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Subject: Scrum-Down Walkthrough of a few phases rss

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Scrum-Down Walkthrough of a few phases

Let’s do a walkthrough of a few phases of play in Scrum Down, the Rugby Card Game. I’ll break it right down, so you can see how the game plays (so it is quite lengthy for only a few phases of play).

To summarise the play: I kicked off, a nice long one right into their 22. I chased down the kick, but their pack had lots of time to gather around it. They run it back, slip a tackle, and then go down into a ruck. They recycle the ball on their 22 and their scrum-half hoofs it into touch back up on the 50m line. I have a line-out on the left-hand-side of the pitch. I throw to the back of the line-out, win it uncontested and tap back to my scrum-half who is now ready to do play it out to the back-line.

So, let’s go to it and see the detailed steps of this in-game...

I’ll be using the starter decks, straight off the print and play, so no messing with the starter deck action cards. "Quick Support" is a pretty good card, so if I were customizing my action deck I’d probably want to have 4 of these. "Bind & Drive" is also a pretty neat attacking card, so I’d probably up the count on those too.

I’ll be taking the Green team and my opponent (a 12 year old, to whom I’ll show no mercy!) has the Blue team - he likes the heavier pack and the names of the guys. I like Zack Smart though, he’s pretty awesome.

We shuffle up our action cards, stick the Game Line marker on 50m, flip for kick-off, I win, and set up our open/blind-side decks. In this report I’ll write out the player numbers in each deck, from top to bottom, and I’ll refer to left and right from my perspective (i.e. his right-hand deck is actually on the left from my perspective, since he is sitting opposite me, so I’ll call it the left-hand deck - if that makes it less confusing !). I set up first, and Blue sets up in response.

Blue - Left: 8/6/9/7/1/3/4/2/5/14/15 Right: 10/12/13/11

Green - Left: 10/8/5/9/1/7/3/6/4/2/11 Right: 12/13/14/15

Game Line: 50m.


So, my kicker is on the left, he takes possession, and this deck becomes the open-side deck.

Set-Play: Restart, we each draw 1 action card. I draw "Breakaway".
I figure he thought I was going to kick short from the kick off to my number 8, so I choose to try to kick 40m, and roll 2 dice 4 times. I roll 8/6/8/2. My kicker has kicking skill 8, so the ball travels a full 40m.

Game Line: 10m from Blue goal-line.

I choose to chase down the kick with Matt Johnson (#7). OK, Blue has a heavy guy at that spot, but he’s real lumbering and is going to struggle to kick it back at me even if he gains possession. I deal 5 cards to the blind-side and Blue does the same (as per the "Receiver Rule").

Blue - Left: 3/4/2/5/14/15 Right: 1/7/9/6/8/10/12/13/11

Green - Left: 7/3/6/4/2/11 Right: 1/9/5/8/10/12/13/14/15

Now Blue tries to get to the ball before me. I roll 1 dice and he rolls 5 dice (one plus one dice for every 10m the ball was kicked), and we add the Ball-Handling and Speed skills of our two opposite open-side players to our respective die-rolls. Matt Johnson(my #7) has 4 speed and 5 ball-handling, Paul Williams(his #3) has Speed 2 and Ball-Handling 2. I roll 6. He rolls, 6/1/6/3/4. I net 15, he nets 24. Blue takes possession and moves to the Attacking Team Action Step, where he can pass, run or kick. Blue decides to run, so play moves back 5m.

OK, here’s the first observation. Blue’s #3 had little choice but to run the ball back. To pass the ball to his #4 he needed to roll 2 dice less than the sum of their ball-handling skills, which are 2 and 2 - pretty impossible right? Well, this reflects what is at the heart of Scrum Down - rucking. If it was easy for the forwards to pass we could just pass all day long and send our wingers running for a try every play. This difficulty encourages our forwards to run into a ruck and recycle the ball out to the backs, just like you see in a real game. However, you can pass amongst your forwards by playing action cards like "Smooth Pass". That’s where action cards come into the game. Without actions cards it pretty much flows like "forward gets the ball and drives it into a tackle", but with a hand full of action cards you can start pulling off extra skills and moves that alter the game up and take your opponent by surprise.

Ok, so play moves back up 5m and we move to the start of loose play and each draw 1 action card.

Game Line: 15m from Blue goal-line.

Draw Phase: I draw "Keep it Simple"

Into the tackle now, with Blue in possession and as the attacking team. I play "Keep it Simple". Neither of us can play action cards now until the next set play. Blue chooses to ride the tackle with his Strength. He has 9, I have 7. We each roll 1 dice. Blue rolls 1, I roll a 2. Blue wins and Matt Johnson moves out-of-play.

Blue - Left: 3/4/2/5/14/15 Right: 1/7/9/6/8/10/12/13/11
Green - Left: 3/6/4/2/11 Right: 1/9/5/8/10/12/13/14/15 Out of play: 7

Blue runs again.

Game Line: 20m from Blue goal-line.

Draw Phase: I draw "Change of Pace"
Stand-up Phase: Matt Johnson stands up and enters the blind-side deck. He’s pretty strong so I add him as high up as I can, but just behind my scrum-half.

Blue - Left: 3/4/2/5/14/15 Right: 1/7/9/6/8/10/12/13/11
Green - Left: 3/6/4/2/11 Right: 1/9/7/5/8/10/12/13/14/15

Blue chooses a Strength tackle again. He has 9, I have 9. Blue rolls 3, I roll a 5. I win and Shane Evans (my #3) and Paul Williams (his #3) both go to ground in the in-play area and we enter a ruck. Blue adds Robert James(#1) to the ruck (strength 9). I add Stephen Jones(#1) to the ruck (strength 9).

Blue - Left: 4/2/5/14/15 Right: 7/9/6/8/10/12/13/11 In-play: 1/3(grounded)

Green - Left: 6/4/2/11 Right: 9/7/5/8/10/12/13/14/15 In-play: 1/3(grounded)


Blue adds Karl Trent(#7) to the ruck (strength 7). I add Philippe Bonnaire(#6) to the ruck (strength 8, plus rucking ability). This puts me 2 strength ahead, but his scrum-half is now at the top of a deck and will give him a +2 bonus contesting for the ruck, so we are neck and neck.

Blue - Left: 4/2/5/14/15 Right: 9/6/8/10/12/13/11 In-play: 7/1/3(grounded)

Green - Left: 4/2/11 Right: 9/7/5/8/10/12/13/14/15 In-play: 6/1/3(grounded)

Blue adds David Smith(#4) to the ruck (strength 8). I add Matt Johnson(#7) to the ruck (strength 7). Notice I can skip my #9 and add the next player down from the deck because of the #9’s scrum-half ability. Blue is now 1 point ahead on the ruck.

Blue - Left: 2/5/14/15 Right: 9/6/8/10/12/13/11 In-play: 4/7/1/3(grounded)

Green - Left: 4/2/11 Right: 9/5/8/10/12/13/14/15 In-play: 7/6/1/3(grounded)


Blue has had enough and decides to retrieve the ball from the ruck. He announces that his #9 will retrieve the ball from the ruck and we both roll 1 dice. He rolls a 2, I roll a 1. He nets 28 (24 strength + 2 from his scrum-half + 2 from the roll), and I net 26 (24 strength + 1 from "rucking" ability + 1 from the roll). He wins, all players move to the out of play area and his #9 takes possession (the right-hand deck is now the open-side) for the Attacking Team Action step.

Blue - Left: 2/5/14/15 Right: 9/6/8/10/12/13/11 Out-of-play: 4/7/1/3
Green - Left: 4/2/11 Right: 9/5/8/10/12/13/14/15 Out-of-play: 7/6/1/3

This time he decides to hoof it into touch. He decides to kick it as far as possible, so rolls 2 dice 4 times. He rolls 7,8,7,7. His kicking skill is 7, so he gets three successes and kicks it 30m and finds touch.

Game Line: 50m.

So, we’re back at the half-way line, and his kick into touch went to the blind-side, so we have a line-out on the left-hand side.

Line-outs are pretty fun, and there can be some good bluffing tactics going on. I’ve got the throw-in so let’s see how I set up as the "attacking team".

First off, we must remember the set-play-rule. All players currently out-of-play stand up again and wander over to take part in the line-out. Then we both draw 1 action card. I draw "Burst of Speed". Pretty good, but I can’t make use of it in the line-out - line-outs are all about strength and ball-handling.

I’m going to use a full 7 players in the line-out. I should have figured this out before, and when you’re playing the game you should do this - get to know your team before you start playing and have your set-plays figured out so you know how you’re going to do stuff like set up a 7-man lineout, as this will certainly speed up play and the game will flow along much nicer. Besides, working out your set-plays away from the game table could be good fun!

When you throw into a line-out, the guys catching it will be at positions 2, 4 or 6. These guys need good strength and ball-handling. The two guys either side of them just need strength. So our line-out is going to be packed full of hefty forwards, and ideally players with the "lineout" ability. I want my back line out there on the open-side to potentially get the ball passing and running. My hooker (#2) will be throwing-in to the line-out as that gives me a +3 bonus contesting for the line-out, so he’s going to be standing on the top of the blind-side deck. I’ll be putting my #11 beneath him out on the wing. My open-side will run 9/10/12/13/14/15. So, in the line-out we’ll have 4/7/3/6/1/8/5, from blind-side to open-side - i.e. #4 at the front of the line-out and #5 at the back of the line-out. Blue sets up in a similar fashion, so we’re like this :-

Blue - Left: 2/14 Right: 9/10/12/13/11/15 In-Play: 4,6,3,7,1,8,5

Green - Left: 2/11 Right: 9/10/12/13/14/15 In-Play: 4,7,3,6,1,8,5


OK, now I have to choose where to throw - Front, Middle or Back. In your head you need to do a bit of a check to see where you might come off strongest. So, in this example, if I threw to the front (Matt Johnson #7 at spot 2) I’d have his ball-handling(5) + strength(7) + the strength of the two players either side of him, that’s 7 + 9, plus the line-out ability of the guy at spot 1 , a net of 12 + 7 + 9 + 1 = 29; at spot 4, the middle, I’d have 13(8+5) + 9 + 9 = 31; and at spot 6, the back, I’d have 10(6+4) + 9 + 7 = 26. The blue team would have, at spot 2, the front, 12(7+5) + 8 + 9 + 1 = 30; at spot 4, the middle, 12(7+5) + 9 + 9 = 30; and at spot 6, the back, 10(6+4) + 9 + 8 = 27. So, it’s 29v30 at the front, 31v30 in the middle, and 26v27 at the back. The obvious choice is the middle. The thing is, Blue would have figured this out too, so he may guess middle and jump in the middle and contest the line-out. So, I could go somewhere else instead and win the line-out uncontested. Or, I could bluff and go for the middle anyway. I have a +3 bonus from the Hooker, so the other spots aren’t too bad. I’ll go for back. I pick my line-out card (the one with "Back" written on it) and place it face-down. Blue picks his and does the same. Then we reveal. He chose Middle, so I win the line-out uncontested and get to choose whether to take the ball in-hand with Michael Gray(#8), the guy at spot 6, or pass it straight back to Conrad Franks, my scrum-half sitting on top of the open-side deck. I pass to Conrad. All players involved in the line-out now go back on top of the blind-side deck, starting with the player nearest the blind-side, so the table now looks like this :-

Blue - Left: 5/8/1/7/3/6/4/2/14 Right: 9/10/12/13/11/15

Green - Left: 5/8/1/6/3/7/4/2/11 Right: 9/10/12/13//14/15

Hopefully this gives you a feel for the game, and although the rulebook is quite lengthy you can play through the loose-play quite fluidly after a few goes. It’s really only when you get to a set-play you may have to refer back to the rulebook to check just how things should go. Have fun! Ricky.
 
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Edited to include some pictures of the Ruck and Line-Out. Cheers, Ricky.
 
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good work!!
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