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American Football Game

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argonaut
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Joined: 12/31/1969

i was having a little bit of difficulty finding a forum to post this in, so i guess i'll post it here.

i'm about 75% done with an american football boardgame-- i'm in the playtesting phase of the third complete version in as many years.

basically, it's designed to incorporate team and player creation, customization and development, and play-calling decisions that are similar to the "real" game-- all while becoming the easiest (and the most fun) football boardgame available to play.

play resolution depends on three factors: team skill, the play call and a 1d6 roll. (i'm not great at math, so i don't have the patience to add up large amounts of numbers-- i want my game to remain quick and simple, and be focused on the decision-making and fun.)

i've done some research on boardgamegeek to read up on the football games already available. every significant game i came across relied on large amounts of calculation and chart-referencing. while my mechanic doesn't stray from that formula, i believe i've streamlined the process very efficiently (to the point where my wife, a non-gamer and non-football fan, was able to play the game with me).

here are my questions:

1) what's your favorite (american) football boardgame, and why?

2) does the play calculation hamper your enjoyment of the game at all?

3) are there any features not available in the current games that you'd like to see?

thanks very much!

OrlandoPat
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Joined: 10/16/2008
Bloodbowl

I've played a couple of american football (ish) games:
1) Bloodbowl is one that lots of people enjoy, though it's not to my tastes.
2) Those old vibrating board football games were really, really cool. I mean really cool.
3) There was a game back in the late 70's early 80s where players selected their plays from a list of cards. The cards had pictures of where each player was going to go. You placed the cards down on top of each other, and looked at where the players were going. This let you figure out how many yards each play netted you.
4) I believe WizKids had one last year (I might be getting the manufacturer wrong). It was a card game where you built your teams out of the cards. There was an electronic gizmo (that's the technical term, I believe). Each player selected a play, and the gizmo asked them for the cards of the appropriate position players. It then resolved what happened.

Like many other Steelers fans, I am a huge football fan. I follow the draft every year, and track what the teams do in the offseason. For me, the two things I enjoy about football are:
1) The strategy. Both macro (the plays called) and micro (i.e., how that cornerback used his body language during the past few plays to set up the cornerback blitz that he knew the coach would call).
2) The heroics. In addition to the amazing athletics displayed, there's also some pretty amazing determination being displayed. This is where football separates itself from the other sports. The first time you see your team's running back burst through the d-line and drag five or six tacklers across the goal line... well, it's a rush.

The strategy side is great to implement, but if I were designing an american football game, I'd probably give each player some "heroic" chips, which allowed them to simulate the heroics of their players. Work in an award system where good playcalling gave more "heroic" chips.

That's my two cents worth, at any rate.

slam
slam's picture
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Joined: 07/28/2008
American Football Game

I've occasionally thought about how I'd try to design a sports board or card game, but I keep coming ot the conclusion that I wouldn't be able to go into the depth I like without overcomplicating it to one extreme, or abstracting it so much that it's only marginally related to the game in the other extreme.

Basically, I can't think of a way to make a card or board game in any way better than Madden football. Until I can, I'll stay away.

clapjaws
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Joined: 12/31/1969
American Football Game

I've been enjoying Pizza Box Football alot. Has the chart thing going, but its not too bad. The basic game is good - and there are expansions to add more depth. Give it a look...

I like the fact you can have a 'break-away' play - where with lucky rolling you can automatically score a touchdown from anywhere.

argonaut
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Joined: 12/31/1969
American Football Game

i've read much about bloodbowl and pizza box football.

in my research, it appeared that bloodbowl took too much "work" to play, for my tastes. the same for pizza box, although to a much lesser degree. however, i felt both games included too many "hurdles" (specifically in play resolution) for a casual gamer to enjoy.

the first iteration of my game resembled bloodbowl in that it focused on the "micro" aspects. however, that system proved to be unplayable, since it required gamers to slowly calculate the impact of each player on every play. i streamlined that process into the team skill-based system that i have evolved at this point.

my goal for my game is to end up with a game that is fun to play for two reasons: 1) the playcalling forces you to make "thoughtful" decisions, and 2) the play mechanic does not interrupt the flow of the game, nor become the focus of the game.

i think by meeting those criteria, my game will appeal to both hard-core gamers (of which i know a few) and casual football fans who won't play a given game unless it is accessible (me and most of my friends).

as for the scope of my game, i am working to make it encompass everything from ownership (basic stadium building system), to team managing (player creation, fantasy draft, salary cap management), to coaching (offensive/defensive strategy and play selection). a method to track in-game momentum is being crafted as well, in a way similar to the aforementioned "heroic chips." factors other than playcalling and team skill will be added to the mix, without burdening the system of calculation.

multi-player will be included, to allow for gamers to create their own leagues and compete, season after season, for championships. free (unlicensed) NFL team "expansion packs" would be included, or made available (only mentioning players by number and teams by city), assuming that it would be legally possible.

i expect to be wrapping up production shortly, so if anyone is interested in becoming a playtester, please make a note of it here.

thanks!

clapjaws
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Joined: 12/31/1969
American Football Game

Wow - that sounds great. And also sounds like a lot to include for a casual gamer though. Will you have different levels of complexity, so they can add layers of complexity as they desire?

I like the way this sounds though! As far as "other factors" - do you have something to mimic the 'team chemistry' concept? Take for example the Patriots. They can play and be competitive even if 1/2 their team is down to 2nd or 3rd string players - they just seem to gel together no matter who's on the field.

I don't know if this would mean an ownership factor - the tone the owners set for the organization can greatly affect attitudes on/off the field; or it could be a coaching factor too. Maybe the combination of ownership style and coaching style could effect player performance. Many great players get caught up in a system that doesn't suit them - look at Arrington for the Redskins defense, for example.

Go Steelers! :)
Jim

argonaut
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Joined: 12/31/1969
American Football Game

thanks. it's been an interesting balance. the actual game itself is meant to be able to be enjoyed on its own (pick-up-and-play) by casual gamers, or with the various player, team and stadium customizations for those interested in a more in-depth, fantasy-football-come-to-life experience.

due to the structure of the system, injuries will not play a role, and teams will be comprised of a (small) number of starters. i have thought about team chemistry, but have decided to leave it out of this particular game. (i will probably try to find a way to implement that into a hockey game i'm working on.) part of the reason is that the focus is already on team concepts and the playcallling, rather than the individual players.

thanks for your feedback!

argonaut
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Joined: 12/31/1969
American Football Game

working on a system to remove the dice and rely only on "play" cards (speed up gameplay, make it more seamlesss). experimenting with increasing the number of players to eight per side with the ability to create custom plays, utilizing different player skills (make game less abstract).

email me with any questions!

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