DreadBall Games Designer Jake Thornton takes a look over the design decisions behind the Void Sirens.
One of the things I really like about the way the Void Sirens have come out is that the models make sense to me. Very often in fantasy and SF miniatures, the women get to wear little more than chainmail bikinis and other such dubious fashions. Now don’t get me wrong here – I’m far from suggesting that attractive women should hide their talents under a bushel, but I do like things to make sense, both visually and otherwise. In order for me to really believe in a fictional world it’s got to make sense, at least under its own terms, and very often female models fail badly in this regard. If there’s a reason why they’re scantily clad then fine. On the other hand, if they’re supposedly front line warriors or standing about in a snowfield then it just seems a bit silly. That’s my personal view, anyway.
So when I saw the concepts for the Void Sirens I was very pleased, and when the models came out as well as they have done I was even happier. I even rather like the pink colour scheme as it’s been executed brilliantly and actually fits in very nicely with the way Digby thinks: stereotype and showmanship.
They look like professional DreadBall players, not cheesecake pinups, and that image of strong professional sportspeople is exactly what I wanted to see. They are similar, but not identical to the Trontek designs, and this too is nice. It gives them their own character, which is important. In game terms, they have their own character too.
The Void Sirens are an all-female human DreadBall team who play in a rather different style from the Trontek 29ers. The fact that they are all women is neither here nor there really, and in fact you could use the male or female human models to be either of the two human team archetypes (Trontek 29ers or Void Sirens). If you’d prefer to play a mixed team then by all means go for it. The only thing you need to do is make it clear to your opponent which of the two team styles yours follows. In other words, you can mix the models, but not the rules.
So how are they different? Well to start with their team has a sightly different composition of player roles. They still have all 3 in the team, though have swapped one of their Guards for an extra Jack. Jacks are where it’s at for the Void Sirens.
Their Strikers and Guards are identical to the Trontek ones, but the Jacks all start with Running Interference. In addition, the team has 4 Coaching Dice and no cards. All of these combine to make them a rather distinct prospect on the pitch. Think about it for a moment: you’re playing against the Sirens and you start your Rush. Anything up to four of their models can interrupt you at any time and jump in to Slam your active player. Makes you think a bit harder about your movement, right? That’s the idea.
Also, with 4 Coaching Dice to start with, the Jacks suddenly get the possibilities of doing stuff they would normally struggle with – at least a couple of times – but a couple of times might be all it takes. It doesn’t hurt their Guard and Strikers to be able to draw on this pool either.
Finally, the lack of a card at the start of the game is another interesting wrinkle people didn’t always pick up on when they first look at the stats. This means that they can’t buy more during a game as the limit per Rush is the number you had started with. This is generally seen as a disadvantage, though it has its positive side too. You spend all your actions focussed on the players now rather than the chance of getting a useful result for later. Again, it forces a slight mental shift in approach, which is typical of the way these teams have been designed.
So despite being the same statline as the Trontek 29ers for the most part, the Void Sirens both look and play quite differently on the pitch. Are they better or worse? Well, that’s a matter of opinion. All I can really say is that they’re something new.