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Mantic Games Kickstarter: Dreadball

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Vendetta
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 02:42pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-07 04:57pm
Posts: 9290
Location: Sheffield, UK
Mantic's latest kickstarter is up and running, so prepare yourselves for Dreadball

I'm officially allowed to talk about this now (Jake says so), so I will. I was at the beta test weekend for Dreadball and have played a few games of it, so I can give you a few bits of information about it.

For a start, before anyone asks, it's not Blood Bowl. It's more like Speedball 2 the boardgame, in that the game is very fast, and scoring means more than running the ball to the end of the pitch and shouting "yay!".

The key elements are that scoring is spread out around the pitch (like the stars/bouncer in Speedball), with three scoring zones, each of which are worth different values, and each having a possible bonus allowing a single strike to be worth 1-4 points depending on where on the board it is scored and scored from.

The other, and most significant difference is that when you score the board doesn't reset. The ball is fired back onto the centreline and play continues, that means you aren't spending time shuffling models back into starting positions, and you have to think in advance about how you're going to stop a runaway score in the opponent's turn, as the ball is now free.

The rules themselves are pretty elegant, there are only three main player types and each race has a single statline, but the balance of them being different in each team means that there's real variety in how the four starting teams play. The corporation are good at running and scoring, the marauders are really good at hitting people, the forge fathers (space dorfs) are solid fighters and very durable (though they have trouble standing up, dwarf tipping is a popular sport in its own right), and the veer-myn are excellent at stealing and keeping the ball (if sadly not very good at doing anything with it).

There's also the on-pitch presence of the referee, who can be moved by the players to either get out of the way for some creative fouling or to watch hawkishly in case your opponent has a funny look in their eye.

In all it's a really good sportsball board game, and Mantic are a company with some great people and would like your moneys.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 05:59pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-03 09:56pm
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
Talking about games? Impossiblol!

How does the game handle challenges? Is it RPGish dice rolling or board game rules? Do player stats influence the game directly or influence how the dice rolling goes?

I guess I'm asking if it's a football 'simulator' or a boardgame.
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Grumman
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 07:41pm 

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Joined: 2011-12-10 10:13am
Posts: 1342
What they're offering seems a bit crap at this point. Even Blood Bowl (from Games "Never met a price increase they didn't like" Workshop) gets you more models for the same price, while something like Sedition Wars blows it out of the water.

Stark wrote:
How does the game handle challenges? Is it RPGish dice rolling or board game rules? Do player stats influence the game directly or influence how the dice rolling goes?

Dice rolling, with stats. On the other hand, of the three classes, one can never pick up the ball and one can never hit an opponent. The first might be justified by not having that holo-lacross-stick-thing, but give a human Striker the opportunity to hurt some little goblin and it's hard to imagine why he wouldn't take it.
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Vendetta
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 07:43pm 

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It's very definitely a boardgame, Jake is a big fan of the boardgames. Player stats determine the success number required for a dice roll, how many dice you get to roll is down to what you're doing and who you are.

There are three types of players, Guards, Jacks, and Strikers. Guards are the guys that hit people, they get extra dice for hitting people and can move full length and hit someone but can't pick up the ball. Strikers are the guys that score goals, they get extra dice for ball handling tests but can't hit people (they can assist a hitting player), they can knock the ball out of their hands or steal it outright though, and Jacks can do any of the above but get no extra dice for anything.

Stats except armour are consistent across a race and you have strength, for hitting, agility, for running and dodging, and skill, for ball handling, armour is determined by position, all humans have the same stat line, all orcs (orx, because this is spaaaace, it's technically part of Mantic's Warpath universe) have the same stat line, etc, different teams have different player balance though. The Veer-myn (space Skaven) have few guards and no jacks, so they're almost all strikers with really high agility but poor ball handling skills, it's really hard to hurt them because they dodge like motherfuckers and really hard to get the ball off them, but they're bloody terrible at scoring. The Marauders, on the other hand, have only Guards and Jacks but no Strikers, and their Guards are the strongest.

The other two teams have all three roles, humans are a good speed team, good at passing play and farming for extra actions (you get 5 actions to spend on your turn, you can spend up to 2 actions on a given player, but some moves will, if you double your required number of successes, grant an extra action), whereas Forge Fathers (dorfs) are a little slower, still good at passing, and really hard to knock down, but they have real trouble getting through tackle zones or moving extra squares without tripping over their beards and getting back up if they do go down.

Dice rolls are opposed, base is you get two dice. So for hitting someone you get two dice, +1 you're a guard, and one more if you move towards them before hitting them (Jacks can only move one square for this). The person you're hitting can either hit back (if they're a guard or jack) or dodge (anyone, strikers get an extra dice). If you hit them from behind they can only dodge. You need more successes than your opponent, if you double them then you get extra win (knocking them over rather than pushing them back, for instance, potentially injuring or killing them, or stealing the ball rather than knocking it loose). If there's no opposition to your action (passing, scoring a goal) then you generally have to get one success.

Every dice roll works the same (Jake is also a fan of having consistent systems repeated throughout a game design, because it makes the game play infinity times faster if you don't have to look up what the dice mean this time.), the only thing that changes is the number of successes you need and the bonus you get for doubling that number.
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Vendetta
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 07:53pm 

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Grumman wrote:
What they're offering seems a bit crap at this point. Even Blood Bowl (from Games "Never met a price increase they didn't like" Workshop) gets you more models for the same price, while something like Sedition Wars blows it out of the water.


It's a board game, the base set gives you enough models to play the game, which is what you actually need (especially for a game like this where you can't use the models for anything else. You can only have six players on the pitch at a time, with a couple in reserves (you can cheat and bring more on, but the ref might notice and send someone off).

Blood Bowl's masses of players per side is means that you have to spend twice as long shuffling plastic around. Dreadball is a much faster paced game (even the slowest players can run half the length of the pitch in one action), so smaller model counts suit it better.

Grumman wrote:
The first might be justified by not having that holo-lacross-stick-thing, but give a human Striker the opportunity to hurt some little goblin and it's hard to imagine why he wouldn't take it


Goblins aren't complete weeds in this, IIRC they're actually as strong as humans and more agile, they just don't get extra dice for things because they're jacks which means they can't compete with the human strikers for passing or scoring or the human guards for hitting. So not only is this wrong, the "everyone can do everything" design you seem to advocate is less interesting because it means the player doesn't have to make choices and compromises. (with only 6 players as a human do you play more strikers to have more passing or do you bring some jacks on to round out the team, decisions decisions.)
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Stark
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 08:46pm 

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Location: Brisbane, Australia
I'm not sure why the amount of pieces you get is important; Arkham Horror has like 800and would be way better if it didn't. Miniatures aren't even expensive and someone like me would probably never use the anyway. Convert game to use MG Gundams= game improved. :v

With all this dice-rolling, is the game fast? I really don't like games where the play stops for for minutes any time anything happens.
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Grumman
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 08:54pm 

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Joined: 2011-12-10 10:13am
Posts: 1342
Vendetta wrote:
Blood Bowl's masses of players per side is means that you have to spend twice as long shuffling plastic around. Dreadball is a much faster paced game (even the slowest players can run half the length of the pitch in one action), so smaller model counts suit it better.

A small model count is fine, just not if you're going to price it the same as a large model count game. By way of analogy, Portal is a great game, but would anyone have bought it as a $50 major release when it's only 2-3 hours long?

Quote:
...the "everyone can do everything" design you seem to advocate is less interesting because it means the player doesn't have to make choices and compromises. (with only 6 players as a human do you play more strikers to have more passing or do you bring some jacks on to round out the team, decisions decisions.)

"Everyone can do everything" isn't the same as "everyone can do everything equally well".
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Vendetta
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 09:30pm 

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Stark wrote:
With all this dice-rolling, is the game fast? I really don't like games where the play stops for for minutes any time anything happens.


Yes, dice are always small numbers (1-5) and you always roll against a fixed value. It's easy to look at a small number of dice and see how many of them are over your target. Modifiers almost always change the number of dice you roll, so you don't have to do fiddly sums, and because the game doesn't reset when someone scores it just carries on like a normal turn.

The intent is that the game can be played in around an hour (it's 14 turns).

Grumman wrote:
A small model count is fine, just not if you're going to price it the same as a large model count game. By way of analogy, Portal is a great game, but would anyone have bought it as a $50 major release when it's only 2-3 hours long?


Remember that as a board game it has all sorts of other gubbins in the box, and these are kickstarter prices where you get loads of extra faff alongside the game. The retail price hasn't been announced yet.


Quote:
"Everyone can do everything" isn't the same as "everyone can do everything equally well".


No, but it's far less limiting than making the possible actions completely different, and limits on the player are where you make the interesting decisions in games. After all, if strikers could hit people they would be exactly the same as jacks at doing it unless you added another special rule to take a dice off them when they did so (and then why do it at all, because you'll always lose), and then you're adding cruft onto the rules for no gain and a significant detriment.

The fact that strikers can't hit people also allows for variation through the team makeup. The Veer-myn's unique team structure is only possible because of it, where they have only two people who can attack at all and the rest simply can't.

And all actions for a role are the same across races, because design consistency, so you can't have a rule saying "well only this race/role combination can't do this".
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Vendetta
PostPosted: 2012-08-28 09:30pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-07 04:57pm
Posts: 9290
Location: Sheffield, UK
Stark wrote:
With all this dice-rolling, is the game fast? I really don't like games where the play stops for for minutes any time anything happens.


Yes, dice are always small numbers (1-5) and you always roll against a fixed value. It's easy to look at a small number of dice and see how many of them are over your target. Modifiers almost always change the number of dice you roll (except when subtracting another dice would mean you rolled none, which I think only happens if you're massively ganged up on in an attack, at which point your armour is reduced by 1), so you don't have to do fiddly sums, and because the game doesn't reset when someone scores it just carries on like a normal turn.

The intent is that the game can be played in around an hour (it's 14 turns).

Grumman wrote:
A small model count is fine, just not if you're going to price it the same as a large model count game. By way of analogy, Portal is a great game, but would anyone have bought it as a $50 major release when it's only 2-3 hours long?


Remember that as a board game it has all sorts of other gubbins in the box, and these are kickstarter prices where you get loads of extra faff alongside the game. The retail price hasn't been announced yet.


Quote:
"Everyone can do everything" isn't the same as "everyone can do everything equally well".


No, but it's far less limiting than making the possible actions completely different, and limits on the player are where you make the interesting decisions in games. After all, if strikers could hit people they would be exactly the same as jacks at doing it unless you added another special rule to take a dice off them when they did so (and then why do it at all, because you'll always lose), and then you're adding cruft onto the rules for no gain and a significant detriment.

The fact that strikers can't hit people also allows for variation through the team makeup. The Veer-myn's unique team structure is only possible because of it, where they have only two people who can attack at all and the rest simply can't.

And all actions for a role are the same across races, because design consistency, so you can't have a rule saying "well only this race/role combination can't do this".
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