Q&A With Jake Thornton, Designer of DreadBall
Jake Thornton, the game designer of the upcoming table-top game, DreadBall answered many of my questions I had about his amazing new game that features a fictional futuristic sport, which can be played on a hexagon grid with miniature models. He talks about Game sequels, upcoming expansions, in-game points system and many more. Check out all the questions and answers after the break.
In case, if you haven’t checked out the recently funded Kickstarter project, DreadBall - The Futuristic Sports Game is a sci-fi board game with a cool game system and mechanics, playable with miniatures. Mantic Games is already finishing things up to publish this game after successfully completing funds on Kickstarter with $728,985 pledges.
Q1- How did you come up with the idea for this game? What inspired you to make it?
I’ve been working on a game for years which tried to capture the frantic speed and excitement of an ice hockey game, and when Mantic offered me the chance to develop a sports game for them I naturally went back to this starting point. I knew it was a cool idea, but it had never been done before.
Q2- Almost all of Mantic games are somehow related to Sci-Fi genre. Why did you decide to choose the same genre for your game?
Science fiction offers all manner of intriguing options for alien races, stompy robots and near magical technology. What’s not to like?
Q3- One of my friends said the DreadBall game looks like a sci-fi version of soccer. What do you have to say about that?
Oddly, soccer is one of the few sports that didn’t influence DreadBall. It started, as I said, with the feeling of ice hockey, but I’ve also been influenced by jai alai, pinball, lacrosse and several others.
Q4- Tell us about the main characters in the game?
Each of the teams and MVPs (Most Valuable Players) has their own bit of colour and background which builds up into a whole world for DreadBall. Having said that, it is set in the Warpath universe (Mantic’s SF battle game) and so draw the broad strokes of background from there.
Q5- How do you score in the game?
There are 6 strike zones on the board, 3 in each half. Each team can score in the strike zones in their opponent’s half of the pitch, gaining 1 point in the closer two zones, and 3 points for a strike in the further zone. In addition, if you stand on a specific hex within each zone when you score, you get +1 point for a total of 2 or 4 points. This means that scoring isn’t just a matter of running to the other end of the pitch as it is in most sports.
Q6- Why did you decided to use a hexagonal pitch for the game?
Hexes fitted better with the fluid movement I wanted to build into the core of the game, and also allowed me to do something more like the curved ends of a hockey pitch.
Q7- Is there any plans to make changes to the game before launch?
The core game is finished, with over 200 playtest games locking the rules down. There’s no need to change anything, though we will be adding more later.
Q8- Do you plan to introduce extra characters or expansions after the game release?
We’ve planned 3 additions to the core game, two expansions to the clean and shiny original version, and a sort of illegal “street” version which may be a separate game. That will be last and we’re not 100% sure how it will come out yet.
Q9- When do you plan to release DreadBall?
It’s due out at the end of this year (december 2012)
Q10- Will there be sequels to DreadBall?
Yes. as mentioned in Q8, there will be 3: DreadBall Season 2, Ultimate DreadBall and DreadBall Xtreme (the illegal version).
Q11- Do you have any plans to make other games like this in the future?
I’m a professional game designer, so I’ll be making loads more games! However, once I’ve finished DreadBall I won’t be in a hurry to do another game too similar. New challenges are always much more fun that repeating old ones.
Q12- In conclusion, would you like to add something?
I’ve written loads more on the design and development of DreadBall on my blog: www.quirkworthy.com, as well as a number of pieces on design theory in a more general sense. I learn loads from the comments people have posted and I’m always happy to see new faces. So, check it out for more information on DreadBall, as well as at www.dreadball.com.
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