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Subject: TVB - 2 Player - A second serving of pizza. rss

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Richard Pardoe
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With quite a bit of time left, Dave and Rich decided to finish up that game of Pizza Box Football we started a few weeks ago. This time, we went for a full football game with punts, kickoffs, kick returns, etc. The only thing we didn't add was time management. Instead, time is enforced by limiting the total number of non-kick plays in each quarter to 30. This does add a bit more book-keeping, but not much. As there is a lot of die-rolling in the game, we also set up 2 Dice Boots - Red for the Red Team and Blue for the Blue Team to allow for more efficient rolling.

The whistle blows and Dave kicks-offs. A deep drive caught by Rich on the 7. A wedge nicely forms in front and the ball us run back to the 25. First and 10 for Rich.

Not knowing Dave's style, Rich starts with a quick run play for 3 yards (2-7) followed by a quick slant pass for another 2 (3-5). Another quick pass breaks for 7 yards and another first down. The quarterback drops and looks downfield for the first time and finds the wide receiver open for a quick 14 yard gain. First and ten on the 49. Another run up the middle for 3 yards combined with another pass for 7 yards, and Rich gets yet another first down and continues to march down the field. Amazingly, Dave has sensed each of Rich's play calls - calling the right defense, but with very little effect so far.

With 1-10 on the 41 yd line, Dave's defense finally manages to pressure the quarterback, who manages to scramble back to the line of scrimmage for no loss (and no gain either). Another run/short pass combo again nets the 10 yards necessary for yet another first down. First and ten on the 29, Rich looks to the endzone, but dumps short for a 9 yard gain. But on 2-1, Dave's defense rises to the occasion and sacks Rich's quarterback for a 5 yard loss. The third down pass play fails, so facing 4-6, Rich attempts the field goal. The kick is up and GOOD. 3-0 Rich. More imporantly, he has also consumed nearly half the play clock of the first quarter.

Rich's team kicks the ball into the endzone where Dave's team catches it and runs it out to the 12 yard line. Trying to stretch the defense, Dave looks deep down the field but overthrows the wide receiver. But as Rich's defense drops back, Dave throws under the coverage for a couple of quick Tosses fo 6 and 4 yards - enough for a first down. Dave's tight end finally gets the ball and gains 3 yards, but the next play is incomplete. Facing 3-7, Dave manages to pass for 4 yards and is facing 4-3....still early in the game, so here comes the punt team.

A booming punt of 53 yards that is returned 13 giving Rich 1-10 on the 31. An incomplete pass is followed by a nice 14 yard run. But the next set of downs stalls. Incomplete pass, run play for no gain, and a modest 3 yard slant pass. Facing 4-7, Rich punts.

A nice punt that is downed at the 14 yard line. But Dave's team can't organize a drive and it is a quick 3 and out. But Rich's team does no better as the first quarter ends with Rich's team punting after its own 3 and out drive. But the punt is a beauty as it is downed on the 8 yard line.

The second quarter opens with Dave deep in his own territory. The first pass is incomplete, but the second play is complete and a missed tackle results in a nice 12 yard gain for a first down (and breathing room). But the next pass is again incomplete. The handoff fools no-one and the runner is caught behind the line of scrimmage for a 5 yard loss. Facing 3-15, Dave drops back to pass deep, but only gains 9 yards. Facing 4-6, the punter comes out once again. The punt is shanked a bit and only travels 38 yards.

Rich (winning the field possession battle) is near mid-field facing 1-10 at the 44. A nice catch and run for 16 yards gives Rich 1-10 at Dave's 40. A nice pass is dropped for an incomplete. A quick run nets 2 yards. An another pass is dropped again, so the drive stalls. To deep to try a field goal, a short punt is called for. Again a nice punt that is downed on Dave's 7 yard line. Dave's offense continues to sputter as it is another 3 and out.

Rich tries to protect the ball by playing possession football...calling for a couple of runs, but both only gain 5 yards. Facing 3-5, he needs to pass for the first down. The defenders jump and deflect the ball....and Dave's team intercepts on the 20 yard line. With no one around, he runs it back 14 yards to the 34.

Dave's team is energized by the change of fate. Instead of 3 and out, the team is efficiently moving down the field gaining a new first down every 2 plays. Pass (1 yd) followed by pass (9 yds). Incomplete followed by pass (20 yds). Rich's team blitzes, pressuring the quarterback, but still completed (7 yds) followed by a run (6 yds). And Dave is now on Rich's 23 yard line with a fresh set of downs. The defense steps up as Daves next pass is incomplete. Dave runs for 3 yards for 3-7, but the next pass is once again incomplete. With the ball on the 20, an easy call...bring in the kicker. The kick is up and good. 3-3. Tie game with only 7 plays left in the game.

Rich takes the ball on the 25. After a nice pass for 7 yards, throws incomplete and runs for no gain. At 4-3, might have gone for it, but instead punts. A bad shank as it travels only 33 yards and is returned 6.

Dave has 1-10 on his own 38 with 4 plays left. Hoping to trick the defense, Dave tries a run, but is stopped at the line of scrimmage for no gain. 3 plays left. Rich drops into the prevent defense (which prevents nothing), so Dave throws under the coverage for 11 yards to his 49 yd line. 2 plays left. Dave throws for another 11 yards to Rich's 40 yard line. 1 play left. Dave throws deep for 27 yards as the receiver steps out of bounds with a tick left on the clock. On the 13 yard line, Dave's kicker lines up, the snap, the kick, it's good. Dave scores another field goal as time expires. (Remember that kick plays don't count for time, so even with 0 on the play count, there is always time for a final kick.)

OK, it's a dicefest. There is no denying that, but there is also a lot of back and forth of as players fates and fortunes runs hot and cold. I think the full game is the only way to play this as anything shorter would be just too luck driven. I enjoyed the game, but the fun is in rolling for the offense. The defense tries to guess the play and then rolls a couple of dice for defensive effect....most of the time it is no effect. The true impact of the defense is already factored into the offensive results. So during play, the defensive player does tend to have a more passive role (or is it roll?) in the game. The pro expansion might fix some of that, but the game is driven by the offensive player as they roll the most dice.

Does it feel like football? In some sense yes it does. A glance over the plays shows what appears to be a reasonable balance with what I expect a well-played football game to look like (without all the yellow flags, of course.) The basic teams are balanced, so expect it to be a bit low scoring. Again, the pro expansion will unbalance teams giving them strengths and weaknesses should one want to add another layer to the game.

A couple of nice games. Both with close results decided both times by "last minute plays" but enjoyable the whole time.

 
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Steve Zamborsky
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Richard: Glad you enjoyed the game! Sounds like it, if you were able to report what happened so well. For me, the game adds volumes by playing with the full professional rules (where you're actually managing the game clock) and the free expansion (both sides get six plays to choose from instead of three, without much in the way of added complexity).

I've seen some of the teams for the expansion, and I'll tell you now that it takes the game to the next level. The team cards take into account the offense's and defense's strengths and weaknesses and adjusts accordingly...to the point that they will matter, and considerably. If you like the base game now, just wait until you see the real teams.

Great report, BTW!
 
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Richard Pardoe
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I do have the preview of the professional games. And Dave and I did spend some time previewing the differences.

As it was only our second playing, we didn't want to add all the layers at once. Glad to hear that the added features adds to the gameplay without much overhead....Will have to review the professional rules and get ready for a re-match.
 
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Jim Brooks
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Some are born to move the world To live their fantasies But most of us just dream about The things we'd like to be Sadder still to watch it die Than never to have known it For you, the blind who once could see The bell tolls for thee...
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I also like the Professional clock management rules as written. It allows players in the lead to "chew up the clock" by running the ball and forces players to consider their run/pass selection late in the game/half.
 
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