Take to the pitch with either the nimble Moon Tree Sharks or as the juggernaut Draconis All-Stars in the Dreadball core box set.
Dreadball is a 2 player competitive tactical skirmish game from Mantic set in a sci-fi sports arena. Each player takes the role of the coach for their team and is attempting to have the higher score at the end of the game.
Each player begins by assembling their team. Coaches get to choose the composition for their team from the three types of players: Guards, Jacks and Strikers.
In addition to the standard players, Coaches can select a Captain who also fits into one of these roles but with improves stats and abilities.
How to Win
The goal of each team is to score points by throwing the ball into the designated scoring zones. Each side of the arena has 3 scoring zones. By scoring in the two foremost zones, a team will gain 1 point and scoring the rear zone will grant 3 points. If a player scores a zone while standing in the furthest hex from the scoring hex, they will gain an additional point.
On each player’s turn, known as a Rush, the Coach gets 5 actions to use for their players, up to 2 per player. These actions are typically to run, throw the ball or tackle other players but there are others.
Many times throughout the game, players will be required to make a check to determine success of an action. For example, attempting to slam an opposing player. Every check in Dreadball starts with 3 dice, but the number of dice being rolled is modified by various game effects. For each die being rolled, the Coach will reference the stat card for that player to find out what result is needed on each die.
Throughout the game, Coaches will acquire cards which grant a variety of effects. Some cards provide a onetime bonus, granting bonus actions, rerolls and bonus to rolls. However, other cards will provide more ongoing effects, which can really give one team an edge. Additionally, any card can be turned in to allow a reroll. So every card is useful, even if it’s effect doesn’t help due to some restriction on its effect.
These 2 player tactical skirmish games seemto be undergoing a resurgence of late. Personally, I think that’s great. I love this style of game and especially when there are so many teams and options for customizing how your team plays, like with Captains in Dreadball.
Dreadball does a great job of keeping the games exciting until the end. Because of the way the scoring zones work, a Coach could try for a hail mary 4 point score which can either sneak a quick win or keep their opponent from doing the same. Rather than restricting scoring to 1 point per goal, no player is out of the game until the very last round.
It was a little more in-depth than I could get into with this review, but Dreadball has rules for getting the fans on your side and having a cheering section to give your players a boost. There are also rules for using sneaky and cheaty tactics like hitting a player while they’re down and trying to avoid getting a foul from the ref. It’s rules like these that really give Dreadball a unique flavor and separate it from other similar games.
Dreadball has been around for a while and was hugely popular when the first edition came out. I’m glad to see they’ve slimmed down the rules and rebalanced everything and I look forward to what Mantic will be releasing in the future.
Dreadball – £59.99 – On Pre-Order: Ships March 19
DreadBall is the fast-paced futuristic sports board game set in the galaxy’s most hi-tech arenas. Choose from the agile Ninth Moon Tree Sharks or the unstoppable Draconis All-Stars before taking to the pitch and going for glory. Outwit your rival coach with tactical set pieces, push your luck with daring plays, or just smash your opponent to the ground with brutal tackles. When the game begins, anything goes…
- Double-Sided Gaming Board
- 2nd Edition Starter Rulebook
- Quick Start Guide
- 12 Plastic Yndij Players – the Ninth Moon Tree Sharks
- Plastic Yndij Captain – Na’Hautl
- 12 Plastic Neo-Bot Players – the Draconis All-Stars
- Plastic Neo-Bot Captain – Romeo Blue
- Plastic Refbot
- Plastic Rush Tracker and Trophy Score Tracker
- Clear Plastic Hex Bases
- 4 DreadBalls
- 54 DreadBall Game Cards
- 2 Team Cards
- 2 Captain Stat Cards
- 20 Captain Cards
- 11 Plastic Counters
- 18 Coloured Dice
Miniatures supplied assembled and unpainted.
- 2 Players
- 45 – 90 Minutes
- Ages 12+
What teams are you looking forward to making a return?