Wednesday 12 July 2023

Burstwick Orecrushers vs Rise Roaches (Dreadball)

 Steve and I have started a little Dreadball league to give our games more colour. I have set up a separate page for the league where the current standings will be recorded. The league will be intermittent because of my working away most of the year, but it gives a framework for our games and offers a more organic option for team building, as our teams gain Megacredits and experience, get injured and buy new players. We played the first game in our league and it was a tight game between two quite tough teams.

In the inaugural match of the Tripe Marketing, Mining and Management Board League based in the East Thirding of the galaxy, the Burstwick Orecrushers hosted the Z'zor at their arena, The Quarry.

The Burstwick Orecrushers are a Crystallan team from the Eddon subsector of the East Thirding. A semi-crystalline race, they are strong and tough but slow. However, they work particularly well together and that teamwork compensates for their disadvantages when used properly.

The Rise Roaches are a Z'zor team, an insectiform race endemic to Bevvehleh subsector of The East Thirding. They are also quite tough, but scuttle much faster than the Crystallan can. Their chief advantage is a decentralised nervous system, so they do not feel the pain of being hit. This is a significant advantage when facing a team like the Crystallan, who hit like a ton of granite, because that is pretty much what they are made of.

The first rush begins and the Orecrushers charge the Roaches

The Orecrushers set up in a single line to cover all approaches to their scoring zones. The Roaches deployed in depth. The ball was launched into the arena and the Orecrushers moved. Their guards slammed the Roaches and one of their jacks went for the ball, but fumbled the pick up. The Roaches took the initiative and began a rush that saw them score a single point. The ball was launched again and the Orecrushers slammed the Roaches some more. Several Roaches were knocked flat and one was sent to the medbot for treatment. It would be a couple of rushes before the magic sponge had fixed the poor Roach.

An altercation between two of the substitutes on the benches ensued and the ref gave the red card to a guard from the the Orecrushers and a striker from the Roaches. This seemed to rile up the crowd and suddenly a streaker raced across the pitch, causing one of the Orecrusher's guards to fall over in surprise as the naked entity raced past it.

The Roaches make the first score despite being down a player and two of them being knocked over.

Order was restored and the match continued with the fans yelling for blood and the Orecrushers doing their best to appease the crowd's bloodlust. The Roaches were soon reduced to half their numbers on the team while the other half had their injuries treated. Despite the hammering they took, only one Roach went home in an ambulance. Their powers of survival were amazing! (Literally!! I rolled three heavy hits on three separate players where they should, but all normal odds, have been carted off to hospital, but Steve rolled so many sixes that all his armour saves worked and the Roaches only suffered minor injuries.)

Injured Roaches awaiting their turn with the magic sponge

Suddenly, the Orecrushers got their act together in the mid-game. Working properly together they got the ball and moved up to the scoring zone. A pause as the jack lined up the shot with the two guards supporting it. They launched the ball at the goal. Score! The crowd went wild. The jack had scored from the bonus zone and suddenly the Orecrushers were ahead by one point.

At this point, the Orecrushers tried to shut the game down but hammering on the Roaches and they succeeded for most of the rest of the match. But, in the final rush a Roach substitute came on and sprinted up the pitch to pick up the ball. They charged towards the open strike zone and, in the dying seconds of the match, they shot. The ball sailed towards the goal. It hit. The Roach had scored from the bonus zone. As the final horn sounded, the Roaches won by 1 point.

Only three Roaches left on the pitch versus six Orecrushers but that was enough to seize victory with a last second shot with the last possible action of the game.
Sorry for the blurry mobile pics by the way.

After the match, as we totted up cheers from fan checks (things that the crowd particularly liked, like smashing up your opponents or scoring) and experience, it quickly became evident that the crowd loved the Orecrushers more than they like the Roaches. The Orecrushers' assaults on the Roaches and their willingness to sucker punch them had netted the Orecrushers three times as many cheers as the Roaches got. The Orecrushers also dominated on experience gained, mostly from knocking Roaches over. However, the Roaches begin the league in the lead, despite all this. The crowd cannot wait for the return match at the Roaches' home, The Permethrin Arena.

This was a great match and very close. I should probably have focused more on trying to score, but honestly I played to my teams's strengths, which is knocking their opponents over. Despite that, it was a very tight match with several missed scoring opportunities, and a lot of potentially nasty outcomes avoided by good dice rolling. I need to learn to use the Orecrushers' Harmonics ability (bonuses for starting an action close to other team members) better, because they are not particularly skilled at scoring, but I was having too much fun hitting things. Next time, eh.

For a relatively simple game, Dreadball offers great game play and a lot of meaningful decisions that will have consequences later in the game as you try to keep your players in the right position for the next rush, as well as in the right place to help you succeed in the current one. It rewards planning, and you cannot just rely on special abilities, at least not with the teams we have used so far. It's a shame Mantic is no longer supporting it, as far as I can see. Still, we have a good range of teams and star players already, so it's not like we actually need more stuff and neither of us is the sort of person that needs a game to be actively supported for us to remain interested. A good game is a good game regardless.