To show you how SOCCER BLAST works, let's open up the box and play a few sample minutes. We'll use cards from the fictional World Football Association to help us demonstrate the game. (The WFA is available in three separate card sets, each containing enough players for 20 fictional teams. It’s offered as an alternative card set for soccer fans who want to create their own soccer history, not constrained by real-life results.)
We choose our teams—USA at Brazil and arrange each team's players on the SOCCER BLAST game board. If you'd like to follow along visually, click here for a printable PDF which will appear in a separate browser window. For each team, we choose a goal keeper and ten fielders—forwards, midfielders and defenders—stacking the player cards two-deep. Rather than display all ten fielders for each team, SOCCER BLAST utilizes a “TV” style of display, showing only the “primary” players involved for any given sequence. However, players are continually moving back and forth from primary to secondary roles, so every player has the potential to contribute at any moment. This innovative method of game play conserves table space and makes game action and player checks easily manageable.
FIRST DICE ROLL: Let’s assume USA starts the game with the ball. We roll the green, black and white dice for the kick-off. Although the dice are rolled together, we always read the green die first, and switch the players in the indicated offense box from PRIMARY to SECONDARY. After we’ve done that, we ADD the numbers of the black and white dice to get our play result. For example, let’s say we’ve rolled a green 3, black 6 and white 2. The green die 3 means we FIRST switch the players in USA’s box 3, putting Gabe Graves in the primary role. THEN we add the other two dice—in this case, the black 6 and white 2 add up to “8.” Easy!
Reading result “8” on the Pitch Action chart gives us a BUILD-UP game action. (There are a half-dozen or so distinct game actions, each resolved in its own unique manner. After you've played the game a few times, you'll have these memorized and much of the game will be played without your even needing to reference the charts! ) The BUILD-UP action compares the teams on one of game's six basic player attributes, or "qualities."
In this case, let’s assume that we're checking for the STRONG quality. USA has three STRONG primary players (Brown, Graves and Johnson), Brazil has four (everyone except Ribeiro). So, Brazil out-muscles the USA in this sequence to PREVENT a scoring chance and gains possession of the ball--we leave it to your imagination to fill in the details.
We mark “USA, no shot" (or similar) as our action for the first minute of the game, and Brazil takes over on offense for its first possession, in the second minute of play.
SECOND DICE ROLL: We roll again on the Pitch Action chart: a green 2, black 4, white 6. First we switch the players in Brazil’s box 2, and Brazil’s Oliveira moves into the picture...
Then we add the other two dice. The black 4 and white 6 add up to “10.” That's the TACKLE game action, and we quickly see that the USA team has more than enough defensive strength (indicated by the SQUARE symbol) to create a turnover. (They have five squares and they only need one!)
Suddenly, the USA is back on offense! We mark “Brazil, turnover” (or similar) as our action for the second minute, and move to the third minute with USA again in possession of the ball.
THIRD DICE ROLL: This time, we roll a green 1, black 5, white 4. We switch the players in USA’s box 1, Eric Summers is the new primary player there. Then we add the black 5 and white 4, for a “9,” indicating a SIDELINE BATTLE. The length of the battle is determined by the dice combination that produced the “9” result: in this case, we’ll mark off two minutes, and re-roll a die on the “Out of Bounds Ruling” table to determine who was awarded possession at the sideline.
We roll a “3,” meaning that the team with the most CIRCLE symbols showing among its five primary players won the sideline battle, and gets the ball. USA has two players with circles (Gilmartin and Summers), but Brazil has three (Ribeiro, Correia and Fernandes)—so the ref hands Brazil’s captain the ball. Brazil re-starts play with a throw-in...
FOURTH DICE ROLL: This time we roll a green 5, black 4, white 2. We switch the players in Brazil’s box 5 (Tiago Souza) and add the black and white dice: a “6,” the TAKE ON game action. A TAKE ON is similar to a BUILD-UP, and is resolved the same way, except you're only checking the matchup of one player and his opponent instead of each entire team. In this case, because our "6" was made up of a black 4 and a white 2, we're checking the corresponding players in those boxes--Brazil’s Nicolash Correia in box 4 against USA’s Chris Sturgis in box 2. Let’s say we're checking for the STAR quality. Correia has the STAR quality, and Sturgis does not--so Correia out-dazzles Sturgis and in so doing, creates a possible Brazilian scoring chance, called an ATTACK, our first of the game.
The ATTACK is a key element of SOCCER BLAST, and much of the goal-scoring hinges upon it. Simply put, successful ATTACKS give teams quality scoring chances. To determine whether an ATTACK is successful, we check the offense team for TRIANGLE symbols, and the defensive team for SQUARES. We roll all three dice. As always, the green die indicates which offensive players switch roles before anything else happens. The black die corresponds to and is checked against the triangle symbols displayed on the cards of the offense’s primary players. The white die corresponds to and is checked against the square symbols displayed on the cards of the defense’s primary players.
For the ATTACK to succeed, the black die must be equal to or less than the number of triangles, AND the white die must be greater than the number of squares. Let’s see what happens…
FIFTH DICE ROLL: We roll a green 1, black 4, white 4. First, we switch the offense players in Brazil’s box 1, as indicated by the green die. (see below) Note that Brazil just lost a triangle symbol in doing so—Costa had two triangles on his card, but the NEW primary player in box 1, Barrios, has only one. (You'll find the game is filled with interesting twists like this!) So, Brazil now has only three triangles showing—Barrios, Oliveira and Ribeiro—and since the number we rolled on the black die (4) is greater than three, the ATTACK is NOT successful. (Of course, it would have been, if the USA hadn't screened Costa out of the picture!) We don’t need to check the USA’s squares total, this ATTACK has been DEFENDED.
To find out exactly what happened and how to proceed, we add the numbers we just rolled on the black and white dice—in this case, it’s 8 (black 4, white 4). We reference the sum on the ATTACK DEFENDED column. There, on result 8, it tells us that Brazil’s primary player in box 2, Oliveira, launched an off-target shot. However, the column text tells us that Brazil’s primary player in box 1 (Barrios) still has a chance to maintain possession of the ball, if he has a CIRCLE symbol on his card. We check—he does, and so Brazil keeps the ball. We mark “Brazil, missed shot” or similar for the game’s fifth minute, and move to the sixth minute with Brazil still in possession of the ball.
Had Brazil’s attack been successful, we would have added the black and white dice, and checked the result on the ATTACK ON-TARGET column instead of the ATTACK DEFENDED. There, we would have seen which player gets to shoot, what assist help he got, if any. We would then have rolled the three dice again to see if a goal was scored, or if the keeper was able to make the stop.
We'll leave our sample play sequence at this point, with Brazil continuing to work the ball in anticipation of generating another attack.
As these few minutes of action show, SOCCER BLAST moves quickly and smoothly. Set pieces like corners and direct free kicks have their own game action dice rolls, and are resolved in a similar fast, easy-to-follow fashion. The referee will also make his presence felt frequently during the game, showing cards, making sometimes-controversial rulings and often contending with players. Of course, it wouldn’t be a PLAAY Game without our customary series of Highlight Reel results! Amazing headers, “how-did-he-do-THAT” direct free kicks and long range shots, player injuries, as well as unusual and rare results that will create the kind of tabletop sports moments you’ll talk about with your friends for years. Best of all, once you get familiar with the game actions and begin to memorize the charts, you should easily be able to complete an entire game in 45 minutes, or less!