Pizza Box Football Expansion
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What this means is that strategy-wise, coaches can play to his/her team's advantages, while playing the opponent's disadvantages. In other words, a team with an Offensive Long Pass rating of 3 is likely to go to the Long Pass and Play Action more frequently against a team with a Defensive Long Pass rating of 1, than against a Defensive Long Pass rating of 3. That coach defending against the long pass may try to blitz the quarterback more often in order to help the weak pass defense, but that QB Blitz can be countered well by the occasional Screen Pass play.
With mishaps, a team rated 1 is less likely to recover a fumble, and is more likely to have passes intercepted, than a team rated at 3.
Furthermore, the designers were able to capture some unique factors of the pro game. A prime example of the 2005 set of team cards, is Atlanta --- the only team card in which "QB RUN" is on the Short Pass and Long Pass results charts, reflecting the unique, dynamic skills of QB Michael Vick.
So, if you own or intend to own Pizza Box Football, I strongly recommend the acquistion of this Expansion as well, especially if you're a pro football enthusiast.
(I assume readers already know how to play Pizza Box Football)
Pizza Box Football was one of the surprise hits of 2005, with its simplicity of play and accuracy delighting players - myself included. With only three defensive and three offensive plays it might seem too simple, but in reality was quite good - no need to look up countless charts to figure out a simple play. Still, I wondered if a few more plays might not add too much more complexity, so I was very pleased to hear about the expansion - even more so when I found out that it would add thirty-two teams to the game.
One thing I think that validated the Pizza Box Football Expansion (On the Line Game Company, 2005 - Scott and Erik Smith) was that they had a contest with players of the game predicting the winner of Super Bowl XL. Using the cards that came in the expansion, they correctly predicted the winner. Now, this isn't really that scientific, but it does go to show that the game has some degree of accuracy. The expansions changes two things: adding in alternative plays, and adding in the thirty-two 2005 NFL football teams. Both of these add a slight layer of complexity, which might steal just a bit of the charm of the basic game but will probably please most people who are looking for just something slightly more challenging than the base game.
Three new offensive plays have been added to the game, each a variation of the three original plays: draw (run), screen pass (short pass), and play action (long pass). Likewise, three new defensive plays have been added - run blitz, route jump, and quarterback blitz. These combinations are shown by the defensive player hiding a small black die in their hand along with either the red, yellow, or green die. A new six by six matrix has been added, to show the thirty-six combinations that are now available. When the offensive and defensive plays have been chosen, a look at this matrix will show the defensive player which of seven defensive charts they are to roll on.
Having these multiple new choices is a good thing, because it adds variety without going into too much boresome detail. All six of the new plays are simply a bit of a variation on the older plays - for example, the quarterback blitz is pretty much the same thing as the long pass defense - but it's riskier, yet with the possibility of a better defense. An expansion play reference card with the new charts has been added and makes learning the new system a snap. There's only one additional chart to look at, and I find that it's pretty simple to add it in. A few folk have told me that they prefer the very simple nature of the beginning game, but most have found the expansion more fulfilling.
There are sixteen cards included with the game - each having a team on each side. Football teams are ranked in each of their six major plays, as well as their "mishaps". Ratings are either "1" (poor), "2" (normal), or "3", (excellent). The charts on the cards are tailored to match these stats. The defense stats are subtle, adding an extra die to defensive rolls, then taking either the higher or lower of the rolls. I sat down and compared all of the charts and found that the charts seemed to be fairly similar in all regards. There are only minor differences, but you would be surprised at how those minor differences actually come into play over the course of a game. If New York has a poor running defense, shouldn't I run plays against them? Or perhaps they expect that? Each team has a slightly different flavor, although they still feel fairly generic. Some teams are obviously better than others; but any team can do well, since the luck of dice factor is quite highly.
So, that's the expansion in a nutshell - a pile of well designed reference sheets - including teams, and some dice. It adds some rules and complexity - but not too much of either, just enough to make it interesting. If you have Pizza Box Football but want to play your favorite NFL team or have a few more options, then this expansion is for you. I like the more options it adds (seems like just enough before the game gets too complicated), as it still keeps Pizza Box fun and easy - just the way I like it. American football in a box.
"Real men play board games"