Dreadball Season 2 – A Review

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Okay sports fans, I’m slowly working my way through the backlog of reviews. I fully blame my daughter for being a baby and monopolizing my time with cuteness, vomiting and nappy changes in roughly even measure.

An impressive 2 and a bit months late, let’s take a look at Dreadball Season 2

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So what’s in the book? Well, at the risk of banging on: spelling mistakes.

You also get rules for cheerleaders, assistant coaches, new rules, new abilities, new teams and league rules.

Regular readers will know that I’m a bit of a Dreadball fan so I was quite looking forward to this supplement as it promised to expand the game beyond the one-off games the core rules rather leans towards.

First up: cheerleaders. My goodness the rules are fussy but Mantic went to great lengths to reflect the unpredictable and, essentially, unquantifiable effect cheerleaders have on any sporting game beyond the bloke at the back of the bleachers in the dirty mac. The funny thing is that despite their obvious benefit to the game the rules put me off bothering, plus the aforementioned benefit is far from certain. A positive move over Dreadball’s sperm doner, Blood Bowl, is that there is a limit to how many cheerleaders you can use at one time, which stops the big teams from gaining too much of an edge. That all said, the models have boobs so…yay.

Assistant Coaches on the other hand are so useful that if you use the Season 2 rules and don’t use Assistant Coaches you’re simply the silliest bugger in all of Dreadball land. You have to hire a coach for each type of play, which stops them from being over powered and forces you to commit to a style of play early in a league be it to augment a strength or ease the pain of a weakness. Obviously as the league progresses you can acquire others. The nice thing is that the coaches come in blisters of 3 so a single purchase sorts you out for the league. The best thing is that the bonuses you can gain from your coaches can be decisive if timed well but won’t break the game, which is nicely done considering how over powered some of the MVPs are.

League rules are a nice surprise as they’re written from the point of view of gamers, so it gives you rules for a league to suit you and your mates, rather than pushing you towards something overly complicated that results in you spending more time administrating the league than playing in it. The usual features are there such as player progression and MVPs but by far my favourite is the Cheating Death on the Cheap table which allows you to bring fatally wounded players back to life but on a budget. Although after a couple of trips to the quack you may just want to let you guy slip off the mortal coil and buy someone new.

If I’m honest, although the league rules are straight forward they’re a tad thin on the ground and I rather suspect that Mantic saw the rules for Cheerleaders and Assistant Coaches as part of it, which is fine but it should be presented as such.

The rest of the book is new skills and new teams (for the skills to go with) as well as a FAQ helping to decipher the woefully unclear rules from the core game. And I say that with love.

The new teams are actually quite fresh and original although it’s very much a case of special rules differentiating them from the Season 1 teams. Which isn’t a complaint perse because who doesn’t want a team of transforming robots, it’s just one of things that will inevitably slow play down because players will be referring to their rosters or the Season 2 book all the time.

For the money Dreadball Season 2 is very much worth it. It’s worth it for the simple league rules and the coaching staff. It’s worth it for the teams. The only thing that grates a bit is that Season 3 is imminent which means that Dreadball will stop being a really cool, quick, boardgame and become akin to Rogue Trader that required many tomes of rules and a large cart and donkey with which to transport them.

But until that day comes I shall continue to field my Lark Industries Iron Men in all their red and gold glory.

Dreadball Season 2 is available from Firestorm Games priced £8.99.
Dreadball Coaches are available from Firestorm Games priced £7.99.

 

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2 thoughts on “Dreadball Season 2 – A Review

  1. I saw the “The only thing that grates a bit is that Season 3 is imminent which means that Dreadball will stop being a really cool, quick, boardgame and become akin to Rogue Trader that required many tomes of rules and a large cart and donkey with which to transport them.” comment and wanted to ask the following: why do you feel that way?

    I don’t know much about season 3, but at quirkworthy.com, he seems to talk about wanting the game to still have a quick feel to it, but also be multiplayer.

    If you could expound upon why you feel the game will (under season 3) become large and cumbersome compared to the quick game it is now, it would be much appreciated.

    Thank you for your time and post!

    1. More supplements means more rules. More rules means more referencing back and forth just because there’s more to remember. And that only leads to slower games. Dreadball’s strength is that it keeps things simple and is, therefore, quick, thrilling and immensely fun to play. I have no problem with more teams, but it seems they come with more special rules to make them different which both players need to understand to best know how to play against them. There’s also the added issue that the books aren’t terribly well written so an explanation to a rule may not be either very easy to find or terribly clear which slows play down further still. Plus it’s a pain in the arse having to carry around extra books when the beauty of the boxset is that you can fit everything you need plus a third team in it.

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