There are so many ways to enjoy the APBA games and Football is no exception. I sometimes think that people get so caught up in playing things “right” that they take some of the fun out of playing the games. People that know me, particularly my friend Gilles, know that I like to quote Mr. Seitz “You are the manager!” So while I am tasked by the OGuard to talk about Face-to-Face, he also told me to talk about anything I want, so for this one I am going to talk about another way to play solitaire.
There is more than one way to go about things of course and ultimately it depends on what your goal is. Greg B. and Mark Z. are full bore replayers and they are the masters of that. Other folks prefer to play a tournament style, or a “what-if” or maybe just the occasional game. Each of those scenarios are created to come to a different goal. The what-if is really just an exercise in imagination. I am a big fan of the what-if play. The Tournament is a nice easy way to get the feel of a season, play everyone and not commit to 180- 400 games. The replayer, ultimately, wants the stats to look like Real Life. Finally the occasional gamer wants to pull two teams out of a box, set up the game and roll dice. They want to do that pretty quickly.
I want to focus on the “Non-Replayer” for this purpose. Greg, Mark, et al. have given everyone plenty of material around doing a replay. For the non-replay what should you consider? Here’s a short and no doubt incomplete list of things to consider:
- What is your usage thought? Do you care about over playing a running back/ quarterback/ Wide Receiver?
- Are you going to be keeping Sack/ Interception stats?
- For that matter what stats do you want to track?
- How do you want to call defense?
- How do you want to call offense?
So there’s a little bit to consider. Let’s take the questions in order:
The thing about usage is, it’s more important when replicating a season then it is in any other scenario. In real football how many times have we seen a guy who was not a big part of the season be a huge part of the playoffs or Superbowl? James White, Tim Smith, that’s just two that spring to mind. So basically, if you’re playing a game as a one-off, play whoever you want, have fun with it. If you’re playing a tournament it probably makes sense to put some guard rails up. I like to use a combination of average attempts/catches and maximum attempts/ catches so that I can see how the game plays out. So if a team gets ahead by 14-17 in the fourth quarter I don’t feel hamstrung to pass because of usage. I am a very big believer in playing the game as it comes, even if that means someone is overworked.
What stats to keep is a little different than the Sack/ Interception number because of the finder column. If you’re playing a game I’d recommend you don’t worry about finder columns and just use the board results. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the game in anyway and it dramatically reduces setup. For tournaments and what-ifs I think it’s worth getting the finders setup. Find the excel doc that will help you with this and do it as you go.
What stats to keep is a personal preference issue. Scoresheets and Excel today make keeping more stats than you may have 20 years ago be much easier. Still, the more stats you write down the slower your game play will be. I like to keep attempts, yards, turnovers, touchdowns, first downs, penalties, punting, kicking and return stats. I notice that Greg B. accumulates as he goes, something I had never done, and it seems to make totaling easier. I know a guy who told me he just keeps final scores and scoring plays and he’s quite happy with it. There is no wrong way and I was impressed when he could describe games in great detail even though he didn’t have stats.
Injuries are a big part of the game so I recommend that you at the least play in game injuries. If you are playing guys based on what they actually played you don’t need to keep the carry-over injuries (since you have done that already) for a tournament you may want to play the multi-game injuries out as it will, potentially, be in the storyline. Personal preference again but I think it’s pretty cool to have that as a “great unknown”.
Finally we get to play calling. We seem to be moving towards a world where the players of the football game all use some form of a computer to call plays. On behalf of Mr. Seitz I implore you to call your own plays. Frankly I always thought the most fun about the game was to call your play. The brochure even brought you into the huddle with Terry Bradshaw to see if he should throw short to Frank Lewis or send Franco Harris into the line (how old am I) to get the first down. What I recommend is that you take a look at the team you’re playing and in your head create a “game plan” for that game. Include your C receivers and your lesser players in that plan. I don’t see any issue with throwing to your C in the second quarter on a second and 8 and throwing to your A* in the fourth quarter on 3rd and three down 6 points. Do you? Who does Big Ben throw too in the 3rd down spot? I’d also point out that if you only want to give the ball to your best runner and throw to you’re A’s, there’s really no law against that. Just understand the effect on the final result.
Defense is usually called with some sort of automatic caller. I use flip cards that I designed to try and replicate playing a person FTF. That’s what I like to do. Others use the APBA defense cards, the Fletch System or some other automatic play caller. My advice is, whatever you do, don’t try and “game” the defense. I have a set of “match up” cards that Ray Dunlap gave me several years ago. He’s simplified them in the interim but I like the “complicated” cards a little better. What I do is roll three dice, a 1 or a 6 and I draw from Ray’s deck and otherwise I use mine. Since I don’t know before I call the play there’s really no chance that even subconsciously I will game the system.
In the end this is all supposed to be fun. I am starting to think that one of the reasons Football fell behind the other games in APBA sales is because people found it daunting to play a game. It doesn’t have to be. Like all games APBA makes it’s a roll of the dice. Find where you are comfortable and play there for awhile. You may find yourself adding more in as you go. In-the-meantime don’t be afraid to call a medium pass to Antonio Brown without the help of a computer. My mantra is, as it has always been, make sure it’s FUN!