"Fab Finish Football" started out as "Fab Four Football," an idea we came up with late in 2017 for PLAAY-Dot-CON, and posted in the PLAAY Games newsletter. I really wanted to have some sort of football tournament as part of the convention fun, but wanted it to move along quickly, with the opportunity to complete multiple rounds in a two or three-hour sitting. So I created a tool by which you can choose any two teams, generate a late-game scenario through a series of dice rolls, and then pick up the game with four minutes left to play. The idea was to get right to the nitty-gritty in a format that could be completed in 30 minutes of game time, or less!
We play-tested "Fab Four Football" at the Milwaukee PLAAY Gamer Meet-Up back in January, and had a great time with it. The consensus, though, was that four minutes wasn't long enough. (Parenthetically, it was nice to hear people complaining that the game was too SHORT!) Specifically, I was paired off against Joe Pritchard for our tournament: I had the All-Time New Orleans team, Joe had All-Time San Francisco. Joe got the ball, and proceeded to chew up all but the last few seconds of the clock with a patented Montana-Rice-Craig game-winning drive. I got to run back a kickoff and throw a couple "Hail Marys." So, in the interest of fun, fairness and competitive balance, we've changed it to "Fab Finish Football," and have added a Canadian version as well!
The idea works well for any late-gate increment of remaining time, four, five, six or seven minutes. You could even roll two dice, add them, and use THAT total as your "minutes remaining" figure. For PLAAY-Dot-CON, we'll start with five minutes for the first round, and each succeeding round will be one minute longer. The point is, there's flexibility built-in where you can decide how much game time you want the "finish" to represent.
Now, "Fab Finish Football" makes the assumption that it's a close game, regardless of the relative strength of the teams you've chosen. I intentionally went in this direction. First, nobody wants to play "Flat Finish Football." I didn't see any point in adding some sort of a weighting that would introduce the chance of a game that's already essentially decided with four minutes left to play, even though that's often the case in real pro football, especially with teams that are not evenly matched. Doing that would defeat the stated purpose of football "fun." More importantly, in a tournament context, it wouldn't be fair for someone to be effectively eliminated simply because of unfortunate dice rolling in the late-game scenario set-up.
For these reasons, "Fab Finish Football" will ONLY generate scenarios with the potential for a "fabulous" finish. The largest possible margin is six points, and the ball will be set up somewhere between the 30 yard-lines, no closer. In short, while the playing field won't necessarily be precisely level, the tool is designed so that no matter what the dice rolls are, the game will be very much up in the air entering the final four minutes, with BOTH teams having a solid chance to pull out a win.
Both versions of "Fab Finish Football" are available for download. Click here for the SECOND SEASON American pro football version, click here for the COLD SNAP Canadian pro football version. (You can watch a video of Canadian football "Fab Finish" here, we debuted the idea on a live Facebook webcast 7.11.18)
Please let us know what your experiences are! (We've found that there's entertainment value in simply picking the teams and creating the scenarios, even if you don't finish the game!).