APBA Football Thoughts . . .

Greg has offered me the opportunity to share with this community some of my thoughts on APBA Football, a game I love, and one that I have been playing for 51 years.  And I will use this forum to share observations and ideas that I think will help anyone who plays the game to gain greater enjoyment from the experience.

APBA Football is really the tale of two very different endeavors.  Because you can play the game face-to-face against another opponent, or, you can play it solo.

I really believe that the game is truly designed to be played across a table against a real competitor.  That’s when you can truly experience the complexity and strategic beauty of the game.  When I started playing, I would ONLY play face-to-face.  I had about five friends who could coach against me.  But, honestly, that’s when the game was pretty easy.  Four plays, no funky defensive sets and 30 players in each team’s envelope.

You could sit down with someone and, in about 10 minutes, teach them how to play the game and you could start rolling.  And, about two hours later, you were done.

The Master Game changed all of that.  In fact, that “new & improved” version of the game is so complex that, for novice coaches trying to navigate all of the nuances of the Master game, the experience can go on for a long time.

Witness what happened this past summer at the APBA convention.  Two coaches played a quarterfinal round game, and it took over five and a half hours for them to complete the contest!  Also, someone who routinely plays the Master Game, because they may be in a league, is at a distinct advantage over someone who does not drag out all of those formations and rules on a regular basis.  I’ll wager that Greg Wells could compete with poorer teams against coaches like myself even if I have a superior team – because I play typically one game a year with the Master boards – and that is at the Convention!  Mr. Wells has an intimate knowledge of how each formation and line-setting decision impacts the outcome of plays from scrimmage.  I honestly feel as if my head is spinning whenever I play against him because I have so much less experience playing that game.

And, honestly, that’s because I don’t have that proverbial “circle of friends” to play against like I used to.  And, even if I could convince someone to sit across the table from me to play a game, I don’t have the time or patience to teach them the Master Game version – the Basic Game is much more suitable for the novice player.

But, the reality of my APBA Football gaming experience is that, today, I primarily play the game solo.  And, many in our community do the same.

So, as I comment through this forum in the coming weeks and months, I will be talking about ways you can enhance both the face-to-face experience, especially if you’re in a league or considering starting or joining one; as well as sharing ideas I have been able to successfully integrate into the solo experience of enjoying APBA Football.

Plus, I hope that you will ask questions.  This is one of the best ways for us to connect as a community and to share concerns and great innovations at the same time.

I want to thank Greg Barath (OGuard62) for all of the time and effort he has expended putting this format together and bringing the best of the APBA Football community into this forum.  I’m excited about sharing some ideas and learning from you at the same time to enhance my own gaming experience!

Ray Dunlap

4 thoughts on “APBA Football Thoughts . . .

  1. Guys,
    I happen to own a ton of the pre-82 game cards. I know there is a conversion table, but it is time consuming to use. What happens if you play the new game with the old cards. Just how bad does it get? A lot?

  2. Rick,

    You could play with the old cards and the current boards . . . . and the differences, while very real, do not make the game “unplayable.” But some of the differences will be tangible and will certainly skew the statistics. Most quarterbacks back then had at least one “1” in their passing column (Kenny Stabler in 1976 had three “1’s”!!), and a running-back who had a run over 30 yards during the season got either a “2” or a “1” as a stand-alone number at “66.” So you would have many more big gains in both passing and rushing. It will be more like an Arena Football game!!!

  3. Hello Ray,

    I would love to play in, or even run a local league, but how would I even go about finding other players that are already experienced players to join? I know I cab check local game stores, but that is super tedious. Do you know of a website that includes some kind of search, or is it just going to take a lot of research and legwork to find players?

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