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Pizza Box Football
List Price: $29.99
Your Price: $23.95
(Worth 2,395 Funagain Points!)
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You're the coach. You set the strategy. You call every play. Earn every yard. The gritty realism of Pizza Box Football is driven by the power of the numbers behind the game. Pick one of 3 plays: Run, Short Pass or Long Pass. Sounds simple? Give it a try!
On the Line Game Company
Players: 1 - 2
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 807 grams
Language Requirements: Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is a domestic item.
Average Rating: 3.8 in 4 reviews
Why? In addition to the relatively simple, clean rules that Tom described, the fun factor in this game is very high. Just as in actual American football, that brilliant pass reception, the quarterback sack, the onside kick, the punt returned for a touchdown, the successful goal-line stance, the 50+ yard field- goal, and the critical fumble, generate all the excitement of a real game.
The basic game in Pizza Box Football is fun enough, but the expansion rules (And there is a set included in the basic PBF) offer even more choices. Then, there's the excellent Pizza Box Football Expansion, adding 32 (NFL) teams to the game, and free- download rules for Goal Line Defense, Long Bomb Pass plays, and Home Field Advantage -- you can simulate all the fun of big- time football minus the deadtime.
Although I have owned table-top MLB baseball, NBA basketball, and NHL hockey games for years, this was the first football game I have ever owned, and it's a gem. If you're a big football fan, you're going to want to get this AND the Expansion.
Strongly recommended for gamers looking for that table-top football game that even non-football enthusiasts can play and enjoy!
My friend Joe and I have the same problem with electronic sports games. For the most part, they do a good job simulating a game, but most of them tend to favor the player who is better with the joystick, rather than the player who utilizes better strategy. So for us, anyway, board games are a more intriguing way to simulate a sports game. The problem with many sports games (Statis Pro, Strat-O-Matic, etc.) is that they tend to be complex, long affairs. For me, playing a game such as Harry's Grand Slam Baseball game was just as enjoyable - even though it was simpler - because the experience was reminiscent of a baseball game but done in an easier, faster manner.
Pizza Box Football (On the Line Game Company, 2005 - Scott and Erik Smith) is one such game. As football is harder to simulate than baseball, thus Pizza Box Football (PBF) is a bit more complicated than Harry's Baseball. PBF manages to keep the player interested by having enough options and strategy, while retaining sheer simplicity and fun. I'm not a huge American football fan, but I have had a blast playing PBF, and final scores represent what I would normally see in a football game. It's remarkably intuitive, and even though the box is full of charts and tables - they're all easy and simple to read, and games run quickly and painlessly.
There are four different types of games in the rulebook, ranging from the Red Zone Shootout, to the Professional Full Game. Each has a different level of strategy and time amount, but all generally use the same mechanics - with the main difference being game-time management, and special team rules. Instead of explaining each game in full, I'm going to just go over some of the points of the game.
1.) Plays: Two large, laminated play sequence
cards are included in the game, one for each
player. They detail how a normal play occurs,
which is this:
- The defense picks one of three defensive plays (run, short pass, or long pass), and hides in their hand a colored die (red, yellow, or green) that matches the play, along with a white die.
- The offense then announces out loud whether they will run, do a short pass, or attempt a long pass.
- The defense reveals their dice and rolls them. Depending on the combination of two plays, one of nine charts is consulted to see the "defense effect". This ranges from a "-2" to a "+2", and also can add or cancel "bonus" dice.
- The offense then rolls three six-sided dice, adding in the "defense effect" modifier to the result. They then compare the final number to a chart that corresponds to the offensive play they picked to find out the result. There is a wide range of results that can occur, such as fumbles, interceptions, quarterback pressure, incomplete passes, gains, losses, and mishaps.
- When the offensive player loses or gains yards, they roll dice equal to the amount shown on the chart. If the dice are "bonus" dice, then "6"s are rolled again and continued to be rolled until no sixes occur.
- The markers on the board are moved to demonstrate the play that just occurred. This entire process is simplistic and easy. Some folk will probably complain about the limited number of plays; but once the game is purchased, more plays (using the same dice) can be found on the company's website, www.PizzaBoxFootball.com. I like using the expansion game plays myself, as they have six offensive plays (run, short pass, long pass, draw, screen pass, and play action) and six defensive plays (run, short pass, long pass, run blitz, route jump, and quarterback blitz). However, others prefer the simple simplicity of the original plays. What is nice is that while the play combinations matter (if you try to run and your opponent picks a run defense, life won't be so good), they don't matter too much, as lucky die rolls can bypass anything.
2.) Dice: Several dice are included with the game, all six-sided, colored red, yellow, green, black, and white. The game could have easily been produced with just five white six-sided dice, but the colored dice (and various sizes) really help differentiate the rolls. If I am rolling three black dice, it's because I'm finding a result of a play. Several large white dice are for yardage, etc. This helps notice at a glance at what the result of a die roll means.
3.) Pizza Box: The name of the game loudly states just what type of box the game comes in, and it's not an exaggeration. I'm not sure that a pizza box is ideal for storage and durability, but it certainly is unique. Even more importantly, the football field fits into the open box very nicely, and it creates a good effect. Either way, the name - and idea - is catchy, and it will create more interest in the game. It's fun to ask people if they want to play "Pizza Box" Football. Sounds more fun than "Statis Pro", eh?
4.) Charts: The charts involved with the game are very simple and easy to read - all of them printed on laminated cardstock. While there are many charts (Defense Effect Roll, Offense Plays, Mishaps, QB Pressure, Kickoff, Punt, Onside Kickoff, Short Punt, Punt Return, Field Goal, and Breakaway Factor), many of them aren't used except in certain situations. Many of the charts are on the two play sequence cards, so that both players have easy access to them.
5.) Football rules: While most living, breathing Americans know the rules to American football, PBF doesn't take that for granted. On the back of each Play Sequence Card, there are descriptions of the different plays, the different results, and how that translates into game turns. Someone like me, who has only a very moderate interest in football, can easily turn to this and find out exactly what the difference is between a punt and a short punt, for example.
6.) Leagues and Scoresheets: For the clinically insane, a stat sheet is provided that allows players to keep track of the entire game, with play results and statistics. I haven't yet filled this sheet out - I prefer the game to be fast and fun - but I do understand the longing to have this information (I spent many long hours keeping track of this information as a child with baseball). While the game is fun, I'm not sure I'll be diving into league play, but the rules do include it for people who want to complete an entire season. In fact, the company has promised an expansion with different bonuses and effects for the different football teams.
7.) Time: In the Professional Full Game, a system using "Professional Time Units" is involved, having players keep track of how much time each play and/or result takes. This sounds complicated, but it's actually rather simple, allows players to utilize time-outs, and choose plays based on the clock, not just their field position. While this is easy and fascinating, I prefer the Smashmouth Full Game, which simply has 30 plays in a quarter.
8.) Strategy: The strategy in the game does increase with each type of game, with the Professional Full Game having the most; but even at that top level, it's very easy. There are only three plays to choose from (in the basic game), so it's not that hard to choose. What makes the choice hard, if at all, is the fact that you don't know what play your opponent will pick. This means that there is a certain amount of bluffing that occurs, and that adds a lot of "Fun Factor" to the game. Purists who enjoy taking hours upon hours to detail every little effect in a sports game may scoff at PBF, but I found that the strategy and simplicity combo were excellent.
If you enjoy the sport of American Football and want to play it in a fast, fun way, Pizza Box Football is the only game I've played up until this point that does it in an excellent manner. It's fast, simple, and fun. And those three things are good requirements for a sports game, I think. Even for someone like me, who is most certainly not a football fan (I can barely remember all the team names), this was a fun game and allowed me to recreate a football game in a pizza box - of all places.
"Real men play board games."
I saw this at GenCon '06 and was not impressed. However, after seeing some glowing reviews coupled with my strong desire for a football board game I decided against my better judgement and purchased it. Since then I've sold it at a loss on eBay.
I won't review the basic mechanics of the game, however suffice it to say that there's A LOT of dice rolling. The dice decide almost everything. The only thing that I and the opposing player decide is whether it's a run, short pass, or long pass. Guess correctly (on defense) and it'll make a small... very small... very, very small difference in the outcome of the play. Essentially there are tables... many tables... and every die roll correlates to a table lookup. Ok, so the defense successfully picks the type of play the offense is running? It might adjust their success level on the offense charts by 1 notch... if not it might hurt them by one notch. Then the offense rolls, adjusts their roll by an amount based on the defense's roll (note their roll... not their attempt to guess the type of play the offense has done) and that yields a result such as 3d6 gain or 1d6 loss or something in that spirit.
After playing a half of the game on its second highest strategic level I was bored out of my mind and I'd say my opponent was too. So I went back to see if the highest level was going to be a completely different game and no... it's not... it adds tighter clock control. The same basic rolling mechanics exist. Consequently this is why the game can easily be played solitaire. The opponent really isn't necessary as their choices affect the game minimally. In fact, I'm not sure either player is necessary it if wasn't for the physical task of rolling the dice.
Why 2 stars and not less? I recognize the challenge in doing a board game based on a sport. I've all but given up on the hope of finding a good one due to said recognized difficulty. I suppose for a football game it's not bad... many of the possible results of a real football game are here on the charts... but that's the only conceivable reason I can think of for getting this game and even then I tend to think many will be as disappointed as was I. I felt like the game was playing me... Gridiron Football on the Atari ST computer remains my favorite off-field way to enjoy a game of football.