GTM #216 - DreadBall Second Edition
by Mantic Games

Mantic Games’ DreadBall Second Edition sees the return of the galaxy’s most fast, furious, and fun sports game. Choose from a selection of wild alien races before taking to the pitch in an effort to vex your opponent with clever tactics and stunning plays. What’s more, there’s the opportunity to expand the experience with rules for league play, entertaining fans and gaining experience for your most valuable players.

The first version of DreadBall was published in 2012, and went on to be Mantic’s first major hit with players all around the world taking part in tournaments or playing casual games in their FLGS. Originally there were just four teams, but this quickly expanded to 25 over the course of six seasons. Unfortunately, this rapid expanse in choices brought with it a problem in balance. The teams released from season four onwards had far more interesting abilities and better stats, making them more likely to win events.

Enter a New Player…

Initially, the idea behind DreadBall Second Edition was to balance the scale between the various teams and ensure it was as competitive as possible. We didn’t like the idea of a player choosing a team because they liked the way they looked, but then finding out they had poor stats compared to a newer release. So, we enlisted a team of hardcore DreadBall fanatics to comb through the figures and tweak those where necessary. These guys did a great job, but when we went back and started testing these re-jigged squads we realized the Second Edition version actually gave us a great opportunity to improve other elements of the game, too. This would ensure the Second Edition was even more fast, furious, and fun than ever before!

After re-aligning the teams, we then went back and looked at all the various special abilities of the players. We wanted to ensure that each felt unique and had their own play-styles that complemented the backgrounds/fluff of the characters. This led to the creation of rules like ‘Peer Pressure’ for the Hobgoblins. This special ability encourages the Hobgoblins to egg each other on like naughty children in a playground and improve their abilities.

An Eventful Game

Once we finished with the teams, it was time to start looking at the broader game. In the original DreadBall there was an Event Deck that included random events which would be triggered during the course of a match. Upon reflection, we felt that automatically triggered events were a little unfair for the players and could scupper their best laid plans unnecessarily. You see, in DreadBall, coaches can draw cards each turn (aka a ‘Rush’) and then play these cards to gain extra actions, temporarily boosting a player’s abilities or hindering your opponent’s. So, we scrapped the random events and replaced them with events that the coach could keep in their hand and play when necessary. This adds a far more tactical element to DreadBall, as coaches can save those vital events for when it can really make a difference.

Something else we decided to tweak was the way Fouls work. Although DreadBall is primarily a game about entertaining the crowds with spectacular goals… that doesn’t mean you always have to play fair! Players have the option to stomp rivals who are laying on the ground, tackle them from behind, bring extra players onto the pitch, and more! Originally, Fouls simply weren’t worth the risk, as players were easily removed from the playing field, thus, people were missing out on a fun aspect of the game. As a result, Second Edition tweaks Fouls and gives coaches the opportunity to distract the ref when committing some flagrant abuses of the rules!

Just the Beginning…

Of course, these are only the tip of the iceberg of the improvements in DreadBall Second Edition. Upon release you’ll also find rules for adding Captains to your team, hiring new players during league play, running interference on your opponent, and lots more. We’re confident these improvements will ensure DreadBall Second Edition is superbly enjoyable for casual play and competitive enough for tournaments. In fact, from launch Mantic will be supporting the game with a dedicated rankings system and store support for leagues/tournaments. See you on the pitch!