The discussion continues: "Stacks" or "Grids?" It seems that both methods of HOCKEY BLAST play have their aficionados, each with solid reasons for sticking with it. However, one interesting alternate idea has emerged: using business card holders for lines and defensive pairs. Steve Tower uses this method in AFR's most recent HOCKEY BLAST video, although I believe he got the idea from another PLAAY Gamer. (Will the originator of this idea please come forward so you can receive proper credit? Thank you!)
With the card holder method, you get the benefit of "seeing" only those players on the ice at any given time, while only having to switch four card-holders instead of ten individual cards.
In our recent "Commissioner's Surprise" tournament, Steve Heller brought along his card holders for use during the tournament, and I was impressed with how well they worked. So much so that a couple days later, I went to our local office supply superstore to purchase some business card holders with which to experiment further. I figured the expense of buying a package of business card holders might be a minor drawback. However I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a package of ten pages/sheets of business card holders (see photo) is available at OfficeMax for just $5. Better yet, I came up with a way to get ALL of a teams lines and pairs from a single sheet of card holders. Here's how I set it up...
Each sheet comes with ten business card sleeves, two columns of five. By using a straight-edge and a razor, you can divide the sheet into four columns of five "half-sleeves," as shown. Then, with a scissors, you can separate each "half-sleeve" into a grouping of three (for lines of forwards) and a grouping of two (for pairs of defense men).
My initial thought was to use horizontal rows, aligning with the spaces on the game board. Doing so left a pretty good amount of "wiggle room" in each pocket, and for the segments that did not have a sealed border (half of them will not when divided down the middle) I had to use a measure of caution to keep the cards from falling out if the card holders were moved too vigorously. To solve this minor issue, I came up with the idea of placing the cards horizontally in the holders, and positioning the game board vertically (see photo.) The cards fit PERFECTLY in the holders this way, and the game plays just as easily from this orientation as it does from the other.
Of course, you could use only the segments with the sealed edges, discard the other segments, and continue to play the game in the standard horizontal orientation. (But I hate to waste anything!)
In a Delphi Forum post about the "Commissioner's Surprise Tournament," I mused that while using the card holders was a good experience, I wondered if I actually saved any time, given the extra time required to arrange the cards in holders vs. just stacking the lines and pairs on the game board and diving right into play. Steve Heller followed up with a post mentioning that the cards don't necessarily have to be removed from the holders, if you have enough holders for all the teams in your project. Using the method just outlined, you can put all 30 NHL teams in card holders for a total cost of $15 (assuming you use all segments, not just the ones with the sealed edges), and just leave them that way for the whole season. I think it's a great option.