The first of the new teams for you to have a look at is the Sulentic Shards: the Crystallan team.
Edit: new version here. The following remains true.
I think that these guys are reasonably balanced as a team, though they are one of the tricker ones to use well. I don’t see that as a problem, in fact quite the reverse. I think that having a range of skill level requirements is desirable across a large range of teams (which we now have).
What do you think?
Wow!! They are going to be tough to keep track of at all times. Having a range of two hexes for their stacking abilities means that a lot of counting will need to be done which is going to slow down some rushes. I think they are pretty cool and provide a unique feel to the game. Not sure how competitive they will be (low Speed and no Strikers doesn’t bode well), but they should be chaotic in the pitch – five starting Guards?!? Ouch!!
Ouch indeed 🙂
I don’t see it slowing you down. There is no reason to count for anyone but the target or the active player (and it’s just two spaces, your brain is gonna learn to process that in a second). The only guys going to count everything for everyone are the people who count out every movement path for every player for every possibility already, and if you play with those guys it’s best to just get an egg timer.
So I really don’t see this slowing much of anything down for 95% of players
I really like this Jack. A little bit weaker players on their own, but if you keep them in groups they add a new dynamic. Should offer an interesting play style, and this, on paper, is your most bash happy team yet.
Hopefully you’re able to work out some kinks with the league system to where Bash teams can gain a little more advantage by busting up the other team as a general strategy. The “safety nets” in place are a little too strong at the moment so often you can do the other team favors by killing a couple of their guys unfortunately.
Heh, amendment coming? Guards, Strikers and JAKES. Jake of all trades.
So are they getting a CD for 6 and the TV is 101 to start, or are they getting a CD for 5?
This needs a note to explain. In effect they’re getting this first dice at a 1mc discount. They start a league with a nominal value of 100mc.
They seem like they will be all about setting up plays to be as effective as possible. There isn’t much in the way of passing/throwing benefit to harmonics aside from stealing the ball. Was this intentional? Would it affect the game balance too much if their skill rolls were boosted too? If so, then fine, as the balance of this game is one of the things I love about it.
I think it gives them their play style: a running game. Boost the move, boost the Str to blow through people, then boost the speed to help each other up/help protect the back. With their close proximity, there is also gonna be threat hexes scattered all over. Get a guard or two with 360 Vision, and opponents are in for a game.
I do think the passing game has an advantage versus a two-turn hold the ball run game, but hopefully these guys will help that strategy emerged. Would love to have a team that had a way to “work the clock”.
Bit concerned the march of new teams continues on, when the issue of Jacks and their utility continues to be unaddressed. The more teams that are added the more of a problem it becomes to change later.
I do agree with this as much as if you find ways to make the jacks work for some teams (The rebs have abilities built in to allow them to fill particular rolls with the “Charging” Gallean and the “Receiver” Sorak) you are then limiting the scope of what can be done to the field.
I still feel a band-aid fix as simple as letting them move +2 instead of +1 (keeping the +1 limitation on RI) would really go far, and just say “Hey, we care and want to make this work. The “overhaul” will come as planned in 2.0″. There are so many who would appreciate that. Sure you’ll have a few “too little too late” sort of rantings, but that is always gonna happen. Please don’t let that stop you from shoring up the weak points until you get this vessel to drydock to properly patch the holes.
I totally agree with you, Earth Dragon. I’d love some sort of bandaid for right now until they can release Dreadball 2.0 (I’ll quite literally faint from euphoria on that day). I’d just like to see Jacks as actually able to perform their role – do everything but do it badly. My suggestions are, as always, to let them move 1/2 speed on slams/throws, or even full move. It would require one line to be deleted from in the entries for Slam/Throw in the core book.
Anyway, to the Crystallan team. This was the first team in the DBX campaign where I went “I don’t care how good or bad they’ll be, I must own them”. I feared greatly for their racial ability, because it had such potential to be either massively underpowered or massively overpowered.
Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled about this team. I’m sure they’ll become my favorite team to play. I love that they’re a poor man’s Teratons individually, but become able to out-slam even the turtles when they play smart! Beautiful team, is what I say. Kudos.
DBO has a number of issues that I’d like to address. Not entirely convinced that the move 2/half move issue would work for Jacks, but it’s an avenue I’d certainly consider. The urgency for getting these teams out is down to the print schedule, so that has to be done first. I can look at some experimental rules for DBO afterwards, and rebalancing Jacks will be part of that.
Not forgotten 🙂
Actually, it’s worth mentioning too, that this sort of subtle rebalancing of a live game is far, far, far more difficult to get right that adding a new team. It’s not a big change that’s needed (for Jacks), and I think the balance point where it is correct is a very fine one. Getting it wrong the other way is very easy (as has proven to be the case in several changes I’ve tested). Just because I’ve not been talking about it here, doesn’t mean I’ve not been trying stuff out and listening to the suggestions. It’s just that I’m yet to be convinced that the solutions I’ve seen don’t simply move the problem somewhere else. And that’s not good enough.
no info for DBX?
DBX is a different issue with different challenges. As all players are individual, and it’s up to the Sponsor to combine them as he sees fit, there isn’t the necessity to playtest teams in the same way. And, because the number of combinations of individual players into temporary teams is functionally infinite, that can’t really be done.
Far more tricky is getting the balance of a fixed team correct, for DBO.
Any team that relies on Jacks to score needs to have a card. It could be done by reducing the points for the guards to 12 and losing the coaching dice. Bonus: the total is now 100
I think your missing it a little. With a team that gets a “herd” bonus, the style would be to actually hold the ball. You wouldn’t ‘need’ a card as, if they play out correctly, many of your scoring opportunities are gonna take 2-3 turns to systematically work your way down the field clearing the place out with bonus dice to strength on a pair of guards leading the way, and the Jack with the ball coming up the rear with possibly a fourth player running in tow (Guard or Jack depending on what you need) giving at least the Jack with the ball that 3rd level of bonus. This also creates a web of threat hexes making it hard to slam/steal from the Jack, and with the amount of players the opponent might have left on the board, scoring areas are gonna be open.
I’ll say this: This is not a team to throw up garbage 1 pt shots against. If I’m playing Crystallans and you settle for a 1 pt attempt on the first turn, this game looks halfway won. This teams design screams “Manage the pace of the game”. They are going to slow everything down, attempt to clear out the field, and spread the other team thin. This is a very refreshing design, and so I wouldn’t get hung up on “you have to have this or that” as much of it isn’t gonna apply here.
Disagree. With Jacks you need three actions to score. For that you need a card or an offensive coach. Dreadball is about scoring not slamming
You’re right. Every team should abide by your play style and no efforts should be made to add new outlooks.
Teams should be cosmetic not thematic *rolls eyes*
@earthdragon I’m not suggesting giving them all Fragile or something, just swapping a dice for a card. BTW I only offer disagreement in a spirit of friendship and Dreadballhood 😀
Play nice now.
DreadBallhood. Like it 🙂
I understand that. I’m “rolling my eyes” at the concept you presented that all teams should be built to score using the same methods. I see this as one of the best attempts yet at giving a team a particular play style that isn’t the mold you professed all teams should play under (Jacks HAVE to have access to a third action). This team is trying to mitigate that weakness in a different way by actually improving the slamming and defensive capabilities if you run the ball in a unit over a matter of turns.
It needs to be played out and preconceived notions on how a jack team “has” to work should be put on hold for a bit.
I understand the reliance on a card to help the jacks… and as Jake has said, if things get changed, and jacks get modified somehow, it is going to impact a lot of teams in potentially unbalancing ways if done incorrectly… the other side to this is that if you can (as a Crystallan player) pin your opponent in their own 1/2 of the pitch due to injuries or their inability to move you out of the way, then when you get your Rushes, you may very well only have to slam the ball out of their grubby little hands and potentially have the ball and (hopefully a jack!) near by so you won’t need 3 actions.. but on to the playtesting before we condemn each other, Jake, the Crystallan, Jacks, or Dreadballhood!
and @ Jake… with DBX, the fact that Jacks can Dash prior to Throws and Slams.. I sort of thought that was the fix you might go for in DBO… basically give all Jacks the Slide ability… although not sure if that means models that already have Slide (Z’zor… MVPs…) would just get a bonus dice or maybe a reroll to compensate them?… my 2 cents
ReSliding Jack – using that in DBX was a sort of experiment to see how much difference it made (actually, more how much difference people thought it made). We’ll come back to the whole issue of Jacks in a later post. First we need to put these teams to bed 🙂
Again, here come the french translation ^_^
Bien que les Forge Fathers soient bien moins agressifs dans leur expansion dans leur Domaine Spatial que le Conseil ne l’est avec la GCPS, ils trouvent néanmoins de temps en temps un intérêt à se confronter avec les natifs de quelques planètes. Crystallis était l’une d’entre-elle, riche en minéraux précieux. L’intérêt principal des Forge Fathers était le matériau à partir duquel les habitants eux-mêmes et une grande partie de la flore étaient composés – une substance cristalline vivante qui possédait une grande variété de propriétés de transmission d’énergie, comme il n’en a jamais vu auparavant.
Ces propriétés faisait des Crystallans des êtres bien plus puissants que les Forge Fathers auraient pu l’imaginer, et une guerre longue et couteuse entre les deux races éclata. Avec le temps, les deux camps cessèrent les hostilités, Crytallia était en ruine, et les derniers survivants du peuple Crystallans furent forcés à mener une vie d’errance à travers le cosmos, en évitant aussi bien les flottes des Brokkrs, que les attentions particulières de nombreuses corporations.
Les Sulentic Shards furent une des premières équipes de DreadBall Crystallans, utilisant au mieux leurs talents et leurs compétences naturelles sur le neodurium, leur permettant ainsi de vivre une vie plus sédentaire. Lorsqu’ils alignent leurs énergies, les caractéristiques physiques uniques des Crystallans font que peu d’équipes sont capables de les égaler. Lorsqu’ils ne le font pas, ils ont toujours l’option de frapper quiconque restera sur leur chemin.
Souvenez-vous que vous pouvez jouer cette équipe comme les Sulentic Shards, ou comme n’importe quelle équipe Crystallans de votre création. Les valeurs d’équipe restent les mêmes pour toutes les équipes de Crystallans, même si votre équipe sera la plus brillante.
Harmoniques (Crystallans / Tout Joueur)
Comptabilisez le nombre de figurine avec cette compétence à 2 hexes ou moins du joueur effectuant une action :
1 Harmonique proche : +1 en Déplacement
2 Harmoniques proche : +1 en Déplacement, +1 à tous les tests de Force
3 Harmoniques proche : +1 en Déplacement, +1 à tous les tests de Force ou de Rapidité
Le bonus est calculé au début de l’action, et fonctionne toute la durée de l’action.
Got a pair of games in against……..wait for it………..Nameless (I normally like to test against middle ground teams, but this was interesting).
The thought was these guys, if played as they are supposed to be played COULD actually counter the Nameless style. The deep pool of guards slamming with extra dice could outbox the nameless, and the standard speed strikers just weren’t gonna get in for effective steals.
(As a side not, the Crystallans actually makes the “cage” foul in Season 3 absolutely vital. This was something I was griping about due to the situation then, but now it has a place).
First game the Nameless player made a vital mistake: they were the home team and attempted to “set-up” for the inevitable squad charge setting their players up to counter with crab-squid combos on both sides of the field, with a pair of strikers guarding the 3-point zone. The Crystallan player scooped up the ball and wheeled 3 guards with the jack leaning towards one side out of reach of the other sides pair.
As expected, the Nameless player attacked with the one pair thinking he could make a hole to get the Jack and moved the other pair in to support next turn. And then the Crystallans came to life.
Both the guards commited to the pile were knocked into the Sin Bin the next rush, and the other pair got knocked around with only a Squid lying on the ground left on the pitch the rush after the that. The Nameless player, fearing for the life of his strikers, actually left the back hex and chose to litter his 4 shrimp all over the pitch for a quick strike once that shot missed or was re-launched. The Crystallans took the opportunity use the CD and got their 4 pointer.
The scattered shrimp all over the pitch were sure enough able to recover the ball quickly and bring it down to a one point lead:
But here is where that nasty “hold the ball tactic” with the Crystallans came into play. They had already worked 3 rushes off the clock, and it was already half and they had the lead. They also go their CD back after getting that strike. So with a 7 dice slam on the lone Guard left, he was easily dispatched off the field. The Crystallan player, as opposed to pulling all his players back, left a pair of guards forward to stall the opposing team, ran his other Jack off the field for a 5th guard, and formed another 3 guard cage around the jack against the far wall away from where the guards slowly trickled back onto the pitch for the namless, with only one opening to try to steal/slam that Jack.
There was a discussion if it would have been better to pull the ball all the way back onto his own side and hold it since he had the lead, but I felt the better testiment was that the Crystallan players was able to score a 2 pt strike on his last rush, effectively holding it “waiting” for the score, which in theory could have brought him back if he was behind by a point or the score was tied.
The next game was one of the nastiest opening brawls I’ve seen. Nameless teams are normally used to man-handling other teams fairly well, including Marauders and Brokkrs (Teratons are little tougher with teleport, but the strikers trump the Jacks in those matches). As the Nameless was visting, he stacked all the guards on the line, with the Strikers on the flanks, and a Crab sitting just off of it. The Crystallan player didn’t expect quite that level of commitment and wasn’t in position to assault on turn one and took the next turn to consolidate his forces. Over the next three rushes, guards were killed on both sides, but there were also a lot of high rolls on both side (7 successes versus 8 type craziness) which caused quite the extended pile. The squids helped the Nameless win out and the a Shrimp was able to scoop up the ball and score a 2 point shot.
The Crystallans, with 2 guards dead, still gathered themselves and formed the cage with a pair of Jacks and 3 guards and worked down the field but failed to hit a 3 point strike on their last turn. The Nameless missed a meaningless 3 point shot their last turn, but was able to win the match.
Interesting stuff, but I think the ball control strategy can work, as even against Nameless it was a worthy Strategy.
So, some quick observations. I fail to see how the Crystallan guards can clock in at 13 mc, when the Koris guard is only a mere 11 mc. Sure, it’s -1 strength and they lose Harmonics, but they gain +1 move, +2 speed, Spinner, and most importantly Gotcha. I won’t be able to playtest until Friday, but I strongly suspect the Crystallans would benefit from having their guards reduced to 11 mc and gaining a card. It would make the jacks a tiny bit more viable, while really showing off the Crystallans’ thematic reliance on their guards.
Alternatively I feel like they could easily all be reduced by 1 mc and gain a coach. I’m not sure if offensive or defensive would be best. I’m leaning towards offensive for no other reason than the fact that Asterians come with a defensive coach. Thoughts?
My thought is the problem is with the other expansion teams. If these guys look weak, it’s because the other 4 we’ve seen are all setting a new standard. The Crystallan team would actually be making a push for the first consistent bash team to be around the top of league standings. But as you said when compared with the Koris, they appear to fall short, and the Mutants and Mechanites are gonna dominate leagues if released as they are (there might be some league stipulations in their rules unknown at this time).
If you read my play report, they seem to work if played as intended, which is a “run out the clock” type of style. During league play, a card and offensive coach are probably gonna be staple early purchases (though I’d go defense coach to resonate the theme further) as they give you a fallback plan/diversified offense. They’d work great against the old, they’ll struggle against min/maxed Mutant and Mechanite teams.
I bow to your analysis and dissemination of your anecdotal data, ED. I always enjoy reading your stuff.
However, compare the Crystallans to the Teratons. They’re basically the same, except Teratons get one more scoring-capable model while retaining more than sufficient bashing capabilities. They also get +1 move. And I’d argue that Teleport is, in a vacuum and when considering the whole team’s approach on the pitch, more useful.
So it’s not just when compared to the Koris, but in fact when compared to a number of teams I find myself worried.
Heck, I don’t mind the fact that you have varying power levels: Short term and long term. Teams like the Corporation are very powerful early in a league but get by and large get evened out later in a league, whereas the turtles suck donkey balls early on but have lots of potential after 5-10 matches and after getting 1-2 cards, a coach, and some extra Skill on their Jacks.
I totally appreciate how even though Crystallans are basically (imo) a powered down, less mobile version of, say, the turtles, they differentiate themselves by providing a wholly new play style: The running, grinding game. This style is more or less absent from DB as is.
In spite of those feelings, I feel like Crystallans are now placed in the middle-to-upper end of the bottom tier*. My theory is that reducing all players’ cost by 1 mc and giving them a coach, or reducing all 5 guards’ cost by 2 mc, would place them somewhere in the lower end of the middle tier. Ideally you want all teams to be in the middle tier, but that’s just not realistically possible. But aiming for that *is* possible, and I’d rather take gettin close to the goal than simply not aiming for it at all.
Am I making sense? I don’t think I am. I think I’m just rambling. I want to take my precautions and say that all the above is born of an optimistic, positive approach to balancing DB as much as possible, and not in any way shape or form do I want to bitch about models I haven’t had a chance to play yet (two days, hopefully). And I’ve seen the translucent blue plastic Ada-Lorena models – they’re gorgeous. If the Crystallans are even half that, I’ll be a happy camper.
* = based off the big database that showed a tendency for teams to gather into three groups: The ones with a win ratio of ~33-36%, the ones with ~40-53%, and the ones with ~60+% (off the top of my head).
The biggest thing you have to remember is the 6 dice slam. This extra dice not find you killing guys at new alarming rates, but it significantly increases the chance of putting players in the bin.
On defense, if you are tucked against the walls. The opponent is gonna have to hit guards getting 5 dice to start, with a nasty impending counterattack even if the opponent has some success.
You mention Teratons, but they are a natural counter here. They can bash where they wanna bash and get threats “ported” to where they are needed. I still think Crystallans would win more out of a 100 games, but not by a huge margin. Compare this to Veer-myn, Robots, Marauders, FF and Brokkrs, Sphyr, Void, Judwan, Zees ……most teams are just gonna be sending cows to slaughter.
Of course, this is talking of folks who understand and embrace their strategy. Crystallans will be another Zzor. Some get how to play them and win leagues, others are confused and struggle, and ultimately they’ll ring in at about the 40% win rate. They will be a much underrated team as folks, in particular new players and those just looking for the team with the most guards, won’t fully implement the inherent strategy.
Of course that 40% isn’t including the min/maxed “do it yourself” teams.
Heck ED, I’m just speaking against you to try and cover every possible angle here. I feel like we get some good points across.
So, how would you form a Crystal Cage(tm)? Like, if you have the Jack in the centre hex, in which hexes would you put your guards? Facing which way?
I understand bro. I agree with the “what will likely be” coming from you, I suppose the “what could be” seems like they’re okay as is, and no reason to over do it since some might struggle to play them to their peek. (And it’s not like I play every team to its peak either.)
As far as the cage, this is gonna depend on what you are trying to do. If you have a 3 point lead as the opponent missed his shot (or had nobody left to field the ball) take the ball to the very edge (and lord help your opponent if you scoop it up with a Keeper) have a guard forward and aft of the ball-carrier, and a third guard blocking one of the two remaining places. Place a fourth team member threatening the only hex left to hit the carrier. In a “hold out” situation like this make sure you are close to the line in case “the ball shatters” gets played and you have to respond. Keep the final teammate blocking the 4 shot as a safety.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to standardize a play formation as different opponents will have different ways to get around your guys and be coming from different angles. Moving down one of the sides offers a lot of natural protection, but if you are behind and they are playing Zzor or others that might be hard to remove, you might stall yourself out.
Tight off the walls gives them access to easily put threat on the BC, and loose allows them to pick off the cadre. As a general rule Id try to work the sides unless they stack the line at the start and you can try to thin the herd early. If they are scattered, it’s best to direct the herd towards targets so they can’t dogpile ya too badly (not that many teams would have a pray in a dogpile with these guys).
Thanks man, great thoughts. I was thinking, what if the highest Harmonics level allowed the Jacks to perform a full move before a Slam or Throw? Once per Rush per player in total, of course.
Hahaha…..I think that’s best left to a blanket fix on Jacks. It would really open this team up, but it would then propel them to a different level. If they can do something like that, Goblins should be able to create better scoring opportunities and Brokkrs should have Jacks that can support them in the bash game more easily.
If there is one angle to push, it would be the +1 mv applies to the Jacks move as well. That might be a little more balanced and not give them quite the same advantage.
So Wifstrand, you’re saying Trontek(!?!) were breaking the cage easily?
Are you ensuring your guards are getting the proper amount of dice (+1 from Harmonics) and that your facing is correct? That seems odd that a 4 str team is having much of any success getting through without gotcha, threatening, or some other mitigation. Having 3+ str and 5 dice is enough to be standing still and bash a jack or guard backward in the least giving you some breathing room on a counter attack as well, and then with a pair of 6 dice slams, bodies should be leaving the field.
Are you running up the sidelines to protect one side? Have you tried runnin’ with a 5th member (needs to be a guard) just a little off from the pack to crash into the fray, or have him a little ahead as bait forcing them to come within range if they want to get to him? You might have to play a little cat and mouse, but it should take a heftier team then Trontek to have any sort of consistent success breaking through.
The other things I would suggest………Foul. You’ve got 5 guards. You can spare one if you need to. Also don’t be afraid to finish off the pack with the ball carrier. They should be in your face. Smacking someone with him should be considered as he’s still getting 5 dice on a moving slam, and likely slamming someone who’s got threat on them. 90%+, Crystallans should be winning fist fights against teams without higher str or other forms of removal (Asterians).
Just finished our fourth game. The Crystallans suffer heavily from having one strong run at getting points, then their opponnent can basically do what they want because the Crystallan half is empty. And if Crystallans have to trade one good run for letting the opponnent do what they want for at least two turns, that’s gonna be a bad run. In our fourth game I got a strong lead early on by scoring 4 points, forcing the Crystallan player to try and turtle up the pitch to match my 4 points. It ended up taking him all game where I slowly and carefully forced the cage open enough that I could steal the ball. I didn’t need to move it after stealing, as I had enough strikers that I could risk losing one by forcing him to first pry the ball out of my hands.
Eventually he realized he might be able to even the score, but that would give me plenty of opportunity to simply get 3-4 points again.
The cage can work well. It takes a lot of practice, but the cage as a principle is semi sound. The problem is that the Crystallans, while being the best team at it, STILL aren’t good enough. You just lose Harmonics too fast, and relying on only two actions with your jacks just isn’t good enough. It isn’t reliable at all.
My suggestion about getting another card somehow still stands. It would allow the Crystallan player to do his thing and slpwky but steadily cage up the table while buying cards and stocking up for that one turn where all hell breaks loose, where the Crystallan player’s goal is to kill as much of the opposition as possible then score big.
My friend had an excellent suggestion. The team is at 101 mc now, right? Reduce all guards to 12 mc (freeing up 5 mc), remove their coaching die (they need the card more), freeing up another 6 mc (so the team is at 90 mc) and give them a card. Finally, increase the range of Harmonics by 1. It would make it far more likely that you get the Speed bonus, which is absolutely necessary in recovering knocked down players. We experienced in all four games that once a Crystallan was on the ground (and covered by a threat hex), he was for the most part out of the cage.
Increasing the range of Harmonics is also very thematic, and it actually allows the Crystallans to ‘slingshot’ some of their players back towards the middle after they score (by sprinting at move 5 and +1 speed), which means they would to a limited extend be able to recover what ground they’ll most likely lose after giving up the ball.
Mind you, even this suggestion still requires the player to know how to cage and to be patient. But that’s not at all an inherently bad thing. On the contrary, it’s a bresh of fresh air.
Oh, and me saying in the other thread that S1 Corp could ‘easily’ break the cage was a bit od an overstatement. But my easier access to cards meant that I could afford to humor my opponnent in his waiting game and either remove or incapacitate any stragglers by slamming them in the back.
The cage doesn’t *just* break, but if you block their path with strikers and guards (one on each Crystallan guard, for example), they will spend far too long on getting the road bumps out of the way first.
And mind you, in both our cast games (Corp vs Crystallans and Crystallans vs Corp) the Crystallans were the home team.
There’s absolutely no problem with having a team that’s technically difficult to play. But gimping a team from the get go should be a big no-no. Right now, after four games, the Crystallans feel like season 5’s Forge Fathers to me.
Maybe you SHOULD try the Crystallans on the road. You always learn a little bit better how to space and recover.
If Jacks and Guards were road bumps……..someone wasn’t using 5 3+ vs 4/3 4+ to their advantage. Stacking odds to your favor is great, but taking advantage of inherent dominance (in particular against a Jack!!) should also be done. Trontek do have their tricks and have been a staple at the top, but I don’t see them as struggling every game.
Little surprised someone left an opening for a 4 point shot. Remember, sometimes people can play a little sloppily when testing cause they are either to excited to try a mechanic out or they are subconsciously trying to prove a point.
As always I agree with your statements, buddy. And congrats on spelling my name right, nobody does that.
I want to once again make it clear that I feel the Crystallans are nearly there, and that this play style could work in theory. But you need something slightly stronger that doesn’t rely as heavily on your opponnent making a mistake or getting exceptional rolls.
In one game my opponnent tried placing all his Crystallans on the front line just to give something else a shot. Had he not done that, he would have been shit outta luck after scoring, as he would have NO way of recovering the ball. For future games we probably won’t try this again, though. Leaving a guard in a back, a jack around the middle (to make potential ball recoveries), and three guards and a jack caging it up seems like the right way to go. With the guard in the back moving up and slamming someone, thereby forming the new centre, followed by the old front guard forming the back, and the old middle guard forming the new front.
Still, that leaves one action for either slamming again, or buying a card. The choice is situational.