Sports Simulation Board Games

Autumn 2019 Community Buzz: Questions/Ideas

As you can imagine, we get quite a bit of e-mail about game questions and ideas. A lot of it can be helpful/usefull to the rest of the community, so we're happy to share! Here's a sample...

Daniel Pruszewski wrote to ask, "When playing SECOND SEASON solitaire and the audible column comes into play from the offensive play-calling chart, which personnel package should I assume is in the game? For instance, the roll calls for "audible," which then calls for a run play. Should I assume my pass play personnel were in the game and my QB changed it to a run at the line of scrimmage? Or should I use my run personnel?" There's no definitive answer to this question, but it points to one of the things people sometimes get wrong about the game. While the defense subs are tied to the defense setting (i.e., [pass] defenders are considered to be on the field whenever the PASS defense is called), it's different with the offense. Just because a running play was called doesn't mean that the offense had the jumbo package in the game! Often times, a team will use its pass people as a decoy and call a run instead, or vice-versa. And, of course, often it's the standard/default lineup that's in the game. For those reasons, when these situations come up when I'm playing solitaire, I rely on the the tried-and-true odd/even roll!

Also—and maybe this is a no-brainer—I would only do the solitaire odd/even roll IF the game book result asked for a position where there might be a situational offensive sub in the game. If it calls for, say, the CE or QB, it wouldn't matter what package was in the game so there's no need to determine it.

Finally, remember that the rules are different when playing head-to-head. It's the offense coach's responsibility to announce his personnel changes BEFORE he calls his play. If you don't make any announcement, you are locked into using the default (bolded starter) line-up and ignoring the pass/run package designations.

Todd Rollin writes, "For SECOND SEASON's 2018N San Francisco, Robbie Gould has an 'N' and the punter has no KO rating. Could you let me know how to handle this?" Sorry for the errata! Brad Pinion is the Niners' KO guy, should have a KO rating of "AAA." Gould had a few (terrible) kickoffs too, he's an "F." Corrected San Francisco PDF is here. Also note that there's an extra dagger symbol next to Russell Wilson's Y grade of 2—you can ignore that on Y results, as Wilson's dagger result (which makes him more likely to take sacks vs. PASS defenses) won't come up on interception rolls.

Clinton Paris writes, "Loving SECOND SEASON Express so far! It's been not only a quick experience, but it has created some memorable game experiences as well! The only thing it doesn't do is generate injuries, so I was thinking about creating a post-game table to find out if there were any notable ones I could apply to teams as I go through the season. From a math perspective, how many injuries would you say would be generated per game? I was thinking maybe just base it on a d6 roll, then roll on the Page 2 tables to see who was injured and for how long." Clinton, that's exactly the process I would have suggested, except I might consider doing it before the next game rather than after the one you just finished--a moot point. You'll also need to figure out a way to distribute the injury possibilities to both platoons of both teams. You could, for example, roll a die, divide by half, round up, and conduct that many injury rolls for each team.

Many of the injuries you'll generate will be "rest of series," or rest of period" and can be written off as inconsequential. The ones that aren't can be noted and subs used for the appropriate number of games.

I've seen some home-brewed ideas floating around for in-game injuries/forced substitutes—I think that would be a good avenue to pursue as well, as long as it doesn't get too complicated. Jule Sigall has come up with this idea: "Anytime a 55 is rolled on a play chart, there is a roll on the Injury Chart from the full SECOND SEASON game book (page 3). This allows individual injuries to come into play during the game. It’s working well, the amount of injuries is about right and they've had an effect on play once or twice over about a dozen games." Jule is also rolling for injuries on kick returns (any 3, 4 or 5 roll on the WOW! Punt or kickoff chart), but says "I'm not sure that is worth the effort given the odd nature of kick injuries anyway." While we're OK with added detail like this, remember that this is supposed to be a fast-play game, 30 minutes or less. Our feeling is, if you start adding on a bunch of extra detail, at some point you might as well play the full version of the game with the 4.0 speed-up tools, which can deliver full games with complete stats in about 75 minutes.

Here are a couple HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL rules tweaks suggested by Travis Jansen...

Bruce Toussaint writes, "Seeing a picture of Hut Stricklin (promoting our live stream of the RED WHITE & BLUE RACIN' "Star Crossed 300") really brought back memories! I worked for a company for 35 years that owned Raybestos Brakes. Hut raced for us in the blue and white Raybestos car. Got to meet him when he came to our company for a tour. Sterling Marlin and then Jeff Burton raced for us after Hut. Was able to attend a luncheon with Jeff. Fun times! We also sponsored Sarah Fisher in Indy Car racing and she was really a sweet girl. I was finally able to get autograph pictures from someone our Granddaughters could relate to!

Bruce continues, "I was working late one night and our Manager in charge of racing was walking Benny Parsons through the company. No one else was there, so I got to meet and talk with him. I remember Benny being a class guy who instantly made you feel comfortable to talk with. I was always able to get in free, with great seats, to the Michigan races and to the corporate suite along pit lane at Indy. I've always loved racing and been exposed to it all of my life."

Bruce also makes note of a connection between stock car racing and the College All-Star Game! "That game was played at Soldiers Field in Chicago on the infield of the stock car race track that went around the outside of it. If you look up old pictures of Soldiers Field you'll see the race track in them. We lived on the North side and frequently went to the races there, as well as the College All Star games. I'll always remember the hit Dick Butkus put on Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns (8/6/1965). After that hit I knew the Bears had a great one."

Kev Robson sent along a link to a new website he's created for his UK-based baseball team, the Weston Jets! (That's right, they play baseball in the UK!) "I’ve spent the last couple of years making my dream of playing baseball a reality and formed my own club (a real challenge to do on this side of the pond!) yourself and HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL have played a HUGE part in inspiring me to start this project and just thought I would say thank you! It would be fantastic to get yourself and some of the other PLAAY Games community to follow and support the club." Right-O, Kev!

Chris Wiseman asks, "With the RED WHITE & BLUE RACIN' 2014 SCRAM set the question has come up regarding the gender of Shannon Reincke. I grew up with a couple of girls named Shannon so I have always thought of Shannon as a girl's name. But, the other guys tell me that Monica Merrick and Sunny Swayne are the only female SCRAM drivers. I couldn't find a definitive answer in the paperwork that came with the set. Can you help shed some light on this "oh-so important" question!?" Well, actually—you forgot to mention Julee Justus, SCRAM's top female driver! As for the others, I purposely left some of the genders vague. So Sunny Swayne and Shannon Reincke could be either guys or gals—for me, they're women. Lonnie Lane is other possible "gender bender" in the series. There are several women drivers in the "SCRAM-ateurs" series, including Aimee Serra, Allyson Rioux and Pam Graham. And, more to come in 2020!

Harold Coleman writes, "Man, I'm having fun with HISTORY MAKER GOLF! I'm replaying a 2017-18 season of sorts (25 tournaments) using most of the new courses I've ordered lately. All of the "1's" except DeChambeau at at the top of the leaders, with Justin Thomas and Tony Finau leading the way, each with 3 wins. Patton Kizzire, a "3B," won the Masters.

There's one aspect of the game that Harold's been mulling over. "I find it unrealistic that if a golfer doesn't play it safe on a Double Difficult putt and misses, the follow-up putt is ALWAYS Difficult. It has caused me to have a golfer "play it safe" ALL the time, but I have a house rule he sinks the "safe" putt on a 1-1 roll. Anyway, I was thinking that there should be other possibilities for the follow-up putt, and some should favor the better putters on a Double Difficult attempt. That way, it's more tempting to NOT play safe on a Double Difficult putt."

I hear what Harold's saying, and think his house rule (roll a d6 to determine the difficulty of a missed Double Difficult putt) is an interesting idea to mix it up a bit. That said, I'm a big believer in the elegance of simplicity in tabletop sports games—that should be evident by my choice of using a six-sided die to determine the outcome of putts! (I could have easily/"more accurately" used a d10 or d20!) I'm hesitant to make extra charts an official part of the game.

Also—and this is the main thing—I feel as though you SHOULD think twice, or even three times about trying to sink a double difficult putt! To be honest, I don't think the current arrangement is unrealistic at all! Consider: if you miss a DB DIFFICULT putt for birdie, you still have a 50-50 chance of making par anyway. AND, if you have a blue chip banked, you can up your odds significantly. You can either spend it on the DB DIFFICULT putt making it DIFFICULT, and then, if you miss, the follow-up putt for par is MODERATE (1-5), OR you can save the chip for the follow-up putt and gamble that you'll maybe hit the birdie putt (and earn an additional blue chip). Basically, if you've got chips (i.e., you've gained some momentum and are feeling good), you're less likely to play safe. Without them, you're MORE likely to play safe. This feels right to me, from a golfer's perspective. I think if you lessen the consequences, there's little reason to play safe and it also cheapens the value of the blue chips.

Those are my thoughts, anyway—I do appreciate Harold sharing his!

Jamie Watkins checks in to share some hockey thoughts. "I'm one of the geeks who came to PLAAY for HOCKEY BLAST first, and then fell in love with the other games! For my 2018-19 Hockey North America season, I did a 12-sided die roll and ended up coaching team 6. I am using the old IHL teams from the 80's for team names. The first hockey game of pros that I ever saw as a kid was the (IHL) Saginaw (MI) Gears. They had a mouthy guy as their goalie, in Ed Belfour. I was even able to play a few round of golf with him in local charity events in my high school years. (He plays left handed and still has the same golf clubs to this day, personalized with BlackHawks logo and his name on them, forged blades)."

"Anyway, that relationship started my quest in playing and coaching hockey. Now, I just watch and scream at the Lightning at the arena (less than an hour from the house) and all the games I can get with NHL.TV. That's my interest. We all have good stories. Not sure why, but I figured I would share mine! Looking forward to the new hockey releases, counting the days!"

Questions? Comments? Let us know!