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GOAL: Das strategische Fussballspiel» Forums » Sessions

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Oliver Brettschneider
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Last weekend my soccer-crazy nephew and I played GOAL again. It's been a while since our last match, so we had to go over the rules again. GOAL is a mix of luck and strategy, and it is fitting that the game rules refer to the players as "team coaches": Basically, you can tell your players what to do, but if they succeed isn't up to you.

The game system is dice-based, while the player pawns move and shoot along a net of grid positions on the playing field (see gallery images). The attacker rolls two white six-sided dice; one of the results has to be a shot along a straight line on the playing field, while the second roll can be used either for a dribbling move of a player (with or without a ball, zig-zagging if desired) or another straight shot. The defender then rolls a yellow and a red six-sided die: The yellow number can be split into any number of dribbling moves of defending players, while the red die result can only be used as a tackling attack by a defending player on the attacking player who currently holds the ball. However, this attack has to be done in a straight line along the field, and by the exact count. If a tackling is possible, then every team coach rolls a die: The higher number wins, and the losing player has to retreat his die roll in spaces in a straight line towards his own half. If that isn't possible (because other players are in the way), that player receives a yellow card for foul play; if he can't retreat even one position, that player receives a yellow card. Another basic mechanic is scoring. The attacker has to shoot the ball in a straight and clear line onto one of the positions in the defender's goal. If the goal keeper is currently on one of his three marked keeper positions, the defending coach draws a card from the goal keeper card deck to see into which corner the keeper moves. That way, there is a 1-in-3 chance that the keeper stops the shot.

Of course, there are rules for all other soccer-situations, but they don't happen that often. We played until the first team scored its third goal, and the game was pretty straight-forward. I took a lead by winning three tackling situations and a well-placed longshot. My nephew retaliated, and soon it was 2:1 against me. Then the little shit went tactical on me, surrounding my attacking player and tackling him. I lost the tackle and couldn't retreat, so I got a red card and the player was out of the game. My keeper managed to intercept his next goal shot, and pretty soon the game shifted back into my nephew's half again. I scored another goal, and won the next few tacklings. My nephews players were cramped around my attacking player, so each time he lost a tackling, one of his players received a yellow card (none got kicked out though). My player had to dance around my nephew's goal, because I never got the right number to make a goal shot in a straight line. When it finally did happen, the defending keeper jumped into the wrong corner and our game was over.

Overall, GOAL is a game that - while offering some strategy (like the forced fouls) - is still heavily luck-based. If you keep losing tacklings, there isn't a lot you can do. We both had a bunch of players that weren't moved one space during the whole game; so a red card isn't really a handycap. On the other hand, the game is light and quick enough to be entertaining for an hour. I recall a game of SCHAUMERMAL which took almost the same amount of time to just score *one* goal.

So, while GOAL may not be a great simulation game, it is a fun past-time activity for two soccer-nerds on a rainy day. I'm sure this one will be played again.
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