Dave showed up first for games and while we waited for any other arrivals, we decided to bring a quick 2 player game to the table.
Rich pulled out StreetSoccer to hit that spot. In StreetSoccer, each player has a team of 5 fielders playing soccer on a smallish field (6x10 spaces) in a game represening a backyard or street game (as opposed to a league game on its expansive pitch). The movement is controlled by a single die which is used by the players to move a single fielder. Should the fielder reach the ball, the ball can then be passed from fielder to fielder. Fielders can only move orthagonally, but the ball can be kicked orthagonally or diagonally - with a single change in direction. This does a nice job of representing curving shots. An additional rule is that for every fielder touching the ball - the ball can move an extra space as the ball is passed along. As only 1 fielder can move at a time, the game is one of setting up offensive or defensive patterns in the fielders and then passing the ball forward to score the goals.
One might think that with a single die that luck would dominate the game, but like backgammon, there is skill in setting up and placing the team on the field to take advantage of good rolls and mitigate bad rolls. At the on-line implementations of the game, it can be seen that good players consistently win about 70% of their games. Furthermore, the game lasts 25 minutes (or turns) - so each player has 25 die rolls in the game, which also does a reasonable job of smoothing out the short term extremes.
Dave and Rich placed their fielders on the board and Dave wins the kick-off driving the ball into the righthand corner near Rich's goal starting a 2 on 3 attack hoping to score. The ball was a bit out of Dave's reach, so he needed to bring his attackers forward while Rich needed to get his defenders positioned to block the various ball paths. At the 5 minute mark, Rich's goalie made the dash to the corner to clear the ball out, but Dave pushed the ball just in front of the empty net hoping the goalie couldn't cover. But Rich's goalie sprinted back tot he ball and the ball is once again cleared to mid-field.
Pressing with the attack, Dave this time passed the ball to the outside of his midfielder with Rich's defender on the inside. Rich then rolled a 1 and was unable to reach the ball. So instead, he formed a defensive cordon around the goal making it impossible to curve the ball into the net. This was critical as Dave then rolled a 6 which would have scored had Rich not blocked the path.
At the 10 minute mark, Dave's had shifted to the other (lefthand) sideline as Rich's defense was slightly shifted to the side of the original attack. Rich moves a defender to hold the ball against the sideline, again making it impossible again for Dave to score. Dave was getting his share of 6's but could not quite line-up and complete the shot to score.
At the 14 minutes mark, Rich clears the ball from the corner to the emptier righthand side of the pitch as Dave's team had commited to the left-wing for the attack. Both players now struggle to realign their team around the balls new position.
At the 20th minute, Dave managed to pass the ball forward back towards Rich's goal but Rich clears the ball to the right flank forward who manages to score in the 21st minute tapping the ball into the net. But Dave has lined up his team well and when the goalie kicks off, it is the 6 and the ball is passed up the team to score the equalizer in the 21st minute.
Now it is Rich's turn to kick-off. But Rich's goalie is a bit tired from sprinting back and forth in front of the goal and can't make the opposing net. Instead, the ball is pass to the forward. When Dave can't reach the ball, the forward feints around the defender and nets the ball to give Rich the lead once more in the 23rd minute. Dave's team scrambles passing the ball up the left sideline in the 24th minute and scores at the 25th minute to tie the game and force golden goal overtime.
Dave's push up the sideline had shifted his team to that sideline leaving the center of the pitch a bit open. Rich managed to push the ball to midfield and had two receivers lined-up in the center squares facing the net. Dave's defense was caught napping as they stayed lined-up in one of the column's leaving the left side of the net empty for a powerful midfield shot that crosses the goal line giving Rich the overtime win at the 28th minute. (Had Dave moved his goalie one space to his right, he would have blocked the shot and extended the overtime.)
Rich 3 - Dave 2
StreetSoccer continues to be one of my highest rated games. I will play this game anytime as I enjoy the ebb and flow of the game with just enough luck from the die to keep the game interesting. Our game tonight showed a lot of the features - an offensive charge by Dave while Rich struggled to protect his net while keeping the counter-offensive options open. Both players invested the time to set up their team resulting in the offensive flurry just at the end of the game. A tense, quick game that continues to be one of my favourites.