Fightball: Texas Wildcats vs. The Cruisers
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In the all-too-distant future, a bunch of people play a dangerous sport called Fightball, and James Ernest wrote a game about it.
What is Fightball? It's another real-time card game like BRAWL and FALLING, James Ernest's groundbreaking speed games. FALLING and BRAWL have been nominated for a total of 6 Origins Awards, winning Best Card Game Expansion and Best Graphic Design of a Card Game in 2000 (for BRAWL: Club Foglio). Now James Ernest, along with co-creator Mike Selinker, turn the real-time genre up one notch with this sophisticated and blazing-fast card game.
The setting is the streets of the future. Not the real future, but the crazy apocalyptic future we all know and love. In this particular future, gangs of street thugs have (again) become enamored of the world of modern professional sports. Unfortunately, they have no real idea of how these modern sports were played, besides what they can guess from old photographs and what they know about the sports of their day. If all future sports use multiple balls, surely so did the sports of the twentieth century, right? And even if they didn't, they should have.
Thus was born Fightball, a very weird version of Basketball with at least three balls (maybe more, we're not sure), two goals, and extremely violent gameplay. The sport is played on the streets and overseen by flying robot referees, and it's played by the weirdest assortment of folks you're likely to see in a game. Here's a peek:
The Texas Wildcats: They aren't from Texas, but the Wildcats (who dress like the cheerleaders, not the players) just thought a place name made them sound cool. They're the perkiest team on the court, and their center has rockets instead of feet.
The Cruisers: Along with rediscovering the sports of the twentieth century, these future street gangs have also adopted the culture. The best example is the Cruisers, a 50's style gang of greasers, musicians, and jocks. Look out: the cruisers like to cheat!
How does it play? Basically, Fightball is like Basketball. Players build a "court" out of 24 cards and play four rounds. The play is fast and furious, with each player playing as fast as he can. When one player reaches the "BUZZ" card (at the bottom of the deck) the round is over. Now, players score each location on the court, looking for a sequence of cards starting with a player, then a ball, then a shot. Other cards, like blockers, can affect the quality of the shot. Some shots succeed, and are worth points. Others fail, and are worth nothing. The highest score at the end of four rounds wins the game!
Real time card games. The idea interested me but the themes never did. Brawl seemed just like a one on one street fight (which is exactly what it is) and that just wasn't the right take on the idea to make me want to buy a bunch of decks and play. Fightball came along and finally there seemed to be a story setting that was intriguing to me. So I decided to dabble into this style of game play and purchased my first set of 2 decks. The first buy was for The Aztecs Vs. The Dark.
This game really requires the right kind of players. There is definitely a segment of gamers out there who will simply hate the mechanics of this game and therefore never will find any enjoyment in Fightball. I really enjoy the hectic paced play as fast as you can feel of the game with both players playing cards simultaneously. This game is one of those that seriously takes a round or 2 to get use to it but I've found most players are able to then really play the game as it was meant to be played.
As with a lot of games knowing your opponents style of play is the biggest part of your strategy. Some players will tend to block a lot and others almost not at all. Some players will use their specials left and right some will be more cautious (as using them might nullify the shot.) Knowing who you are playing will certainly be a benefit.
The game lasts for 4 rounds with card being played frantically then once all cards have been played the completed piles of cars and scored. The player with the most points after 4 rounds (periods) is the winner.
After playing the first 2 teams I finally was encouraged enough to go ahead and purchase the other 2 sets of teams. I know own all 6 teams and this is really enough. The only real complaint I have for this game is the "court" cards. The court really should be a board, but to rememdy this I have simply laid out the court cards in the corrent formation and then used clear contact paper to laminate them. This makes them flexible and durable and neatly placed. I suggest this to any Fightball player.
This is a fun little game that we use when we've filled up our Settlers or Ticket to Ride game to let others keep playing at our group. A game runs about 20-30 mins. and is just a fun diversion.