Dreadball 2.0 is better than Bloodbowl 2016. There, I said it!

I really like tabletop sports games, they can be super quick, tactically deep, and for some reason playing a game about little dudesmen who’re playing a game feels cooler to me than playing a game about little dudesmen having a scrap. Plus, we’re spoiled at the moment for options: Dreadball, Bloodbowl, Guildball, Kaosball, Aristeia to name some that come to mind…

I wouldn't like to be that Judwan right now...

I wouldn’t like to be that Judwan right now…

I’ve only played the former two on that list, and let me say categorically that I prefer Dreadball. That’s not to say Bloodbowl is bad (I know you’ll still write angry things at me, it’s OK I forgive you) but rather it has a couple of big failings that Dreadball 2.0 cleans up. Let me explain with the power of Excel:

Bloodbowl Dreadball
Game Duration Surprisingly slow, particularly for newbies. Expect over 2h Quick, even for noobs. Expect about 1h – 1h30
Turn Duration You have 11 players to move around, and things like evasions and supports take time to work out. However, if you mess up, your turn is over very quickly 😉 With only 6 players to activate, this is less of a task. Plus the rules around evading and support are cleaner and much quicker to resolve
RNG Punishment Factor Very high, you make one mistake and your go is over. This can be really frustrating to some folks Your go is only over if you lose control of the ball. Meaning failed tackles and the like can be overcome
Rules Depth Very high. Lots of scope for tactics and strategy Very high. Lots of scope for tactics and strategy
Rules Simplicity Pretty complicated, tonnnes of special rules that you need to understand Very simple recurring mechanic to resolve most events, still some special rules but much less to contend with
A Typical Game? It varies depending on the teams involved, but it’s not uncommon to spend most of the game bunched up in the centre of the pitch in a stalemate until someone gets a lucky roll Again, varies by team, but games are typically fast paced with action all over the pitch, and lots of cool pass play linked up to strikes
Official Models Beautiful, but not all teams have official models. Mixed bag, older ones are crap (but workable), newer ones are looking much nicer
Official Support The NAF – quasi official support body that does a great job. Bloodbowl also has an official app which last time I checked was OK, but not great. Mantic have an official website for managing global team rankings and finding tournaments etc
A busy Bloodbowl Match in action

A busy Bloodbowl Match in action

Some of the biggest reasons I hear people say that they don’t like Bloodbowl are the RNG frustrations with losing their turn, or the game because of one bad roll, and then the sheer length of a game (Yes I know you vets can finish up a game in like 7 minutes…) and both those legitimate gripes are just not an issue with Dreadball.

Yes, Dreadball is still a dice game, but more often than not, a bad roll won’t cost you your turn. Plus a game for newbies can be played in about an hour and a half, whereas Bloodbowl for newbies has taken my group about 4 hours!

If I had to sum them both up with cheap clichés: Bloodbowl is difficult to learn and difficult to master. Dreadball is easy to learn, and difficult to master.

Hopefully this piece encourages a few more of you guys to give Dreadball a go, I hope so – I really think you’re missing out. But if not, and you want to stick with Bloodbowl – that’s cool, I get it.

Anyway, let me know what you think

Jimmi

4 thoughts on “Dreadball 2.0 is better than Bloodbowl 2016. There, I said it!

  1. Nice writeup! I wrote a pretty extensive comparison (in 3 parts!) between the two awhile back: https://doubledowndice.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/dreadball-vs-blood-bowl/

    I like your Excel sheet comparison, tidies things up nicely. I think you are spot on, with the length and complexity of Blood Bowl. Though I did find the Dreadball rulebook to be a pain when it came to small ambiguities and rules lookup.

    I also found the teams to be lacking the depth of Blood Bowl teams. The stats were so close and generic, that I felt like I was playing a BB Human team vs another BB Human team.

    I could have probably lived with all that, but the minis and poor handling of the Kickstarter overall really turned me off on Dreadball. Definitely a negative factor, that I mention in my comparison.

    I’ll be interested to hear more as you get some games in with Dreadball 2.0 and show off some minis. 🙂

    Like

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