Dreadball II Striker Pledge

I backed the Dreadball II kickstarter back in August of 2016, though I didn't go crazy with it like I have others.  I basically did the straight Striker pledge, plus the new Dreadball Ultimate neoprene mat for the game. (I already have the neoprene "Gruba-tek Pitch" for the regular game - which is what the new board is based on so it should work fine.)

And now it has arrived!  So lets see what we have here.


I open the heavy (over 10 lbs) box, and on top sits the new rule book.  I've already read the PDF, but there is something nice about holding the actual book in my hands.  I really like that they have reduced the size to be the same as the Kings of War paperbacks - just more convenient.  I also really like that they did not make the Kickstarter version hardback.  Hardbacks are nice to sit on the shelf, but a pain to take with you to a game.

I'll actually be taking this to Staples to have it spiral bound.


Next was a plain box underneath the book.  Opening it was the Ultimate mat I had ordered (I really prefer the neoprene mats) to the normal boards, and several baggies.

There was actually a lot more stuff underneath the mat.  The Ultimate tokens, bases, team captains, and both the Matsudam and Cyborg teams

Removing this box, and underneath was the kickstarter version of the game box.  I know this because it has "Kickstarter Backer" printed right there on the box :-)

Opening it, the first thing is the new game board.

This is significantly bigger than first edition.  The first edition board was two segments with a single fold - this is six segments.  It needs a little 'stretch' to get it to actually lay completely flat.  However I don't actually intend to use it - as I prefer the neoprene mat from first edition (which this was based on). However it is a nice board.


The new board is significantly bigger than the previous one.  The hexes are larger, but it also has a lot of extra areas for cards, cheerleaders etc that while nice, aren't 100% necessary.  The advantage of the older, smaller board was you could fit more games on a table :-).


For true comparison, here is the older board laid on top of the newer one.

Here is the board next to the nooprene mat.  They are almost the same size.  The mat does not have the specific spaces for cheerleaders (and the spaces for coaches have changed) but that really isn't a big deal.  The only thing that it is missing is the set scatter diagram, but that is easy to define (i.e. the visitor end is always 1).

Flipping it over is the new ultimate mat.  No more shared strike zones - you are only responsible for your own now.  It also has lines to block out sections of the pitch if fewer than six teams are playing.

The new neoprene version matches it nearly exactly for size and everything on it.  I'll still keep the board with the two mats, but I'm not sure how often I'll use it.

Underneath the board is the roster sheet.  I've already mentioned that I don't like having to use the pad to tick off experience during games etc. (You might say it ticks me off *groan*).  I am not known for my neat handwriting (just the opposite), so this manual version when we have more than adequate technology to do this either on a device (phone or tablet) or set it up and print it out on a laptop / desktop.

Beneath the pad is the player sheets for Ultimate.

And then the cards, dice, counters, and teams.

I've seen some discussion (and quite a thorough facebook post) on how to fit you kickstarter 'stuff' back into the tray.  Granted it was made for this, with slots for the ultimate score counters, token, cards, players etc.  However I find that these pretty quickly fail me as soon as I add anything else.  I had this problem with nice trays in the Walking Dead kickstarter version - great until you bought an expansion.

So I've already, preemptively, tossed mine in the recycling.  I'm using the game box to hold minis etc that I need to work on, and putting all the game components into two of my stackable bins (which previously had all 6 books, mats and everything else I needed to play).  I may have to go to a third bin eventually depending on how many teams I end up with, but for now it is working great!.

I didn't take pictures of the cards - well because they are just cards.  The old random number track is now gone as you don't randomize players anymore, but they still have the refbot movement number and fan check dots on them.

In addition to a new refbot, there are now 3d-tokens for both the score track as well as the rush track.  Plus a third event token.  Also included are two of the new balls.  These are smaller than first edition, and come with a peg that can be put in a stand (shown below, with a 1st ed ball next to it), or they fit into the hole on the new bases.

Once again a lot of discussion on these - so far I really prefer the old ball.  I put magnets on my minis that can old the ball so it is easy for them to hold it.  While I really like that the teams now come with balls (I can hear you snickering there in the back), they are just now so small and fiddly that they are more of a hindrance than a help.  So I plan to just play with my old balls (stop that laughing!) for now.

Speaking of bases, Mantic has redesigned the dreadball base (I do find it interesting that they never use them in the pictures in the rule book).  These now have scalloped edges to indicate the threat zone for the model, and a small hole to fit the new ball into.   

Here you can see the old base v the new base.  The old ones are thicker, but I think I still prefer them (and I paint the threat zone on mine anyway).

Part of the Striker pledge was the Ultimate expansion - so no only does the rule book include it and you get an Ultimate pitch on the back of the standard board, it also comes with score track markers and rush action tokens.  You only get four new colors (yellow, purple, orange and green) as you are expected to use three each of the red and white ones that come with the base set.

They also include a dice cup.  I'll use it so long as I can easily fit it in my bin, but am a bit meh on it so far.  It is ok, but not required.


Now comes the really fun stuff - the new miniatures.  The new starter will come with the new Neo-bot and Yndij teams.

I like that at least the starter teams are now pre-assembled and are all different colors - this I feel will really help the board game market, who seem to be pretty averse to assembling anything, and like to be able to tell everything apart right out of the box (a bit more difficult when all are grey restic).

There has been a lot of discussion about should you wash your minis before painting.  In addition, there are always people who get bent miniatures, which an quickly be fixed by a dip in hot water.  The only bend issues I've found so far is some of the strikers do not stand up on their base.  Once glued to a dreadball base I expect this will no longer be a problem.  However I plan to kill two birds with one stone - and wash all of my models in hot (near boiling) soapy water to both restore their original shape, and to remove any mold release agent.  I haven't done it yet, so some of these are a little irregular.

So to start with the neo-bots.  Looking at the pictures in the book, I can already see a quick way to get these painted up - I have a metalic red spray that I use to mark the threat zone on the underside of my bases - I'm thinking a quick spray of that as a basecoat on these will have me 75% of the way done!

Each pack comes with 6 unique sculpts - 2 guards, a jack, 2 strikers and a prone player.  In the kickstarter we got three packs, in the retail version you will get 2.   It is nice that the rulebook actually has pictures of each position listed (with the advancement tables).  I think that with the retail version (and moving forward with teams) you will get a team card with all the team information on it - it would be a shame if these don't have the same pictures for identifying the models.

I was fairly excited about the new robots that were designed for dreadball (as opposed to the ones you build from scratch, or the ones that transform).  However the models in person don't do as much for me.

Guard 1
Guard 2
Jack
Striker 1
Striker 2
prone


In addition, the Kickstarter also included the team captain model for all the four teams, as well as the team captain cards.  Mantic has said that captain cards for the existing teams are coming, and kickstarter backers may get a discount on these.

Remeo Blue, Neo-bots Team Captain
The other base team is the Yndij.  These were first introduced in the Azure Forest expansion in first edition with the A'teo Adysi MVP.

I wasn't excited about these during the campaign, and they still aren't my favorite.  But the actual models came out better than I expected (so the opposite of the neo-bots).  Just like the metalic red for the neo-bots - a metallic green should get the paint on these started really quickly.  Of course it is WAY too cold to spray paint anything right now, so they will have to wait a bit.
Guard
Jack 1 (you an identify the jacks because their tails are armored, while the strikers are not (and the strikers are also running)
Jack 2
Striker 1
Striker 2
prone
Na'Huatl - Team Captain
I wanted to see how the new Yndij fit up against the origin - a little bigger.  It does remind me that I need to finish painting A'teo Adysi

A'teo Adysi v Na'Huatl 
I was pretty iffy about the next team.  The concept art was interesting, but I didn't know if they could pull something off.  Well the sculpts work for me - I may have to see about getting these guys painted up!

While the poses are somewhat limited - there really isn't a lot you can do with huge sumo lizards - I still find them very dynamic and interesting.  The more I see them, the more I like them.

Jack 1
Jack 2
Jack 3
Guard 1
Guard 2
prone (on his knees)
Raiden, team captain

The final team is my actual favorite.  The cyborgs are another team you can build - this time from dead players from other teams.  You can't hire transfer players - instead enhancing and bringing the dead back to life.  You buy players for their base cost (no transfer fee), however their profiles are then modified - they lose a point of both Move and Agility, as well as the Pacifist or Honorable abilities (if they had them), and gain Quick Recovery and Won't Stay Down abilities.  You can't take more than the original team had (so only one cyborg Hulk :-) ), and they can use either their own advancement table or the original one.

I really like these sculpts.  Plus this is a great modelling opportunity for people to use extra mutant and robot parts to build their own unique cyborgs.

Orc Guard
Namelsss Undulan Guard
Human (male) Jack
Human (female) Jack
Judwan Striker
Kalyshi Striker
Prone model - which is a Zee, even though the team doesn't come with any zees
Frank Burke - Team Captain
Finally, while Blaine did not make an appearance in this kickstarter, they did fund two new Kickstarter exclusive coaches - Fergus and Tracer.  These are nice if you don't already have coach models and want to start including a coaching staff.  I plan to also (eventually) paint up the DBX sponsors to use as coaches.
Coach Fergus
Coach Tracer
So there is the Striker pledge.   The MVP level added in a second die shaker and more dice (larger ones, with the DB logo on them), Team number decal sheets, the "Return to Azure Forest" expansion (pitch, cards, trophy and rules (which ended up being included in the "all in one" rule book that backers got).

So I'm looking forward to giving the new version a try.  I am already planning on bringing all my Xtreme models over - the convicts are already a powerful team, and the Renton Rejects look like they could be a lot of fun as well (and they are all painted!).  Plus I definitely want to try out the cyborgs, and sumo lizards and . . .

Because it is all fun and games . . .

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