StreetSoccer is a phenomenom. The rules and components are so simple that there is the clear impression that any one of us could have designed it but all the pieces fit so well together that it is obviously a work of talent and inspiration.
My intention is not to make a review of every detail but to give my impression on several aspects of the game.
They are beautiful. It is not just that the soccer meeples are cool. Each sticker for each player is individualized by name, number and the nice touch is that the style/font for each player is different which fits well for a StreetSoccer team since usually in real life each player just goes to the closet and grabs a random shirt of the team's color and goes play the match. A very thoughtful detail that shows how much the designer and publisher care.
Everything else is of the expected very good quality and I just wish the ball token looked nicer.
Rules and Gameplay
I am a sucker for elegant rules and in StreetSoccer, they are top notch. The game has about 3 basic rules and a few rules to avoid silly plays that would break the game such as positioning a couple of players in front of the goal to make it impossible to your opponent to ever score, or to put 4 players around the ball preventing your opponent from ever touching it.
The rules are simple. You roll a die, move a player and possibly the ball. They are so well designed that several desired effects are reached in a logical and intuitive way. The ball moves faster than the players. The physics of the ball are very believable. Good positioning and teamwork (passing) are rewarded. Defensive maneuvers are very meaningful, and you can effectively block your opponent and protect the ball. You have several possible courses of action with each die roll and often the most effective way to use the result is not obvious and is not seen until a few plays later.
It is obvious that rolling higher numbers is much better. "5" is virtually always at least the same or better than "1" and "6" is also virtually always at least the same or better than "2". Being ready to deal with a low roll or to capitalize on a high one is part of the art of the game.
I like that you can teach the rules in 2 minutes and it is appealing to anybody that likes soccer and boardgames and it is also fairly easy to get people who usually don't care about boardgames but that like soccer to play and have a good time.
StreetSoccer vs. RealSoccer
I have read elsewhere that this game does not simulate soccer. The number of players is reduced, the field is smaller, many aspects of the game are missing. No corner kicks, dribbling, fouls, penalty shots, etc.
This is very true and at the same time shows how insightful the choice of the theme was.
First let me say that the StreetSoccer rules would not work with an 11-on-11 game on a full-sized field. I have tried and the game becomes painfully boring.
Having said that, StreetSoccer has an amazing design and everything work perfectly together. An example, the number of players is perfect for the size of the field. If your players are in perfect positions and you roll a "6" you can take the ball all the way from your goal and score a goal on the other side of the field. I also like that being 6 spaces wide, even if you put all your players side by side you don't block the entire field.
The choice of "Street" over "Real" also brings a few other advantages. The lack of simulation details are more readily forgiven. It becomes more natural to see the goalkeeper leave the penalty area all the time. And, please forgive me, but it makes the game a lot cuter and appealing: it is not real soccer, it is roll-and-move, it uses a die and only 1 die which is a simple stinking d6 but, but, but... it is so cool!
As I said before, StreetSoccer is a phenomenom. It is roll-and-move, it is a sport-themed game (soccer for that matter), it doesn't even try to simulate beyond the basics but has a strong ranking here. Several factors seem to contribute to this: it has a strong following which I think has to do with the broad appeal (at least, broad for a sports game) and, possibly, with the strong internet sites where you can play it; also, extremely well designed rules that sacrifice simulation in favor of playability and elegance.
This is one of my favorite soccer boardgames. The one with most elegant rules. The one I am most likely to play with non-gamers. Above all, a classic!
- Last edited Sun May 20, 2007 3:40 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:26 am
Decent review. One reason for the popularity StreetSoccer is that each game takes 15-20 minutes - making it easy to setup competitions.
Street Soccer is a cool game indeed. Nice review!