Dreadball Midgard Delvers – A Review

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Okay, okay I admit it; I’m a fan.

My third review on Dreadball, by Mantic, I decided that as the Skaven in Space got some love, then the Dwarves in Space, aka the Squats  Forge Fathers, should get the same.

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I refer, of course, to the Midgard Delvers. Which sounds like a gay bar near an airport somewhere.

I’m pleased to say that my enthusiasm for the game hasn’t dwindled with repeat playing and with each game I decipher the shonky rules a little better to the point that I pretty much know what I’m doing. This is a good thing. I’ve discovered though, without MVPs to spice things up the teams are a little bit restrictive in the way they play. Or, at least, without making life hard for yourself.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As depending on the opposition it will make for some extremely violent/quick and therefore fun games, I guess the lesson is; play to your strengths. Or hire the people who have others.

But on to the Forge Fathers.

These models are cool. They’re imposing and dynamically posed. Obviously, as with all the other Dreadball teams, there’s only 3 models repeated but it’s one of those things that you’ll just have to accept if you want to play Dreadball and don’t want to convert your entire team. Space Marines (pause for trade mark jokes) minus the shoulder pads and guns have been floated as an alternative to the human team.

I think the thing that makes the Forge Fathers work, like the humans, is that the players are enclosed in armour. They don’t have any facial features so similar or identical models don’t impact quite so much as it does with the Marauders and Veer-myn. The Forge Fathers do look like they’re going to kick seven shades of silly and then walk the ball to the hole.

The Forge Fathers kind of feel like the end result of lessons learned with the other teams, especially some of the woeful poses and shonky plugin arms. The Striker models have a separate leg just like those of the Veer-myn but unlike the Veer-myn they slot together quite nicely. The pose is a little weird – like they’re tip-toeing almost – but that could just be me. Some of the hands come on sprues but I’m not clear why but I suppose there’s something to be said for variety. Shame it’s more of a token than actual variety.

Cast wise they’re also the best I’ve seen from the range with the bits of flash not in stupid places which makes a positive change and certainly makes it quicker to build. Thrown in very few, if any mould lines, and sensible design and they’re nice and quick to build. Huzzah.

In game terms, as one would expect of any Dwarf model from any IP, they are stocky, broad, armoured like a tank and look like they can hit as hard as one. These guys are nasty in fight, but slow. Both the Guards and Jacks will beat the living shit out of anything they’re allowed to reach with a strength of 3+. They can form a fighting wedge that’ll allow their utterly clumsy strikers get to a strike zone. If a Forge Father finds themselves in a position where they have to evade, dodge or dash it will end very very badly with a speed roll of 5+.

It rather suggests that the way to win with Forge Fathers is to present a solid wall of muscle and armour along the touch-line and once the ball is in play, pound the living daylights out of any opposing team member that comes your way and then slowly push the line forward before dropping in a 4 point play on the final rush. It’s not subtle, it utterly lacks finesse but the Forge Fathers don’t strike me as a bunch that would really give a toss one way or the other providing they walked away with the win.

Interestingly Forge Fathers are the team that you’d really have to play to your strengths with. At the rate at which they’d mang faces the likes of the Veer-myn would need to cheat left right and centre to stand a hope in hell’s chance of beating them. Legging it and hoping for the best would be…unpleasant. That said, as soon as you were able to buckle or break the Forge Father line you could easily out pace them.

The Forge Father’s represent a challenging but exciting team to use in Dreadball. The models look cool and go together well. The faceless nature of them makes the team feel less like duplicates and more like uniformed team mates which only helps with the duplication of models issue. And actually just kinda makes them look nails.

The Midgard Delvers are available from Firestorm Games priced 13.49.

Dreadball Skittersneak Stealers – A Review

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What up sports fans, it’s Phil bringing you the low down on the Skittersneak Stealers.

MGDBV11-1Okay, enough of that.

But it is time for the review of the Veer-myn team for Dreadball that I reviewed just a few short days ago. I’ve been rather taken with Dreadball and it seemed like a rather sensible progression of the first review to follow it up by looking at one of the other teams available. So I opted for the Skaven in Space aka the Veer-myn Skittersneak Stealers.

Now I have to get something out-of-the-way because it’s just daft, and typos has been a hot topic lately. On the back of the box it states it contains 8 Marauders. Well it doesn’t. It contains Veer-myn. And there was 10 of them. Now I’ve asked Mantic if the box is meant to contain 8 Veer-myn or 10, but they didn’t respond. So for now we’ll just say that the box will contain between 8 and 10 Veer-myn. Not Marauders.

But as we’re on the subject of the box, it’s actually brilliant for the simple fact that it resembles a VHS box and it’s presented like the Skittersneak Stealers‘ best bits of the season, which is just superb. It’s a simple touch but a very nice one and the box is deep enough that you can keep your fully built team in it which is immensely handy for storage and transport. For the younger readers VHS are the things that existed before Blu-rays and DVDs that used reels of tape. And you know, you young whipper snappers with your MP3s and your drugs.

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But on to the models themselves. Which are a bit of a disappointment. Not because of the detail which is fine. In fact the Guards are actually pretty cool. It’s the poses of the strikers which make up 80% of the team which are peculiar but worst of all, the striker that leans forwards, with a hand flat to the floor, doesn’t go together properly. At all. I had to bend the ankle of every one of them to fit the arms in place. Once they’re built they’re fine, and they hold together well. The reason being that all the key cut pegs and holes are actually much tidier than the human and marauder teams you get in the box set. The casting quality is also very good with hard any mould lines.

But as has been discussed many times before, the models are gaming standard. But they do the job and do the job well enough. And with a descent paint job – from what I’ve seen – they look the part. They’re let down by the larger gas masks on one of the strikers which make them look very front heavy. But you know what, Dreadball isn’t about the models it’s about the game so, frankly, fuck it.

In game terms, the Skittersneak Stealers are a slippery bunch of bastards. The fastest and most agile team going, but with all the skill of a retarded monkey. So on the one hand they’ll be running some quick plays and are more than capable of making a strike in a single Rush. However, because of the aforementioned similarity between them and dimwitted apes they’ll struggle to make a Strike at range which means playing the long game and going for 1 points scores over 3.

Trying to play it any other way and you’ll find yourself being out played despite actually being the quicker team. And because the Veer-myn don’t have Jacks to bolster defence, if the opposition get the break on you or you fumble the ball – which will be often with a Skill of 5+ – you’ll struggle to regain the initiative. That said, if some crumping and/or face manging is required the Veer-myn Guards are big, mean and make things go splat. Opponents will have to go Guard to Guard to stand any chance of resisting an aggressive Rush or to punch a hole for their own.

The Veer-myn are hugely fun. Their mix of speed, and agility but lack of skill makes them unpredictable to use and to play against. Their Guards are big, mean and make faces go squish. But basically they make for a fantastically fun game and I’m already itching to get back on the field.

The Veer-myn Skittersneak Stealers are available from Firestorm Games priced £13.49