Board games surely are the perfect way to recreate The Beautiful Game. We showed that with Operation Jack Wilshere, it’s a perfect marriage (or not).
Keep your Fifas, your Pro Evos, your fantasy footballs. Surely the closest you can get to kicking a football around is rolling a dice and moving some wooden bits around a green board. Probably.
Given it’s Euro 2016 we thought we would dig in and find out what board games have to offer us football (or soccer if you must) fans. This is my quest for the best football board game.
SOCCER the board game
I started my journey on Amazon.
Okay – this is exactly what I had hoped (feared) for. It is literally “Wooden Players”, a “Digital Timer (battery included)”, a green board and some dice. Also a card that says “Shoot”.
OMG THERE IS EVEN AN EXPANSION, which just seems to be other coloured wooden players, I guess to play as different teams? I can’t even find the game on BoardGameGeek.com to check its quality, so let’s look at the Amazon reviews.
“The game reasonably priced, smart and probably would give a 5 star, BUT the board is the back of the box.”
Oh come on, this game costs over $30, you could at least include a real board.
“Save your money. Complicated rules. Awkward play. If you don’t like soccer because you think it is painfully slow and complicated, this game is your nightmare.”
Okay, but there are some positive reviews.
“Strategy, skill, and a little luck is what it takes to win with this game. It has a striking resemblance to the real game of soccer.”
I really doubt that last part. Oh wait look – it has a realistic Ronaldo…or is that Rooney. I forget.
Right – time for a new approach. What’s the highest rated “Soccer” game on BGG?
With a solitary review of shocking 9/10 it is “Stonehenge soccer”. I’m curious.
“Object of the game: The player that shoots the soccer ball the best will win the game.”
I’m not sure that is exactly the rules of football. Doesn’t it have to go in the goal?
“All players yell “one, two, three, shoot” to begin. A player can then “shoot” the ball by gently flicking it with their other pointer finger.
“ONE, TWO, THREE! AHHHHH” *gently flicks disk*. Just like the real thing.
Turns out it’s actually a fan made alternative game for some Stonehenge board game. NEXT!
Now, let’s look for a game with more than one review. Classic Soccer has 8.18/10 from 17 people.
Time Travel Soccer is the game that enables you to match up the all-time greats in the world of soccer. Pele and 1970 Brazil, Maradona and 1986 Argentina, even the “Wee Wizards” of Scotland 1928 are available.
Why call it “Classic Soccer”? Never mind.
Okay yes, time travel, the great, the “Wee Wizards” (who?). I’m in. So how does it work?
A dice-and-charts simulation of soccer.
Thrilling. It continues
Through mathematical analysis, statistics for sides have been normalized to allow any international side ever, play any other side with realistic results
(There is a comprehensive write up here from an adoring fan, if you’re interested in soccer’s answer to Moneyball)
In my desperation, I’ve turned to Kickstarter. Maybe some new upstart is working on the ultimate football table top board game. Hat-Trick. It has some good reviews…but it also had a 6 minute long video on how shooting works. Terrifying.
Alright, we’re getting closer. This looks a bit like a twist on Subbuteo wot we all enjoyed as kids.
Actually we didn’t enjoy it per se. It was shit and the one at my mates house was always missing a player.
Kicket though It’s bloody massive and actually involved kicking. This is promising.
Oh wait. What the fuck is this.
This game did not need demons and goblins and it certainly didn’t need over sexualised female players. Come on: this is 2016. Cut that shit out.
I’m sure there are some fun football based board games out there. Personally though I think I’ll stick to kicking a real football outside and playing lots of other themed board games inside. Maybe you can change my mind though? Let us know if you have a football board game we should really try.