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Subject: Slaughterball Season 1/ Wave 2 component review and discussion rss

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ogmund prime
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Greetings fellow and future coaches! With wave 2 of the kickstarter traveling around the world to backers I thought that I would do a write up on everything. Now anyone that follows Slaughterball threads knows that I am a big fan. Potential coaches on the fence looking for information on whether to purchase or pass often ignore fan reviews due to a favorable bias. Please know that I take reviewing any game seriously. I will cover positives, negatives, compliments, critiques, and criticisms equally. That said, lets dive into all the crunchy goodness!

First off, the second wave items greatly expand the Slaughterball universe. The most important additions are the expansion teams. Four teams are added bringing the total to eight. Each has their own unique play style and brings new play options to the strategic play styles that were introduced in the Slaughterball Deluxe game.

Team "Fury" is comprised of Flash Gordon style animen. The gengineered tigers bring the most lethal option for combat "chop" oriented coaches. There is a unique gambling option with them. They can lower their already below average toughness in order to boost their brawling prowess. The result often leads to the opponent being shipped off to the slaughterbox, but can backfire and leave your own athlete injured. The miniatures are wonderful and full of character. The orange plastic chosen suffers from the same problem that team Carnage had. The facial detail tends to get lost. In actuality the models have wonderful detail but will require a proper painting or at the very least a simple ink wash to bring out the sculpting.

The team boxes are ok. The cardboard stock is rather thin and partial to dents if you are not careful. I had two of my boxes damaged during the shipping process. This is not the fault of ShipNaked. They clearly marked every side of my box "fragile". Despite the obvious need for caution, FedEx at some point decided to place my box upside-down. This caused the significant weight of the expansion arena boards to drop on top of the more fragile boxes. Fortunately the dents were able to be reshaped. The miniatures inside were perfectly fine and well protected thanks to a change in plastic for their carry/storage trays. This is one of the best things about Erik at Frogthewhatgames. He listens to his game owners. One of the complaints with the base game revolved around the transport trays that the miniatures came in. They were not strong enough to act as a storage option. Erik took the critiques in, evaluated, agreed, and made an adjustment and upgrade to the expansion team trays. Well, the upgrade paid off. Erik is already aware of the cardboard stock issue. He agreed that the final product was not thick enough and will more than likely upgrade for future product and printings.

Team "Gruesomes" are a Frankenstein's monster team of flesh crafted monstrosities. Definitely the toughest team to date but rather slow with a speed comparable to Carnage. They have a unique lineup featuring 2 butchers/2 razors. This allows for the coach to craft their team as either chop or goal oriented. For Blood Bowl players I compare them to the undead. You may suffer early losses but while other coaches have to spend their earnings to replace injured athletes you will instead be free to buy upgrade abilities. Slow and steady wins the day. Backers participated in the final color of the miniatures. I'm happy to say that both sides of the voting will be happy. They are not the bright toxic green as shown in some photos. The final color came out as a wonderful cross between the toxic green and a putrid flesh green. They stand out well against the army green of the Carnage models. I'm very happy with how they turned out. The final pose of the Slasher also came out well. He had a balance issue that caused several adjustments during the production process. I had one slasher that required the hot water/ice water treatment but am happy to say that all three now can stand toe to toe with most butchers. In fact, the Gruesomes slasher is the size of the Valkyries butcher with the massive Gruesomes butcher now towering in as the tallest miniature in the game!


Team "Katanas" are a cross between future and feudal japan. Modern day samurai warriors that take the fight to their opponents with an intimidating 3 butcher lineup. They definitely have the ability to score goals but with so many athletes that favor chop attacks, scoring goals will always be second fiddle. The plastic of the expansion teams lack the same "sheen" the base game teams had. This is a good thing since it helps to differentiate between the Katanas and Nemesis. Their two team colors are very similar, too similar for my taste. The color of team Nemesis was changed during production from a light blue to a darker blue even though the Katanas were already designated for dark blue. It's not a deal breaker. If you are planning on painting up your teams then there is no issue at all. There are only so many colors before you have to start adjusting shades. Frogthewhatgames has another 8 teams in playtesting with another 8 in the initial development and brainstorming. When the final team is tallied, I'm sure that there will be several teams with similar plastics.


Team "Legion". The Roman Empire lives on! They specialize in teamwork and synergy. This is what I love about Slaughterball. If you want historical there is a team for you. If you want sci fi there is a team for you. If you want pulp there is a team for you. If you want fantasy there is a team for you. If you want horror there is a team for you. If you want fun...every team is for you. Not much to criticize about Legion. I love the design, miniatures, coloring, and play style.


Additional upgrade worth noting. All the team and maverick stat cards have been given rounded corners. Some of the base box stat cards had the potential to be damaged during shipping since they sit loose in the box. Corners could be pinched or bent. The rounded ends now help to prevent this and preserve shelf life.

Maverick set KS1. Unfortunately the KS is exactly what you think it is. I have a love hate relationship with kickstarter exclusives. I understand that they are a necessary evil to entice backers that would normally wait for a retail release. Fortunately, there are only five celebrity mavericks and they don't make the game feel incomplete. Frogthewhatgames will still make them available for conventions, promotions, prize support, and possibly future kickstarters. The elusive five for the completionist collectors are:
Tom Vasel (Dice Tower)
Ryan Metzler (Dice Tower)
Angry Joe Vargas (The Angry Joe Show)
Sandy Peterson (Cthulhu Wars)
Warren Johnston (Beasts of War)

Even without the miniatures you can still play with them via proxy. All of the stat cards have been released in kickstarter updates. Give them a try and see if they are worth tracking down.
You will notice that there is a sixth model included in the box. Luly was the first canon maverick unlocked. She joins the four base game mavericks as an official miniature. She will probably receive a different packaging option once more mavericks are released. Luly is the only sculpt that I will modify. I'm planning on raising her top right arm upright to match her artwork. Very "Bruce Lee" like pose. Most of the sculpts for Slaughterball are top notch. Very dramatic and action orientated depending on their position.

Team Arena boards. THESE ARE MUST HAVES! Each team gains a home advantage arena. All teams can either suffer or gain from the new board elements, but usually the home team benefits more...sometimes. Last time I played Fury my butchers spent more time on their backsides thanks to some persistent tangle vines! The artwork for all the boards is AWESOME! I will be downloading board element photos to the image section of each new arena. For now I will give a brief rundown of the new game elements that each board adds.

The Dungeon (Carnage) Added spikes throughout the pit that injure athletes similar to the meat grinder. Blood and rust = Carnage

The Core (Nemesis) A tron-like atmosphere with cache icons that allow the athlete to either draw a card or take an edge token.

Olympus (Swords of Damocles) A Greek arena with twice the number of goals.

Valhalla (Valkyries) Icons both near the center and at the edges allow athletes to either heal a teammate or outright kill an opponent, removing them from the game! Will you chose the living or the slain!

The Jungle (Fury) Tangle vines trip up low agile athletes and flame spouts send the rest to the slaughterbox.

The Lab (Gruesomes) Lightning arcs punish low toughness athletes. Tread carefully or your toast.

The Dojo (Katanas) The entire pitch is smaller. Chopping teams will find it easier to get their mits on those elusive razors.

The Colosseum (Legion) The pit becomes a gladiator contest with wild mavericks entering the pit and striking out at every athlete on every team.
NOTE: There is an unfortunate printing error on both sides of this board. The launchers are missing their designation numbers. You will have to choose a launcher as #1 and just count clockwise around the board.

The sleeper board that no one really talked about has become the most influential. I'm referring to the 2 player "Quad" board.


Slaughterball finally gets a coffee table game instead of a "clear the kitchen table" game!

I can't stress how great it will be to grab a friend and get in a convenient quick game in under an hour. There are enough changes in the board to make it feel like an intense battle to the finish. Slaughterball meets Thunderdome; TWO TEAMS ENTER, ONE TEAM LEAVES!

Team Dice Packs: Unfortunately photos don't do them justice. The team dice packs are top notch. The dice were one of the few low points with Slaughterball Deluxe. I have seen the dice from five different sets and in each there were anywhere from three to seven of the twenty one dice that didn't make the grade. Simple sloppy factory work created icons that weren't centered, ink that overfilled the icons obscuring detail or too thin causing early wear. It was disappointing. The team dice are a 100% improvement! Consistent icons, ink accentuating amazing detail, vibrant colors. Excellent quality! I feel that each coach should have 20 dice available. I've rolled as many as 22 dice at one time. If you want quality dice, or just more dice pick up the team dice packs available in all eight team colors with a differing "skull" icon. My favorite is the Valkyrie helm. Once again I wish my photos did them justice but you will just have to see them for yourself.

Dice bags: Both in a generic blood stained black and the eight team colors with respected logo. Outstanding look and quality. The logos are pressed well and have yet to show any sign of flecking or wear.

Bonus cards: Coach cards, athlete cards, blank cards
Most of these are kickstarter exclusives, but apart from the Coach cards you're not missing much. The athlete cards are a fun "baseball card" style collectable. There are a few images with the names and background history of backers that pledged a certain amount. Three have unique artwork designed by the backers to become their own maverick. The rest are the names of canon athletes. I like these. I have a thread that lists the current exhibition lineup of each team. I wish that Erik would create a complete set of all the canon athletes. They would make a great cheap prize support option that adds to the Slaughterball universe "fluff". Coaches could be collecting and trading their favorite athletes in between game sessions. Lots of fun.
Never really been a fan of blank cards that allow players to make their own. I could definitely see coaches adding a couple more cards that allow players to reenter from the slaughterbox, but balance issues would prevent any official use.

The Coach cards were a backer assisted item. An optional deck of 20 powerful cards used in League play. Draw two, keep one that can be played some time during the match. Not really needed but a wonderful option for variety. I do hope that the Coach deck makes a reappearance in the next Kickstarter. Coaches that missed the kickstarter should have the opportunity to pick this up in the future. Perhaps we may be able to add additional cards to expand the deck? This is the only exclusive that I consider a loss to future coaches.


You can't talk about cards without including sleeves...this brings us to the low point of wave 2. The Slaughterball sleeves are horrible. Another backer has said that he loves the sleeves. Wish I could say the same. In Frogthewhatgames defense, it was very difficult getting factory samples for certain items. Erik said that he only received two individual sleeves to judge quality and waiting for more would have caused additional delays that he wasn't willing to place on backers. See for yourself.


Miscut both left and right plus differing colors make the uniformity needed for the deck impossible. A shady coach could easily place that elusive "Axed" card in a miscut sleeve to make it easier to cheat. The back of the Slaughterball card is pretty basic. Is it that hard to center a sphere? Simple sloppy factory work.

Plastic token set: A very nice set of grey plastic onslaughts, round marker, and gate tokens. Most are the thickness of an American nickel. Only the gates are slightly thinner but larger in diameter. The gate detail is good and could be great with a decent paint job. These will be an elusive kickstarter set to get your hands on. I can't see many people wanting to sell their set off.

Shapeways.Com makes plastic tokens and differing sizes for slaughterballs, though you will have to pay more than you like.

Plastic injury token set: I absolutely LOVE these. You receive enough to completely replace the cardboard tokens. The plastic is harder with very little give so be cautious. I would compare it to Heroquest plastic...and I have a handful of broken goblin weapons to attest.

As you can see, they look amazing on the board. Significantly smaller than the cardboard tokens. They fit much nicer on the athletes and are very satisfying to use. Piling up the butcher knives or thumping down a massive butcher cleaver is great fun! Probably the most elusive of the kickstarter exclusives, they were not part of any pledge level. Instead they were an add-on that most backers passed on in favor of the expansion teams. I can definitely see Erik having these as an add-on for future kickstarters. They are just too awesome not to offer again.

Dry erase scoreboard: If you think that the score tracker on the board is too small or too busy then you might want to pick up a scoreboard. I'm rather "meh" on it but Erik has posted some cool photos from conventions where play testers are holding it up with the final results. If you are looking to demo Slaughterball in the future, this is a cool option.


Overall wave 2 really fills the few gaps that the base game needed. Added variety, increased replay ablilty, and upgraded component quality. Truly a first class showing from a small unknown company that will quickly be on everyones radar. Apart from the hiccups with the sleeves and the misprint Colosseum board I can say that I am both content and satisfied...that is until the kickstarter for season 2. Mwah ha ha!

To wrap up I'll leave you with some images of the completed teams for my upcoming league.









Side note: The support staff and cheerleader cards weren't a part of the kickstarter. They are currently available for purchase at Gamecrafters. Also if you choose to purchase a large shipment make sure to order the teams separate from the arena boards to prevent another crushed box incident.

Cheers, and good gaming
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Gah I wish I would have known about the kickstarter.....
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Jonan Jello
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Thorough and informative, ogmumd prime.
Thanks for sharing your insight and photos.

Quote:
The Core (Nemesis) A tron-like atmosphere with cache icons that allow the athlete to either draw a card or take an edge token.
So is this arena a KS exclusive or not? Seems it's not available to pre-order on the Slaughterball net site.
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ogmund prime
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The Core for Nemesis should definitely be available unless the first printing is already sold out? The Core was included in "Butcher" pledges, so unless the factory printed extra copies the stock would be lower than the other boards.

To make sure you don't miss the next Kickstarter make sure to subscribe to their newsletter at slaughterball.net

I'm already setting money aside so I will have enough to purchase all the add-ons at the discounted price before they hit retail.
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Erik Kjerland
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Thanks for the great review of the Wave 2 stuff, Ogmund!

Yes, I was disappointed with the sleeves and team box thickness. But, I have learned a lot, and will correct those issues in the next KS. I will also be doing a Kickstarter update with my thoughts about how everything went. That's some weeks away, as I want to make sure all backers have received their rewards first and all backer feedback is considered.

To thank you for this review, here is a mystery peek at part of something coming in season 2:




Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Thorough and informative, ogmumd prime.
Thanks for sharing your insight and photos.

Quote:
The Core (Nemesis) A tron-like atmosphere with cache icons that allow the athlete to either draw a card or take an edge token.
So is this arena a KS exclusive or not? Seems it's not available to pre-order on the Slaughterball net site.


Jonan, none of the arenas are KS exclusive. The Core was included in all Butcher pledges, so supplies were quickly expended. There may be a 10 or 20 left, but I'm holding those until all backers get their rewards and any spoilage/shipping damage is accounted for.
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John Dominguez
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Ogmund,
Thanks for the great review! I love the boards and the 2 player arena changes the game so much from the massive 4 player board. What sleeves are you using for the cards? Anyone have a recommendation?
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John Dominguez
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Erik,
I've backed dozens of Kickstarters and yours was in my top 5 for how you ran it. Great job for a first timer. I'm super happy with my items and look forward to season 2. Give me rabbits and the Conan maverick!
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Peter Dorsett
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yynderjohn wrote:
Erik,
I've backed dozens of Kickstarters and yours was in my top 5


Well I can't say I have backed dozens, but I've backed a few and I very much agree. Loved the integrity of this one - it was a blast to be a part of - it's sad to have it all come to end now, to be honest.

Ogmund - that was an exceptional review. Really, really great.
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ogmund prime
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Thank you Peter, though not as good as your most excellent videos...speaking of...any chance of getting a video for your wave 2 items?

I'm not sad at all. Now the gaming can commence in earnest. Demos, conventions, league play. Before you know it season 2 previews and sneak peeks will begin (starting with the bloody buzzsaw that Erik just leaked!)

This isn't the end, it's just the start of the journey!
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Reed Dawley
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yynderjohn wrote:
Erik,
I've backed dozens of Kickstarters and yours was in my top 5 for how you ran it. Great job for a first timer. I'm super happy with my items and look forward to season 2. Give me rabbits and the Conan maverick!


I've backed hundreds(just checked, 297) and I agree wholeheartedly with how this was all handled. Actively answering questions, involved in the forums and just having fun with the players. The next season will be an instaback for me.
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Erik Kjerland
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Thanks, all, for your kind words about the Slaughterball KS. I'm a board gamer so I was happy all the backers got involved to help make Slaughterball better. Your help with the coach cards and arenas was awesome!

I think the main reason that Slaughterball and the KS went well was that I always based my decisions on how I would want other publishers to treat me. The Golden Rule is the way to go. I wonder if we could turn that into a future Coach Card?
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