Mantic Open Day November 2013 & Gamers For Life Tournament

I wasn’t too sure about going to the second open day, until both a DreadBall tournament was scheduled and the Nationals were postponed as the venue couldn’t host it anymore. It looked a little shaky, but we got babysitters sorted so both Jen and I could make it. Then we dragged Oli into it too…

Jen decided quickly – Season One Corporation. That’s her favourite, and they’re almost ready. Oli has his favourite too, the Season Two Corporation. He told me that he couldn’t get his team painted in time though, so I offered to paint my second Corp team for him and finished it just two weeks before (not including highlighting, which is going to make a big difference). I took a long time to decide – I had four teams to choose from that were ready to take. The Veer-myn, Marauders and Z’zor are all finished or nearly finished, and the Judwan (while basic) are ready to take at least. I heard that there might be painting prizes, so I would rather take the Z’zor (my best painted team) but given that I still don’t think that my best will be good enough I settled with the Veer-myn. I’ve only taken them to one tournament (the Welsh Regional) but I really enjoy the fast teams over the bashy teams. I definitely need more practice before I take a bashy team to a tournament again.

While getting ready to go, and ordering our breakfast, we found out that as well as ourselves, our hotel was also hosting a couple of tournament players, a pathfinder and both the Scottish and Irish regional winners – what are the odds, three regional winners under the same roof! If we’d known, we’d have shared our three-player Ultimate game with them (as well as the vodka, beer and prawn crackers). Next year, there was a suggestion of getting in touch with the hotel and trying to book as a group to get a discount.

Game One – Craig Johnson’s Vanaheim Vixens (S2 Corporation)

My first game went very well – a landslide win! It wasn’t easy, and Craig was an expert with Running Interference. He used a couple of tricks I’d never seen before – if you run interference on someone when they move into the ball space and win, you can attempt to pick up the ball yourself. He even managed to kill a rat, which is pretty good going for humans.

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Craig went on to get second place and win best painted, and his models were so clean and clear I’m not surprised!

Game Two – Adam Cooper’s Marauders

I played Adam at the previous Mantic Open Day in May and it was good to see him again – it was also good to see his dice were on his team this time. Last time, he played Judwan while I took Marauders with an Offensive Coach. This time, he had Marauders with an Offensive Coach. The cards I picked up were almost useless, and the game devolved into a massive ruck behind my three point Strike Zone. For a fair portion of the game, there were no models on the opposite side of the pitch – including the ref and the ball!

Both of us used the referee to try and block avenues of escape – me to stop him getting to the three-point zone, and him to stop me getting the ball back to his half. A couple of times I did manage to break away and score to get a win.

Game Three – Matt Willis’s Marauders

After lunch, I played Matt and his Marauders. He bought an extra Orx, and lined up all four on the starting line. It didn’t look easy to break through. Luckily, they scattered fairly quickly and opened up the pitch. He played a heavy slamming game, and kept so many rats off of the pitch I had a tough time getting to the ball and scoring. For a couple of rushes, his Goblin held on to the ball and didn’t move at all, while the rats were being pummelled! In the end though, I managed to scrape enough points to get a win.

It was after this game, on table two, that I realised I might be in with a chance…

Game Four – Dan Porter’s Asterians

Table one, baby! This was the hardest game by far, and Dan had got here with three landslide wins. I got a bit of a pep talk going into the game, since of all 12 teams I’d not played with or against the Asterians before. Before taking any actions, he used Dirty Tricks and got my guard sent out of the game. That’s an incredible ability, and there is absolutely no defence against it (unless you are Zees).

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Dan used Taking a Dive really well, and I soon had a Striker out of the game too. I did get a hold of the ball fairly often, and had five strike attempts – four at three points, and one at one point. Guess which one actually worked. Dan had four successful attempts at two-pointers, and one failed at a three-pointer. Despite losing by a landslide, I felt at every point in the game that I could have brought it back – at first, I felt I could get a win, then a loss, and finally in rush 11 it was all over, although Dan had to Sneak to be able to do so. I think I played well, and if my dice had just behaved once I could have got something like a 5 point loss, or possibly even better.

Results

So Dan obviously took first place, with four landslide wins. Craig took second place and best painted, Oli got fourth, and I came fifth. Jen did fantastically – after getting Wooden Spoon in every tournament she’s been to, she had a perfectly even day with two wins (one being a landslide) and two losses (one being a landslide), putting her exactly halfway out of 27 players – fourteenth place. She managed to play two Nameless teams and a Teraton, as well as Marauders.

This time around, everyone had to provide their own pitch. This mean that I got to see a couple of Tesla Domes and the Mighty Dorx stadium, but unfortunately didn’t get to play on any of them. The Tesla pitches are especially nice, with a much better resolution than I expected – they are really clear and beautiful. If I didn’t already have three pitches, I’d be tempted!

There was a surprising mix of teams here – I expected more Asterians, like the Judwan flooded out in May, but there were only two teams. Void Sirens seemed strong again, and Nameless and Marauders were out a lot – which I honestly didn’t think that I’d see. I heard of one Forge Father player, but never saw them, and spotted Judwan and Robot players. There were also a couple of Teraton players. I was the only Veer-myn team. No Z’zor, no Zees – are people just picking teams alphabetically? The top five were a good mix of teams, with Asterians, two S2 Corporation, a Marauder team and my Veer-myn.

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Open Day

The Open Day itself was pretty amazing. Enough time was left between games that if you finished early, you could get to a seminar. Oli got to one in the lunch break, but I was hanging around for the Regional Ultimate so I missed it myself. There’s been mention of an online seminar for those that missed it though, so I think I might get in on it anyway. Jen’s game went on a bit too long for her to be able to reach it too.

After the first game, we walked around the halls. Mantic had invited other companies to show off their toys – Dropzone Commander and Bolt Action were both in attendance. Deadzone had a big presence, and I was extremely jealous of the Kickstarters who were picking up massive, massive boxes of plastic. There were literally hundreds of wide-eyed gamers hauling massive boxes, with a slightly disbelieving grin on their faces. It’s hard not to want to buy the lot there and then.

Loka was a surprise to me. As we passed their table, Oli took a look. I’d not cared too much for it when it was released because I’ve never liked Chess that much. But Alessio invited us for a game and being a long time Warhammer fan I couldn’t pass up the chance to play a game on the same team as him! The rules were surprisingly simple, the game is really quick to play, and it nearly swayed me. Oli was heard through the rest of the day saying “I love Loka. I want to buy Loka. I can’t get Loka. Should I get Loka? Loka is amazing. What will my wife say if I buy Loka? I can’t buy Loka. I won’t buy Loka. I just bought Loka.” I have to admit, it’s a really nice game. I was told that they sold out a couple of times through the day, it was just flying off the shelves.

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Before the final game, I asked James Hewitt (Mantic’s Community Manager) if there would be time to see the shiny new models at least after the last game. He made a quick phone call, then told us he’d come get us later. True to his word, he brought us to the main room where Silvain, Mantic’s sculptor, had just brought over some of what everyone else was drooling over for us to take a look at. I even got to hold the Zombie Troll Shaman, and I want that model so bad it hurts. I don’t even care what game it is for. We got close up to the resin masters for the DreadBall Convicts and Brokkrs too, and they look absolutely amazing. When the next round of Kickstarter comes around, I am going to be so out of pocket. So for that, unseen internet thanks to James and Silvain! Sorry to everyone else for not taking a picture. But not that sorry.

James clearly takes his role as Community Manager extremely seriously. When he was explaining how to get to the pub for post-Open Day chill-out, I asked “Is it walkable?” For the second time that day, he didn’t answer the question. He said “Hang about, and I’ll give you a lift.” He ended up making two trips to take happy gamers to beer! There’s a man who cares about the gamer community, and makes Mantic fans very happy.

Other people have already got their Open Day news up – I suggest you read the Daily Punter (who won second place in the DreadBall tournament), Tiny Tactics and Afternoon Tea, GMort’s Chaotica, see the Facebook event pictures, the new UK & Ireland Ultimate DreadBall Champion’s blog (and another one here) and read Mantic’s blog about the day. Beasts of War covered the day too, mostly interested in the new Deadzone stuff, and in the background of their video you can see the three of us many times (many, many times).

Regional Ultimate

I found out more about the Regional Ultimate on the day, although only from another regional winner. It didn’t seem terribly well planned or publicised, and started 25 minutes late – meaning instead of leaving halfway through to get to my next tournament game, I wouldn’t even be able to start. I was told that it wouldn’t clash, but I preferred to go for the standard games than the big one.

The Regional Ultimate was a multiplayer game between the Midlands, Scottish, Irish and another English Regional Winners and in the end, Ireland won!

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I did get the opportunity to pick up my metal pitch – it is awesome! I have made two rash promises that I don’t know if I’ll keep yet – first, that only painted models can go on it; second, that it will not cross the border into Wales. Hopefully that will convince some Welsh people to come out to win it next year!

What’s Next?

Mantic are apparently moving into the abandoned hospital, hopefully they’ll get plumbing, lighting and heating in there throughout next year. With the offices in the same space getting a studio tour should be easier for us hardcore DreadBallers, and the lighting in some of the rooms was only barely adequate. It was clearly only temporary, and will be better next time. They have a rough plan to hold an Open Day in May again, and maybe next November too. If they make it a DreadBall tournament too, we’ll be there!

It was an improvement on the last Open Day in that there was time for the tournament players to see some of the other stuff, it looks like Mantic are definitely listening to feedback. It’s a shame that the DreadBall tournament was off in a side room this time but after the first game, I didn’t notice it.

I met so many lovely, amazing people. It never ceases to amaze me how friendly and welcoming gamers are, and how I never see any of the real horror stories of tournaments. Even the top tables of the DreadBall tournament were, in my opponent’s words, just like club games. Jen found people giving her advice during and after games, and gave some herself, and we all learned a lot from our games. I cannot stress enough to anyone on the fence that they should drag themselves to a Mantic Open Day tournament – whether or not they have been to a local tournament or not, and whether or not they liked it. They’re such fun, and everyone is wonderful. Don’t worry about being new, I played a guy in his seventh game ever and a couple of the players had only played once or twice before. They had a blast!

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Next time, I’m going to have to either convince a real photographer to let me borrow their camera, or to come along themselves. A camera phone really doesn’t do justice to some of the awesome stuff on display.

DreadBall Kickstarter Season Three

The DreadBall Kickstarter is nearly over… I’ve received my final parcel, I have a big pile of plastic to clean, assemble and paint and all that is left is the ‘Creating DreadBall’ digital book and the backer MVP rules.

I’ve really enjoyed getting involved in the tournament ‘scene’ – I’ve taken part in four tournaments this year, winning one and doing acceptably in all of them. The National tournament has been postponed, but a second Open Day this year has been planned for the end of November. Oli, Jen and I are going to rock up there en masse and see what we can do. It’ll give me a little more time to practice for the Nationals too.

So far, I’ve played one game of Ultimate (my Veer-myn, Jen’s S1 Corp and Oli’s S2 Corp) – it’s a real blast, you’ve got to focus much more on scoring with the lack of actions but it’s a real shift from the familiar two player game. Having two players gang up to put threat hexes on a model with the ball is an interesting new tactic, as well as nearly having sudden death on us. I intend to break it out for our DreadBall day in January, I think our casual players will pick it up relatively quickly and enjoy it.

I’ve also played a couple of games with the Zees – one win and one loss. I haven’t got a clue how to play them, they are absolutely insane. They can’t score, they can’t slam, and they definitely can’t pass, but they can move around a lot and they can put out a lot of threat hexes. A few times, I managed to get all ten of my players on the pitch at once. The foul rules are neat and don’t feel like the game slows down at all, and the Zees do stand a chance of being sent off. The only thing is that while concentrating so much on fouling myself and trying to find an edge for the unpredictable primates, I didn’t notice that Jen had snuck on a extra player right at the beginning and was Sneaking for most of the game. My summary – no idea how to play them, but loads of fun. Can’t see them being competitive but they should be an awesome team for a laugh, maybe in a game of Ultimate…

After that, I tried a game with the Nameless against Oli’s Corporation. Just for a laugh, we upgraded our teams with 20mc and I chose to bring Dozer in, to see how giants work. It’s the first time I’ve played a game involving MVPs of any kind. The basic plan was to run in with a Sticky Guard, then slam with Dozer. Six dice slam with a 3 dice penalty on the target should have made it pretty lethal, right? Nope. I’ll have to try again to be sure but the luck was definitely not with me that game.

Then there’s the Mars Attacks Kickstarter. I wasn’t planning on backing, and on the morning that I wrote all of this out ready to queue up for the next scheduled update Mantic went and put up the rumoured Martian DreadBall team. I had a whole thing ready about how I think the cross-over is OK in my eyes but I could see myself getting disappointed if they appeared in Warpath if I were a Warpath player. However, Mantic beat me to it and explained that they don’t fit in Warpath or DeadZone, but that Mars Attacks love cross-overs and DreadBall is a suitable target for it. The renders don’t look particularly exciting, and they may never be legal outside of Mantic tournaments, but I like a bit of a laugh and they look pretty cool with the clear dome helmets. Should be a bit of fun to paint. Well done Mantic, you have my money – now give me a Martian team!

With so many models to assemble and paint, I’ve got to be organised about it. I’m planning on building the bare minimum Season Three teams and prone markers for the teams I have finished. Then I’ll be painting the Season One Corporation for Oli to take to the Open Day (with an extra Jack, because he prefers the Season Two team…) and hopefully, if there’s time, paint the prone markers for our three teams.

Next up, I think I’ll finish assembling everything I have. That way if a good weather day appears over the winter to undercoat them, I’ll be able to get out and hit those ready. Otherwise, I’ll be working on painting the Forge Fathers and finishing off the Season One teams highlights. Then I can put Season One to rest – finished. After that, I’ve nearly finished two Season Two teams (I just need to paint the last Z’zor Jack to make them legal) and have started the Judwan and Robots, so they’ll be a good place to go next. Based on my current painting habits (“wait for a tournament, pick an unpainted team, make sure they’re done enough on time”) I’ll probably be in the same place next year!

In the dim and distant future when all teams are painted I’d like to do the Keepers and prone markers next, followed by the Giants, Cheerleaders and MVPs. I’ve never used MVPs so I’m not in a great hurry to get them painted but I know that they’ll have to be eventually! I intend to paint the team-specific MVPs to match their teams, but the less restrictive ones in unique colour schemes. It’s going to cost me a fortune in paint.

Vanguard DreadBall League Season Two – Games Four and Five

My Robots continue plodding their way through the Vanguard Season Two League

Game Four – Stu’s S2 Corporation (Away)

This game showcased the awfully fickle nature of dice. For his first action, Stu slammed a Robot with his Guard – and his Guard went out for three turns. Pretty much every slam he tried failed – combined with a failed Evade roll, I ended up with a single Robot threatening two down humans and the 2-pointer bonus hex. For my part, throughout the game, I failed to pick up the ball two or three times and failed two 3-point shots. The only Robot to get experience was the one who took out the Guard on the first turn, and I got no fan checks at all.

That being said, I don’t think I played badly – just Stu played better. He considered every turn extremely carefully, and used Running Interference extremely well. I think I need to practice more against the S2 Corporation to get used to being surprised during my own turn. I think they’re also the only team that I haven’t played a single game with – it might help me to understand them a bit better.

In his last turn, Stu got the last few points to score a landslide win – and with the underdog bonus, tons of income.

Game Five – CJ’s Marauders (Home)

This game reversed both of my previous game’s fortunes – CJ’s Marauders weren’t able to kill anything and only injured a couple of times, despite stomping a prone guard who was surrounded. On the offensive side, I was able to pick up the ball and even score with it! I fumbled one pick up and failed one strike, but both of those were near the end of rushes where I had either one action or none left.

CJ made me work hard, putting threat hexes and Slamming all over the place to make things difficult for the robots. He kept up the danger level with many many slams, but unfortunately his dice were against him and I was able to dodge most things and suffered minimal injuries. For the first half of the game, the ball was carried up and down the pitch without a single Steal attempt – only Slams. The robots managed a single Strike attempt and failed it. In the second half, they got another Strike attempt for 3 points, the Marauders used an Offensive coach to get their three points back (involving an excellent tactical slam to move a Robot so their goblin could sprint past), the Robots went for another three points but the ball exploded…

In their final rush, the Robots got the three points again and the Marauders spent the last rush trying to put some pain on them in revenge but fortunately for me, nothing happened. It ended as a three-point win to me.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the next three games that I scheduled were cancelled by my opponents. With school starting, we’re getting used to a new schedule that makes it even harder to get to the store to play games, so I’ve not been able to get any further. I don’t know why, but I think everyone else’s interest has fizzled out too.

It has taught me a little more about how to use Robots – I prefer Strikers to Guards, because 5+ Speed is devastating if someone hits them in the back. I like being able to roll on any skill table, half of my players have 360 Vision – which is extremely useful for both Strikers and Guards. I think that the Robots need a league format, they really feel like late bloomers who need a little advancement.

Planned next was the national super-league, but based on my scheduling here I didn’t think I could get to any games. A few other people are having the same problem so the Bristol Vanguard super-league will now be on a single day, like a tournament, but I won’t be able to make that day. I don’t know when the next ‘regular’ league will be, but I’ll have to see if my attendance can improve any time before then. Perhaps the double round robin format was a bit ambitious, since there were at least eight players every player has to play fourteen games. At one game a week (a reasonable expectation), it would take three months if people’s schedules are perfect. For myself, I find it hard to get to the club on a Thursday (club night, when most people attend) or Friday, can’t make Wednesdays, and only occasional weekends.

Bristol Regional Tournament 2013

The Bristol Regional Tournament! Held at Vanguard Wargaming, like the Bristol Blitz before it, and the first tournament I’ve been to without Jen. Oli came along and borrowed my Corporation team as his own Void Sirens weren’t painted yet.

I took a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing about what team exactly I should take. My initial thought was for Veer-myn as they had done me so well before, but on the other hand I’d been told at that tournament it was not fun to play against. I decided to go with the Z’zor – because I had only played one game with them before, because they almost derailed me at the Welsh Regional, and because I don’t do well with bashy teams and this would be an opportunity to get some practice. In addition, people are put off by their Skill 5+ Strikers, but that’s what I am used to with the Veer-myn anyway.

I suffered from the Kickstarter mispack problem, so I had too many guards and not enough jacks. In the special provision given to tournaments, you can take the team like that and choose either a card and a 2mc penalty or a coaching dice and a 2mc bonus. Given that I would always want a card to give me the option to buy one in the game, I went for the card option. With the remaining 18mc, I chose extra ranks on both of my Strikers and a Defensive Coach (to try and keep them safe).

It was a fun event – five games squeezed into a single day, and 14 players overall. A bit more hectic than the previous Bristol tournament, but with only six players then it could be a little more relaxed with timings.

The only thing slightly marring the event were the new rules – in the week before the tournament, the ball launch rules changed twice and most people had no chance to play with them. On top of that, the widely rumoured change to Judwan to drop them down to Speed 4+ was used, removing their tournament penalty. These changes weren’t in the rules pack, and I was wondering if there was anything else going to change before the day. However, the new launch rules were printed out for everybody and weren’t too difficult to follow – although I think once people get used to them their play might change a bit. In spite of the last minute changes though, it was a very well-run event and everything happened as it should – the games went so smoothly, we actually finished a little early. Three cheers for Liam!

Game 1 – Broadside Bandits (Kev’s Marauders), Away

Start as you mean to go on! Kev hadn’t played at all since the Vanguard Season One League back in March – and that game was against me. He hasn’t lost anything though, as he beat me by a landslide – even when I got 3pts early on! My Strikers had Jump and Roll – neither of which came into play. A couple of times he managed to push me onto the ball launch path, and got me bashed by the new launch rules. Luckily, Z’zor don’t get knocked out too easily.

Game 2 – The Lunar Darksiders (Cai’s S2 Corp), Away

This time, I got exactly the skills that I wanted – Safe Pair of Hands and Skill increase. They worked quite well, although I always seemed to be throwing with the Safe Pair of Hands and catching with the other one. I managed to kill a human Striker, and get a 6pt win out of it.

Game 3 – Saltford Spankers (Oli’s S2 Corp), Away

I enjoy playing against Oli, because I think we are quite close in skill level. This time, my upgrades were Roll and Skill Increase – again, Roll never came into it and the Skill Increase was heavily relied upon. In this game, I failed many dashes and evades, and even got knocked down a bit. Oli used his Running Interference quite well to break my scoring runs. I lost many actions trying to stand up players that had no intention of standing at all – Oli even took a picture to show how many players were lying down at a time (from both teams). I used the last turn to score a single point and bring my beating down to a 4pt loss.

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Game 4 – The Clone-A-Cell Crushers (Adam’s Marauders), Away

Adam was a skilled opponent, and by this point I thought that I should focus more on smashing. This was successful! I got two kills! I lost by a landslide, and I don’t think I scored any points at all. Adam also managed to kill one of my Strikers. Once again, the skills I got were Roll and Backflip and were unused. Adam was very lucky with his dice – he managed to score about seven injuries on the Z’zor Striker, and to dodge five successes from a Z’zor slamming his Orx in the back on a single dice.

Game 5 – Orcs Orks Orx (Dave’s Marauders), Away

I played Dave back in the Vanguard Season One league earlier this year, and he brought his yellow-armoured Orx again. He suffered some very bad luck – I managed to push one of his Guards onto the ball launch and got him hit, and he also failed a ball pickup with his Jack on the DB1 hex. When I scored in the next rush, his goblin got killed by the ball re-launch.

Both of my Strikers had A Safe Pair of Hands, and I managed to win by 5pts, in part thanks to his goblins constantly missing their 1-dice attempts at 4pt shots. In the final rush, seeing that I couldn’t win a landslide and wanting to get a bit further in body count, I spent all my actions Stomping and Slamming, and had no ref checks against me, but didn’t even send anyone off.

Conclusions

The full results are on Liam’s website – I got 11th place out of 14 players and Oli came 6th. Sebastian Gerhart came top (winning an awesome, awesome trophy), and CJ (who I played in the Vanguard Season Two league) got the metal spoon – because a wooden spoon is not futuristic enough for DreadBall. Sebastian has put a few blog posts about his experiences there on his blog too – trophy and match reports.

It was a fun day – and I think either I didn’t focus enough on murder, or my dice were against me. It’s quite possible that both were true – I had some awful rolls, and missed a hell of a lot of 3pt strikes through the day.

I was surprised at how few teams were represented – I think there were equal numbers of Corporation teams, many Marauder teams, one Judwan and one Z’zor team. I wasn’t surprised that Forge Fathers and Robots were left out, but I was surprised that there were no Veer-myn. Maybe I’m the only one not put off by Skill 5+ after all.

There is another tournament in Bristol being considered for January next year. Hopefully everyone else had a good enough time to come along to that one, and we can get some babysitters so that Jen can come along too. Next big DreadBall event on the calendar is the National in Essex in November!

Sordus Silage Scroungers

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The CPS Norvegicanne was an unlucky ship – some said cursed, others said haunted. Whatever the truth, it was certainly always in need of repairs and maintenance. The engineering crews worked round the clock but regardless of what the ship provisioned, it never had enough supplies or equipment – whether due to administrative error, logistics failures or shipping delays, the crew had to make do with bodges and temporary fixes that no-one had time to revisit and improve.

When the ship’s deflector arrays failed in a dense asteroid field, the Veer-myn who’d been secretly living on board finally made their move. Breaking out of the machinery rooms and ventilation ducts, they scoured the ship for food. The crew abandoned the ship, doubling up in what escape pods hadn’t deteriorated, and escaped to a nearby planetoid leaving the rats to the junk ship.

Six months later, the Norvegicanne reached a starbase at the edge of the star system. No-one could work out how they’d got the ship’s systems to keep them alive long enough, let alone travel and navigate out of the asteroid field to reach civilisation – indeed, all systems went off-line mere hours after arrival. The Corporation (Sordus Silage) immediately impounded and quarantined the ship, and while interrogating it’s Veer-myn occupants to discover their engineering secrets, discovered that they had formed an enthusiastic DreadBall team. After watching thousands of games played by the human crew, and analysing holo-vid recordings of famous games, they had formed their own teams and practiced for much of their brief rule of the ship.

Once it was clear which of the Veer-myn knew nothing about starship mechanics, Sordus Silage conscripted a DreadBall team from the rat’s ranks and entered them into the local league. Since then, they have made some great games, including an astonishing 5-rush landslide against a human Corporation team that contributed to their first tournament victory, the DGB Llamedos Regional!

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The Veer-myn were the first team that I painted. I didn’t have a clear idea of how I wanted to paint the other teams.

I started playing them when we first got the game, but began concentrating on the Marauders and Forge Fathers when tournaments came around – favouring the simpler, smashier teams over the more challenging Veer-myn. After the Vanguard DreadBall tournament however, I brought them back with new tactics and a new plan to take on the Judwan that I expected to face at the Welsh Regional Heat – I didn’t face any Judwan, but they did bring me the victory!

Colour-wise, I started with a Bubonic Brown base, Chestnut Ink wash to give them a bit of grime, and then more Bubonic Brown. The metal was straight Dwarf Bronze, and the skin was exactly the same as I do Dwarf skin – Tanned Flesh base with Dwarf Flesh highlights. I’m not entirely happy with the skin, but it does look great on the tails. The fur is Dark Flesh highlighted with Vermin Fur, and all the straps, bindings and glove mitts are Dark Angels Green highlighted with Snot Green. The claws were straight Dheneb Stone.

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I tried to freehand the numbers on the back, and used Calthan Brown. Some came out alright, some were a bit more wobbly, and the colour was far too close to the main armour to be easily visible. At some point, I may go back and try to hide the existing numbers and redo them with green, for a better contrast but I’m happy with them for now. I’d like to move to a different team with some other colours!

I’m planning on painting the team-exclusive MVPs in the colours of the team that they will play for, and also on tweaking their background a little bit to make them my own. I want to try and get my teams painted first though, since I have never played a game with MVPs at all, I’m happier to put them off for a bit so I can spend a bit more time on them when they come around.

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Magnetising DreadBall Models

I’ve bought some teeny tiny magnets in order to magnetise my DreadBall models. I ordered the magnets to collect from Firestorm Games (a very friendly store, good advice and they cook a nice burger) and got my email 12 minutes after I’d gotten on the train to Bristol – and wouldn’t be back in Cardiff for a week. Oh well, c’est la vie.

There are two things that I want to achieve by magnetising models – keeping them from crashing around in boxes during transport and keeping the balls attached to the ball carriers. To do this, there are a few options:

  • Magnetise the box and ball, put metal on the model bases
  • Magnetise the models, put metal in the box and ball.
  • Magnetise the ball and models, but metal in the box.

I have to experiment – if the magnets are too strong, they will affect each other when models are standing next to each other. Magnetising the ball will be tricky, there’s a very small margin of error. And if I’m magnetising both models and bases, I’ll have to make sure to line the magnetic poles up properly or it’ll be more like a game of Subbuteo than DreadBall!

As for the vague term ‘metal’, I’m thinking of paperclips or metal wire. A small metal rod inside the ball, and flush with the base, should keep the ball attached to anything with a magnet in it. A similar rod stuck to the bottom of the base (after gouging out a channel for it to keep it flush, of course) would do the same in the other direction. Metal wires can also be run inside the cardboard of the boxes that I use for transport and storage, if I choose to go in that direction.

An interesting side effect will be seeing how the magnetic bases react with the metal pitch I’m expecting!

I got a pack of 2mm x 1mm magnets (discs 2mm in diameter and 1mm thick). They weren’t quite as strong as I thought, so I doubt that they would stop anything moving around in the box. That’s alright, there are plenty of other options (probably foam) although may take up a little more space. They are very strong right next to each other, but not so much going through things like bases – this is strong enough to keep a ball on the base (even upside down) but not to make it a hassle to move it off.

Based on the experimentation, I’ve scrapped the transportation goal. I’d need bigger magnets specifically for the task, and I would probably need to glue the models into the bases to give them enough thickness to secure the magnets. I’m putting magnets in the balls, and gluing another on the underside of the hex base corners. I’m going to try magnetising a single Robot model into the base, to make their transformations easier to manage – but I don’t know if either the model base or the hex base will be thick enough to glue a magnet in.

…intermission music here…

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I experimented with the single Robot for transformations. It is possible to fit a magnet into both the hex base and the model base flushly, although to do so the drill tip pokes out of the end (not enough for a magnet to fall out though). At the same time, I had been playing a couple of league games with the Robots, and found transforming while keeping track of player numbers to be a huge pain in the neck. I went on a blitz last weekend and magnetised the rest of the models and bases. It’s a lot of fun to keep plucking ‘bots from the bases and sticking a new one in. It worked extremely well and didn’t interrupt the game when I tried it in full against CJ in a league game.

Despite this, they still wouldn’t secure safely to a metal box. They’d do better being attached to a magnet in the base, but I don’t want to go to that expense. I don’t think it would do the job on it’s own anyway, and would rather get some foam to move them around safely.

While I was at it, I put a magnet in one of the corners of the hex bases for the ball to stick to. I’m going to put the remainder of the magnets in other hex bases to attach the ball, because I think that’ll really help the biggest annoyance of the game, which is dropping the ball all over the place. The last decision to make is whether or not to magnetise both of my balls, or to leave one plain so that it doesn’t interfere if an opponent has magnetised his bases with the opposite polarity. It’s unlikely to come up very often though.

WP_000471

Just for fun, here is a magnetised robot with a ball magnetised to the corner of the base, hanging nonchalantly from a screw on the underside of a shelf above the Greater Blurred Black (Grey) Dragon.

All in all, a successful magnet experiment and a modest increase to my modelling ability!

Vanguard DreadBall League Season Two – Games One to Three

The Bristol Vanguard are holding another league at Vanguard Wargaming – there are some major changes to the format based on feedback from the first (Season One) league they ran for two rounds earlier this year.

There are no rounds and no friendlies, instead every player will play each other twice (once at Home, once Away) in a Double Round Robin format. MVPs are not bid, but bought for each game (using underdog bonus) for three times base cost. I think these changes are good ideas to fix the problems we had from the previous league – it seemed that there was almost a week between rounds while everyone made their challenges and bid on MVPs, meaning two-week rounds become three-week rounds, and bad schedules can drag it on for a few more days too… basically, this format means that two players who will be scheduled to play aren’t waiting on an unrelated third player to bid on MVPs before they can go.

Game 1: Tom’s S1 Corporation (Away)

This was an interesting game. It was over in 5 rushes, because my son was flooding the bathroom and I had to concede and run home to put him back to bed and clean up. Because Tom had played quite a few games in this league already, his team ranking was 38 points higher than mine. Our particular league rules allow you to buy anything for your game with your underdog bonus, such as coaches, cheerleaders, etc. I picked up a human striker, an offensive coach and three coaching dice.

The coach failed to call a single play, I used all the coaching dice trying to catch the ball with my Jacks, and that blasted Corporation scored two three-pointers early on. I managed to kill off a human, getting me some experience, but no actual points.

Tom very graciously kept the score as it was rather than the landslide win I offered him, meaning I got a single league point out of it for a 6-point loss. With the four dice income, I bought myself an offensive coach to keep for myself and saved the rest.

Game 2: Oli’s S2 Corporation (Home)

This was an up-and-down game, both sides were scoring a lot but the score stayed on my side. At the end I had a 6-point lead, but Oli was able to score in the final rush to bring it all the way down to 2 points. Still a win, my first with Robots!

This was Oli’s first league game, so he got a slight underdog bonus, with which he bought a card (since Season 2 Corporation don’t get cards).

Highlights of this game were a massive, never-ending ruck in the middle of the board, in which Oli’s guards killing one of my Robots, who had to have a budget resurrection – the freezer burn took his Speed down by one. Also, one of the scoring ‘bots got Machine of the Match, putting it into Rank 2 – I rolled on the Guard table and got 360 Vision, which means he will be useful either as a Striker or as a Guard. As I realised in this game, Guards are squishy when they get hit in the back.

Game 3: CJ’s Marauders (Away)

This was one of CJ’s first games, so I was helping him through the rules a little but trying not to be too patronising. He had just played a friendly game against someone else, and hadn’t realised that his Orx were Strength 3 (wondering why they weren’t as bashy as he’d been led to believe…) When I corrected him, every one of my Robots became a ‘target’. Another was killed early, and I played most of the game with three or less players on the pitch (at one point, everyone was on the bench!). It was at that point that he scored three points.

Despite the brutality, I managed to scrape a landslide in the last turn or two (mainly through a desire to stop the game and end the violence!) At one point, I picked up the ball with a Jack and realised that I only had one action and that wasn’t enough to score with. Instead, I turned him round and threw it to a Striker just behind an Orx guard, figuring that the Striker would be able to handle it a bit better. He was, and went on to score that last strike…

In the aftermath, three of my Robots levelled up – I chose Guard tables for them all, and got another 360 Vision, a Quick Recovery and Can’t Feel a Thing. Given the fairly deadly teams in this league (CJ’s PatriOrx and Liam’s Z’zorlanders), this should make me a little more survivable. My casualty got a budget resurrection, and lost his ability to transform…

Firestorm Games – Welsh Regional Heat

Plotting and Planning

This is going to be the last of my tournaments for the ‘Spring of DreadBall’ in 2013 – there may be something going on towards the end of the year, but it’s time to chill out for the summer and try some other teams out.

I think for Firestorm, I’m going to try something different. I’ve had acceptable results with the Marauders, but they suffer in that their Jacks are unable to get the full utility that a Striker can – both in losing dice and losing mobility. They have a maximum of one hex movement on a throw, and that one hex loses them a dice. A Striker on any other team can move up to four hexes (bare minimum, most teams are five or more) and that reduces their dice to that of a stationary Jack. The goblin Jack’s chances of slamming are significantly lower than of dodging, so I have been using them mostly as surrogate Strikers.

Looking at their disadvantages and considering the meta-game (Judwan and Corporation heavily in attendance in tournaments so far), I think it might be worth trying the Veer-myn. They have the same speed and distance of a Judwan, same bonuses (being Strikers) and both their Guards and Strikers can dodge well while defending the three-point strike zone. They have capable guards able to disrupt a defensive formation and open the opportunities for a 4-point strike.

I can’t work out the best combination of advances for them – extra ranks on the Strikers would be a good thing, to try and counteract their Skill of 5 (raise it to 4, get A Safe Pair of Hands, etc.) but they could also benefit heavily from coaching dice. I don’t think that cards or coaches are really too necessary, since they are accomplished dodgers (don’t need a defensive coach) and really fast (less need for the extra actions of an offensive coach or a card action). Maybe following Oli‘s pattern of four ranks on Strikers to make a copycat Judwan team, since at least one of them should get a Skill upgrade and one of them get A Safe Pair of Hands. With three players standing behind to guard the three-point strike zone, I think it might even pay to have two Strikers with two advances each – this almost guarantees that they will each get Skill 4+, and combine their upfront offense with a single Guard. Leaving three Strikers to defend the strike zone means there’ll be one Guard up front and one in reserve, so combining a Striker’s threat hex with a Sucker Punch slam won’t be as risky since if it works, I am forcing opposing Guards (the most dangerous on a non-Judwan team against this tactic) to dodge on 2 dice against a 5-dice slam. If the fouling Guard is sent off, the reserve Guard can come on and play it slightly safer for a turn or two.

Having played a couple of practice games with that setup, I think it is a winnable tactic. The three blockers at the back are not going to keep it closed forever – consistent, sustained Misdirect actions will move one of the blockers. In one practice game, it was open for a single turn and let two three-pointers through! On the other side of the board, my Guard was not performing well but I put that down to bad dice rolling. I think I need to react better to my opponent’s play style – if they are sitting on the DB1 hex, I need to keep the Guard there to put a threat hex on that spot. If they are blocking the strike zone bonus hexes, I need to get one of them open and try and get the Guard back to the DB1 hex. And if the Guard is trying to smash something that can dodge well, I need to use my forwards to threaten the target.

The Day

It was slightly disappointing, only four players turned up – Jen and myself, and Liam and Tom from the Bristol Blitz tournament at Vanguard. We were told that the top four players qualified for the nationals in Essex later this year, so congratulations to everyone just for turning up! There was plenty still to play for though…

Game 1 – Liam’s Z’zor

I was terrified – I’d never played Z’zor before, and Liam is a really strong player. I set up exactly to plan. Liam’s dice hate him though, and his players failed to score (despite trying) – I knew that Z’zor Strikers had poor skill, but I didn’t realise they had average speed (I thought they were slow). I managed to get a landslide win in about rush 11 or 12.

Game 2 – Tom’s Corporation

I hadn’t played Tom at the Bristol Blitz. but I knew that he had learned a lot from that game and to be on my guard. My skill increases were very useful, and I managed to (for the second time) get my three-pointer on the first rush. On the second, I got another one and (without realising it) had left a Veer-myn on the second ball launch hex on the off-chance of catching a launched ball on his turn. I did, and thought “oh, my best chances are for a single point, and every little helps”. I scored the point, looked up and Tom was offering me his hand. I checked the board and realised that was a landslide win in the fifth rush! I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself as we headed outside for a nice barbecue and long lunch.

Game 3 – Jen’s Corporation

Jen and I play each other all the time. On the one hand, I know everything that she will do but on the other,  she knows everything I will do. And I explained my strategy in detail to her last week to try and get ideas on how people might beat it.

Once more, I got the first-turn three-pointer but Jen scored two points in her first rush – the first time I had been scored against. By rush eight, however, I got back the landslide win.

Game 4 – Liam’s Z’zor rematch

Liam had been learning how to use the Z’zor over the course of the tournament – he had beaten Jen in the second game, making great use of the powerful Z’zor Guard to keep the majority of her team on the injury shelf during the game. He took the same aggressive tactic against Tom in the third game, and me in the final game. My two powerful Strikers were put out quickly, and my Guard was killed in the first few turns. Thankfully he wasn’t any good at scoring again (the Striker’s low skill being a particular pain), and after losing one of my Striker’s to total death (and a lot of lucky Evade rolls around a Z’zor Guard with 360 vision) I pulled another landslide win in the last few rushes.

The Aftermath

Four landslide victories and only four players – I won!

Tom came second (one landslide win, one win, one loss and one landslide loss), Liam came third (two wins, two landslide losses and Jen unfortunately came last again (two losses, two landslide losses). There’s additional report on the tournament from Pathfinder Pete who kept it all running and organised, with pictures of us all and a picture of me holding a picture of the pitch I will receive! All of our teams were photographed for the blogs – and I was ashamed that my Veer-myn weren’t finished yet. Some parts are clearly in need of some work. I’m feeling suitably guilt-tripped into getting at least one team finished this year, and I think the Veer-myn have earned the right to be it!

I was trying to work out the scores after the third game and I thought I had almost won, depending on who won Liam and Tom’s game. And I won! I get a free ticket to the nationals (as opposed to simply qualifying, it probably only saves £15) and a metal pitch with the event name and my name engraved on it. That’s going to be amazing, I was completely over the moon. There was a scaled down picture of the pitch that wasn’t terrifically clear, and be assured I will be swamping this blog with pictures as soon as it arrives.

So what’s next? Bristol Vanguard have a league starting soon and are planning another event in August, and I’ve obviously got the Nationals to look forward to November. If I’d only qualified I might have considered whether or not to go, but since I won a free ticket I’m really excited to actually go along and see how I do against more talented players than myself. Jen isn’t interested in this one – it’s a bit far to go and we’d then have to get babysitters for a whole weekend which makes things more complicated. Once the new pitch arrives, I might set up a private event too to show off and celebrate –  I don’t know when yet, it’ll be nice to scale back and hit the painting/hobby side for a while. I’’l have to ramp up my practice before November though, I know that the competition will be tough!

Bristol Blitz 2013

Thoughts Before

The Bristol Blitz, my second tournament, is in one week (as of writing) and is hosted at Vanguard Wargaming. As soon as we finished the ManticBowl, I wanted to be at another tournament. I fell for tournament play hard.

This time, we have convinced Oli to come out with us – he’s one of the first people that I introduced to DreadBall, and the one who has come back for more (though in fairness, he lives closer than almost all of the others and has his own transport). Although he plans to get his own kit, he’ll be borrowing a team for this tournament.

So just like pushing to try and get the Corporation ready in time for the ManticBowl, I’ll be pushing to try and get the Judwan ready in time for the Bristol Blitz (and therefore leave the finishing touches on all the other teams for another day…)

The rules pack is based on the ManticBowl pack, with a couple of tweaks. The biggest two are the tournament points system and the “Secret Objectives”. At the Bristol Blitz, tournament points are all one higher than at ManticBowl and even a loss will give you a point – and in addition, conceding a game will be penalised. I’m not sure what the purpose of this rule is, but it’s being organised by veteran Blood Bowl players so maybe that’s something they’ve gotten used to over the years.

I noticed that “painted teams” was clarified in the Bristol pack as being “three colours” – ManticBowl just required painted models, and I did see a Z’zor team that appeared to be sprayed a single colour. I didn’t get close enough to be able to tell for certain though, that’s what it looked like from 6 feet away.

The Day

Well, Secret Objectives turned out to be… difficult to balance. The organisers said that this was the only game system for which their secret objectives didn’t work. In the end, they decided to drop them from the tournament.

It was a much smaller and laid-back affair than the ManticBowl. There were only six players overall (including myself, Jen and Oli!) so the tournament pack wasn’t adhered to slavishly (I noticed one team had only been undercoated in purple) and the Swiss system essentially meant that in the final round, we could either avoid duplicate matchups (meaning the top player played the bottom player) or follow Swiss matchings (so at least two games would be duplicates). We went for avoiding duplicates, but Jen and I played each other again – in fairness, neither of us remembered that we played each other in the first game, and even Oli thought that he’d played Jen that day! (turns out that he had, game two – which just confused me and Jen further!)

As for teams, Jen took roughly the same Corporation as she did to the ManticBowl (moving the skills from Jacks to Strikers), I took Marauders again (this time with an offensive coach and two coaching dice) and Oli took Judwan with four skill increases. Between them, the other players took two Corporation teams (one from each season) and a Judwan team.

Game One – Jen’s Corporation

In my defence for remembering nothing about this game, I play Jen all the time. The only thing that I remember about it is setting a net of goblins that she kept falling over in. It ended as a win to me.

Oli did get a quick snap for evidence of our first game though:

2013-05-25 11.38.29

I will be taking better notes next time!

Game Two – Liam’s Judwan

I found the Judwan frustrating – I got a landslide loss against them. The game was going well for the first half, as I had completely blocked off the three-point strike zone, although I wasn’t able to score points myself due to awful luck (every single scatter in the game moved the ball closer to my strike zones) and excellent double-up misdirects from the aliens. The most-used action was Steal, as we attempted to get the ball back off each other – with goblins and Judwan, this can take a while and often three actions in a single rush were all Steals! When I brought on an extra player to get the ball back from the far end of the pitch, one of my blockers was sent off from the three-point strike zone and from then on, I found it difficult to recover.

Game Three – Cai’s S2 Corporation

Cai was new to the game, and managed to beat me (although not by a landslide). Good use of Running Interference and blocking the bonus point hexes put me at a disadvantage, as well as forcing all of my coaching dice out early. We finished in good time, and I spent the rest of the game watching Oli and Liam’s “Jud-off” – despite predictions of a dull and quick game, they found instead that the score varied constantly, the Judwan caught the ball from launching and scored over and over again. In the end, Oli managed to scrape a win – his first non-landslide of the day and Liam’s first loss of the day. He had been lucky with his skills and extremely lucky with his dice (the cry of “Stop rolling sixes!” was especially memorable).

Game Four – Jen’s Corporation again

This game was over fairly quickly. I managed to score 3 three-pointers against Jen’s three-pointer, then knock a single point in near the end of the game to grab a landslide win. Again, I play Jen all the time so I don’t remember too much about this game. Again, the action was all happening at Oli’s table where he was playing Tom’s S1 Corporation. The score had gone back and forth, Tom had injured some Judwan, and in the end it was three points up to Tom in his final turn. He got the ball all the way to the four-point hex with a Jack, although a couple of us realised that if he had dashed the previous turn he could have had two dice to throw with instead of just one. He had no coaching dice left. Last action, last turn, he rolled… a three. We all breathed out. Then he said “Wait! That was Petrosky…” – he’d named his whole team – “And Petrosky has a skill of 3!”

So the Judwan were beaten by a landslide from a lucky four-pointer at the end of the last game! So exciting, we all cheered, including Oli.

Thoughts After

Well, despite the last-minute landslide loss, Oli came out in first place! I was really pleased that he did so well in his first tournament, since I’ve been pretty much been his only opponent up till now (he described his first and only game against Jen a week ago as his first “real” game, because he didn’t count our games!) and he won a team of his choice (it was Judwan). I spent some time after the tournament explaining modelling, mould lines, painting basics etc. and referred him to better painters than I am.

I managed to come fourth, and Jen unfortunately came last. She did beat Tom in her third game, and I think gave him a few tips which proved useful against Oli in his last game.

The next day, we went to see a friend and teach him and his ten-year-old son how to play – they’re going to pick it up later in the year as well. Between myself and friends, we’ll have plenty of boards and teams to play a decent mini-event between ourselves at some point. I’ll need to practice though, if I want to come in the top half!

I think my next step will be to play against Oli’s Judwan as much as I can for the next two weeks, to get ready for the tournament in Cardiff on June 8th. I’m sure there’ll be a few more Judwan there.

After Cardiff, I don’t know about any other tournaments in the South-West – it’s not always easy to find that sort of thing if you’re not already in a club. I might just relax and get on with painting, and take a break from Marauders to try some of the Season two teams. I’d like to see how the Z’zor work, and experiment with the Robots a bit.

ManticBowl 2013

The ManticBowl! My first tournament! I’ve never been to a tournament before, not for any game. I’ve played in a single league outside of my house, and a couple of games of Warhammer in a couple of clubs over the last fifteen years. That’s pretty much enough to qualify as ‘I only play against my friends’. Since I got the free ticket with the Kickstarter, I thought it would be nice to treat Jen to a weekend away and get her a ticket too!

Thoughts before

I’ve heard about Warhammer tournaments for a long time on podcasts, and was tempted to join in on one of those (not fancying my chances very much though) but DreadBall is new and exciting, and I feel more able to play well. That being said, I’m not getting cocky. I’ve heard that there are 28 contenders in the tournament, and Jen and I are two of those. I’d like to come in around 25th or better – not aiming particularly high, I know, but almost everyone that I’ve played against is someone that I’ve taught the game and apart from the league games (one win, one landslide loss) I’ve been advising my opponent on tactics and the rules. I don’t know how good my tactics are!

On top of that, I only got my Season Two pack a week ago. We’ve had no time to play against the new teams, and from what I’ve seen in the forums the Judwan are going to take some work to take down. We were planning to get some practice games in but it looks like the only time that we’ll get to play against each other (the first time in many, many weeks) is going to be in the hotel tomorrow night.

One thing that’s been occupying me for the last week is painting. I asked Jen what she wanted to play of our two-and-a-half painted teams, and she said Corporation. The completely unpainted team. I have a colour scheme that I wanted to use for the S2 models but not one for the S1. When the new models arrived, I built up an S1 team with S2 models (ensuring I had enough models in two piles to assemble both an S1 or S2 team in two different colour schemes) and have been painting furiously to get them ready in time. I’ve missed off a lot of the highlighting, but I’ve been trying to work carefully and make a good job of it. I’ve got them to a point where they would be acceptable for tournament entry, even though there is plenty more work in highlighting to do on them. I’m so happy with how they’ve turned out, I’m jealous of Jen taking them!

The last thing to worry about is that we don’t have all the required materials that the tournament pack lists. We only have one copy of the game, so we only have one rulebook, one refbot and one pack of cards. Apparently both players should be bringing this stuff, but the only thing that I have in multiple is a pitch (MDF pitch, started to paint it but no details done yet). Hopefully our opponents will be able to fill in the gaps and the tournament organisers will be tolerant.

Jen is just worried that she doesn’t know the rules enough, so I guess I know who will be taking the rulebook!

The day

Apologies for not remembering more about my games – after the tournament we went to the cinema, had a meal out, then back to the hotel to plough through a bottle of wine. It was a real whirlwind of a day. I ended up taking my Marauders, with two extra coaching dice (the maximum allowed) and an advance on a Jack.

Game 1

My first game was against a Forge Father player named Tristan (Golden Forge Guardians, placed 25th). They were painted black and gold. My Jack got a skill advance, but got injured and never got around to using it! The memorable moment was realising that the bloodthirsty Forge Fathers had put everyone in the sin bin except a single lone guard in my last rush! Seeing where the ball was, I took out my only sub (a Jack) and defended the two closest strike zones and hoped he didn’t have good cards. In his last rush, he managed to get all the way to the 4-point bonus hex, he shot and… missed! There was a little back and forth, but I ended up winning by 2 points.

Jen played a Corporation team, and lost by a landslide.

Game 2

I felt really bad for my opponent in the second game – a Judwan player named Adam (Aryes Grey Basterds, placed 23rd), who had borrowed a friend’s blue, white and red Judwan. His dice were definitely against him, and with a few rounds of dropping the ball and failing catches, I think he only managed to score once. He had set up a chain of passing which worked beautifully, double successes all the way to the three point zone, and if it had worked it would be a play that was talked about in history. His last player failed to catch the ball (needing one 4+ on any of three dice!), and it scattered… back to his other strikers, who failed to catch it and it scattered… all the way back to where it started.

My goblins picked it up and took it to a landslide win. At lunch, I looked around the shop but I didn’t see any dice. I think I owed the guy a new pack, since his dice deserve to be destroyed for their betrayal.

Jen played another Corporation team, and lost by a landslide again.

Game 3

Buoyed up by my good results so far, I got quite close to the top table. It was either table 3 or 4, if I recall correctly. Jen had gone down to the bottom table already. I played a Corporation player named Gary (Cryotek Hornets, placed 11th), whose team were painted in yellow with black and white stripes. He spent most of the early game ganging up on my guys and tag-teaming slams. There was a little back and forth, but his big strike zone at the end (my favourite target) was too well defended to do much with. I ended up losing by 5 points.

Jen played against a Marauder team this time (Hyson Green Smack Fiends, placed 26th), but lost by a landslide again.

Game 4

This was the most exciting game of all. I played against Carl (aka @athousandhats) fielding a Corporation team with an assistant coach (Crashtek Wreckers, placed 8th), and realised just how useful they would be (I almost brought one, but didn’t have any painted yet). This team was also painted yellow, and was probably the best painted team I played against. There was so much going on the whole game – it went back and forth so many times, neither team getting more than two points on the other. We both scored a lot.

He had a Striker with A Safe Pair of Hands (I’d been lucky and got it for the first time today too, but that Jack spent his time mostly injured!) on the ball entry hex, and caught it a couple of times. As I was two points up in his penultimate rush, I used a Running Interference card to at least try and move the Striker so they couldn’t catch the ball… and ended up getting six successes (from three dice!) against his two to dodge! He saved a couple, but was no longer a threat. By this time, we were one of the last games playing.

In my final rush, I failed to get the ball far enough out of the way and he managed to pass it round the back of my Orx guarding the big strike zone to score three points. Every other game had finished, and the time was almost up, but it was our last rush so the TOs and a couple of spectators were crowding at this point. He got the three-pointer, and showboated, and took the score back to 1pt in his favour.

I have honestly never enjoyed a game of DreadBall more than that one – Carl knew the rules well, and played fantastically, he was a good fun guy to chat through all the way through and he was just as buzzed about how the game was going as I was. I think the benefits of a Swiss tournament system mean that you should end up playing someone who is around your level, and in DreadBall that means that it will normally be a close and exciting game.

Jen was still on the bottom table, and the downside of the Swiss system is that she was playing the same opponent again – but she didn’t lose by a landslide! She lost by 6 points. She also helped her opponent (Jona) to win Bloodiest Coach, because most of his kills had come from her team.

Thoughts after

I loved it! I want to go again! I will be going again next year, hopefully. Jen enjoyed herself despite coming bottom of the whole thing, and everyone commented on what a good sport she was. Mantic even gave a prize to the bottom player – a copy of Dwarf King’s Hold, with the tongue-in-cheek comment that maybe she should try a different game. That being said, they were really nice and we would be welcomed  back again. All her opponents were friendly, and she said they offered her tips after the games. The TO, James, even came over to check how she was doing in the last two games, and brought her over to my table at the end of the last game because it was so exciting!

As far as results go, I came 17th and Jen came 29th. One player disqualified himself and told the judges that because he had been playing coaches wrong and giving himself an unfair advantage, all his opponents should get a landslide win against him. They agreed, and that’s why Jen came 29th out of 30. If he hadn’t have done that, I would have come 16th and Jen would have come 30th. I really like the honesty and sportsmanship involved – it shows that everyone else was just there to have a laugh and a good time playing as well. Having analysed the final results, if my opponent in the last game hadn’t scored that final strike, I would have placed a lot higher – but that’s the way things go!

We’re both looking forward to trying out Dwarf King’s Hold, and I’ve skimmed over the rules. I don’t know if we’ll get a chance to play it yet though, as I’ve totally got the tournament bug now and with 2 more tournaments in the next four weeks, I want to get a lot more practice in and potentially paint another team (since we’ve convinced @lordscree to join in the Bristol Blitz).

Overall, I’m finishing off this blog post two days after the event and I am still buzzing. Maybe that’ll calm down as I get more used to tournaments, but for now all I want to do is play DreadBall and get back to another tournament. I know I won’t be able to go to too many out-of-town events because of the need for babysitters, but I might look at travelling a little further afield in the Wiltshire, Devon, South Wales or even possibly Hampshire and London areas (if we can attach ourselves to friends and family out there).

The biggest downside is that we missed a lot of the Open Day stuff, but I had so much fun I don’t really care. I don’t have time to play DeadZone or Kings of War, and I don’t want to buy any more stuff. I looked around at some of the professionally painted models, which was amazing and intimidating, but it just makes me want to try harder. Waiting in the queue for food meant that we missed the seminar, but again we just milled around and chatted to the other players.

We will be going again! As long as babysitters, accommodation and transport can all align, we will definitely be going back. I encourage anyone else who can make it to do the same!