APBA Football Innovations

I started playing APBA Football back in 1966, and fell in love with this game instantly!  But, there were always certain aspects of the game that I felt could be improved.  And I have spent the better part of the past six decades tweaking how I play the game in ways that I believe have either increased statistical accuracy, enhanced the strategic experience or just made it more fun!

So, I reached out to Greg Barath (Oguard62) and we talked about using his extraordinary website as a platform for me to introduce to all his followers exactly how I play the game with all the changes and enhancements that I have implemented over the years.  And, please understand that the majority of my innovations are my own creation . . . but, some I have flat-out stolen (!) and others were the result of collaborating with other brilliant gamers in our community.

Now, like anyone who tinkers with the game and attempts to create new ways of doing things, I am pretty proud of my changes and think that I have advanced the gaming experience in a very positive way.  But, I’m not alone.  Rest assured that Mr. Barath believes that his approach to playing the game is the absolute best way to do so, as, I’m certain, does Mark Zarb, Doug Reece, Greg Wells, Dick Moore, Mark DerGarabedian, John Bowen, Mike Harlow, Denny Hodge, Jerry Zajack, Dave Urban, Phil Molloy, Scott Griffin and anyone else who pounds through replays and tournaments and who has put in the time and effort to add something new to his APBA Football experience.

So, my goal is to post my unique approach to playing this game and the changes that I use.  And honestly?  Some of the methods-of-play that I introduce will very possibly resonate with you immediately and you’ll be encouraged to implement them into your own gaming experience.  But, I’m just as certain that some of my other ideas will have you scratching your head wondering what the heck I must have been smoking when I came up with that concept!  And that’s OK . . . I don’t pretend to have a monopoly on every great idea, but I’ll bet there will be one or two things you’ll learn from me that you will latch on to.

And then?  When I have presented all my original concepts, which will take a couple of months, then I hope to learn something from you!!  So, I will ask that you share some of the ideas and changes that you have implemented in your own games that make it more fun or realistic for you.  And, if you do so, I will feature them in a future article along with an accompanying critique – things I like about your ideas and, perhaps, a way you might be able to improve on them.  Also, I may just lean on some of my fellow Hall-of-Famers to chime in with their own observations and recommendations as well.

Maybe this “Community Approach” of idea-sharing will pay some big dividends in helping all of us find a concept or strategy that we had not thought of that might just increase our enjoyment of this hobby we all share!

So, here is a “teaser” rule change that I sincerely believe everyone should consider for immediate implementation!  And, honestly, I really do believe that it is an improvement over the game company’s rule . . . and it has to do with the “Audible.”

The game company rules allow for an offensive coach to call an audible once per quarter, effectively allowing for a brand new play to be sent in.  The problem with the audible is that it is completely one-sided – it only benefits the offense.  And, when I implement a rule, I really believe that it needs to be balanced so that it does not favor either just the offense or just the defense.

So, here is my take on the whole “audible” concept.  When you first sit down to play APBA Football, you are told that you are the coach.  And this makes sense, because you’re not suiting up – you are calling the plays and making substitutions.  Coaches don’t call audibles . . . the quarterback does.  But, as a coach, if you’re standing on the sideline and you look at the defensive alignment and realize that the play you sent in is not likely to work, you have one option – you already know it – and that’s to call a time-out!

And this idea cuts both ways.

If you are the defensive coach and you look at the offensive formation and realize that you have a mismatch and your defense could be compromised, you can do the same thing – call a time-out!

So, rather than allow audibles, that benefit the offense only and where there are no negative repercussions, allow each team to use one time-out per quarter whenever they want to nullify a potential play.  Each coach will have to weigh the pros and cons of using one of their timeouts, but it does create a balance, because both offenses and defenses can take advantage of this idea, and, unlike the game company’s version of an audible, now there would be a tangible consequence because, to take advantage of this rule, a coach will have to use up, what could be, a valuable time-out.

So, that’s an example of one idea that I think is worth considering.  Please stay tuned for lots more strategies and innovations . . . and be sure to send me your comments, feedback and your own great innovations!  Let’s make this an awesome format for honest improvements to one of the greatest board-games ever created!

Ray Dunlap ray@raydunlap.com

5 thoughts on “APBA Football Innovations

  1. Ray –
    Love this thread! Love it! Regarding the use of a timeout when combatting an audible, I allow a timeout whenever the offense or defense wants to spend one; whether I play solo or face to face. It’s fun to try to determine if a timeout is worth it, or to just risk it and see how the play plays out. One question for you: Do you feel the defense should be allowed to call an audible?

    • Mark – I believe that, if the offense can call an audible, then, so too, should the defense. But, I am concerned because “coaches” can’t call audibles – only players on the field can. So, giving this power to the APBA coach just seems wrong to me. But, having played quarterback in high school and college, I can tell you that the defense (typically the Middle Linebacker) will call audibles to change pass coverage or to order up a blitz depending on the offensive formation. And, I have never liked the game company’s rule because it is so one-sided.

  2. Ray, there was an audible chart in the AJ Ref Pack, that allowed you to call an audible anytime. There were 6 possible results on any called audible: Checkoff allowed, Offside Defense, False Start, Delay of Game, Broken Play, and QB doesn’t read defense. Have you tried that?

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