Sports Simulation Board Games

Feature: Adapting LACROSSE BLAST for Field, Collegiate Lacrosse

When I was in San Francisco back in March, 2015 for the Time Machine Tournament, a few of us hung around for some “after hours” box lacrosse action at Game Kastle (final score, Toronto 14, Colorado 10) followed by a lively discussion about how LACROSSE BLAST might be adapted for the field game.

As it turns out, it's a very easy adaptation. This is because modern box “platoon” rules do a good job of mimicking the personnel scheme of the field game. In contemporary box lacrosse, once a team gains possession of the ball, the team “transitions” from defense to offense, with the five defenders leaving the floor and five offensive specialists taking over. (This is different from 1970s and ‘80s box lacrosse, where players played both offense and defense, similar to the way hockey is played.) In field lacrosse there are nine players in the field, but the forwards and defenders must stay in their half of the field—only the midfielders can play anywhere. So, in essence, field lacrosse is a six-on-seven game (three defenders, three middies and a goalie vs. three attackers and three middies) compared to box lacrosse’s five-on-six. Pretty similar.

Mark Zigler and Lenny LaFrance are the two Northern California lacrosse fans who brainstormed this with me, providing input on how the “blast” game engine might be tuned to the field game. For example, there are no fights in field lacrosse, so the FIGHT results are converted to punches thrown. Penalties are fewer and shorter in length in field lacrosse, hence fewer power play goals. So the power play goal results on the Boxla Blast charts are changed to even-strength goals. Mark spent a good number of hours creating cards for the college lacrosse “sweet sixteen” tournament, which will conclude next weekend. Mark also put together a game guide to help LACROSSE BLAST fans make the few necessary adjustments.

I found some time to try these cards out myself, and feel like they do a great job of capturing the college field game. My “final four” included Denver University, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Maryland. But don’t take MY word for it—you can download Mark’s college lacrosse cards and gamer guide here and enjoy a college lacrosse tournament of your own!