APBA Football F-T-F, Still the Greatest

APBA Pro Football game is the greatest Head to Head board game on the planet.  Note that I didn’t say the greatest “Sports” board game.  The football game is better than Monopoly, Life, even Clue.  There is no game that can combine the intensity and excitement that football provides with the thoughtfulness of a well-crafted game.  APBA football has that and more.

So, you may quite rightly ask, why isn’t it the most popular APBA game?  In fact it may well be one of the least popular APBA games at this point.  If it’s so great, why isn’t it more popular?  These are legitimate questions and the answer to both is the same.  There’s a learning curve to the football game that’s much longer than the other games.  Also, the football game takes longer to play than the other games APBA makes, that’s just reality.  If you want speed than Bowling and Baseball in that order.  If you want a memorable experience though, it’s Football.  Eventually the time it takes to play is about 4 baseball games, maybe a little longer if it’s a close game.  The difference is you’re all in all the time, so you won’t forget what happens anytime soon.

I am honored that Greg asked me to write about the F-T-F version of the Football game.  I am not sure how many folks still sit down to play a game but maybe we can get more people to do it if we talk about it.  The learning curve for the game is about 8-10 games.  That’s when you start to see the nuance, the strategy and the way you can really change the outcome.  Greg mentioned my time playing in Howard Ahlskog’s league.  I actually started in a league on the North Shore of Boston.  10 guys picking from the entire NFL in 1986.  The team I took over was terrible, Jim McMahon’s infamous 1985 card at QB, plus I didn’t know what I was doing.  The result?  0-10, the next season with Jim Kelly and Hershel Walker added I went 6-4 and lost my conference championship 24-20 when my final play was stopped on the 4 yard line.  I tell you this because it’s important to note that whatever I know about his game a learned by getting drilled and because I lost the NFC championship game in December of 1987 and I still know the score and many of the big plays.  Thirty years ago and it’s still there.  Because, Football.

Even before I moved to Western Mass and joined Howard’s great league we talked about the strategy often.  Howard loved the football game and really enjoyed tearing into questions like “which is better B/S or A/D down 2 lines?”  Football is the only game in APBA that you can do something on Defense to turn a 66 dice roll into a bad thing for the offense.  If you and a friend that enjoys football takes the time to learn the game it’ll be some of the great times you have rolling dice.  Of that I am certain.

My plan is to write about the “how-to’s” of playing F-T-F.  Give some tips on the best way to approach game planning and the like.  I’ll follow that with a little strategy around calling plays on both Offense and Defense.  As I said, I am not sure how many people are playing F-T-F but if there are some and you have some questions I’d love to hear them.

My thanks to Greg for asking me to do this.  I am hopeful that it helps to build the audience of fans that this great game deserves.apbacharts

8 thoughts on “APBA Football F-T-F, Still the Greatest

  1. If you’re going to learn from someone, it might as well be the BEST!!! Thanks Mr. Wells . . . . I’m looking forward to learning more about what I agree is the greatest board game in the world!!

    Ray Dunlap

  2. This is excellent. I would like to suggest making some short video’s as well, similar to what Greg has done with his solo vid’s. If you have someone to play against, it would be great to see some clips. And for the record, on offense; I’d take B/S over A/D down two lines, certainly passing, but I think also with running.

    • Using my best 30 for 30 voice. “What if I told you against some QBs moving the lines down is better than worrying about the index?”

      • Very interesting. I have noticed that sometimes when a Key occurs, it actually “helps” you – Example, I call in an inside run and the result is a 20, but with the key it’s a 22. It’s generally better on an inside run. Stuff like that is pretty cool with this game.

  3. Greg – I would love to hear your thoughts on the following – when playing Face to Face, do you think the game would be better if you rolled for targeted receivers versus calling them out? Example: I taught the game to a friend a year or so ago. We didn’t use any “keying” as I was just teaching it to him, but he didn’t grasp the notion that you don’t throw to the same receiver every single time. He did; kept going to the “A” receiver. If I were truly playing him, I would have keyed that guy the entire time. That said, even when playing a more knowledgable player and one who plays more realistically; I just wonder if a dice roll would be better? And not for EVERY possible receiver; maybe state what eligible receivers are in the game and have your range be based on only those five eligible players for each play? I hope this makes sense.

    • Thanks Mark. I don’t want to get too far over our skis too early. I’ll talk strategy but first I will talk about setup and how to learn the game.

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