Not quite Football ... Dreadball Review

Boardgames – Last night I had the opportunity to try out Dreadball, Mantics latest fantasy sport game. I've never been a big fan of Bloodbowl and never really got the whole concept of reenacting a sport on the table top. I honestly always just assumed a video game would provide a better translation of sports to simulation. As such Dreadball never made my radar and I passed it off as a "cheap" version of the GW original. (Which to be fair is essentially how Mantic started, sure they have their own rulesets now but most people use them as the generic to GW's name brand)

Now that my baggage is out of the way, lets talk about the game. Essentially Dreadball is like Lacrosse mixed with Basketball. You have three scoring zones per side and can throw the ball into the scoring slot. The game lasts 14 rounds (7 per player) unless there is a tie at the end then you go to sudden death and cannot replace players, first to score wins. 

Each player gets 5 tokens that can be spent to activate players or buy special cards. You can only ever spend two tokens on one player and a card if you have it. When you activate a player you can move, run, slam, pick up the ball or attempt to score. If you attempt to pick up the ball or score and fail your turn ends. 

My friend who ran the demo for me picked up just the base set with some acrylic tokens from the kickstarter. In the base box you get two teams, a board, deck, rule book, roster sheets and cardboard chits. This is more than enough to play a few one on one games and have some fun. The minis are on the small side similar to what comes with Zombicide so you can't really mix and match with the rest of the Mantic line. The sculpts are clean and fairly well detailed for the size they are.

I enjoyed the demo and from what I can gather this game "fixes" any of the oddities that cause issues in Bloodbowl. Not being a fan of Bloodbowl I can't really go into details about those issues other than the fact that Dreadball encourages you to play the sport as opposed to creating a team designed to injury your opponents. The card system also introduces some fun elements to the game without being overpowering to the core rules. Apparently there are a ton of reference sheets on Boardgame Geek that simplify them game which we had on hand for the demo.

If you're looking for a two player game that can support league play for a reasonable price Dreadball might just fill that niche. It's not something I have a strong desire to own but if I were to pick it up I can see it getting a decent amount of table time. I'm going to wait until more teams are released to make up my mind as none of the existing teams really draw me in.