Dreadball unboxing – the Wargamer vs the Boardgamer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, Dreadball has finally arrived, so I thought I’d review the components for the base game.

I believe that this is being viewed as a crossover product, appealing to both Miniature Wargamers and Boardgamers, so I thought I’d take a look at the components from the game wearing these two different hats and give some of my thoughts. Wargamer thoughts are given in red, and Boardgamer thoughts are given in blue. Thoughts for both are given in italics.

The Box

A nice box with good box art. It’s a shame that this isn’t a ‘standard’ box size though – it’s about 2″ bigger than the standard square boardgame box, so it won’t fit on my shelf next to my other games.

The Board and Rulebook

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreat board with good artwork.

The rulebook is well produced and laid out, with clear examples and lots of pictures. But an 80 page rulebook? I thought this game is supposed to be relatively simple?

Inside the box

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlenty of room to put everything…

Card Counters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are very thin and flimsy – really glad that I bought an extra set of acrylic ones…

These are really thin and flimsy card – most cad counters I am used to tend to be 1mm thick at least, so this counter sheet is disappointing.

The Dice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese dice look pretty cheap – I’ll probably use several from my own collection in preference to these.

These seem to be a pretty standard cheaper dice set that many boardgames are coming with these days – they’re OK, but not as good as those you get in several other games.


Generally good quality cards with a glossy plastic coating, rather than a vinyl finish.

They could maybe do with being a little thicker, and the edges are showing white, which might cause issues with heavy use – I will have to sleeve them.

The Roster Pad

A good clear layout with lots of spare sheets.

This should do me fine for quite a while, but I hope they sell spares!

These will be fine until I can get my spreadsheet sorted out.

The Miniatures

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese look to be a good set of miniatures – pretty well sculpted and detailed. Slightly smaller than the 28mm that I’m used to but they look pretty nice. A few sprue ends to trim off the figures and a little bit of clearing up to do around some of the mould lines, but generally really nice looking – a few pieces to assemble for each mini, but on the whole they look pretty nice – can’t wait to paint them!

Hang on, you have to assemble these figures? Why can’t these figures be in one piece? Where’s the assembly instructions? These are nice looking models, but they look pretty complicated to put together. Why are all the figures the same colour? Why can’t the different teams be different colours? Does this mean I have to paint them before I can play a game?


You may think that some of the above comments are a little harsh or extreme, but I think that the wargaming and boardgaming markets are actually very different in several respects.

The undoubted strengths of Dreadball is in the rulebook and the board. The board artwork is great, and the rulebook is well put together and is clear and thorough, and gives you everything you need to get you started with a league. At 80 pages, its sheer size may be off-putting to some boardgamers, who are simply nt used to large rulebooks.

The models are generally pretty good, although a little smaller and more slender that what I was expecting for 28mm figures. They do require a certain amount of modelling skill to assemble, especially without any instructions, or even advice of what glue to use – just because they’re plastic, don’t assume you can simply use plastic cement! For mini wargamers, assembling and painting the figures is half the fun (or more!) but many boardgamers find this a chore at best – simply having the different teams cast in different colour plastics would have been a huge help (companies like Fantasy Flight Games and Days of wonder are really good at doing this)

For the rest of the components, when you compare them to other boardgames for a similar price point, whilst the cards are pretty decent, I’m afraid the dice are below par and the card counters are simply poor.

Whilst overall the Dreadball game is a decent package, I’m glad I have the Kickstarter package with the acrylic counters and the hex bases for the figures. to supplement the base game.

12 Comments on Dreadball unboxing – the Wargamer vs the Boardgamer

  1. Just a few comments from me:
    The base game comes with the acrylic hex bases. KS money enabled them to do the bases for everyone.
    Models – too many pieces for boardgamers, presume this is a joke. After almost giving up a lot of boardgames before even playing due to the time and effort of punching the counters out, assembling ‘playing aids’ and sorting them all out. Compared to this the few pieces the models come in is heaven. Also compared to my favourite ‘boargame’ ‘Dungeon Explorer’ the models are in so few pieces and a doddle to put together. The quality of the models compared to the one piece coloured pieces in the games you allude to, ‘Memoirs’ etc the models are a delight.
    Dice – again surely you can’t be serious? Same dice as in many of the board games I have with multiple dice that are not custom sided. In fact I think they are nicer, but then I like rounded edge dice.
    Cards – sleeving them would be a nightmare to play with as you have to draw a lot and I hate it when it slips around, Same quality as I am used to.
    28mm – they fit in with GW 28mm which is where Mantic stuff is aimed I suppose. Not heroic 30mm but certainly no smaller than GW 40k or LOTR.
    The tokens are flimsy but most people will go the acrylic route or use glass markers etc.

    All in all I thought you were harsh mate.

    • I think the bigger issue here Rich, is the fact that Neil now has two distinct personalities.

      Neil, we are your friends and we are here for you, but the first step to a cure is accepting you have a problem

      I accepted I buy too many figures years ago and have never been happier, I’m not cured of it but I have a great figure collection 😉

      anyway back to point of the article, which is; I believe is Neil is being hyper critical when he uses his boardgamer side of the brain (or personality 1) then he is when he looks at the game from a Wargamers perspective (personality 2)

      and if Mantic want to hit the Boardgamers market then these are things they need to think about in any future releases, but if you compare Dreadball to the earlier box sets they produced you can see they have massive leaps and bounds in quality so maybe they will get there

      just my 2p’s worth back to painting

      • Rich

        The ‘too many pieces for boardgamers’ comment was not meant as a joke at all…

        To compare this to Memoir ’44 is unfair, as Memoir is 6 years old – try looking at anything that Fantasy Flight Games has produced in the last 2 or 3 years.

        Interestingly, you compare this to ‘Super Dungeon Explore’ – who is the main publisher of Super Dungeon Explore? Cool Mini or Not & Soda Pop Miniatures – Miniatures companies first and foremost.

        I agree with Mike that this product is leaps and bounds ahead of what Mantic have produced for the boardgames market in the past, but if you think Wargamers can be hard to please, spending any amount of time around the comments on boardgamegeek will show you that Boardgamers can be a much more critical bunch – simply because they deal with many more components in games than the average wargamer.

        Negative comments about things like box-size, dice, counter & card quality and assembly of miniatures do abound.

        As a Wargamer, I am perfectly happy with this the quality of what you get in this game. I think this will appeal to certain parts of the boardgames market, with the reservations that I raised in the initial article.

        It doesn’t, of course, make any comment on the game itself – without doubt in my mind this is one of the best games produced not just this year, but in the past two or three.

  2. I still think its harsh – boardgamers should grow up then 🙂

  3. Boardgamegeek can be nasty – but I also really value their game rating system. If I see a game rated 7 or better, it’s probably going to be a winner. Anything less, and the criticism has to be taken into account. It’s good that way.

    As far as Dreadball goes, I don’t like flimsy counters either. That would bug me. I don’t intend to pick up Dreadball, but it does overall look to be a great game.

  4. Okay, as a reformed minis gamer who loved a well painted army, but who disliked the painting and who has since found a home with BattleGround by YMG, I would not buy this game if any modeling beyond cutting them from the sprues were required. Modeling is a different hobby then playing the game. I realize that this may be a minority opinion, especially on this site, but as a board gamer first I thought I’d throw in my opinion.

    BTW I do love the fotos of the excellently painted figures and impressive modelling work!

    • I sorry I don’t call sticking on between 0-3 pieces modelling. And there is no curing of the sprue 🙂

    • I think this is a valid view and will probably have an effect on how the game is received by “the general gaming crowd”. I remember Super Dungeon Explore caught a LOT of flack for being a board game that required a lot of assembly relative to an “average” board game. As someone that also enjoys mini games with modelling and painting this didn’t phase me, but it certainly did upset quite a few. Many of those were upset that there was no mention of “Some assembly required” on the box.. hopefully Mantic didn’t make this mistake too.

      As someone that straddles the line of mini and board gaming and now calls himself a mini boardgamer – I can see this game’s success tied more to board gamers than mini or war gamers. In that light I think there will be a lot of negative views of the assembly required, I rarely see cause for a human sized model to be more than 1 piece.

  5. Completely agree with the review’s comments regarding the excessive level of modelling required for a so called “board game”.

    From the KS fluff: “Figures are supplied unpainted and are easy to assemble, meaning you can get gaming in less than 10 minutes! Made in plastic.” As much as I like DB – this is simply not true.

    Punching counters and sorting out card decks is not modelling, but cutting sprues, cleaning away flash & mould lines and assembly of multi-part figures very much is.

  6. Arthur Chance // December 12, 2012 at 00:35 // Reply

    Agree with Neil’s comments. Compare DB to Fantasy Flights Gears of War and DB is a distant second in component quality. DB reminded me of 1st edition Space Hulk in components. Perfectly useable, but by the standard of modern games, including 3rd edition Space Hulk, outbdated and annoying because we know better can be produced for the same price. Am enjoying the game, but do think it could have been better. Same as Star Trek Fleet Captains – great game, but wish they’d upped the components.

  7. Those are plastic? As in I can use plastic glue? Look like that horrible plasticy resin stuff to me…

    Actually I think you were a little harsh wargames wise and a little too easy for the boardgames!

    Currently this is a partial crossover aimed at miniature gamers, board and war. In fact like Blood Bowl…

    To be a good boardgame release and a crossover product that could sit in the pages of Argos the models would need to be one piece, come in 3 different colours (one for each race – Human, Orc – green of course, and Goblin) have harder wearing components and a shorter rulebook (for a start take the league stuff out and put it online, par back the background etc.).

    Hopefully this game takes off in the ‘specialist’ market and allows Mantic to resource and launch a ‘proper’ boardgame to the masses.

    I also hope they don’t try to market this to the masses.

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