One of the things I’m going to miss most when I leave Mantic is the amazing community that’s grown up around our little company. There’s a whole army of dedicated fanatics out there, and the number is growing every day. I think it’s due in part to how we interact with our fans, but I think there’s also something special about Mantic games that just seems to bring out the best in people.

With DreadBall being so close to my heart, I went out to the DreadBall Fanatics Facebook page – a regular haunt of the game’s most fanatical devotees – and asked them to give me some insights on what they enjoy about the community, and DreadBall in general. After reading the thread I put together this article to share the highlights. So here we go: Five things that make the members of the DreadBall Community great!

#5: They’re incredibly prolific!  

YouTube user grakkam put up a great series of videos showing how he painted his Corporation team.

YouTube user grakkam put up a great series of videos showing how he painted his Corporation team. Click the picture above to go to part one!

Do a quick web search for DreadBall and you’ll find a wealth of blogs, write-ups, hints, tips, tutorials, videos and more. Ever since the game came out there have been people sharing their ideas. There’s heaps of stuff out there from bloggers, vloggers, forumites and countless others, all of whom have been sharing great content that’s usually very inspirational. Here’s what community newcomer Aidan Hegarty said on the subject:

So far I have loved this community. You all seem to love the game as much as I do. And as I’m new to it, I have found reading your posts, blogs and watching your videos to be exceptionally rewarding. I feel blessed to find such a strong and active community. I look forward to many many seasons playing DB and can’t wait to get my Xtreme on!

 #4: They’re happy to help!

YouTube hobbyist, poet and all-round lovely chap Andy2D6 put together this series of bite-sized tutorials on how to play.

YouTube hobbyist, poet and all-round lovely chap Andy2D6 put together this series of bite-sized tutorials on how to play.

Getting into a new game can sometimes be daunting, but you really don’t get that feeling with DreadBall. The community is full of people who are more than willing to pass on some advice, whether that’s with painting your set, learning the rules or working out which tactics best suit your team. John Nicholson had this to say:

I went to Salute last year and saw the Mantic stand… and had a demo game with a pathfinder. I was welcomed and made to feel comfortable.

I came home that night had a little Facebook search and found [the DreadBall Fanatics group] and the forum and started asking really newbie questions, and to my pleasant surprise was welcomed with answers and support and lots of help and encouragement. This spurred me on and I had my teams painted within 2 weeks of this. I now take part in this community regularly and still ask lots of questions every time I play a game. I’ve been known to have my laptop on the community pages whilst playing ready to ask a question! I’ve had an answer to a rules query back within 5 seconds, which is a record!

Anyway, Love this group of people and I’m now dipping into Deadzone because of it and eyeing up that Rampage Kickstarter pledge.

#3: They’re everywhere!

You can find DreadBall being played at clubs, gaming stores and conventions across the world!

DreadBall is played at clubs, gaming stores and conventions across the world!

The DreadBall community doesn’t just exist online – after all, the game plays best when you’re face to face with your opponent! Leagues and tournaments are springing up across the UK and US, and it seems like most gaming clubs and local gaming stores have a contingent of DreadBall players. Chances are, if you’ve got a gaming scene in your local area, you’re likely to find a few like-minded individuals with whom to enjoy the galaxy’s greatest sports game! Rob Burman shared a tale of how he got into DreadBall:

DreadBall was the game that got me back into gaming after 20 years and it was thanks to the friendly chaps at a local club. They took me through the rules, were patient with me and since then I haven’t looked back. Thanks to the fact DreadBall was so easy to pick up and exciting to play, it’s been like a gateway drug and I’ve quickly moved on to Kings of War and Deadzone… actually that makes the DreadBall community sound a bit like drug dealers. [Blimey, Rob. We’re lovely really!]

#2: They’re a lovely bunch!

The serious, stony-faced competitors at 2013's Gamers for Life DreadBall tournament

Dour, stony-faced competitors at last year’s Gamers for Life DreadBall tournament

I’ve mentioned this before, but it really needs saying again: I think DreadBall players are some of the nicest gamers out there! I’ve played in a few tournaments in my time, and oragnised a few more, but I’ve never seen sportsmanship, acceptance of new players and a general sense of fun like I’ve seen at the DreadBall events I’ve run. There’s always a feeling of excitement in the room that has to be seen to be believed, and I’ve heard multiple stories about novice players being given tactical advice by their opponents! Amazing, heart-warming stuff. (If you want to see it for yourself, we’ve still got some tickets for the National Finals next weekend – get ‘em here!) This sense of warmth and loveliness extends to the online world, too, as Tris Moran said in his comment:

The DreadBall Community is just that, a real Worldwide Multinational Community.

They are there day or night to chat to about anything, not just about DreadBall. They are there with advice when you have a problem. They will critique your projects (if you ask them to) or will simply be enthused at what you are doing. They are the support group you need when on that losing streak and the fan base when you are landsliding your way through a league.

They are just great and I’m happy to be a member of such a great Community.

 #1: They really, really like DreadBall!

DreadBall fan Shawn Grubaugh put together this incredible DreadBall board and shared it with the community. What a guy!

DreadBall fan Shawn Grubaugh put together this incredible board and shared it with the community. Amazing job!

I think it’s worth mentioning just how keen these are on DreadBall. It’s one of those games that seems to grab you by the shoulders and scream “play me again!” – and that’s clearly evident if you look at what the guys in the community have to say about the game. As well as playing loads of games and discussing DreadBall at length online or in person, loads of them have put together great resources (like Shawn’s arena above) that the rest of the community can access free of charge. What drives DreadBall players to such feats of awesomeness? Here’s a summary from the lovely Bidge, who runs a rather nifty YouTube channel that’s brimming with painted goodies:

The game really draws upon two distinct gaming personas. It has the fluff and background and larger universe to attract the war-gamers, but also has the simplicity of set up and game mechanics to attract the board gamers.

It is fresh and fast paced, but full of subtle tactics, just like the people it attracts.

It’s not really the preserve off the power gamer, but the cinematic player. It makes you want to take risks, because it’s gonna look cool it if works. Like when my boy’s Veer-myn Striker successfully dashed 7 (YES 7) times to go up the board and score on the last throw of the dice and beat my poor Marauders yet again.

 

There we have it – five things that (in my humble opinion) make DreadBall a very special game indeed. Even though I’m leaving Mantic I’ll still be hanging around to participate in the community, but in any case I really can’t recommend it enough. You can find a load of them on the DreadBall Fanatics page (where you can read the full thread, not just my excerpts) and the DreadBall section of the Mantic Forums. If this has grabbed your interest, you should definitely check out the DreadBall Xtreme Kickstarter, which is already bringing loads of new blood into the DreadBall community and expanding the game with Season 4 and great new teams!

Why not share your favourite DreadBall community moments in the comments below?

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