I’ve now received the latest and first expansion for Dreadball and wanted to share my thoughts on everything that comes in the box and what it adds to your games of Dreadball 🙂
The expansion all comes presented in one of the Mantic carry boxes (from what I’ve heard and seen, Black for pre-orders and White from retailers) including foam and a Mantic point. Nothing fancy here, although it is a nice way to carry the extras around 🙂
As you can see from the image the rulebook comes in a smaller format than any of the previous books but this doesn’t seem to come with the lack of content you would expect. From what I can tell it is the same formatting and size of text as you would find in any of the other books, just shrunk down to fit. The content included is about half actual Azure content including rules for the new cards, weather effects, new cheerleader content, Blessings of the Jungle and rules for A’teo Adysi. The second half is a more precise and in depth look at tournaments; how to run, organise and get the best out of them. These are also now the official Mantic tournament rules. This section also includes the rules and background for the 3 Kickstarter backer MVPs, The Veteran, Thunder Chris and Drake.
The Azure half: The Azure section is preceded by a good level of fluff regarding the planet it’s all set on, the indigenous population and how Dreadball came to be played there. As I’ve felt for a while the Warpath universe is distinctly lacking in fluff, little snippets like these are pure gold and really help to enrich and realise the world of Dreadball.
The weather rules add an extra dimension when playing an Azure Forest game, with 6 effects listed on an extra card for easy reference. They are rolled for at the start of the game with the possibility of them being changed throughout in the form of Event cards. Ranging from the bad; Being able to only play 1 action per player, to the good; Receiving a fan check for every slam performed, they had an interesting twist to proceedings.
The new cheerleader content is great, maybe a little too much so. The standard cheerleader rules from Season 2, whilst an interesting mechanic, never really seemed worth the cost involved. I would always rather buy extra coaching dice or cards over the lovely ladies :). Azure makes a huge difference to that. There are now two new options for how to use them, above whats already in Season 2. The ability to receive a fan check for any action performed is great when you really need that coaching dice, and removing 2 dice from one of your opponents rolls is one of the best abilities in the game. Imagine the possibilties; your opponent needs to evade with the ball on 2 dice, distract them with a cheerleader and they auto-fail(unless coaching dice get involved), when they going for that critical throw watch as they fumble. It’ll be great to see a bit more of these lasses out in league play. Although it is a bit disappointing that the new rules are only for Azure games or leagues.
Blessings of the Jungle add a bit of spice to things and help even up the odds a bit. These are added to your roster after you play a game and can only be used in the next game you play. As I say it leans towards balancing things up so it’s mainly the loser of any game that gets to take full advantage. These are designed to enhance a single action taken by any of your players whether that be ignoring all threat zones during a rush, or being able to slam with a 2+ strength stat. I really think this adds another fun element to games, without overpowering anything. It’s also that extra tactical element of deciding the best opportunity to drink your Gummiberry juice(anyone who gets that reference receives a pat on the back :)).
The Tournament half: Whilst enforcing and clarifying tournament rules, this section doesn’t add all that much. Whilst nice I would have preferred more Azure content and this to be a download from Mantic(which no doubt it will be at some point). The main difference I did notice is the ability to buy a roll on one of the free-agents table for 10mc, a great way to try and get a fancy player for your team. Strikers for a Guard/Jack team being my interest. A question I have in regard to this however is do you roll once at the start of the tournament, and that’s what you get for the day, or do you roll once at the start of each game like the skill upgrade? Would love to hear your thoughts on this?
The expansion comes with 15 new cards. The weather effect reference card and 14 for play. As you can see from the image this is 6 Events, 5 Instant Events and 3 specials. The specials add an extra dice to specific tests ie strength, skill, and speed, much in the same way some of the cards from Deadzone do. This is great in my opinion and I would like to see more of this in future expansions. The 6 new events are all a lot of fun and lead to some great variation in gameplay. Falling Fauna was hugely important to me in the games I played, no ref checks when your up against Asterians. Yes please! The Instant Events are primarily there for weather change, but also one for devastating effect. Quake is amazing against slow teams, requiring a successful speed check from every player on the field or they crash to the floor. I did have a small query on Instant cards, as it doesn’t specify whether they replace the current event or not. The only previous example of one of these cards is the Ball Shatters, which states it is discarded immediately after play and leaves the last event in play, so this is how my opponent and I played these ones. Again, I would love to hear your thoughts on this?
A’teo Adysi: What a great mini! For a one piece sculpt I am very impressed. There’s a great amount of detail across the miniature from the feathers on his knees to what can only be described as a bamboo glove, this guy will be a lot of fun to paint.
The Trophy: At almost double the size of the other trophy I have, this is an impressive if fairly useless miniature. Another one piece sculpt, which with minimal cleaning is pretty much ready to go. I think it adds an interesting and characterful piece to paint but ultimately doesn’t really have a use or add anything to the gameplay of Azure Forest.
In Conclusion: I think this is a win for Mantic and they are onto a great yet simple way to expand not only the Dreadball game but also the universe in which it exists. This is a must for any Dreadhead out there, and as with all Mantic products the price they are asking for it gives you an absolute bargain. If I haven’t been clear, go and buy it. Now!
I look forward to seeing a lot more come from the Galactic Tour Series
Ordering from Mantic Games
This is the first time I have purchased anything directly from Mantic as I usually go to my local retailer, primarily due to 20% off and no postage, so I’d like to let you know how I got on.
Unfortunately I am not happy :(. I pre-ordered the product on the 8th January, as I was really excited by the prospect and wanted to get it as soon as possible. With the shipping date slated as the 27th Jan I kept an eye out for my dispatch notice….which I didn’t get until the 1st Feb and I eventually received the product on the 6th. This delay has already been explained by Mantic and apologies have been given, and I am reasonably satisfied by this as to the delay in it arriving. However this was never really the problem I had….
My local store received their allocation of Azure packs and had them for sale on the 31st Jan, meaning retailers orders were being sent out before pre-order customers. I think its a reasonable assumption that placing a pre-order should guarantee you to be within the first batch of orders sent out, as is stated on Mantics delivery page: ‘Any pre-orders will either be depatched as soon as we receive the products in our warehouse or on the shipping date as described on the product page’. This has devalued pre-ordering from Mantic for me. Why do it if it will arrive in the store at a discounted price before I can expect to receive it? Why give a statement on pre-orders if it isn’t true? Are retailers more important to Mantic because that’s where the money is?
That last question, whilst a little on the nose, is the most profound for me. My impression of Mantic has always been as one of the ‘good guys’. They consistently support and communicate with the fan base, and profit, whilst important (it is a company after all, they need to make money), has always seemed secondary to the needs of the fans. This dramatically changes that impression for the worse.
EDIT: Please check the comments below for a response on this issue 🙂