DreadBall – New Rules For Launching The Ball

These rules are coming out in Season 3, but as I said earlier this week I’d post up a set for you to read in advance.

Here they are as a pdf. I’m afraid you’ll have to do without the fancy diagram for the moment. I’m sure you’ll find them straightforward enough. Basically it just says that you can’t catch it till it scatters, and so players that are in the way get hit instead.

S3 launching the ball v2

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

46 Responses to DreadBall – New Rules For Launching The Ball

  1. lines42 says:

    Jake, thanks for posting this!
    Wow, the ball-will-always-scatter-when-launched rule will have a huge impact on initial set-up. No Guards or Jacks on any line the ball could scatter to reduce the risk of a turnover (unless you have enough Coaching Dice…)

  2. Sam says:

    Been playing a similar set of experimental rules in our most recent league.

    Works beautifully. And I love the 6 dice if you push someone into the right spot ­čÖé Hilarity will ensue.

  3. OldNick says:

    I like it, especially the added scatter at the end of launch.

  4. lines42 says:

    I was curious about the probabilities where the ball will land and how this could affect offensive and defensive placing.
    For those who are interested:

    Click to access DreadballLaunchProbabilities.pdf

    • Pete says:

      Nice work, but your percentages are off – what you have as an 11% chance is really only a 1.767% chance. I reduced the two different locations from the 6 to only a half chance so the most common location came up 3.5 times (I also didn’t account for the ref spot being another scatter it got to be too small of a number to be concerned about it). The total of all the hexes can only equal 100%.

      • lines42 says:

        Hey Pete, thanks for checking the numbers!
        I re-thought my method and I figured that none of us is really right here ­čÖé

        1, My sheet doesn┬┤t show the probabilities the ball will LAND on a hex. It shows the probabilities the ball will TRAVEL THROUGH a hex, because that┬┤s when a player standing there would have to or could try to catch it. For that reason the total percentages are of course over 100%.

        2, I figured I totally forgot to take into account the distance roll ­čśŽ Don┬┤t comment on that, I feel stupid enough.

        To get it right let us run through an example before I work over the sheet.
        Let┬┤s have a look at the hex in front of the LauchHex 4, Offensive side (at the moment showing 11%).
        There are 5 possibilities the ball can TRAVEL THROUGH or land on this hex.
        (LH= LaunchHex, first D shows scatter direction, second D shows distance, numbers show die results)

        First option: LH4, D4, D1+ this is 1/6 x 1/6 x 6/6 = 2.78%
        Second option: LH3, D3, D2+ this is 1/6x 1/6x 5/6 = 2.31%
        Third option: LH5, D5, D2+ this is 1/6x 1/6x 5/6 = 2.31%
        Forth option: LH6/Roll4-6, D5, D3+ this is 1/6x 1/2x 1/6x 2/3 = 0.93%
        Fifth option: LH6/Roll4-6, D3, D3+ this is 1/6x 1/2x 1/6x 2/3 = 0.93%
        (note that the fifth option is almost the same as forth option since the ball scattering into the wall (direction 3) will bounce off and take the same direction as option four (clarified in another thread)).

        The total probability for this hex is: 9.26%
        (This pretty much matches my 11% reduced by the missing distance calculation).

        You agree with me on this?

        • Pete says:

          I completely didn’t account for the extra distance so my numbers were way off for the close in hexes. Great catch. Complete agree on numbers for all the options, so 9.26% it is. Have fun going thru everything again. Cheers.

        • Zorblag says:

          So I was working on this as well after I saw your numbers. Here’s a link to the google doc spreadsheet that I used to figure out the probabilities: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjXTuBRgx-5WdF9BNmFFX2F3TkhkS1pEQ0phWGE5Qnc&usp=sharing . It doesn’t look as nice as your pdf, but it’s something. I don’t seem to agree with you about case 5 though in your example; shouldn’t that shot bounce towards the defenders side of the field? Which thread was that discussed in?

          In any case, other than that case 5 part I am getting the same numbers. I went ahead and put in all the places the ball would scatter in an opening launch with only the refbot on the field. It should be easy enough to modify if I’m doing the bounce rules wrong.

          -Zorblag R`Lyeh

        • Zorblag says:

          OK, I see what you’re saying for the bounces now. I agree with your numbers and have adjusted the spreadsheet.

          -Zorblag R`Lyeh

    • lines42 says:

      Okay, all.
      Thanks for your input.
      Zor, great work on your excel sheet! I implemented the numbers in my design and uploaded the updated version (using the original link).
      Apologies for the mistake in my first version!

  5. D┼żerards says:

    I’m a bit worried for my Rats. If a Striker fails a pick up from the launch, and the other team score right away, then he’s likely to get cleaned out on the relaunch!

    • sideofiron says:

      Without the remote possibility of stealing a launch in the opponents turn, a team which is losing pretty badly has bugger all chance of catching up late in the game. So many of our games so far have ended with a last ditch desperate attempt to score 5, or even 6 pts in the last two rushes…

      This change is not particularly conducive to the exciting finishes I had grown to love about DB… sorry but this is a step backwards for my interest in the game.

  6. lines42Lines says:

    I haven┬┤t made up my mind yet wether I like the ball-will-always-scatter-when-launched rule or not. Will have to play with it for a while.

    The only thing that confuses me is that the first part of the new launch rules tries to reduce the amount of unintended catches and turnovers before you even move your first player.
    While the second part does exactly the opposite and increases the chance the ball will scatter to one of my player┬┤s who might fail to catch it, or to an opponent┬┤s player.

    Jake, I┬┤d really love to hear the thinking behind that. This is no critizism! I┬┤m really curious what process lead to this contradicting second part of the change.

    • D┼żerards says:

      Just have all your players within 6 hexes of the launch line face towards the back of the court!

      To be honest, first either you or your opponent need to be stupid or unlucky enough to leave one of their players on the launch line, then the ball has to get as far as them, then out 6 possible directions it needs to scatter towards one of your players, even then it could fall short.

      The chance of it happening once and losing you a turn are remote, the chances of it happening twice are vanishingly small.

  7. David Kenny says:

    Hmm, I dunno. I’ll need to play with it but I thought it would just have been that it hurts anyone one the line. I don’t understand why it always scatters now? Why not just have it land on one of the 1-6 spots as normal?

  8. lines42 says:

    Reblogged this on lines42 and commented:
    Have a look at the PDF I uploaded (see post above). I don’t think the chances are so small. Also the opponent might take advantage of this and place his players capable of catching a scattered ball in the hexes the ball might modt probably scatter to if it scatters in his direction.
    Also I’m really not a fan of placing most of my players with their backs to my opponent. You might have realized that getting slammed in the back by your opponent can have some huge disadvantages. Especially that you cannot slamback! Ask some Forge Father players.
    As written above this is no criticism. I was just curious why this decision has been made.

  9. Pete says:

    How many play test games were played with this rule? It seems like the ball can scatter quite some time before coming to rest; what with guards who can’t catch and jacks who will probably fail to catch it (without the use of coaching dice), even the skill 5 striker teams will suffer a ton of turnovers.

  10. Deaven Randolph says:

    Haven’t tried this yet. Though our group will this week for sure.
    But just looking at it, it doesn’t seem like this is the answer to me.

    You reduce the random loss of a rush by making the ball hit anyone in the way (great) and then you increase the randomness of losing a rush by making it scatter – possibly multiple times – and hit random people.

    Rules are always analyzed by the impact they have on the players who are working around them and this seems to create two negative secondary effects:
    1. People will set up with their team facing away from the center line so their is no chance of them losing a rush on a bad bounce. To me this severely hurts the feel of the game. What game would have opposing sides squaring off by facing away from each other at the beginning? That’s just nonsense.
    2. It makes people have to work far to hard to work out probabilities of where the ball scatters in order to find optimum team placement. This too is ridiculous. Not everyone is as interested as lines is in creating probability charts for every hex. And that severely increases the barrier to new players understanding the game – they are definitely not going to know where not to place players according to the probabilities. Again, the goal here should be to have two teams squaring off over the line.

    Since you should never complain about a problem without offering a solution, here is mine.
    1. Keep the “Hard Launch” rule meaning that noone can catch the ball on a launch – and rolls as if struck by it.
    2. Drop the “Random Spin” rule by removing the roll for scatter on every single launch.
    That seems to make the most sense to me.

    If there is still time (I.E. this rule hasn’t been sent to the printers) then I urge you to strongly reconsider. Or perhaps, someone else can explain to me why this isn’t as bad as it looks.


  11. Pingback: DreadBall ÔÇô New Rules For Launching The Ball | | Pen and Lead

  12. Vinsss says:

    I don’t understand either the additional scattering. It seems to do the opposite of the first change, that I like.

    Thing is, you have NO control about one of your player being forced to catch the ball, or not. Unless you face the other way, which is ridiculous, you are doomed to have a chance to lose your rush, whatever is your position.

    The previous rule was “wrong” because you would lose your rush in a frustrating way. But at least you knew where not to stand. This seems even more frustrating if it happens. Even if it happens less, WHEN it will happen, this will be a case of “yeah, I know, the game would have been different if you had not lose this rush for nothing”.

    At least it feels like this when reading.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The first change makes it impossible to exploit a guaranteed position. The scatter makes the distribution of the ball more random (supporting the first change and evening the playing field).

      Knowing the problem as it stood did not allow you to avoid it. Therefore it had to change.

      The chances of losing a Rush are very small, and no more likely than missing dice rolls for Strikes, etc. Both are driven by uncommon dice results.

      • Vinsss says:

        Thank you for your detailed answer. I guess this is a matter of design when you purposely want a team to have a slight chance to lose their rush at the launch of the ball.

        Sure thing, the chances may be the same or even smaller than when you simply pick up the ball. I simply don’t think there shall be any chance for someone to be not even able to start a rush when they did absolutely nothing and took no risk at all.

        We’ll see how it goes ! I hope you don’t take those comments the wrong way. I personally like how the Dreadball community is reactive.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          As someone said on the next post, it’s enthusiasm for the game which drives the comments, so that’s a good thing.

          One of the things I take from real sports is the built in ability for things to go screwy in all manner of ways. This keeps even the big teams on their toes and occasionally causes upsets – all of which is good.

          You wouldn’t suggest making American football and rugby balls round because the ovoid makes bounces unpredictable and sometimes they go to the “wrong” team. That too is a deliberate random seed that is dumped into a game and could be designed out, but isn’t. You’re just lucky or not.

          Being lucky or not is inherent to any game that uses dice or random draws of cards, and this is simply an aspect of that feature.

  13. Pete Melvin says:

    Isn’t this random scatter going to set some teams (eg FF) back even more? I can’t see how that was a necessary change. We played a couple of games with the launch tube-cant catch-no scatter and it worked brilliantly, especially when the Enforcer nearly got his head taken off. This is a step in the wrong direction IMHO.

      • Bud says:

        Because of the complete unpredictability of where the ball will end up is why. Especially if you’re down in points, you can’t really plan out your team positioning in any which way; I have to use my limited pool of actions and players to cover all four corners of the field to handle random ball placement.

        This kind of game removes a substantial chunk of strategy for increased variability. Those kinds of changes typically drive away competitive play.

  14. Ducky says:

    With respect this random scatter will effect the zees chances of having a rush where they can actually play.

    Jacks dont get bonus dice for catching random scatters.

    Zees dont get coaching dice. Yes you can roll for the coaching dice per rush but you have 50% chance of not having any.

    Zees are therefore going to lose rushs.

    Therefore logically they will get stuck in the same pattern of losing rushes that your trying to prevent in the first place.

    Also if the zee in question is standing next to a nameless player with gotcha.

    The random element of scatter only helps fast moving teams who can have strikers able to move down field to pick the ball up.

    Ff strikers for example will not.

    If you move your jacks to close to the launch line you risk losing rushs.

    This new rule will on open a greater devide between teams.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      There are some flaws in your argument.

      Zees may also have sufficient dice to catch, double and score straight off the launch. You just don’t know. True, they’re more likely not to, but more likely isn’t always.

      They will not get stuck in the “same pattern” because the guarantee of that pattern is now reduced to single digit percentages. That is a world of difference which you seem to be ignoring.

      The random element does not only help fast teams. For example, under the old rule the fast team with good Strikers could stand on the launch hex and simply score every Rush for a landslide. Almost guaranteed. Under this rule the ball is far less predictable on launch, meaning that stealing a Rush is far less likely and so the team that has just conceded some points is massively more likely to be able to have a Rush and play the ball, wherever it has got to. The pitch is small enough for it to be very unlikely that a ball will scatter to somewhere that even a slow team cannot get a single player to. Following this logic, the unpredictability of the scatter actually makes the game more favourable to the underdogs in a game and moves towards evening the playing field.

      • Ducky says:

        You may be right that it opens up the game but at first glance it looks very likly to favour striker rich teams.

        On the plus side it may stop people from standing three deep on the 3/4 strike hex completely blocking it off.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Anything to do with the ball affects Strikers as that’s their speciality. That still doesn’t make picking it up with broken fingers any easier, which is where the speciality of the Guards comes in ­čÖé

  15. D┼żerards says:

    I honestly am unsure what people are worried about, you take the same risk that the ball will scatter into one of your players every time you try to slam or steal the ball carrier. That risk will usually be higher due to marking the player you are looking to hit.

    That said if striker rich teams want to take advantage of the rule change I heartily recommend they leave their players in the launch zone every rush!

    • D┼żerards says:

      Sorry, missed the part were it scatters even if it doesn’t hit a player. That bit indeed seems like more dice rolling for the sake of more dice rolling.

  16. James Curtis says:

    Will be testing it out in the league on Thursday but I can already see it being a problem for my FF. When the ball landed on the launch line I at least could of planned for this and keep one of my Jack’s nearby (don’t use there strikers at all, as no offence ment a striker with speed 5+ is useless, I know as I played FF since the game came out). Now I am going to have to play the running game. The ball lands behind me I won’t be able to score as im to busy running behind me to get it and Ii won’t have enought movement left to do anything with it! And if the ball lands on the defensive side there is a very real chance I won’t be able to get to it with a move of 4! I’m struggling enough with the FF as is and I’m on the verge of shelving them completely untill there speed gets sorted out! Which is a shame as there ny favorite models of the DB range.

  17. Pingback: Good Random and Bad Random in Miniature Games

  18. Daniel Owen says:

    I’ve play tested this a couple of times, and, I like the new rule. It stops opponents either being able to force you to miss a turn, or being able to catch the ball and score again before you’ve even had a turn (which, as a Judwan player, I did several times). Yes it is still possible to lose your turn, but, no matter what the math says, this is very unlikely. In the last 3 games ive played using this rule, nobody lost their turn, and when launching the ball, a 6 was never rolled, even though they were very high scoring (and very enjoyable) games for both sides so the ball was launched fairly often ( I think we were managing to score almost very turn)

    To me, Dreadball is all about player positioning, you need to have the right players in the right place at the right time to do well. If you’re leaving players on the launch line in a position where you could lose your turn, then its up to you to move them ASAP before a new ball is launched

  19. Pingback: Bristol DreadBall Tournament Report - Part 2

  20. Pingback: Dreadball Evolution – The Wargamers Forum Archive

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s