“All right you miserable bar-stewards,” Jesus Ortiz barked at the hapless members of the DGB Rules Revision Committee, “I’m locking this door, and I don’t want to see any of your ugly mugs until we’ve got these rules nailed down harder than the furniture at a Zee convention!”

The members of the Committee shared a forlorn look as the heavy wooden doors of the conference room slammed shut behind the great man, the aroma of the cheap cigar he kept clenched between his expensive teeth at all times left behind him.

“Well,” said the Chairman, a pudgy man in his mid-thirties clearly out of his depth, “you heard the man. Let’s get cracking…”

Michele's Nearly-Final DreadBall Ultimate 2 Cover Art

Being given the task of working on the Galaxy’s Greatest Sport is a privilege and a responsibility, and one that every member of the Rules Committee takes seriously. Drawn from the DreadBall community, these are people who live and breathe DreadBall, who know every one of its quirks and are dedicated to making the Galaxy’s Greatest Game even better:

  • Pete Fullergreen
  • Tim Jackson
  • Arthur Monteath-Carr
  • Lee Montgomery
  • Jeffery Shortland
  • Rob Taylor

Joining us are the DreadBall Alpha Squad: Our lead playtesters who between them have played more DreadBall games than is probably healthy for a human to play, who have been invaluable with their feedback, support, and candor.

  • Geoff Burbidge
  • Leon Chapman
  • Tris Moran
  • Dale Robinson
  • Kris Vezner
  • Andrew Wodzianski

Here is a sneak peek at the changes and tweaks you can expect in DreadBall V. 2.0:

 

Change – but not for the sake of it

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A lot of DreadBall Veterans have been wondering how 2nd Edition will affect their collection and we’re happy to report that we are striving to make sure that every model remains viable and that your pitches are safe.

We’re obviously replacing the Season Books and the card deck is getting rewritten as well with more exciting events and actions, but other than that, nothing in your existing collection is invalidated. Sleep easy Vets.

 

Hanging in the balance

As the roster of different species and teams have grown, so has the gap in power level – and it’s time to rectify that.

We’re going to be reviewing and playtesting all the teams at the same time to balance them up against each other. We’ve already decided that Armour is now going to be variable – it would mean that the light armour the Kalyshi wear is reflected in their profile, and that Forge Fathers can have better armour than Brokkrs for example.

dreadball season 4 brokkrs vs midgard

Even this little change and the one to Jacks below will change the complexion of certain teams but the other thing we wanted your opinion on was the addition of another stat – one for Agility.

The proposal is that Dodging and Dashing are both Speed tests, but Agility would be used for a test where Speed doesn’t make sense, such as evading, jumping or even standing up. The addition of an extra stat can really help provide a point of difference between the teams and allow for some very interesting combinations. Adding Agility and opening up variable Armour would allow us to cull a large number of special rules, too.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

You Don’t Know Jack

Jacks: The workhorse of any DreadBall team. That said, a Jack is rarely the poster-child or the one who takes in the big exclusive sponsorship contracts. When was the last time you saw a Jack advertise the latest sneakers or PDAI software? Exactly.

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To make using Jacks more attractive and activation-token efficient, Jacks can now take a full Run action as part of a Slam, Steal or Throw action – unlocking the potential for bold new plays with these oft-overlooked generalists. Run Interference remains a one-step move before a Slam, however. This also unifies the movement rules, making for a more consistent play experience.

 

Finder’s Keepers

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Tired of giving a brain-damaged lump of muscle a DreadBall glove and hoping for the best? So are we! That’s why Keeper training is now an elective, rather than a random upgrade.

Also, when standing in a Strike Zone, Keepers now count as threatening any strike zone hex from that zone, in their front arc, for purposes of Throwing a Strike. This means your Guards can run up-field to crush skulls as God and Digby intended, secure in the knowledge that “Cuddles” McGee has the 3-point zone on lockdown.

 

Oh Captain My Captain

If, like us, you have an extensive collection of MVP models, it’s sometimes sad to see them gathering dust on the shelf, while your other figures enjoy the excitement of life on the pitch.

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In addition to new rules governing MVP availability, select MVP models are going to be chosen to represent Team Captains. These players will be a permanent addition to your roster, and will qualify for advances.

Captains will either complement the team’s playstyle, or shore up an area where they are weaker. For example, the Trontek 29ers – whose most famous captain, Lucky Logan, lead them to three unbeaten seasons between 3009-3012 – have a reputation for having Captains that tend to be the jammiest blighters in the game, while the Greenmoon Smackers – seeking to fill the boots and fabulous moustache of their flamboyant first captain, Slippery Joe – tend to appoint nimble and agile Goblins with a knack for throwing Strikes to fill the role.

 

DGB in Non-Discrimination Lawsuit Shocker!

Following the landmark Investor Dispute Arbitration settlement of DGB vs Dyna-Gen last year, the Dreadball Governing Body has begrudgingly accepted that clones with variable junk DNA qualify as “similar, but legally distinct products” from their donors.

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This has led several enterprising players from the MVP circuit to commission their own clones, bound to work under contract until the cost of their creation has been paid off. Usually these clones work in different conferences, but on occasion scheduling conflicts or contractual oversights result in two clones of the same player being hired into the same league. These “mirror matches” have been dealt with in a number of ways, from simply issuing a palette-swapped kit to one of the players, or concocting elaborate storylines involving evil twins, goateed alternate dimensional doppelgangers, long-lost obscure relatives wearing eye-patches or more.

Some league sponsors insist on running “pure strain” leagues, and Digby hasn’t seen fit to revoke their licensing as yet, so traditionalists still have the option of watching what are presumably the genuine articles in action. If the change has upset some fans it hasn’t shown in the ratings; indeed, some sub-net forums have sprung up around debating which iteration of an MVP is the better player, although how they can tell the difference between them is anyone’s guess.

mvp-praetorian-colour-2-web

As for the clones themselves: Legally speaking, as a product rather than a person, their best hope for freedom from their indentured servitude is to play as many games as they can before their donor invents new penalty fees to keep them under control. The Clone Emancipation Movement is hopeful that a new Investor Dispute Arbitration case will lead to these contracts being dissolved, but if the rumours of key Council of Seven member’s holdings in Dyna-Gen are true, those hopes are probably futile.

What this means for you is:

  • Cheaper availability of MVPs
  • MVP exclusivity reduced – picky players must per force play for more than their preferred partners.
  • League sponsor’s choice: Either stick with the original bidding process with exclusive availability of MVPs in a pure-strain league, or open up your collection to the brave new world of the All Clones Allowed (ACA) Leagues.
  • Underdog system to be re-thought, focusing on giving teams a leg-up if they lag behind in development so they can both catch up to more experienced teams, and compete with higher ranked teams without relying exclusively on hired guns.

 

Dirty Deeds (Done At Rather Exorbitant Rates)

The various systems and sub-systems attached to Dreadball are being given a thorough going-over to ensure that they add value and interest to the game, rather than being extra book-keeping without much payoff or impact on the pitch. Cheerleaders, Coaching Staff, and Hacking will be updated and tweaked to make them engaging and rewarding to coaches, while systems such as Grafts & Fan Invasions are being stripped for the bits that work and those that don’t are being cut.

 

Foul Play

Officially, the DGB maintains that fouls are disgraceful misconduct. Kicking a player when they’re down, lurking around a team’s sub’s bench to bushwhack unsuspecting fresh players – these are all penalized for a reason, and dirty players should be treated with the same scorn that should be levelled at used hovercar salesmen and anti-capitalists.

DB3---Colour-on-Black

Unofficially, infosphere analytics and social media trends have proven that fans love a good controversy. Dirty plays mean online discussion, which means engaged audience members, which means more revenue, and if there is one thing that the Dreadball Governing Body is in favour of, it’s more revenue.

With this in mind, the AI and software that controls the Eye in the Sky and the fearless, intrepid RefBots is due for a tweak, lowering the chances of a player being removed from the game entirely, but increasing the chances of time on the sub’s bench. The Ref Check is being looked at to see if there is a way to even out the probability curve, to make Fouling a more enticing proposition, but still keeping the risk of losing key players.

Of course, every system has its weaknesses. But DreadBall coaches are one and all fine, upstanding citizens who wouldn’t dream of leaving, say, access codes and a decryption key for the Referee software along with a large bundle of unmarked credit chits in a plain brown envelope where any Reb-affiliated hacker could find it and use that information to, say, tweak the detection ratio or feed bad precedent-data to the hapless, hardworking AIs who keep DreadBall games above board and honest. Nope, not a chance, wouldn’t dream of it. Moving on…

 

DreadBall Ultimate

Finally, DreadBall Ultimate will be given a fresh breath of life, with a new pitch designed to eliminate ‘dead’ areas of the board and keep the focus on the action.

DreadBall-Season-3-Cover

Ultimate was a popular way to play the game, and made for an excellent capstone for a league or great way to spend time with your mates over beverages and pretzels. The most frequent complaints we heard from Ultimate players, though, were twofold:

  • At smaller player-counts large sections of the board never saw any play, and a ball could get lost in the weeds if launched in the ‘wrong’ direction.
  • Long wait times between your turns sometimes meant you spent more time shooting the breeze than shooting for Strikes.

The new DreadBall Ultimate pitch is designed to solve the first problem: Each team has a Strike Zone that they must defend in the usual way, and a Strike scored in a team’s Zone will ‘steal’ points from them as it does in standard DBU play.

However, there is a central, shared strike zone in the center of the pitch. A Strike scored in the center zone will earn you one point that is not taken from another team. The center hex also doubles as the Refbot hex.

ultimate2.5b

What this allows us to do is to shut down the sections of the board that are not in use. Instead, the ball will bounce off of a low-power force field erected at the border of the unused section, and any players that stray over this line (or are pushed out) will be committing an Out of Bounds foul, and potentially sent off. This means that the balls cannot wander off into the wilderness, keeping the action focused.

As for the second problem, the new DBU card deck will contain new ways for you to act in an opponent’s rush. This will mean you have to keep an eye out for opportunities and openings, and watch out for your opponent’s tricks and schemes while planning your own Rush.

We will, of course, include rules for using the existing pitches with the new cards and rules – after all, Gruba-Tek is going to want ROI on all those new Ultimate stadiums they built…


The DreadBall 2 Kickstarter is now live! What do you think of the rules changes? Tell us in the comments!

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