The long wait is over . . .

I don't have access to sales figures, to The Walking Dead: All Out War may be doing better (as I have heard it may be the best selling game Mantic has put out), but prior to that, Dreadball was a shining success for the company.  Way back in 2012 they ran a very successful kickstarter (over $700K) for the game that went so big it funded 12 teams!  Then in March of 2014 they went extreme, with a second kickstarter for Dreadball Xtreme, that also funded 12 more teams.

The original game has gone through several (at least 4 or 5) print runs, each bigger than the previous.  this also shows that is it more than just kickstarter - as each subsequent print run represents copies sold through 'normal' sales channels.

Then in August of 2016, Mantic ran a little kickstarter to balance things a bit, and it exploded into a full re-write of the rules.

And today the Kickstarter backers got digital copies of the new rules.  If you didn't back the kickstarter, you will have to wait until the retail version comes out next year.

I did a little playtesting, but this is my first real look at the new rules.  First off the kickstarter edition is massive - 210 pages!  I believe this is only available through the kickstarter - the retail version will be split into two books - one for the rules, and a second for the teams.

Speaking of teams - there are 29 teams in the book.  The original 24, the four new teams added in the kickstarter, and a special final team "Renton Rejects" - composed of the free agents from Dreadball Xtreme.  (The martians are NOT in the book, as Mantic no longer has the Mars Attacks! license).

The book starts with a "Read this first" section - to get new players started with the base game.  The base game comes with the Yndij and Neo-bot teams, dice, balls, cards and counters.  Just from the picture there they have upgraded the rush and score counters to full 3d models!

Of course it has a picture and description of the new board (for new players, the playing area is known as a 'pitch' - which I guess is a common term in the UK (I think from Cricket), but it took me a while (being an uncouth American and all) to figure out what they were talking about in the first edition.  The new board has several nice features added based on what a lot of players had designed for their own boards.

The new features include
  • scatter diagram (no more trying to figure out which way rolling a '2' means)
  • spaces for cards (including current special effects, team etc)
  • fan support space - to put your fan checks
  • team action bank - to put your unspent action tokens
  • team action log - a way to track how many actions have been taken by each player that rush
  • sideline spaces - for coaches, cheerleaders, fans, etc.
Plus the back is the new pitch for Dreadball Ultimate - the 3-6 player version of the game (no longer do you need a second board).

The book then goes into a tutorial on how to play.  This is set mid-game, with each player only getting 3 actions per turn.  It is not everything, but good for demos or to get new players started.

After that, it gets into the full rules.

In the player stats section, it is easy to see some of the new changes based on player roles.
  • Guards get +1 for Strength and Armor (or armour as they insist on adding and extra u over in the UK) tests.
  • Strikers get +1 for Skill and Agility
  • Jacks get +1 for Speed Tests (yeah, finally a bonus on SOMETHING for jacks)
When launching the ball - if you roll a 6 and it ricochets off the wall, you now roll one more die to see how far it bounces - so it no longer just sticks in the first hex next to the wall.

Scattering direction is not based on the scatter hex on the board, not the coach position, so s 4 always goes in the same direction.  A new rule is for an inaccessible ball - if at any action ends where all routes to the ball are blocked (either by players or the referee) then the ball instantly scatters.  This replaces the old "Ball Hog" foul.  In addition if the ball enters (by scattering or being carried) into an entry hex, it instantly scatters.

Some of the skill tests have changed a little, now that Agility has been added as a Stat  (it replaced the old speed, and the new speed stat has been added).  Because of this, Jacks are now better at Dashing than other roles.  In addition, Jacks are no longer limited to a single hex of movement before doing a slam or throw.
  • Dash - Speed(123)
  • Evade - Agility(123)
  • Pick Up - Skill(1)
  • Stand Up - Agility(1)
  • Slam - Strength(X)
  • Throw - Skill(1)
  • Pass to a Teammate - Skill(0) (slightly different than a regular throw)
  • Catch - Skill(1)
  • Steal - Agility(X)
  • Dodge - Agility(X)
Run Interference is now done by playing an "Any Action" card on a Jack during your opponents rush (so we should be seeing this be available much more now).

All coaches can now use an action token to buy cards.  There is still a restriction of your starting number of cards, but is has been amended to an minimum of 1.

Fouls have changed.  Now the coach calling the foul rolls for the ref to spot the foul (3 Dice 4+ test).  The fouling coach can roll a die for each player withing 7 hexes of the ref and NOT in an opposing Player's threat hex to distract the ref (again on a 4+), with +1 if ANY are guards.  If Distract wins, the foul was missed.  Tie and the fouling player is sent to the sub's bench.  Spot wins, and the player is sent off by the difference.  Spot doubles, and not only is the fouling player sent off, but one of the distracting players gets (winning coach's choice) is sent to the sub bench.

There are a some new fouls now as well
  • Dodgeball - throwing the ball at an opposing player is now a foul
  • Restrain - holding a player in place (when they attempt to evade)
Some additional fan checks have been added as well
  • catch scattering ball
  • committing a particularly successful foul.

The rules for Dreadball Ultimate are also in the main book (since the ultimate pitch now comes with the game).

Mantic Global Event Manager Andy Meechan looks a little too excited playing a game of Ultimate!
The pitch is different for Ultimate.  There are not longer any shared strike zones between players - instead there is a single central strike zone (only worth 1 point however, with no bonus points available).

There are new rules for building your teams.  You can hire 'transfer' players - these come at an additional fee - 60mc if the player's role matches one on  your team, 100mc for a player with a role not normally available on your team, and 150 for an MVP.  The standard team now is 1000 mc instead of 100 - giving a lot more variation.  Plus you no longer have to start every match with the generic team.

In addition, each team can take a captain (except maybe the Xtreme team - Renton Rejects).  Not only are captains star players, but they also act as coaching assistants while on the field, can allow a player within 5 hexes to have a third action token played on them, and have their own deck of cards they can use.

An interesting aspect of league play is each team now has its own set of advancement tables for when their players advance.

Well that is a VERY quick overview of some of the changes.  I no doubt missed some or may have gotten one or two a bit off, but you get the idea.

I'll have to take a look at the teams and special rules next.

Dreadball is back baby!

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. Man its been a long time but it'll be good to run some quick games alongside Kings and Firefight.

    Dreadball Fanatics is a thing on Facebook for those of you who book faces.


Post a Comment