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Subject: Grind rules vs other Fantasy Sports sports games... rss

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Thomas Grimstad
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Grind seems to have an interesting dynamic compared to other Fantasy "football" type games and here I would like to compare them on similarities and differences in the rules. The FF games I know are Blood bowl, Elfball, Battleball, and Grind.

First off grind has a fairly condensed rulebook compared to Blood bowl. It is similar in length to Elfball and a lot longer than battle ball.

Battle ball is the easiest to discuss (and dismiss) here. I loved the simplicity of this game. IT was truly a game that the masses could have learned. But it lacked depth and the board was too wide thus no allowing for and real defensive tactics. The mechanics of this game were brilliant though. A different die is used for each player type that served multiple functions. I wish this game had survived and grown a little. The specialization of teams through team specific rules were however unbalanced and under thought, feeling a bit like they were tacked on rather than genuinely designed for the game. Battle ball was a great beer and pretzels game, which unfortunately didn't have too much replayability. And I really don’t see any similarities between this and Grind.

Elfball has two similarities to Battle ball that distinguishes it from the other games, you are only allowed to activate one player at a time and there is no time limit. Aside from that it is marketed different. It is a more complex game with an advancement/league system with a cap that keeps all teams more in balance with each other. I think an overriding theme in this game was balance, which makes for a very fair game, though some might say its advancement is a bit stunted compared to the outrageous TR that can be achieved in Blood Bowl. This game is fairly "realistic" with its mechanics: multiple stats to represent various skills, positional that are common to most teams (with similar stats), skill sets that are based on position in addition to stats, and a probability system that is more complex than Blood bowl or battle ball. I like the complexity of this probability system; it makes plays feel more like gut decisions that statistical analysis. In Blood Bowl, I could always very easily estimate probabilities of each roll. In Elfball it takes much more advanced statistical analysis to do this and I cannot do it on the fly. The modifiers are also more interesting, the number of successes needed and the number of dice rolled, and then the advent of flops and momentum and conditional successes. It gets a bit dice heavy at times, but has a more satisfying dynamic in my mind than Blood bowl.

Blood bowl has the most bloated rule book of these games. Thought the rules have been put together and revised over many years, they still sometimes seem clunky and I need to refer back to the rule book to double check certain skills. This game from my experience has a very interesting advancement system that can result in uber-teams; the unfortunate side effect of this is those teams will usually decimate rookie teams (even with the handicap system). Blood bowl has the advantage of being the best known of these games and any new FF type game will inevitably be compared to Blood bowl. I am also more apprehensive of trying to describe the rules of this game, because they are so ingrained in me. I have played BB for 15+year (I know there are veterans with a lot more experience than me in that regard), but I started with 3rd ed and have always played with the versions that used it as the starting point. I could see blood bowl as very daunting to learn at first, but there are fewer stats in it than in Elfball. It is not as realistic (not that any sports game can be truly “realistic”) Overall, I think Blood bowl is still the best not because of its intrinsic merit, but because it has the largest following and is the easiest to find someone to play against.

That brings me to Grind. Grind has the most in-depth resource management of any of these games. Yes in Blood bowl you can only blitz once, pass once, and handoff once. There are no other real limits on what you can do each turn. Elfball you can only tackle once, but you can push all you want (within the limits of your movement/jog). In grind you only have 10 regular dice, and power dice equal to the turn you are on. The number of power moves (blitz/pass equivalents sort of) is limited by the number of power dice and how many power dice each special requires… some require multiple power dice and thus cannot be utilized on the first turn. Grind also has fewer stats than Elfball, this makes the characters a little more streamlined and I like that. Though the sheer number of attack types and there effects is perplexing at first, I hope after playing it will be make more sense. The play calling is unique to Grind, I am curious to see how it works. Grind is lacking a basic rule set (like both Elfball and Blood bowl have) that makes it easier to transition into. I think when I start playing it I will limit the types of arms and have no play calling to see just how the dynamics work. I like that the dice and probabilities make this game a little more complex than blood bowls system, it reminds me a bit of Elfball. However, it lacks the flop and conditional success that make Elfball so unique in this genre. It also counts success to determine things like Elfball, so every roll has different amount/level of success than in blood bowl. In blood bowl generally it is either you succeed or your fail (in know the block dice have more variance here). Also right now grind lacks the various positionals/teams of either Elfball or Blood bowl. In grind the teams are identical save what arms you choose to put on them and what color the plastic is. I think this game will need more character/fluff to make it more interesting.

In conclusion I am really looking forward to this game to be able to actually compare game play style and not just rules. And to recap here is sort of a view of similarities that I see…

Move whole team- Blood bowl, Grind
Roll different amounts of dice need multiple successes- Elfball, Grind
Lack of types of teams- Battleball and grind
Fewer stats- Blood bowl, Grind (battle ball-no real stats)
More types of actions/challenges- Elfball, Grind
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Alex Martinez
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I'm a big fan of Battle Ball because of its simplicity.

Checking out the rules for Grind, I see some similarities to Monsterpocalypse in the dice pool mechanics and power attack concept. The arms give a neat team customization that keeps things relatively simple. But there is clearly a cool strategizing element to the gameplay. While it could appear daunting at first, I think this will be a pretty cool game. More complex than Battle Ball, but dynamic and cinematic. Personally, I'm not looking for a lot more fluff. I don't need league rules or special characters. I'm just looking for a game that is simple enough to play easily, complex enough to encourage different strategies, and fun.

This could be great, and I'm looking forward to it.
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