Salute in Review: Dreadball Fest!

Salute 2014

Salute, salute, salute salute salute. (sung to the tune of Black Adder) I’m sure no one minded me singing Rob’s Salute theme tune on the way home one little bit. In fact it probably made the trip back from London go even quicker [Especially as it took four hours thanks to Mat’s atrocious SatNav – Ed.]. So I am sorry to say that it is over for another year and with 365(ish) days to go until the next Salute, I am going to have to go back to buying models in shops or online like the rest of the world. Oh the horror! The whole event was great and there was some awesome stuff to see: so much variety (which is a great sign for the hobby in general), so many great people to meet and I know even though I spent the whole day trying to see everything I probably only got to see half of what Salute had to offer.

The day went pretty much to plan, with no help from Forge World. They had everything a Warhammer 40k player could want…as long as you wanted something from the Horus Heresy. However as an Ork player I was disappointed to find out that they had brought none of their awesome Ork range so I had to order the heavy weapons I needed for my Battle wagon conversion. I hope they turn up soon. Needless to say I have learnt my lesson and next year I will be ordering in advance, still at least I didn’t have to pay the postage and packaging.

Zzappa

But then I wondered over to the Mantic stand…Not only did I got a great look at their Battlezones range (watch this space), but I also got some really exciting information about Dreadball Xtreme and Deadzone and how new rules will work and I am now more excited about both games than ever. I’ll be covering that in more detail soon. Then I bought a lot of stuff for Dreadball including the new supplement Azure Forest. Review to follow. [Damn Neil, you’re gonna be busy. -Ed.] We’ve also made it on to Mantic’s reviewer list so we should be able to cover their products much more thoroughly in the future.

I also confirmed that I have definitely fallen in love with Malifaux and saw some amazing figures from Twisted, Black Scorpion, Taban and Mierce miniatures. I checked out some of the great scenery from Amera Plastic Mouldings, where I picked up a great amphitheatre piece and still regret not picking up another Dreadball Stadium, especially as by the end of the show they had them for £25! I was also really interested by a range I had not come across before – Z Clipz by Studio Miniatures.

Amphitheatre

So onto the spoils, and like I said I did buy a lot of Dreadball. I picked up booster squads for both my human and robot teams, as well as two hard-hitting MVPs Buzzcut and DRB7 Firewall and the Azure Forest supplement. Away from Dreadball I got some red dice (because red ones roll higher – it’s science), and a the aforementioned Ork Big Zzappa.

Firewall Buzzcut

Human booster

dice

It wasn’t the biggest haul I know but it was what I wanted and regrettably all I had time to get the rest of my day was meeting some of the #warmongers at the meet up, watching the mild-mannered Mat turn into a model buying machine and the rest of the day was business, meeting some great companies and talking about their new projects and The Shell Case. It should make for some great articles over the next few months.

Dreadball Arena – A Review

Whilst at Salute this year I stopped off at good friend of The Shell Case, Amera Plastic Mouldings. I’ve always been a fan of the company as they produce great looking terrain at prices that won’t make you begrudge paying it. And as scenery is often the last thing on a gamer’s mind, that’s a very important quality.

As I chatted with Andrew and Jane my attention was drawn to a massive piece of plastic with a sign on it that said ‘Dreadball Arena available to pre-order’. I immediately turned to Neil of The Chaps who was patiently waiting for me to finish prattling. He too had spotted it and was wearing the same silly grin on his face that I had. I uttered one word:

‘Halves?’

Neil, having been gripped by Dreadball fever by playing games with me, had just spunked his last £50 on a set at the Mantic stand and so was just as excited at the prospect of (a) having our own Dreadball arena and (b) not having to pay for it until after pay-day.

So we placed our order and all we had to do was wait…

Last Thursday I got a text from my wife saying ‘You’ve had a MASSIVE box arrive in the post. What have you ordered NOW?!’ Needless to say I unperturbed by my wife’s scorn, being rather use to it by now, and hugely excited that the Arena had arrived in time for the game of Dreadball I had arranged with Neil the following night.

So, what do you get for your £25? Well…a lot of plastic… (Dreadball board and giant chocolate buttons not included)

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The look of the thing is the perfect amount of sci-fi. The temptation would have been to do something overly complicated and a bit mental, but instead Amera has focussed on keeping it functional whilst still looking completely awesome. And the nice thing is that the detailing it does have means you can go as mental or not as you like with the paint job.

And speaking of paint jobs. As Neil and I got increasingly into the game we concluded that the only thing for it was to buy another arena and paint one up in my team colours – the Lark Industries Iron Men – and the other in his – the Halsey Tech Spartans. Needless to say there was much giddiness and searching on the interwebs for places that sold metallic spray paint.

I love how much excitement having the arena brings to the game. It just makes the game grander. Somehow more immersive and fun. I suspect the plastic is laced with magic.

It’s a solid bit of kit too. It’s vacuum formed plastic like all of Amera‘s stuff but the design and size means that you don’t feel like you have to be precious with it which is good, especially as were you to play a league it’d see a fair bit of use. The only thing to be careful of is choosing the correct spray. You’ll need something hard-wearing as lifting boards out and throwing dice against it will need to chipping otherwise. And, thinking about it, because of the material it’s made of, you can quite easily decorate it with LEDS or ambient lighting. Which would be way cool.

The tiers mean that you can put spare/dead models out-of-the-way as well as have you coach models looking eagerly on. As the range expands, or if you have particularly deep pockets, you can have you bleachers packed with crowds. Although if you look around you can probably find some models that suit.

My only grumble, and it’s not even a fault just more of an idea that we had during play, is that the arena could also do with being an aid to play in that middle of each side could have a recess to keep the deck of Dreadball cards and/or a tray to put your action tokens in as you use them. To be fair it would detract from the authenticity of the arena but it’d be very convenient.

I absolutely bloody love the arena. It’s a total non-essential but makes the game just better. You can’t help but get captivated by that stadium atmosphere. And amusingly enough my iPhone fit in the recess that’s meant to look like the Jumbovision which means that you can bust out some appropriate tunes whilst you play. It’s also light weight and easy to store whilst being tough enough to take the punishment of regular use. And considering all of that £25 is an absolute bargain.