Launching Notes

Well that seems to have caused quite a stir!

I’m disappointed that a lot of the comments on yesterday’s post about the new rules for launching the ball are rather negative. Rather than say the same thing to each comment I thought I’d post some of the rationale behind it here, in one go.

Firstly, why make the change?

Well, because you guys said it needed to be done. Sometimes in words, sometimes in actions, the driver was the DreadBall community.

Whilst I was personally quite happy with the original rules, they were increasingly used in one of two problematic ways. Some Coaches were standing a good Striker where they could intercept a newly-launched ball and then by scoring once they could catch the newly-launched ball and score again before their opponent had a chance to do anything. Rinse and repeat a couple of times and you have a landslide. All entirely legal, but not much fun for either player.

The other problem was pushing your opponent into the same position, but making sure it was one of their players who had little chance of catching the ball, thus causing the end of their Rush as soon as a new ball was launched. More un-fun landslide potential.

Now I’ve been told by quite a few Coaches that they simply wouldn’t stand for this sort of nonsense in their group, but you can’t rely on the social dynamics of groups to fix loopholes. After all, both of these manoeuvres were entirely within the rules as they stood.

So I either sat on the rules as they were or did something to improve them. I opted for change.

The core problem as I saw it was one of predictability. You knew the ball would be in a certain place, so putting a model in front of that would basically guarantee the result. So, I made it unpredictable. Of course, people will still push opponents into the line of fire, but it will no longer cause the end of a Rush or a landslide. One injury more or less in a DreadBall match is hardly a major concern.

Then, if the ball is launched with extra force to get to this position of being uncatchable on launch, the subsequent scatter follows naturally. The momentum has to go somewhere.

Now, the naysayers seem to think that this is disasterous. Well all I can say is that it hasn’t seemed so when I’ve played it. Either way, the possibility of a model dropping a catch and ending a Rush from this scatter is rare and also unpredictable (thereby fixing the original problem). In order to drop a catch a player has to be (a) in a position the ball can scatter to, (b) the player has to be facing the right way, (c) they have to be the right kind of player, (d) they have to fail their catch.

So, if we use Line’s percentages as a starting point (http://www.lines42.de/Material/DreadballLaunchProbabilities.pdf) and imagine that our player is in one of the few “worst case” 11% hexes, that’s a mere 1 in 9 chance of the ball getting to them. But it’s rather less than that chance of a dropped catch. He’s still got to be the right kind of player, the ball still has to get to him without stopping at or bouncing off someone else first, the player still has to be facing the right direction and they still have to fail their catch. So decidedly less than 1 in 9 at the end of the day, and that’s a worst case. If you actually try to avoid the problem then you can make it drop into the 1 in 1000s.

So why is this perceived as a problem?

Sensible readers may chose to stop here. The following is a mini-rant that can be happily ignored for the purposes of the new launch rules 😉

 

line

 

So why is this perceived as a problem?

Well, I’d guess that people don’t like change for a start. I’d also say that there is a strange double-think among many gamers that goes on about chance. Some kinds of random are seen as acceptable, and others are an issue. If I fail a dice roll on a 1 in 9 chance then that’s acceptable. I’m not happy, but hey, them’s dice. If the ball scatters onto me from a launch (another dice-driven process) then it’s somehow worse. I have no answer for why that should be, but I’ve seen, read and heard it expressed many times. It also happens when the same dice odds are translated to cards. This seems like another example.

Is that wrong? No, not at all. People can like and dislike what they want, and I’d always encourage people to house rule what they felt would give them a better game among their friends. However, I’d also always encourage gamers to try a game a few times as written before they decide to change it. I’m talking in general here, about all games, not just mine. When I review stuff I always play it repeatedly using the rules as I understand them. Very often I can see what they were trying to do after a couple of games, and that may well not have been obvious on a first reading. Only when I feel that I have a solid grasp of how the game is supposed to work will I then start to mess with it. My Dreadfleet variation was an example. I tried that game several more times than I really felt it warranted, straight out of the box, just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Only when I’d played against several different opponents did I try some changes. Partly this is out of respect for the designer because I know from experience how much effort these things take and how much trial, error and consideration one line of rules can represent. However, it’s also a selfish wish not to short change myself. I assume that the designer wanted the best game possible (until proven otherwise). I also assume that they’ve played a lot more than I have and so can see the meta game better. For example, I played Chaos in the Old World the other day. Several aspects seemed a bit random and odd on first explanation, but you hang in there and it all falls into place. I still don’t have a proper grasp of all the rules after a single game and some still seem a little out of balance, but after one play I’ll assume that it’s my lack of understanding rather than a squiffy game and carry on as written when I play it again.

All of which is a bit of a side rant I hadn’t meant to get into. Ignore that if you will – it’s just my approach and you may have another. At the end of the day, it’s your time playing your game and you should do whatever you need to to maximise that enjoyment. Few of us get the amount of gaming time we’d like, so it makes sense to up the quality of that limited time whenever we can with whatever means we have available.

Happy gaming 🙂

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48 Responses to Launching Notes

  1. Ben says:

    A side note to the side rant. CitOW definitely has balance issues though they’re partially addressed in the expansion.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      We only had 3 players after a no-show. I think it would have felt more balanced with all four powers in play. Worth playing again though.

      • Ben says:

        Nurgle and Tzeentch have very little chance of winning. Often the game comes down to who out of Khorne and Slaanesh gets ahead first. Like I say, the expansion addresses a lot of the issues and goes some way to balancing them. I’d definitely recommend picking it up if you plan on playing it in future.

        Anyway, DB rule changes. All good with me.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          From what I’m told there are ways to win with every faction, you just have to know them well enough. My vague concern would be that many of the factions only really have one way of winning, making replay less than it could be. Even if that is so (and I’m not sure that it is), you might have to play a dozen games to get there, and that’s a fair amount of play for a single game. Then there are expansions, as you say.

        • Sam Dale says:

          I’ve not played as Tzeentch enough to comment on him, but I’ve notched up several wins as Nurgle, against experienced opponents. You score lots of points, so, as long as no-one runs away with dial ticks and wins that way, you’ve got as good a chance as anyone during the endgame.

        • Ben says:

          It’s the “as long as no-one runs away” bit that’s the problem. Either the Khorne or Slaanesh player should be able to do that too easily. Both of those players should be selling out for the double dial turn on Turn One, after which it’s very hard to slow them down. FFG were obviously aware that it was a problem as they tried to fix it with the expansion.

        • Sam Dale says:

          I’ve not seen many games where one player has run away with dial ticks. Between Tzeentch and Slaanesh’s collection of tricks, Khorne can generally be contained, and, for whatever reason, Slaanesh never dominates the games I’ve played.

      • I’ve played CitOW both 3 and 4 players. It’s more balanced than most games featuring completely different forces.

        Does require everyone to be on the ball keep down the leader though.

        Could look unbalanced after one play. Khorne and Nurgle are easier for beginners than the other 2.

  2. lines42 says:

    Jake, thanks for your explanation. As written before I haven´t made up my mind yet and will have to play with this new rules. I guess no one is complaining about the fix of the launch tube problem! So, just in case you missed it, a big THANKS for adressing and changing this!

    Your 11% (1 out of 9) example doesn´t seem right to me because you´re only taking into account one player. But usually you place up to 6 players on the field which increases the chances. I´m really looking forward to experimenting with setups (that´s the part I like about this change). (On the other hand races like the poor Orx won´t have any Strikers to place so they really have to be careful).

    If you have a look at the defensive side, if the coach places his players right (Strikers and /or Jacks with Coaching Dice, Safe pair of hands) he´ll have a good chance (around 50%) the ball will scatter to one of his payers…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      🙂

      As you say, my example only looked at a single player. When you’re talking about the myriad possible combinations of 6 players you can’t do easy sums. At least, I don’t find them easy. Also remember that most of the times the ball is launched is in the middle of a game so that the players tend to be placed for reasons other than the launch. Typically, several of the team will be in positions away from the centre line, attacking or defending deep Strike Zones and so only perhaps 3 players from either team will be potential targets. And, as I mentioned, even then they have to be facing the right way, etc.

      Only at the start of the same are we likely to see much in the way of deliberate formations. This will change those though. As you say, deliberate positioning can still give you better or worse chances of getting the ball, but this is no different in concept to the original rule. The difference is in the degree to which you can control it.

  3. hephesto says:

    Well, people are vocal about things they love. So seems like a pretty good thing there’s a big response, somewhat negative as it may be at first.

    Will reserve judgment (talk about a heavy word for a miniature sports game), till I can see it in action during a few games.

  4. D. Randolph says:

    Greetings Jake and company,
    First I’d like to say that I am constantly impressed by the consistently thoughtful responses you always seem to provide for your community here.
    Having dealt with many soulless, deaf companies over the years, it sometimes boggles my mind to see your level of involvement with the players. I appreciate you working to address the ball launch issue.

    I think that people dislike this sort of randomness because random negative effects should either come from a) me taking a risk and failing, or b) my opponent taking a risk and succeeding. Generally I only have a problem with randomness when the game itself decides to hate on me through no fault of my own and no good decision of my opponent. (But then, perhaps that’s why I never played Orks in that other game).

    Additionally, I think we have to look at incentives. What are you incentivizing people to do with this rule? From what I can tell, it’s to face all of your non-guard players away from the starting line. This can’t be right.

    Finally, I think that the problem lies with the scatter after every launch, not the hard launch itself. From what I gather, the only reason this is even in is for the thematic reason of the ball going to hard to just stop in the “one” space. If that’s the only reason you don’t want to just get rid of the scatter, then why not try this to simulate the harder launches going farther:
    Roll 1d6:
    1-2 ball lands on the current 4 space
    3-4 ball lands on the current 5 space
    5 ball lands on the 1-3 bounce space
    6 ball lands on the 4-6 bounce space

    I think that this will accurately simulate the harder launch of the ball for you.

    Sorry, I know that’s long, but the only reason I care so much is that I don’t really believe in house rules. I respect you enough to play with whatever you put out. So I want that to be as close to perfect as possible.

    Thanks,
    Deaven.

  5. Slim says:

    After reading the comment about the negative feedback I felt compelled to comment myself.I welcome the rule change as I was recently in a heated “discussion” after a friend left an eligible player on the centre line after I scored and he fluffed the catch. It spoiled the mood of the game, infact it spoiled the mood of the evening. I don’t play games to feel that way. Its really nice to see a game evolve, nothing is perfect first time and I look forward to any future “tweaks”.

  6. Lex says:

    Hey Jake. Just wanted to say that I on the contrary find you did things with class on this. This for me is a perfect example of intergrating the community feedback. Is everything perfect for that reason? No. But it’s been well done. Cheers.

  7. PikaRapH says:

    If people don’t want rule upgrades here, I do want some for Pandora Project 😀
    Please make it happen !!

  8. Overhamsteren says:

    D. Randolph has said pretty much what I think.

    To elaborate a little I think failing to catch the ball on launch confers the most severe penalty in the game, that is you lose 5 actions, and for something that can happen for no reason to hit a coach so hard just doesn’t sit right with me.

    Get this, if I decide as my very first action in the turn to pick of the ball in 2 threat hexes with my jack I only lose 4 actions if I fail (and I even get to roll a dice to possibly succeed here opposed to the automatic failure of the jack 0 dice catch). One of the most stupid moves possible carries less penalty.

    Dreadball in general lets you do things, most failures wont end your rush, and you can do those actions before trying to do the actions that can end your rush. It’s very much positive things, you often get rewarded with even more actions, more rerolls, etc during you turn.

    Losing 5 actions for pretty much no reason is 100% a negative game mechanic in my opinion.

    I don’t care if it doesn’t happen very often, why should it ever happen when it doesn’t bring anything positive to the gaming experience.

    Mind, this very negative opinion of mine is mainly for the failed catch rule on launch.

    • Vinsss says:

      I must second this even if I already expressed it.

      I like a bit of randomness in a game : knowing you can still fail that super-easy action, or on the contrary, knowing there’s a very small chance to succeed that near-desperate action.

      But that’s not what this is. Imagine, you’re the Home team. You setup, your opponent does. The ball launches and scatters to your Jack. You have no coaching dice, you just lose your rush. It’s your opponent turn. Rush 1 is over, you didn’t played.
      The idea that losing my rush could be the very first thing that happens to me before the game even started just doesn’t sound like something that should be included in the rules.

      I get that it may be a rare thing – time will tell about that – but once is already too much, and not part of the random-fun, imho.

  9. mcgeeza says:

    I think i’ll be house ruling that any player in the path of the ball MAY attempt to catch it OR they can duck out of the way and the ball continues (using the original rules).

    That way there is a bit of a risk/reward situation.

  10. colonelgrib says:

    I felt the new rule to not only be fair, in the the spirit of the game but also downright hilarious.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. LavaJohn says:

    How dare you put physics in Dreadball! It is as bad as putting real sports rules in there! /Sarcasm.

    I get that the ball scatters because it has more momentum. The only change to play I am likely to make is putting my jacks further back on deployment. And only if I have first rush, second rush doesn’t seem to be an issue unless the opponent scores, which is my fault for not deploying right!

    Being able to lose your rush because you dropped the ball is a big bone of contention. I guess the issue here is that few gamers actually watch sport, where, you know, dropping the ball usually means a handover… Hence my sarcasm above…

    You can’t please all the people all of the time. Some people liked the old rule, so you can’t expect to keep them happy while making those who hated it happy as well. At least without having got it ‘right’ first time round. I like the changes (I was one of the people who suggested making the launch a throw) but will obviously test it on the field before nerd raging. Thanks Jake for doing what you do. I feel you don’t hear that quite often enough.

    • Overhamsteren says:

      I admit I have never watched this awesome sport where a third party throws a ball at a player who have no chance of catching it and as a result that player and his team have to stand still while the opposing team plays on.

      • LavaJohn says:

        Dodgeball comes to mind. There is a certain level of abstraction in a board game as having both players act in real time is hard and this is a fictitious sport after all. My understanding is that if you fail to do something in bloodbowl that your turn ends, whether it was your first action or not, correct me if I’m wrong. I’m not only referencing the launch condition above but ANY time you lose your turn because of a dropped ball, since that is considered ‘too harsh’ by many. Hence the issue with the old ball launch rules.

        If you drop the ball in rugby, ball goes to the opposition. Carry the ball too far in basketball or netball, ball goes to the opposition. Miss the ball when serving in tennis, opponent gets a point. All harsh conditions for failing to do something, all in real sports.

      • Patrick says:

        Rugby:
        If Team A kick the ball into Team B’s half, and a member of Team B tries and fails to catch it, causing the ball to scatter forward, it’s a knock-on foul and Team A get a scrum at that position.

  12. Overhamsteren says:

    Everything you mention here are actions by the player or his opponent, not some random happening. 🙂

    Bloodbowl generally being a much harsher game than dreadball when it comes to losing your turn still does not take away a players turn if he fails to catch the ball on kick off or a scatter. You lose your turn if *you decide* to take an action and it fails.

    • LavaJohn says:

      You appear to be missing my point, that people complain that the rules make you lose your turn, EVER. That no matter what, they should get their 5 actions.

      The fact that people complain you can lose your rush without taking any action is a symptom of the greater problem, that you can ever lose your actions. They don’t like that a random chance can make them lose a turn when they have made a choice, regardless of if it also exists that they can lose it without making a choice. They don’t like bad consequences. But it is a dice game. The change to launch has increased the odds of losing your rush turn 1, but significantly decreased your odds of losing your rush from then on, because before you could make it 100% likely.

      Some stats (because math is fun): With my usual FF setup going first (Using the stats provided by Line) I have a 52% chance that the ball will end up scattering on to one of my players. 25% of that would have been landing on a Jack, ending my rush (If I fail a 50% on coaching dice.)

      By making the decision to change my starting line (note this is already influencing the *random* chance of losing my rush) I can drop the chance of scattering to a player to 15% (all guards BTW) by moving the guards just 1 square back and putting the jacks on the scoring zones. AND only 1 of my jacks is at risk of having the ball scatter onto him, only if is scatters off one particular guard. All of my players are facing the correct direction too, and jacks are able to reach any ball that scatters onto my side. 15% is less than a 1 on a D6 BTW.

      • Deaven R. says:

        Just speaking for myself here: if I hated randomness I wouldn’t play dice games.
        I have no problem losing actions because I took a risk that failed or my opponent made a brilliant play. But randomness for its own sake is swingy and unfair over the course of a single game. (Though it could even out across a league if someone didn’t get severely setback at the beginning)

        And it’s great that you and I can work out set ups for our players that make it impossible to be scattered onto. You could even take away any chance at all by facing that one Jack away from the guard. But my problem is that a) new players will not have thought through all these possibilities when they set up – which pointlessly adds to the learning curve and b) that some teams get hit by this harder than others. For example: Zees have no guards to block scatters with AND are more likely to have more players on the field to scatter onto.

        It just seems that the scatter portion of the rule does nothing to add to the mechanics of the game, but simply serves to add a little fluff/character – which would be fine if it wasn’t detrimental to gameplay.

        We definitely will be testing this week to see if my fears are unsubstantiated.

  13. Rolex says:

    I’ll say that the change is a big improvement, and puts a stop to many exploiting tactics, which IMO were the worst things. A lot worse than randomness.
    I don’t like very much the fact that in DB you can loose your rush because of a roll you did not chose to take (it’s the main reason I like BB more than DB), but I feel (and I think Jake feels) that’s part of what DB is, what DB feels like. The opposite would make it a lot closer to BB (which I don’t think I would like since I play both).
    A big thanks to Jake for the fix, a bigger thanks for listening to us and a bigger yet thanks for not rubber-stamping the ideas he hears but actually inventing and designing rules of is own.
    I appreciate that very much.

    • Rolex says:

      I’ve just realized the ball ALWAYS scatters on the launch, even if it does’t it anybody. I have to reconsider a bit.
      Anyway it says “scatter the ball, THAN start the rush”. So you can’t lose your rush due to the scatter, since the rush has not started yet, it starts after the scatter.
      If so I still consider it a huge improvement.
      Am I right or am I missing something?

      • Vinsss says:

        From the new rules : “Being struck by a launched ball does not end the
        Rush. However, failing to catch the ball on the scatter ends the
        Rush as normal.”

        • Rolex says:

          I was wrong.
          It appears I have to second all the negativity.
          The new rule is very bad. Not as bad as the old one (it is less esploitable), but bad anyway.
          It won’t happen often to lose your rush that way, but when it happens it will feel very, very stupid.
          If there was a rule “before your rush roll 2 dice. On double 1 you lose your rush.” it would be almost the same. Equal, fair and very silly.
          And it will lead, I fear, to more silliness (weird settings and so on).
          It’s a little improvement over the previous rule, but a huge opportunity lost.

  14. James 'Maz' Marsden says:

    To be honest i had zero problem with the original launch rules.

    I think the griping over the new rules, as you say, is fear of change.

    However you were in an uneviable position of being damned if yuou changed and damned if you didn’t

    just remember, you can’t please all of the people all of the time

  15. Bud says:

    The issue with the new scatter, for me, has zero to do with the potential to ding off and cause a turnover elsewhere. It has to do with the completely randomized new position of the ball.

    Move 4 players are already pretty awful. Speed 5+ players are also pretty awful. They have enough problem getting to the ball when they can predict a relaunch path. Increase that area they have to run to by a potential six squares on either side of the center line and you ruin what chance at ball control they had to begin with.

  16. Pete Melvin says:

    Pete Melvin says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:31 am
    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.

    Reply
    Quirkworthy says:
    September 1, 2013 at 10:34 am
    For what reason?

    Sorry Jake, you replied to me but I didn’t check back and see if you had. Very rude.
    My reasoning is as some people above have said:
    Its turn 1, my rush, ball launches and scatters to a Jack that I had positioned in what was otherwise a good choice of hex. I have no coaching dice. I lose my first turn through no fault of my own.

    Randomness in dice games is, well, the name of the game. But I also like to think that I have some input into strategy.
    Losing the ball through your own stupidity or through something clever your opponent did: great. Losing the ball because a totally random dice roll says you did: bad.

    It may also lead to “weird” initial set up with jacks and strikers all facing the other way so if the ball scatters them it’ll just ping off (Strikers can only dodge anyway so getting hit in the back won’t disadvantage them).

    But as I said, that’s just my opinion. I’ve played games both ways now (with and without random scatter) and I didn’t like the random scatter, though that’s probably because I was already sour on the idea.
    That said, I love Dreadball. And if only one rule annoys me, then thats certainly less than in most games,

  17. Doug says:

    By making the ball scatter on the launch all the time rather than just when it hits someone, you will increase the chances of opposing team dropping the ball, especially on the first rush when teams are generally close to the launch line.

    Teams like the Forgefathers that have to play close to the launch line will suffer for this far more than speed 6 teams that can stand back and wait for it to finish scattering.

    You could alleviate a lot of these issues if you just said a scattered ball can’t be caught by a player unless they’re in the hex the ball lands in, rather than along the line the ball travels. That reduces the number of danger hexes extending from the scattering hex from 6x1D6 (between 6 and 36) to just 6 (the 6 possible hexes it will finally land in).

    • Chris says:

      It was only the 6 hexes the ball landed in you could catch on a launch. Its the only time the ball takes a route along hex edges.

  18. What about keeping the scatter direction but not rolling for distance. If I understood correctly the scatter of the wall of 1 hex on a roll of a six was due to the momentum of the ball so what about the ball scattering 1 hex in a random direction after a launch.

  19. Daron says:

    Have about 3 dozen games under my belt and demo DB over a couple hundred mile radius in Northern VA, DC, and Maryland. Ball launch loss of turn was a problem that needed fixing. One guy lost his turn during a demo and pretty much walked away.

    Any addition of scattering is not my favorite but that’s the rules. Having played several games where a ball gets pinball bounced in tight clusters of players/off walls over and over again, it goes from being funny/flavorful to annoying fairly fast. That’s just my/our local take.

  20. Any match where either player loses a whole rush without taking an action makes for a lousy game experience.
    This rule will make this a common occurrence.

    This is a horrible change. At least in the original rules it was predictable and largely avoidable.

    • Chris says:

      New rule is great. I love that you can no longer steal whole games by putting one two players in 2 hexes. The randomness of the scatter means that games will be less predictable and loads more options to considered. Thoughts that losing turns all the time are bogus. You are going to have to think much more about where you finish your move and which way your facing a action that I have found people dismiss as being unimportant. Apart from a sprint you can always choose your facing for free think about that it makes one hell of a difference now.
      On a personal note I GM’d a league where one team just ball launch catch pass score 2 points for the first 7 games or so or move opposition jacks onto the line it wasnt fun for anyone. Now that tactic is not lost its just not a 100% predictable.
      Excellent additions.

  21. sideofiron says:

    Yep. Two teams take the pitch in dreadball and face-off by facing away.

    It looks stupid and plays worse.

    For something I had a blast playing earlier, with the changes and imbalance of season two, this farce and the clearly insufficient playtesting, Im truly beginning to regret the investment in this game.

    • Ducky says:

      I may sound negative about the new rules sorry Jake.

      I know why the rule needs to be changed, we all do. Ive not spoken to one person who likes the old rule. Even people who exploited it agree it was a broken rule.

      The new rule is great its the ramdom scatter at the end we have trouble with.

      And lets be honest if our worst fears are founded its an easy fix, if jake is right its going to open the game.

      While i may sound negative I fully intend to support db.

      Tell me one real sport that does not change dramatically or introduce ramdom new rules from time to time.

      Rules can be changed next season or at any time.

      If it aint broke dont fix. Oh it was broke.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      @ sideofiron – why is it a farce? A designer is discussing a rules change with the players. Sounds like the kind of debate which would benefit more games to have.

      Insufficient playtesting? How much is sufficient? Show me a game of this level of complexity, with this may variations and interactions, that has been released and never been changed. And is perfect. If there are any I can’t think of them. I can, on the other hand, think of a great many that are either acknowledged as being a bit unbalanced or have been subsequently tweaked.

      The reality is that however many hundred games you play before launch, you are only ever testing it with a tiny fraction of the whole player base that will eventually use it. You cannot know all of the possible permutations, interactions, exploits and emergent behaviours in advance. Nor is that only true of gamers. It also applies to other complex systems.

      • D. Randolph says:

        +1 to Jake on that one.

        The fact that he’s working to fix the imbalance and even inviting some collaboration (which he definitely does not need to do) shows that you have invested in the right place.

        What other game does that? I can think of maybe one. And not half as well.

        Jake. Just thought of another possible fix based on some of the above comments.
        If you really like the random scatter after launch, why not just make ball launch an exception to the if you drop it you lose your rush rule? That way it can bounce all over people without anything unfun.
        Because it really doesn’t make sense that the player about to start their rush should be penalized any more by dropping a ball launch than the other player.
        What would be the “fluff” explanation for that?

        Seems really simple, and fixes everyone’s issues I think.
        Can you think of any drawbacks to handling it that way?

        • sideofiron says:

          Jake… The backlash over Judwan? Suggesting a replacement rule which in effect compounded the problems it was supposed to fix? These should not have happened if any level of competent play test was conducted.

          Perhaps with so many projects on the fly, some issues should be expected.

          For eight months I defended the issues with the game as teething problems. I ran demos at conventions and actively encouraged games suppliers to carry the product. To some degree I feel cheated. Whilst the models, concept and fluff for dreadball are fantastic, the ruleset is sadly not keeping pace.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          @sideofiron – your conclusions are based on false assumptions.

          The revised launch rule did not “compound the problems it was supposed to fix” in any way. It entirely resolved those issues. Neither exploit was possible under the new rule. It therefore achieved its aim completely. However, among the vocal commentators on the internet, most of whom had not actually played it, the rule produced what was perceived to be a different problem. I have played it and I don’t think it was a major issue, but opinions differed. Even so, as this detail was not critical either way (both systems work, they’re just different), I made the requested change.

          Would more playtesting have made it different? No it would not. Version 2 of the launch rules was not and is not broken. In fact it has a number of minor benefits which are lost in the change to version 3. Personally I think that’s a pity, but it is a minor issue. It’s more important that people are happy with it overall.

          Judwan are a different question. They were playtested by many different people both at an event held specifically for playtesting, by my own gaming groups and in other playtest groups. I don’t know exactly how many games were played overall, but the problems we have subsequently seen were not identified as major issues at the time. Would it have made a difference if we played more? Well if you playtest (literally) forever then you eventually get all the wrinkles out, but that’s clearly not realistic. So how many games is enough? The answer is that you can’t know in advance.

          Hindsight makes it easy to be critical. The reality is that you can never be sure in advance and that you have to make a decision to release things eventually. As with all complex systems, things sometimes go wrong despite testing. That’s life. The important thing is to fix them when they do.

  22. Pete Melvin says:

    Issues? I dont think there are that many at all. Its probably one of the more balanced games I play. I could name others *coughdystopianwars* that are all over the place when it comes to game issues and balance. I’ve introduced no less than a dozen people to Dreadball and theyve all enjoyed it. I dont feel cheated by Jake being WILLING to change things when the community is worried about a rules change, I welcome it.

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