In a one-off game you have a choice. The simplest and quickest approach is to use the team I’ve made up for you already. Every team will have a balanced 100mc list that shows off the main focus of that Sponsor/Team and is like a main arena DB team – you just pick up and play.
Alternatively, you can use the full team-building rules (below) to create a team from scratch. Just pick a Sponsor and go from there.
Of course, you can also take a hybrid approach, by using one of the 100mc teams in the book as a starting point. Take away anything that doesn’t suit you and spend the “refunded” money on something else. This intermediate approach allows you to quickly tailor a team that’s almost what you’re after, or which you simply want to experiment with by tweaking slightly.
Full Team-Building Overview
A team is built around a Sponsor. By comparing the Groups that the chosen Sponsor and a player have on their stat line, you can see what that player type costs to hire. Sponsors then spend their budget of cash and Favours to hire players, buy Coaching Dice, cards and any other extras they want. Some of their money can be saved to bet with.
In a league, Sponsors (not players) gain experience, influence, power and generally get better at what they do. This improves the overall team because a Sponsor gets access to better players in the process. In effect the team does the same thing as normal when it goes through a league – a veteran team has better players than a new one – it’s just not necessarily the same individuals in the team that have improved.
Fresh Every Time
Players are listed as a type in the same way as you’re used to if you’ve played DB: Human Striker, Forge Father Jack, etc. In background terms a Sponsor is not very likely to have the same individual of a particular type in his team every time, though he might consistently field a Human Striker, etc. The casualty rate is too high for the vast majority of individual players to survive more than two or three matches before they are maimed or killed. A few, rare players do live long enough to significantly improve, and these are listed as a separate type: veteran Human Striker, for example.
You could, in theory, track individual player experience in the same way as DB, but this is a great deal more work and fiddle for very little benefit. As I said, they die off awful quickly. To keep the system clean, I’m ignoring these few, lucky players in terms of tracking, and sticking with the idea of a new team every time. If you like you can imagine that a veteran player is the same individual who survived last time. It won’t make any difference in rules terms.
Of course, having a team that is (in our fictional reality) comprised of different individuals each time doesn’t mean that you have to buy new models for every game. Not at all. As your Sponsor will have only slightly improved resources from one game to another you’re likely to recruit a team that includes a great many of the same types of players even if all the individuals are different. These can be represented with the same models as you used before.
Each Sponsor and player type have a number of Groups listed on their stat line. These are the people they associate with on a regular basis: the types of people they know and trust. The more overlap between Sponsor and player, the more they have heard of each other and can trust that they are who they say. This is reflected in the cost to hire that player.
In the core DBX box, this process is simplified as we only have a small set of Sponsors and players to cross reference. This allows us to provide a list for each Sponsor with the price that each player comes at (obviously before any experience is gained by the Sponsor). There is, therefore, just a big shopping list to pick from and is very simple to use.
In the full version, when we have dozens of Sponsors and lots more player types, this is simply not practical to list in this format. At least, not in print. Instead, each player lists three prices he charges depending on whether the Sponsor who is looking to hire him is vaguelly familiar, a friend or a stranger.
The baseline price is familiar, meaning that there is one Group in common between Sponsor and player. He’s heard of him or seen him round the DBX circuit. He’s reasonably sure he’s not a police informant or DGB stool-pigeon.
Friends get special rates: “mate’s rates” as you might say. This is when there are at least 2 Groups in common, so both Sponsor and player move in the same circles and know the same people. Even if the Sponsor is a nutter, the player will know about it. There are no unpleasant surprises.
If the Sponsor and player have no Groups in common then they are strangers. In the illegal world of DreadBall Xtreme this is dangerous territory. Strangers could be undercover police, DGB informers or simply unbalanced psychos who’ll skin you alive rather than pay you for your skills. This is where Favours often come in as a way of persuading players who don’t know you that you’re worth trusting. Whatever the case, if a player will play for you they’re likely to want a great deal of cash as well.
This interaction between Sponsor and player types makes the pool of players that a single Sponsor could use very big, and gives a gamer as much freedom as possible (if they want it). However, Sponsors don’t all see this pool in the same way and a player that might be cheap for one could be expensive for another. This combination gives each Sponsor different choices and allows for their character and style to come out. This system also includes a way of making these players cheaper and easier to access over time which gives Sponsors (and teams) room to grow and develop – clearly an important feature in a league.
Sponsors start off with a very limited number of Favours they can do. This means that their starting team will be focussed on those that they share Groups with so that they can get cheaper players. In a league Sponsors will grow in power and influence and this gives them greater ability to do Favours for players who they might not otherwise be able to convince to play. This means that a team will grow and evolve over time, replacing familiar player types with more experienced versions or completely different races who do similar things. However, there will never be enough Favours to get everything you want, and the core players you started with will always be your cheapest option.
Just like normal DB there are extra bits and pieces you can get for your team. These include Coaching Dice, two types of card and more. In addition you can bet before the game, hoping for a jackpot to add to your base takings for the match.
So far in playtesting I have been using a flat fee for each of these. However, my intention is to tag them with Groups in the same way as players. This will allow me to have some Sponsors that are financially more savvy than others, and is another way to differentiate between and characterise them. As this uses exactly the same rules as hiring players it’s also a great way to add more depth without having to learn any more rules.
The only difference between MVPs and normal players in DBX is that they’re named individuals. This means that a single team can’t have more than one of them, though the number of impostors and wannabes that float about the DBX circuit mean that both teams could field someone who claims to be the same person. Obviously one of them is lying, but that in-built grudge match only adds to the fun.
There are a number of additional tweaks and wrinkles that could easily be added to this system. Currently I’m resisting the temptation to expand on this core because it is, in some ways, already a bit more involved than the normal DB process (though I think it’s much more interesting). Nor do I feel that we really need any more. This allows for quite a depth of variation between individual players and Sponsors as well as a process by which Sponsors can gain experience and develop over time. That pretty much ticks all the boxes 😉