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Subject: Clock, In/Out of Bounds Die, Onside Kick rss

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Homer S.
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After knowing that my recently got copy was complete, I tried my first game yesterday. Maybe it`s the "80th style rulebook" or it´s my "not so perfect knowledge" of the Football rules per se, but I am not sure about several situations. Maybe someone can help me out:

1. When the offensive player moves the clock peg for run/pass/draw/bomb, he just decides, if he wants to move it two or three spaces, right? I am a little confused about all the text like "he moves it quickly" and such. In my humble opinion it´s just a matter of how fast you want your play to be.

2. The clock rules use the term "advance" (aka "when the football is advanced by the other team"). Does "advanced" simply mean "returned"?

3. Could anyone please explain the (tactical) sense of the In/Out-of-Bounds die? There are four cases, in which this die could be used, but I am not sure, what happens, when I roll an "In" or "Out" in such cases. Maybe these cases could be explained in other words and maybe someone of the football experts could give me some strategy tips for that die?

4. The onside die rules tell us, that the "receiving team cannot fair catch an onside kick", but instead "takes possession of the football at that spot, first down and 10". But when you look on p.4 of the rules, a "fair catch" is defined as "taking possession of the football at that spot, first down and 10". Where is my fault here?
 
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William Towns
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I did a light reading of the rules but I know a LOT about American football, maybe I can help.

1. The "he moves it quickly" is likely referring to the Hurry-up offense. This is a tactic where the offense starts a play quicker than usual in order to save time or throw the defense off balance. In this game you move the peg 2 spaces and roll quickly instead of moving the peg 3 spaces and allowing the defense time to set up.

2. Yes, advance means returned.

3. Ok, here are the situations and their implications in American football strategy.
Punt: The punt team wants the ball to go out of bounds so the other team cannot return the ball. Usually the drawback is you risk a poor punt, but I don't know if that's simulated in this game.
Scrimmage: When a play ends with the runner going out of bounds the clock stops. This helps when you're running out of time near the end of half or game. Often combined with the hurry-up, this is what is referred to as the "two minute offense" due to it being used near the 2 minute warning.
Option/kick or punt return: The option is basically a rugby pass. In football you can lateral pass as much as you want, but this is EXTREMELY risky as dropped laterals are fumbles recoverable by the defense. If a fumbled ball goes out of bounds possession stays with the offense, so this would give the offense a little better chance to keep the ball. As far as kick returns, this would let you run out of bounds to avoid fumbling the ball.
Onside kick: This would be to keep the receiving team from returning the onside kick. However, onside kicks are rarely used and the whole point is to recover the ball. Kicking the ball out of bounds is undesirable, so I would never use that die here.

4. The difference is when a fair catch is called the kicking team cannot touch or tackle the receivers. Onside kicks are free-for-alls, the receiving team gets no protection. I'm not sure if that subtlety is simulated in the game, but there you go.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions feel free to ask!
 
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Homer S.
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William, first of all thank you very much for your reply and your help.
It´s very interesting to get such inside looks. I have to admit, that "Football Fever" appeals to me more as a boardgame, regarding those fantastic and special materials. But in the end this is for sure a good chance to learn more about real Football as well. On the other hand I am not sure, if the rules of this dice game really simulate all the points you quoted in your reply. See my understanding as follows:

1. From the boardgamer´s view this rule simply means, that you choose 3 or 2 steps on the clock regarding the speed you want to drive the game. "Rolling quickly" is not a rule for the boardgame per se, but it only gives you the right picture what happens in real football. Right?

2. ok.

3.
a) Using the punt die with the IN/OUT of bounds die:
I am not sure as well, if the drawback of a poor punt is simulated here.
The rules say (p.10) "if an "OUT" occurs, the opponent takes possession of the football at the spot where the football went out, first down and 10". But where is this spot? Am I allowed to count the yardage on the punt die, even if the ball goes out of bounds? In this case, there should never be a reason to not use this die in every punt, as I simply would always avoid the punt return without a disadvantage. But this seems odd. On the other hand, when the other player would get the ball on the ball´s line without any yardage gain for the offense, this would be very brutal.

b) Using the scrimmage dice with the IN/OUT of bounds die:
In this case I got your point regarding real football, but I am not sure, what the rules of the boardgame want me to do. What happens, when I roll an "IN" result? I think I would cancel a "fumble" result on the option die. So far ok. But will the peg on the clock really not move at all, eventhough I made a full play (this would be very strong regarding a slow play)? And please keep in mind, that the clock rules on p.6 don´t catch that case. Furthermore what happens, when the ball goes "OUT"? The last team in possession retains possession (usually the offensive team), but than we have next "down" without yardage gain, right? In this case the peg is moved one step. When the offense really would get yardage here, a usage of that die would lead to no disadvantage as well, which would be odd again.

c) Using the Kickoff return/ Punt return dice with the IN/OUT of bounds die:
I think this case would be solved the same way as b) only from the view of the defensive team, right?

d) Using the Onside Kick die with the IN/OUT of bounds die:
This seams clear.

4. Ok. I understand the real background, but my problem is, that the boardgame rules come to the same result in both cases (p. 4 and p. 12). So maybe this was ruled with intent to keep the boardgame simple. In this case the rule´s note, that a fair catch is not possible after an onside kick, is simply flavor text to describe reality, which on the other hand has no effect for the boardgame (it might be impossible to simulate this difference while throwing dice).

5. And please let me be sure about the phrase "10 yards behind the punter´s line of scrimmage". "Behind" means towards the other player and not towards the own goal line, right?


 
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William Towns
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Homer, as far as learning football goes the sport is very tactical but very rules dense. Even hard-core fans like myself forget or don't know some of the more obscure rules. No game (video or board) simulates all the rules correctly, usually to make gameplay smoother. The best way to learn the sport is to watch a game with an experienced friend. I actually taught the sport to several foreign students while I was in Grad school, so I have answered these questions before. As far as the board game goes I'll concede most of the game rules to you since I was reading the sideways scans posted at BGG late at night. laugh However, I'll clarify where I can.

1. If you see on p. 6 under clock rule number 2 it says "(1) The offense moves two of the three notches and calls 'hurry up'. (2) The defense die is set quickly; and (3) The offense die is thrown quickly". Though keep in mind you cannot hurry up if the clock stopped on the previous play

3a. Yes, you count the yardage from the punt die, then the ball is out of bounds there. I agree with your strategy conclusion, as the game is set up you would almost always try and kick the ball out of bounds.

3b. If you roll an "in" during a fumble the ball would be recoverable by one of the teams, not dead. I didn't read the fumble recovery rules in detail, so I'll leave that to you for now. If you roll an out, the play is an out of bounds play, so that's the clock rule that would apply. I assume the ball goes where the dice say, but that's another rule I did not read.

3c. I would assume the return team would not want to roll the out of bounds die if it negates a touchdown result. in the real sport you only go out of bounds if a tackle is unavoidable.

4. I agree, it may be a flavor text difference only. If I print out the rules and read differently, I'll let you know.

5. Line of scrimmage refers to the yard line where the offense starts the play. When the punt is blocked it goes backwards, so in this game the ball goes 10 yards backwards relative to the punt team. For example, if the punt team punted from their own 40 yard line 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage would be the punt team's 30 yard line.

I'll subscribe to this thread, so if you have any other questions about the game or the sport let me know. I love the sport and I love teaching the sport to others.
 
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Homer S.
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Thanks again William, I will give it a try.
To let you know, you will find a better rulebook for download here:
http://qfl.49ersfanzone.net/play.php
There I found a 2013 NFL rule book (120 pages) as well.
 
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