PLAAY Games

Sports Simulation Board Games

Keeping Chips in Play with SOCCER BLAST

I've been playing a good amount of SOCCER BLAST lately, managing Southampton in Neil Maitland's SOCCER BLAST co-op league, from the PLAAY Games Delphi Forum. Really fun!

In checking out the forum posts, I ran across a post from PLAAY Gamer Tim Chandler regarding chip usage in the game. The chip system is meant to provide a scoring (or defending) boost when a replacement enters in the latter part of the match. The way the system works, the effect is lost for green and blue chips when a "chipped" player loses his primary status. (Red chips are kept until used.) Some gamers feel that it's too easy to lose the "freshness" benefit that the chip is designed to represent. For my part, I wrote the rules chip rules in a way that I felt would encourage more or less immediate usage of the blue and green chips, so as not to unrealistically exaggerate the benefit of subbing.

Here's an article from a couple years ago which talks about chip usage rules and strategies in more detail.

I do agree, though: it's deflating (although not necessarily unrealistic) to lose a chip to an early switch!

With that in mind, Tim came up with a system that makes the loss of chipped status a gradual thing rather than a here-and-gone phenomenon. To implement it, you simply need to use a new colored chip—Tim suggests using yellow. Here's how it works...

BLUE TO YELLOW:The game rules stipulate that a blue chip is lost when the player possessing the chip switches to a secondary position. To allow some of its effect to linger, instead of losing the chip altogether, the chip becomes a YELLOW chip. The yellow chip is given to the primary position player of the same position that the blue chip had been originally assigned to and it functions like a Blue Chip except that it adds only 2 triangles or squares. The justification for this is that a "chipped" player has additional individual stamina, and, even in a secondary position, provides a performance enhancement for his teammates. If the yellow chip is not lost due to use, if a switch of the same position thereafter occurs, remove the yellow chip and return the blue chip to the player to which it was originally assigned.

GREEN TO YELLOW: According to the game rules, a green chip is lost when the player possessing the chip switches to a secondary position. Therefore, to allow some of its effect to linger, instead of losing the chip altogether, the chip becomes a yellow chip. The chip is given to the primary position player of the same position that the Green Chip had been originally assigned to and it functions like a green chip, except that it adds only two triangles or squares (instead of three).

PARTIAL CHIP USAGE: Because a blue chip is lost when played, the following preserves part of the blue chip's strength when all of it is not required to attack or defend a potential scoring opportunity. If, when played on a scoring chance, only three or less triangles or squares are required to reach maximum scoring or defending potential, then one-half of the blue chip is lost and it is replaced by a green chip.

Tim commented in his post, "I have tested the foregoing (and) it works rather easily and virtually seamlessly! When a blue or green chip is replaced with a yellow chip, if the yellow chip is not used, simply replace it with the blue or green chip that it replaced, keeping the replaced chip below the stack, not on it. The chip currently in use (original or replacement) is placed on the player stack When used, both the used chip and replacement chip are removed from the field when played."

Speaking as a game designer, from a realism standpoint, I don't think the original game mechanic is broken. In other words, in real soccer sometimes a substitute player doesn't provide any lift—I don't think that it's unrealistic to have that happen in SOCCER BLAST. However, I DO like the idea of the effect dissipating gradually rather than suddenly. So I give Tim's idea a thumbs-up!

I would also suggest a possible alternate option: How about having blue chips change to green on a "switch," green changes to yellow on any subsequent switch, but yellow can't be lost. (Yellow chips would not, in my plan, revert to blue if the player were switched back.) I would even, for the sake of simplicity, be willing to consider eliminating the yellow chip entirely and simply saying that blue chips downgrade to green and green chips, like red, cannot be lost due to a switch.