New Teams for Dreadball Announced

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It’s fair to say that things over at Mantic are moving at a frenetic pace, so here’s hoping that we can keep up. They have just released their first ever non Kickstarter backed supplement; Galactic Tour Series: Azure Forest, which Mantic have hinted will be the first of many. Their focus has now firmly shifted back to Kickstarter where it all began and the launch of Dreadball Xtreme. Having now exceeded their pledge goal, Mantic have 2 extra teams to unlock early as part of Dreadball Season 6. They have released initial concept art for both teams and they look like they will pose very different challenges to the existing teams.

Introducing the Koris, a bunch of aliens from another dimension with a real grudge against the Asterians.

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They are a team with a real bad attitude and access to some awesome looking technology, which early reports suggest will not only allow them to teleport across the arena like the Teratons, but in an interesting twist also warp opposition players out of the way or even off the board entirely. This could open the door to some great new tactics and could make the Koris a nightmare to play against.

The second team Mantic will be launching are the Hobgoblins. Of all the possible species and types of alien from the infinite number of galaxies they could have chosen I am a little surprised they went with this one, but we’ll give them a go.

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There is very little information out about them at the moment other than the fact that their guards are quite literally the Hulk. With Hobgoblin and the Hulk maybe this is the perfect team for Marvel fans.

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At first glance, based on the pictures, the models should look good. There is an argument they could be mistaken for another version of the Marauder team, however the addition of strikers should make them very different to play with.

I’m looking forwards to seeing the finished models and giving these teams a go.

There’s 48 hours left of the Kickstarter. If you feel like pledging then go here.

Dreadball Galactic Tour Series Unveiled

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It seems that whilst everyone is either mastering the multiplayer madness of Dreadball Ultimate, or anticipating the interesting looking Dreadball Extreme, Mantic have released a supplement for Dreadball season 3 – Galactic Tours Series: Azure Forest.

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It looks like the Dreadball we know and love, but played in a deadly rainforest…what could possibly go wrong? With new events and characters it is well worth a look.

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The supplement includes a 32 page rulebook  as well as 14 new event cards for your team to survive including angry local lifeforms. However most interestingly you will also get the new MVP A’teo Adysi, who unlike the rest of the Dreadball range, will be made of metal, an exciting departure from their normal rastic miniatures.

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Could this be the start of a series of supplements for new planets, arenas and challenges in the Dreadball universe? We certainly hope so  and will be watching this closely.

The Galactic Tour Series: Azure Forest is out now and available from Firestorm Games priced £13.49.

Dreadball Xtreme on Kickstarter

Dreadball_logoOnce again Mantic are taking to Kickstarter for their next game project instead of fronting the capital themselves. I like Mantic, I like their games and…well, their models are okay, but I’m disappointed that they are once again using crowd funding. Aside from the obvious, and worn out, argument that that’s not what Kickstarter is for: surely they must know by now that if they produce a Dreadball game it’ll make money?

But what do I know? Of the $100,000 target (no you’re not reading that wrong), they’ve raised over $275,000 with 22 days to go.

So what is it? Well, basically it’s street Dreadball. It’s Necromunda meets Blood Bowl. No really. It’s Dreadball without the rules and copious amounts of gang violence. They may as well have named it Dreadbowl or Bloodball.

But it does also look pretty tasty. And the quality of the models seems to be much higher this time although there’s still on 3 variants. Again. The stretch goals also hint at where they’re taking the game. Which is, obviously, in a very similar direction to Dreadball only not. For a start there’s different game modes which can mean lots more players on the…er…pitch? Which certainly adds an interesting dynamic to a game that relied on careful team balancing.

However, despite the models, cool new playing arena and all that joy, I kinda feel like people will be buying the same game only with a different box.

As always, though, we shall reserve judgement until we get our grubby little mits on a copy.

If you’re interested in the Kickstarter, click here.

Dreadball Ultimate – A Review

471e27f330bd96c059203afdab82dfef_largeIt’s time to once again done our spangly jumpsuits and silly helmets and try to catch some speeding balls… I refer to, of course, to Dreadball Ultimate, the third rule release for Dreadball from Mantic.

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Dreadball. The games anyway. The models are a bit hit & miss. Season 2, whilst useful, wasn’t convincing as a real supplement as it offered very little to the game other than teams it didn’t really need. And I’ll be honest when I heard about Season 3 I rolled my eyes and concluded that Mantic must have still had some of the Dreadball kickstarter money lying around.

When it was announced that Season 3 would be called Ultimate and offer a multi-player option I was pleased for two reasons. The first was that it actually sounded like you’d get something for your money. The second was that Ultimate had a nice ring of finality about it which meant Mantic could stop trying to come up with nonsense rules and focus on making the ones they had better. And the models for that matter.

dreadball-ultimate-coverSo what’s in the box? Quite a bit actually. A lovely big gaming mat for use with up to 6 players, a deck of cards, a nice shiny new book and some Giants – the new model type new for Ultimate.

I must be honest – unlike me I know – but I don’t like the idea of Giants. Aside from being, well, giant, they do two things that piss me off: the first, require their own set of rules because they don’t fit the existing ones and the second is they’re overpowered to the point that if you don’t take a Giant of your own to counter act your opponents you stand very little chance of taking them down. It’s something that always really annoyed me about MVPs in Dreadball, they just unbalance the game too much. And Giants are just mental. They ignore the threat hexes of non-giants, they get bonus dice up the whazoo and thanks to their size they’re not the easiest opponents to get around.

I’ve never been a massive fan of Blood Bowl but at least star players were just juiced members of your chosen race/team. In Dreadball they can be used to offset team weaknesses (which were designed to be there) whilst being nails to take down. Giants are this but more so. Which is a bit pants. It’s difficult because I know my opinion won’t be the popular one and it’s kind of one of the big draws for Dreadball Ultimate but the reason Dreadball is so good is because it’s genius in its simplicity and things like Giants rather over egg the pudding. It’s all a bit gimmicky.

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But if you’re wise enough to buy the Ultimate boxset, rather than the book, you get them all included so take ’em, don’t take ’em it really makes no odds.

There’s a couple of rule tweaks in Ultimate/Season 3. There’s nothing really to write home about other than it’s now against the rules to screen the model with the ball. I’m a bit mixed about that as it rather seems to benefit the newer weaker teams especially going up against the likes of the Forgefathers. But you know what? It’s not going to ruin my day. It will ruin Neil’s (of The Chaps) though as it’s a favourite play of his to shut the ball down if the score is tight with only a rush or two to play.

As usual there’s also yet more teams to add to the ever-expanding Dreadball league. If I’m honest, I’m fairly indifferent towards them. There’s a couple of interesting ones . The Kalamarin, with their sticky or hard guards (I’ll leave you to make your own jokes) and the teleporting space armadillos are the Ukomo appeal but otherwise it’s just ticking the boxes to make sure they’ve robbed all the teams from Blood Bowl as well as a couple from the sci-fi hall or fame. Including some diminutive grey chaps. And some of the models look bloody awful.

But on to the real reason to get Dreadball Ultimate: the big mat and the rules for some utterly mental game play. This is where the real work’s been done. The board/mat/thing is gorgeous. I mean bravo to whoever designed it because it’s arty without being fussy and actually builds on the look of the Dreadball pitch rather than just emulating it. It doesn’t feel quite right rolling on it mind, the bounce just isn’t the same as rolling on the board or a table but I suppose the answer is to, you guessed it, roll on the table. But on a serious note, the surface tension created by the fabric does mean the dice don’t roll as well. So, yeah, roll on the table next to the mat.

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It’s a finely balanced thing, having up to 6 teams running about the place, but Mantic just about pull it off. Three players is a bit more manageable though. And quicker. And having that many people playing a game designed to be that quick has the potential to get confusing and lead to disagreements but some how it does work. And having two balls in play at any given time is only going to end well.

With Dreadball Ultimate I rather feel like they were trying to do too much to make it worth the price tag. In the interests of fairness, it does. There’s a lot in the box that adds a lot to the game. I’m not 100% convinced by it all but the rules for 3-6 player games and a pretty new board is enough for me either way. I do think the Giants are daft and I think that they’ll actually make for some pretty boring games but as a one off bit of fun I could live with them. It’d be a different story in a league however.

I do dearly love Dreadball and the introduction of new teams would get me excited if it didn’t feel like Mantic were just covering every possible statistical iteration available, and if they put more effort into the models. Some of them, particularly the the Not-Space-Elves look utterly, unforgivably poor.

But is it a poor supplement? No. Granted the book feels rather padded out, again, but the Ultimate rule set is way cool. Some of the new teams are way cool. The Giants are daft and overpowered but they come in the box so fuck it. With the addition of some new cards and the like and it does genuinely add a whole new dimension to what is already an awesome game.

Dreadball Ultimate is available from Firestorm Games priced £35.99.

Mr Tremblay Does Dreadball

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I have been looking at Dreadball for quite a while and I can’t help but feel intrigued by the entire game. I love Blood Bowl and continue to have hours of fun with the computer game. There are several reasons why I never got into the proper miniature version of Blood Bowl. It’s quite simple really: 1) Lack of a supported model line. 2) The models never really appealed to me [Because they’re shit. -Ed.]. 3) Hard to convince people to invest in another game that isn’t relatively available.

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Long story short: I find Dreadball appealing for these reasons: 1) Easy to jump into a game. 2) It’s an original sports game, not just a recreation of Blood Bowl. 3) Multiple ways to play the game, with the new Ultimate Edition. So it looks like I’m getting into Dreadball. The question remains, what teams appeal to me and what will be my first purchases, or who will forever sit on the bench.

Season 1: Corporation/Orx Starter Bundle I personally don’t find these teams terribly exciting. Sure Orcs are always cool, but they feel a bit par for the course. The corp or Human teams are always kind of meh… in my honest opinion. Thankfully, the models look different enough that I can convince myself to forget how boring normal human teams can be thematically. It’s a science fiction based game and I wished they would have made their fiction more exciting, like humanoid robots or matrix infused karate humans that don’t use armour. I will be picking up both teams, because I want the starter box and to learn the basics. So I will have to take them. Status: Have no choice, but to buy them. Forgefathers: Awesome! Power armoured dwarfs. Think Iron man and thor had a step child…ok too much info. I would pick these up, but @JaronTheBaron has called dibs…Blast! Status: Probably in the future, but not for a while. Veerymn: Ok we all know space rats = Skaven, but who cares. They are an awesome team to play. [No they’re not, they’re rubbish. -Ed.] Unfortunately I own 210 Skaven and would like to avoid owning more Status: Last team I will buy.

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Season 2: Void Sirens: My favourite team! Interesting female miniatures that make sense! They wear armour and its practical! In all seriousness, its cool that they can count as an alternative for the corp team or as their own unique team. Two teams for the price of one! What’s not to like! Status: Bought! Judwan: I dislike the aesthetic of the tall skinny aliens from 1950’s Sci-fi. Even Mars Attacks has a more interesting take on this style of alien. I can appreciate them being in the game, but they just don’t appeal to me. Also their play style of only passing, seems to contradict my hockey upbringings. Status: Probably going to stay on the bench. Not saying their bad, in fact many consider this the best team. Just not my cup of tea. Robots: I like the concept of the team being able to switch player roles on the fly. The models seem, almost too skinny for what they do, but I can forgive that for a potentially engaging team to play on the pitch. Just didn’t have enough cash to pick these in the first go round. Status: will pick up in the second batch. Zorr: They are bugs, a bit goofy looking, but a very interesting team. Not a bad-looking team, but the models didn’t pull me in enough. But perhaps in the next batch of purchases. Status: Not the first purchase, but perhaps later on.

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Season 3) TURTLES!!! I like the concept of this team and I was torn on buying these guys. Teleporting turtles with a rat coach, come on guys how can I avoid that! Needless to say, it was a close call but these will be a second waver for me. It came down to a lack of colour scheme ideas. Status: Next Wave. The Nameless: Not only is this team Cthulu based, but the potential for detailed colour schemes is what I find the most appealing. The variety of models on the team also helps to diversify this team and make them unique. Status: Bought! Space Elves: To be honest, the models look fine and have a unique play style. I just wanted to pick a nice diverse spread of teams for my initial batch of miniatures. Unfortunately, I just find the other teams more intriguing overall. Status: Not a first purchase, but perhaps later on. The Zee! A team of genetically engineered hyper monkey clones. This team is truly original and just plain goofy to play. I like how they are simple to paint, easy to explain, yet hard to master. A really fun team to use in Dreadball Ultimate, which I am also picking up. Status: Bought!

So there we go, now it’s time to wait till my models get here in the frozen norths of Canada. Until next time!

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.

 

ODAM Episode 6 – The Bitterness Show

Another month and another show. This episode we’re all full of bile and bitterness and it’s all about rants.

It seems that we’re all a very grumpy bunch of wargamers. We’re probably over tired and need a nap. Or maybe rum. Anyway, hold onto your fan rage gland and get comfy for a rantapalooza of pissing and moaning about GW, Spartan, Mantic and more.

As usual expect adult language and humour from the start.

ODAM – Episode 6

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.

 

Dreadball Pelgar Mystics – A Review

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The first my Dreadball Season 2 articles I take a look at the Pelgar Mystics, the Judwan team featured in the all new Dreadball: Season 2. The Judwans are the space hippies of the Dreadball universe boycotting the usual tactic of kicking in faces and instead try to out play their opponent. Had I read the rules first I may have just opted for another team, rather flying in the face of my usual style of crump things and run through the hole they leave.

That said, never let it be said I’m not up for a challenge.

So, a new Season in the life of Dreadball, does it mean a new standard of models? Well…no. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still cool and there’s some nice detailing but Mantic seem to holding steady on their ‘3 model variants and that’s your lot’ line. Which is fine providing you know that going in.

The detail is better and sharper on the Mystics compared to the Marauder team and they do a pretty good job with the heads in terms of detail. Unfortunately mould lines run over all their heads and faces so meticulous filing is in order. But, because of the type of plastic Mantic uses they come away with minimal effort. Which is just as well really.

As a concept it’s nice to see a faction that has its roots in classic science fiction but with Mantic’s own twist.

Equally in game terms they more like the greys from X-Files than from Independence Day. The entire team is made up of Strikers so if you like a punchy gang, forget it. But they are quick – movement 5, with speed and skill rolls of 3+ and 4+ respectively. So all in all a pretty nippy bunch of buggers.

They also get Long Arms and Feint (Misdirect) which means they not only can throw the ball further than everyone else – and having a whole team that can is pretty tough to deal with – but they can pretty much dance around any bugger that tries to stop them. More over they get to turn any would be attackers in another direction which means their threat zones are pointing the other way. And that means the Judwans can run about the place with impunity. And that means scoring.

Although what’s a tad unfair, considering how massively tactically you have to play with the Judwans, is you don’t get bonus points when you score. So you can only score a maximum or 1 or 3 points, depending on the zone. It strikes me as a tad harsh considering how easily they’ll get their faces kicked in so every play will be a close run thing.

But I suppose the cocktail of speed, long throws and feints is quite potent. That said an MVP (or two) will be an essential purchase especially if you’re in a league as the Judwans simply won’t have the durability required when going up against teams more interested in the manging of faces than the scoring of strikes. In fact I’d probably try to take an MVP straight out the gate the points are available as you’re only allowed 6 players in your starting team so the team will be two players light. Which is a steep hill to climb on top of the other restrictions.

The Judwans quite clearly fall into the ‘experienced’ gamer column for Dreadball but that’s fine because they present a genuine tactical challenge that some players will find very rewarding in cracking. Against certain teams, like the Veer-mym that can match their speed they’ll have a tough match. Equally the Forge Fathers for their strength. But what it’ll be is entertaining. Which is kinda what Dreadball is all about.

The Pelgar Mystics are available from Firestorm Games priced £13.49. This time requires the Season 2 expansion book available from Firestorm Games priced £8.99.

New Dreadball Teams Revealed

Two of the teams for Dreadball Season 2 have finally been put up on the Mantic website.

First up we have the Corporation Void Sirens…

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The Void Sirens are one of the better-known all-female teams with a long and illustrious history. They have, at one time or another, beaten most of the top teams, and they are always worth watching on the tri-vid. The roster relies on their Jacks and their training focus on Running Interference. This, together with an extensive additional coaching schedule, enables them to react swiftly to opposing plays, and makes the Sirens very tricky to predict. Any offensive drive needs to punch a much bigger hole than usual to guarantee a way past the Siren’s nimble Jacks.

Next the Judwan Pelgar Mystics…

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The Judwan are a placid, calm and peaceful race and the tiny number of Judwanese teams play an odd game of DreadBall. They have neither Guards nor Jacks and never try to damage their opponents; they simply outplay them. A Judwan Striker needs no glove to catch or throw the ball, instead using his long, lithe arms and slender fingers to launch the ball with as much or more speed as other races. Their games are fast and often surprising, with a tendency to end suddenly in a 7-point landslide.