you play cards to move the ref? Can you spend cards for gaining fan checks?

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