Xtreme Team-Building Part 2

Having talked about the background of the game yesterday, it’s time to look a bit closer at the details we need to consider when replicating it on the board. The changes between DB and DBX in terms of play style as well as the differences in background throw up a number of issues that we need to address. These include:

1) The greatly decreased life expectancy and poor medical facilities in DBX makes using individual players as the basis for increasing a team’s overall experience impractical. A different approach is essential.

2) I want people to be able to pick up and play DBX as easily as DB. This means that team-building cannot be mandatory.

3) Hiring players for a team should not just be about money. A system that only uses money is too open to exploitation and the randomness of a single lucky win or unlucky loss. It doesn’t adequately allow for rewarding veteran Sponsors (people who have worked their way up the ladder over time). There needs to be an additional means to allow for longer term improvement.

4) Every Sponsor should be able to hire almost every player. At least in theory. A tiny minority (c5-10%) may refuse to work for someone under any circumstances, but the guiding principle should be that the team is up to the Sponsor to pick. All these options do not have to be available at the start, but they must be achievable in a league.

5) However, even with (4) being the case, the system cannot be so open that the forums decide on a single “best” team and gamers only play that. Different Sponsors should arrive at different teams based on their relationships with players (and the gamer’s preferred style of play). Which brings me to…

6) There needs to be a way to show the trust (or otherwise) that a player has in a Sponsor and this should make it easier or harder for a given Sponsor to hire an individual player.

7) Finally, Sponsors must be encouraged to field good teams rather than just fulfilling the minimum requirements (and there must be minimum requirements).

 

I resolve these issues as follows:

1) Focus on the Sponsor instead of the players. The Sponsor is a permanent feature and will not die. Increasing his overall game value increases his team regardless of the changes in individual players within it.

2) Every Sponsor/team combo in DBX comes with a recommended 100mc version that you can pick-up-and-play in the same way as the Trontek 29ers from the first DB book. You can use this for a one-off game or as the basis for a league, or ignore it completely and tailor your team to your own tastes. This gives a wider set of options for the gamer. However, because they all use the same basis to build a team you won’t be seriously disadvantaged if you choose to take the easy route.

3) Obviously players have a cost. However, you may also need to do a favour for them before they will play for you. Limiting the ability to do favours at the start of a league gives a Sponsor an ideal measure for showing his increase in power and influence alongside his increase in wealth.

4-6) By linking each Sponsor and each player to one or more Groups, and then having players charge less to the Sponsors they know (share Groups with) you can easily give each Sponsor the ability to access a wide variety of players without making all of them easy (or cheap) to afford. This also makes a given player a different option for each Sponsor, and this balance helps make Sponsors different.

7) Each team has minimum requirements in both numbers and cost (on mc). This ensures that every game is worthwhile. This also means that a Sponsor’s earnings for a match need to at least cover these minimums.

 

Having looked at the challenges and the some ways round them, tomorrow I’ll put it all together in a more traditional rules approach.

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7 Responses to Xtreme Team-Building Part 2

  1. E r 1 c k B 0 u c h 4 r d says:

    I’m disappointed that there will not be individual player experience in DBX because it was, by far, the funnest part of Dreadball to see the players improve over time and get attached to them. It made DB more of a roleplaying game and less of a boardgame. I’ll probably suggest my usual game adversary to keep the DB experience rules anyway, even if they do die a lot…

    • Wesker1976 says:

      I think you are missing the point of running an illegal underground DreadBall league. Players don’t matter, money does. Also, being illegal, no one really cares about anything other than winning, and if crushing someone’s ribcage gets that win then “no harm, no foul”.

      Your players probably won’t live long enough for you to get too emotionally attached to them.

      • E r 1 c k B 0 u c h 4 r d says:

        I’m not missing the point at all. I don’t fancy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too, and I do assure you that I get the point of those too. You can not like something while understanding it. Like politicians, for example.

        I just find that most of the fun in Dreadball comes from levelling individual players’ XP. Most of my actions (Veer-myn), and my opponents’ (Orx), are made with the purpose of gaining XP for building a stronger team in the long run :we’re both aiming for 3-4 points Strikes as much as possible and spend a lot of energy (and move Jacks a lot) to maximize the chances of putting out an opponent for 3+ rounds.

        Winning a game as such is secondary and only helpful for the monetary income. I’ve had a few players killed and never bother replacing them once I got a Veer-myn striker with 4+Skill and a guard with 3+ strenght and 3+speed. These two characters are iconic members of the team! Each character has a (stupid) name and I record their high feats, such as whom they killed and how they won their XP. Getting to build a story around the game is much about the fun! You should see how much the Orx are trying to take out my star Veer-myn Striker, Brie… I even had him flee the match to get to the sub bench on turn 10 and stay there to prevent him being killed by an Orx mob! Individual player experience is what makes DB into a story, a very strong aspect of it IMHO.

        We both come from a RPG background and individual XP is what makes the difference as Dreadball being a “story game” and not only a boardgame with nice minis. While advancing a Sponsor is nice, it’s not much as fun when only a single mini has personality and experience.

        I’ll try to agree with my opponent to use XP rules from DB anyway, since we’re always playing friendly games.

        I still think adding a one page XP optional rule in one of those DBX rulebooks wouldn’t hurt… And if that experienced player dies, well, have him cryo-ressurected or too bad! It’s part of the fun too. :

    • Rich says:

      I agree and I think I’ll add it anyway. Having the experience element allows you to become attached to certain players and even miss them if (or when!) they die.

      • E r 1 c k B 0 u c h 4 r d says:

        Couldn’t have said it better, Rich.

        • Wesker1976 says:

          Having the experience element gives you a way to turn your players into overpowered, unbalanced powerhouses.

          Following the players and their careers is the spirit of the game in the legal Dreadball leagues, not so much with underground black market games where players are just a means to an end.

          Without the sponsor there is no team. He/she is the most important part of Xtreme, not the player on the pitch. It sounds to me that Xtreme is not for you. You care more about the players and building their lives and careers. In Xtreme it’s about building the sponsor so the sponsor can get the necessary funds to recruit stronger players.

          I would suggest you stick to regular Dreadball.

  2. sideofiron says:

    Each to their own I guess. Experience seemed to create a risk of horrible imbalance in my games. Once my team got strikers with 3+ stats… it really stopped being a game where you had to think and one where you just put the player in a position to win for you.

    There is such a utility gap between 4+ on 4 dice and 3+ on 4 dice that the extra cost factored into team value seemed awfully under priced for players with the right stat increase – and in the case of some of the abilities (roll) over priced.

    I don’t mind if an experience system is an optional extra… but I would prefer it if it was balanced correctly with player costing. Or if regeneration was omitted vesting more emphasis on sutvival and to reflect how hard it is for players to survive.

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