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Dreadball Xtreme

Mantic Games

Dreadball Extreme is a much more violent version of the "sanctioned" games of the sport run by the DGB. This game is played in old warehouses and industrial areas by shadow organizations using underhanded means of recruiting players. The base set includes two Sponsors, the men who run the teams. There are also two teams - the ultra-violent Convicts who have been recruited from the penal system, and the Kalyshi, who are fleet footed agile which suits them well in avoiding some powerful slams by their opponents. There are also a handful of Free Agents, less powerful MVP's that teams can recruit to fill out their rosters.
 
The pitch is not the standard Dreadball arena with three scoring zones for each team. In Extreme, the arena is square and the configuration will change from game to game. Both sides have either one or two scoring areas, depending on the game. Also, it would be much too much to ask for there to be a wide open area to play on, so the arenas are littered with various obstacles around the pitch to get in the players' way. But that would be too easy to work around if they we just boxes and columns. No, instead several of the smaller crates will have explosive charges in them that trigger if a player moves close to them. Some will be duds, some will just knock you over, while others have gigantic charges in them that can obliterate even the most hardy player. This changes the game play vastly so that even veteran coaches will get thrown off their game.
 
On your turn, you only get four actions, but you can supplement those actions with cards much like in original, but also, there is a second card type that players can use that give them various weapons, traps and other dangers to their opponents as well as various ways to counter those cards. Each card has two uses, offensive or defensive depending on what is required at the time. Sponsors can purchase these cards either at the start of the game, depending on their level, or through the use of actions like in original. These weapons also really change the gameplay up as your Striker with the ball could suddenly be caught in an immobilizing foam spray, preventing him from scoring and also making him an easy target.
 
Also, unlike original Dreadball, players do not leave the pitch when they get injured. Instead, they remain on the pitch bleeding until they either recover from their wounds, or the opponent kicks them further while they are down, causing them to die. Oh yes, your players will die often in this game and there isn't much you can about it. There is no Ref-bot to call players on fouls and no Eye In The Sky to catch any missed calls. Nope, you are on your own and must utilize every dirty trick that you can in order to survive. In fact, as the game goes on and your players get targeted again and again, the score might be tied at the end of 14 rounds. If this is the case, the game goes to Sudden Death but the ball is removed from the board as are all Strikers and the team who has the last player standing will win.
These fans sure do like their violence. 
 
Scoring is also slightly different as although the zones that you score from are the same configuration, the point values are different. If you are right next to the Strike Post, you get one point, but so long as no one is Threatening you, it is an automatic success. The other hexes are all worth two points, but the furthest one is worth three, much like in original Dreadball. This allows for more strategy in how you score and allows players to either attempt easy single point scores, or push their luck and try for more. Also, when the ball launches, it can be from any of six different spots on the board and then bounces erratically like in the original version. 
 
Coaching dice are also easier to come by as you may purchase some at the start of the game, but you also get Fan Checks like in the original for things like doubling a two or three point score, killing an opponent or even if your opponents chooses not to catch a ball. You can hold onto these cards which give you between one and three Fan Support and cash them in at the end of your turn to role for their support. It's a simple check where you roll the same number of dice as fans that you cash in and can collect either more Coaching Dice, or either of the above mentioned cards. The dice seem like the best option as they do allow you a chance of greater success on actions later and the more you have, the better chance of succeeding.
 
 
Also, your chosen Sponsor can manipulate the game from the sidelines as they have three schemes that they may choose each Rush. The first gives you a temporary Coaching Die for the current Rush only. The second Intimidates an opponent player who loses one die from each check they make on their next rush. Finally, the third scheme is used for league play as they may make side bets on the game which can result in you earning more money if you win, or kill lots of opponent players. This gives you some strategy to your Rushes as even if you are behind, it could give you motivation to even the score or go after your opponents weaker players for more money after the game.
 
Because of the violence involved, individual players do not level up and instead, Sponsors must buy new players each and every game as most don't make it out alive after their first match. Depending on the chosen Sponsor, players will cost different amounts, giving each of them their own flavour with how their teams look. If the Warden wants to use Kalyshi players, he can recruit them, but it will cost him way more than it does the other Sponsor, Blaine. Right now, teams are fairly limited to how they compose their rosters, as the choices are pretty obvious for the two Sponsors. As more of the game starts to ship to backers, the door will open to a multitude of team builds. There will also be another half dozen or so Sponsors to be released, with each having their own strengths and build choices. Eventually, you could build a team composed of a couple Judwan Strikers, an Orc and Teraton Guard and a handful of Corporation Jacks. The options will be almost limitless.
 
As it stands, if you like Original Dreadball, then Extreme is certainly a good option to vary things up a bit more. There will be a total of 12 new teams that are going to be released in conjunction with Xtreme and each one will be able to be used for this as well as Original. Also, all the existing teams can eventually be used in Xtreme games as well. If you tried Original Dreadball and didn't like it, this might be more up your alley if you want more violence and chaos. 
 
-Grant
© Chris Baylis 2011-2015