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Subject: 1st & Goal: Touchdown or Fumble? rss

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Mike Stevens
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Are you ready for some football? Before starting this review I should tell you that I love football. High School, College, NFL, Fantasy Football, Madden Football on the Xbox, Tecmo Bowl, heck when I was a kid we would stay up all night playing Electric Football. My friends and I even made up our own football game with dice, Topps football cards, and a spinner and would keep track of stats. Even though I am a middle aged man I will still play a pick up game of Flag Football anytime we can get enough guys together. We even have an annual Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving where we play tackle football (ouch I think I am still sore from this years gameshake) I am and always will be a huge Dallas Cowboys fan even though Tony Romo and Jason Garrett seen to do everything they can to give away games they should have won. So now you know I am a huge football fanatic or football nerd depending on how you look at it. So is 1st & Goal a 65 yard bomb for a touchdown to win the game or a fumble on your own 2 yard line?

1 What Comes in the Box?

Nice sturdy, folding football field game board.
Rule Book
60 Offensive Play Cards
60 Defensive Play Cards
2 Kick/Fake Cards
1 Magnetic Football
1 Magnetic First Down Marker
1 Plastic Coin
6 Clear Plastic Scoring and Timeout Markers
10 Dice
1 Sheet of 60 Stickers for the Dice


2 Quality of Components
The game board is nice and is about half the size of an average gameboard so it can be played in small places. The box and insert do a good job of holding all the game components. The Offensive and Defensive player cards are average playing card size and have a nice shiny finish on them just like the Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game cards. They seem nice and sturdy and should last a long time. There is a little magnetic football and first down marker that sit on the actual field. These are very cool and add a nice touch to the game. I wish they would have added in a magnetic Down Marker to go along with these. Instead you keep track of downs throughout the game by moving the football one column to the right for each down.


The 10 plastic oversized dice that come with the game are blank in the box and you have to apply the 60 stickers yourself. I would gladly have paid extra for nice engraved dice that my big, caveman like fingers did not have to try and put those little stickers on every die. My wife saw that I was struggling with the stickers and helped me put most of them on. Needless to say hers are nice and centered and mine look like they were put on by a caveman. The plastic coin that comes with the game is just a plastic coin used for the coin toss at the start of the game. The 6 clear plastic scoring and timeout markers are about the size of a penny. I would have liked a different set up for keeping track of the score and timeouts but it works ok. For $19.99 I cant really complain about the overall quality of components in this game. Everything works fine and none of the components distract from the gameplay.

3 Gameplay
This game is very simple and easy to learn. Without going over all the rules I will tell you that this game has kickoffs, returns, punts, field goals, touchdowns, breakaways, penalties, Hail Marys, turnovers, and a nice selection of offensive and defensive plays to call. After the kickoff, which can be a touchback or a return the offensive player draws 8 cards from the offense deck and the defensive player draws 8 cards from the defensive deck.


You are going to choose a running or pass play for the offense and a defensive play for the defense. You lay down the cards at the same time and scroll down the card to find your opponents play. This will tell you which dice to roll. The defensive player will always roll the black die and the offensive player will roll whichever of the colored yardage dice it says to roll along with the Play die. You add up the yards and move the magnetic football for either a gain or a loss. The Play die has icons on it such as an X that means the play was broken up and there is no gain reagrdless of the yardage dice, a T which means there is a chance for a Turnover on this play, a Penalty icon, a Hail, a Mary, and a Breakaway icon. If you roll the Breakaway icon, your player has broken away from the defense and could be off to the races. You get to keep rolling your yardage dice and the Player die as long as the Breakaway icon keeps coming up. This makes for some exciting plays. To complete a Hail Mary bomb at the end of the half or game you must tell your opponent and have less than 2 offensive cards left. You only roll the Play die and the Referee die and if you roll a Hail and a Mary then you have completed a bomb for an automatic touchdown. Penalties are decided by rolling the Referee die and Penalty Yardage die. The dice rolling and outcomes is one of the best parts of the game. Thats about it for gameplay, every down each of you picks a play and tries to guess what the other picked, then roll those dice! The game takes about 90 minutes to play and everytime you run a running play you burn an extra card from the offense deck to simulate the clock running. If you have a bad hand or no plays that you think will work then you can call a Timeout and go through your discard pile to pick out your favorite play or put your entire hand into the deck and draw 8 new cards. This applies to both offense and defense regardless of who calls the timeout.


Example of Actual Gameplay: Below I will include 1 series of downs actually played out in a real game of 1st & Goal. I am the Offense with 1st and 10 at my own 20 yard line. My buddy is playing the Defense.

I play a Medium Pass vs Inside Blitz
I roll Yellow and Blue Yardage Dice for a total of 24 yard gain
Play Die shows Mary (no effect)
He rolls Defensive Die of a -3
Result 21 yard completion, 1st and 10 at my 41 yard line

I call an Off Tackle Run vs Strong Safety
I roll the Play Die only which shows Hail (no effect)
He rolls Defensive Die -1
Result is my runner was stuffed for a 1 yard loss, 2nd and 11 at my 40

I play a Short Pass vs Cover
I roll Green Yardage Die for 10 yard gain
Play Die shows T for potential Turnover
He rolls Defensive Die for -1
He rolls Referee Die to see if Turnover happens, No T so No Turnover
Result is 9 yard pass completion with the receiver dropping the ball but it is recovered by the Offense. 3rd and 2 at my 49

I play a Fullback Strong vs Short Run Defense
I only roll the Play Die which shows T for potential Turnover
He rolls Defensive Die for -3
He rolls Referee Die to see if Turnover happens, No T so No Turnover
Result is a 3 yard loss and it is now 4th and 5 at my 46 yard line

I announce that I am punting and we each play our Kick/Fake cards.
WE both play Kick which has no effect on this play
I roll Ivory, Brown, Yellow, Blue and Green Yardage Dice for a 38 yard punt.
He rolls the Green Yardage and Play Die to return the punt from his own 16 yard line. The Green Die shows 10 yards and the Play Die shows the. Breakaway symbol. He rolls those 2 dice again for 14 yards and ANOTHER Breakaway symbol. He rolls them again, and it looks like only my punter can stop him, another 10 yards on the Green Die and the Penalty Icon on the Play die (no effect on the return)
Result is a 34 yard punt return with him getting the ball and the Offensive Deck at the 50 yard line.
You shuffle your unplayed hand back into your deck and trade decks
.

I hope that little sample helps you visualize how the game actually plays. You would be surprised at the amount of cheering and groaning that goes on between 2 grown men when those dice are rolled. Of course we are both still little boys on the inside. One of us may have actually done a touchdown DANCE after a score during that gameshake


4 Touchdown or Fumble?

If you are looking for a deep, strategic football simulation where you can manage your team and use all of your football knowledge then this game will be a fumble for you. If you dont like throwing dice and having luck factor into the outcome of the game then this will be a fumble for you.

If you are looking for a fun, exciting, light, easy to learn, easy to teach, easy to set up and take down game of football then 1st & Goal will be a TOUCHDOWN for you. I have had this game for 2 days and have played 5 games and everyone one of them has had an exciting touchdown play, a crucial turnover and/or penalty. 2 of the games came down to a last second field goal. This is a great beer and pretzels game and can even be played while watching a football game. Non-gamers and people who know nothing about football will still be able to play. In fact my wife beat me in the first game we played and said she thought it was a fun game that she would play again. I played 3 games with another football fanatic buddy of mine and he loved it. Thanks to Stephen Glenn for designing a wonderful fun game. This could be the best $19.99 I have spent on a game in a long time and I highly recommend it.

Final Score: TOUCHDOWN












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Stefan Kaiser
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Great review ! Thanks a lot ! The more reviews are popping up, the more i can't wait for my copy to arrive. Should be delivered next week hopefully.

And now, on to the NFL Play Offs..

mb !!! GO PACKERS !!! mb
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Robert Carroll
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Nice review, thanks. Have you tried any of the expansions? If so, how do they add/subtract from the gameplay and overall feel?
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Cory Ledoux
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On the positive side: A great review. Makes me excited about getting this game (which I was on the fence about) as your enthusiasm comes through so clearly.

On the negative side: This is all coming from a Cowboys fan, a notoriously shady and untrustworthy lot. (just kidding - sort of)
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Mike Stevens
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Nap16 wrote:
Nice review, thanks. Have you tried any of the expansions? If so, how do they add/subtract from the gameplay and overall feel?


No I do not have any of the expansions yet. I usually like to play the base game quite a bit before I pick up expansions.

For anyone out there that has the expansions, will you please chime in and give us your thoughts.
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Stefan Kaiser
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cledoux wrote:


On the negative side: This is all coming from a Cowboys fan, a notoriously shady and untrustworthy lot. (just kidding - sort of)

I feel for you...
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Mike Stevens
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I added a sample of an actual series of downs from a real game of 1st & Goal against my buddy for those of you that want to know how it actually plays. I edited my review and added this portion in. Here it is for those of you who dont want to read the whole review:

Example of Actual Gameplay: Below I will include 1 series of downs actually played out in a real game of 1st & Goal. I am the Offense with 1st and 10 at my own 20 yard line. My buddy is playing the Defense.

I play a Medium Pass vs Inside Blitz
I roll Yellow and Blue Yardage Dice for a total of 24 yard gain
Play Die shows Mary (no effect)
He rolls Defensive Die of a -3
Result 21 yard completion, 1st and 10 at my 41 yard line

I call an Off Tackle Run vs Strong Safety
I roll the Play Die only which shows Hail (no effect)
He rolls Defensive Die -1
Result is my runner was stuffed for a 1 yard loss, 2nd and 11 at my 40

I play a Short Pass vs Cover
I roll Green Yardage Die for 10 yard gain
Play Die shows T for potential Turnover
He rolls Defensive Die for -1
He rolls Referee Die to see if Turnover happens, No T so No Turnover
Result is 9 yard pass completion with the receiver dropping the ball but it is recovered by the Offense. 3rd and 2 at my 49

I play a Fullback Strong vs Short Run Defense
I only roll the Play Die which shows T for potential Turnover
He rolls Defensive Die for -3
He rolls Referee Die to see if Turnover happens, No T so No Turnover
Result is a 3 yard loss and it is now 4th and 5 at my 46 yard line

I announce that I am punting and we each play our Kick/Fake cards.
WE both play Kick which has no effect on this play
I roll Ivory, Brown, Yellow, Blue and Green Yardage Dice for a 38 yard punt.
He rolls the Green Yardage and Play Die to return the punt from his own 16 yard line. The Green Die shows 10 yards and the Play Die shows the. Breakaway symbol. He rolls those 2 dice again for 14 yards and ANOTHER Breakaway symbol. He rolls them again and it looks like only my punter can stop him, another 10 yards on the Green Die and the Penalty Icon on the Play die (no effect on the return)
Result is a 34 yard punt return with him getting the ball and the Offensive Deck at the 50 yard line.
You shuffle your unplayed hand back into your deck and trade decks
.

I hope that little sample helps you visualize how the game actually plays. You would be surprised at the amount of cheering and groaning that goes on between 2 grown men when those dice are rolled. Of course we are both still little boys on the inside. One of us may have actually done a touchdown DANCE after a score during that gameshake


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Peter Williams
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Omahavice wrote:
Nap16 wrote:
Nice review, thanks. Have you tried any of the expansions? If so, how do they add/subtract from the gameplay and overall feel?


No I do not have any of the expansions yet. I usually like to play the base game quite a bit before I pick up expansions.

For anyone out there that has the expansions, will you please chime in and give us your thoughts.
I have used the expansions and I have to say that they are WELL worth getting. The reason is that with the expansions, there is a little more strategy about the game. Me and my Wife, who is my gaming partner, chose our teams and I then realised that I was using pass defense more than run as passing was her strength. I had to try and reduce her efficiency as my defense was really below average. Likewise, as my running game was better, she was using more of the run defense cards. If you love this game, and I most certainly do, the expansions will truly enhance it. It is a very simple system that increases or decreaes the numbers on the dice according to what you're good/bad at. The defense I used had a 4 on the dice. Not -4, but a 4, and my Wife had negative numbers on her run dice but increased amounts on her passing dice. So the strategy was using the cards which were more likely to force her to use her running dice to pass with, which some passing defenses do. Hopefully from that you will get an idea of how the teams are tailored.
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Jeffrey Giuliani
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Uh, I'm kind of a football fanatic too! Great review.
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Andrew C
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Great review. Thanks

Is it worth running in this game? I haven't played but based on your sample set of downs it sounds like you don't roll a yardage die when you run? What are the other sides of the dice you roll for running?

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Mike Stevens
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Cleitus the Black wrote:
Great review. Thanks

Is it worth running in this game? I haven't played but based on your sample set of downs it sounds like you don't roll a yardage die when you run? What are the other sides of the dice you roll for running?



Yes, it is worth running in this game. I taught the game to 2 friends today and on the first drive my buddy ran a HB Dive for 37 yards. On the next play he ran the Fullback up the middle for 11 yards and scored a few plays letter without ever throwing a pass. Of course the guy playing Defense kept calling pass defenses.

Now you can certainly get stuffed on the run like I did in the sample series of downs I listed.
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Dana R.
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Cleitus the Black wrote:
Great review. Thanks

Is it worth running in this game? I haven't played but based on your sample set of downs it sounds like you don't roll a yardage die when you run? What are the other sides of the dice you roll for running?



The first game I played started out very much like a football game. Then I started guessing wrong on the defensive plays when my options seemed obvious (by what my opponent should have played) and paid dearly for them. At that point the game took a fun turn in really trying to get into the head of your opponent. I often blurted out "3 and 1 gotta run it" and pull out a pass play. I did all I could to get into the head of my opponent. I still lost but thinking unconventional helped although a #1 running team, in this game, will get burnt badly if all you did was run.
 
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Jason Cross
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Slabcity wrote:
Cleitus the Black wrote:
Great review. Thanks

Is it worth running in this game? I haven't played but based on your sample set of downs it sounds like you don't roll a yardage die when you run? What are the other sides of the dice you roll for running?



The first game I played started out very much like a football game. Then I started guessing wrong on the defensive plays when my options seemed obvious (by what my opponent should have played) and paid dearly for them. At that point the game took a fun turn in really trying to get into the head of your opponent. I often blurted out "3 and 1 gotta run it" and pull out a pass play. I did all I could to get into the head of my opponent. I still lost but thinking unconventional helped although a #1 running team, in this game, will get burnt badly if all you did was run.


Yes it is worth running.

The reason no yardage dice were mentioned in the examples above was becasue the Defense 'guessed' correctly with a Run D play. Guess run or pass correctly and you reduce the Offense's liklihood of success/ yardage dice.

Guess incorrectly, and the O gets lots of yardage dice and little chance to reduce the gain (see the original play where a 24 yard pass was reduced by only 3 yards).

Conversely, if you call a short yardage run or goalline D against an upo the middle run, you can get to roll the Defensive dice 2 or even 3 times against no yardage dice from the Offense... that is being stuffed in the backfield, and then some!!

Have only played this a couple of times so far (only got it last week), but it seems very quick and easy to start playing out of the box (my 7 year old beat me 35-10!), yet the more you get into it (and the expansion teams relative strengths and weaknesses) it looks like the more in depth the game gets: e.g. if you have a strong passing team, you don't want to use up all the pass play cards early, or you'll be left with a play-calling deck that stuffs you very quickly.. and if your opponent is a strong running team, then you'll not want them to be able top call as many runs, either.
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William Boykin
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The other key thing to note is that one shouldn't be thinking in terms of 'run vs. passing'. You should be calling plays that maximize the number of GOOD DICE that you throw.

For instance, last night I played a game with the Scranton Scorchers against the Defense heavy "Thunder". First half, I was getting CREAMED, because I was choosing Run plays and my opponent was just shutting me down, and his defense die HURT. 3 downs and out, over and over again. I got lucky once and got a field goal, while Brady got a field goal and then a TD.

Second half, though, I started realizing I was playing all wrong. My 'Good' dice with the Scorchers are my White, Brown, and Yellow dice. So I started looking for plays that maximized the odds that I would throw THOSE DICE. This meant a lot of little pass plays, like Button Hooks. If he did a short run D, I'd get the pass off. If he did a Cover, my offense would do a run play- which was my strength ANYWAY.

This made me realize- think of plays not in terms of 'Pass vs. Runs', but specifically in terms of their DICE. If you know his Red die has a lot of -2's or worse on it, or that his White die stinks, go for Def. plays that either shut him down entirely, but if they work, it means he still is throwing a shitty die. Once you start thinking in terms of the dice- and trying to maximize your GOOD dice while minimizing your opponents, you'll find you do MUCH better.

Final score was 20-10. Crushed him like a bug once I started to figure this game out.

Darilian
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