Sports Simulation Board Games

FURY FOOTBALL: An Alternative Football Experience

by Keith Avallone, PLAAY Games

Jim and Bob in AtlantaThis is FURY FOOTBALL: Compact, condensed, colorful! Individual player abilities will make sim-gamers happy, while the amplified effects of strategy choices will please non-sports gamers.

This year's Holiday Sale PDF "concept game" is FURY FOOTBALL! We launched it for 24 hours during the One Day Holiday Sale November 26th, and it seems to have developed a pretty good following! So we brought it back for a couple weeks as we close the books on 2018. I do think you'll enjoy Fury Football, and I'm eager to hear about your experience.

You may be surprised to learn that FURY FOOTBALL is not a new game! It goes all the way back to 2002. The game came about as sort of a design challenge between me and Gary Brown (Legends of Boxing, Quick Fixture Soccer, GridZone, etc.). Gary and I were both in the Dallas, TX area at that time. Gary had completed a couple of SECOND SEASON football play-throughs with the Football America teams, but with family and work demands increasing was finding it tough to find the game time necessary to complete his football projects. It was the same thing for me. At some point, our conversation drifted toward creating some sort of fast-play football-like game, something that could be finished more quickly so as to make playing a full-season do-able. We both thought it would be fun to tackle such a design project. Gary's creation wound up being GridZone, which has been VERY well-received by our hobby, and has been downloaded and played by people all over the world. My creation was Fury Football—which you now have in your hands!

Much of the development and play-testing for FURY FOOTBALL was done between 2002 and 2004. I set it aside at that point, when I discontinued in 2004 to focus on my radio career. The files were created on an old eMac computer, using a mass-market print program called "Print Explosion" (now defunct) designed mainly for creating greeting cards, flyers and small posters. The eMac computer gave up the ghost long ago, so all I had was a single ink-jet printed copy of the game boards and teams. Fast forward to a couple months ago, when I was thinking ahead to the PLAAY Games One Day Holiday Sale. I thought it would be fun to offer a PDF "concept" game, similar to what I did last year with 1890's Fight Club. In thinking about this, Fury Football came to mind! I dug out the faded copy I had filed away and showed it to my son, Sam. We played a couple games—fun! From there, Sam applied his graphic arts skills to upgrade the game's look. It plays exactly the same as it did in 2004, but it looks a lot cooler!

Jim and Bob in AtlantaRoots of FURY FOOTBALL: Here's what the original game looked like, circa 2004. The 2019 version plays the same way, but with a more contemporary appearance!

Fury Football is football-themed, but VERY compact, condensed, and distilled. Every decision matters more, and the consequences of being right or wrong is amplified. Converting touchdowns is just as important as scoring them, sometimes even more so. A game takes about fifteen minutes, in real-time.

Head to head, the process works like any other tabletop football game: the defense coach secretly selects his defense setting, the offense coach announces his play. A twenty-sided die is rolled to determine the outcome. For solitaire play, either or both the offense and defense can be automated. The game is possession-based, not timed: each team gets four possessions. However, a team can score more than once on its possession, getting another chance to convert after each successful conversion. Conversions vary in difficulty: the longer the conversion, the more points are scored. A touchdown is worth six points, but a conversion can be anywhere from one to twenty points! (The longest successful conversion I've ever had? 10 points.) Convert successfully, you get to try to convert again!

Aside from the quick play time, there are a couple other strengths to this game. There's lots of flexibility in setting up your squad, offense and defense, and not a lot of restrictions. All the action comes from the boards and cards. The game is excellent head-to-head, but there's a really nice variety of solitaire modes, too, which makes it attractive for our sports game hobby. You can put yourself in charge of a team and see how well you can do against the rest of the league: you call plays for your team, the game's offense and defense auto-callers make the calls for your opponent. But it's also fun to put all the teams on auto-pilot and hold playoff rounds until a champion is determined, with you as a pure spectator. With four teams, this can be accomplished in about an hour.

I should mention (if you haven't figured it out already!) that Fury Football is a GAME not a sim. Yes, you CAN keep stats for individuals and teams. But if you're a veteran tabletop sports gamer, you may find this somewhat unfulfilling due to the scarcity of plays per game (each team will run perhaps twenty plays), the non-specific nature of ball carrying and pass-catching (you'd have to arbitrarily decide who caught the touchdown pass), and the exaggerated nature of the game's gains and losses. The strength/fun of the game is in the think and double-think. You can abandon good chunk of traditional football strategy. Specifically, the advantage passing has in what would be considered "long yardage" situations is significantly lessened (though still present) in Fury Football. Similarly, the typical benefit of running "up the gut" in short yardage situations is less applicable. You are rewarded more for out-thinking your opponent, as is appropriate in a game context. On the other hand, the decision-making involved in converting touchdowns—something that's more or less a no-brainer in real football—is significantly MORE complex and interesting in Fury Football. And as you play more, you'll discover other nuances that can be capitalized upon by the savvy coach and gamer! (We don't want to spill ALL the beans here!)

The game comes with four base FURY FOOTBALL teams, four additional teams were created to expand the original set. We intentionally created all of the teams to be of roughly equal overall ability. Each team has strengths and weaknesses, so any team could be your league champion with the right coaching and some breaks. Additionally, each team comes with a unique set of strategy cards, designed to add to that team's personality. Again, throw away your established notions of football strategy—some of these strategy options aim for high drama rather than pure football (i.e., referee distraction gains an extra down!), but it's all in good fun, and enhances the game aspect greatly.

For the encore availablity of the game, we created two additional groups of four expansion teams—one group was named by PLAAY Gamers—these teams are somewhat more varied than the original eight, with specific strengths and weaknesses. In all, there's a total of sixteen teams available to stock your Fury Football League!

Finally, in keeping with the precedent set last year by 1890s Fight Club, we want to underscore that FURY FOOTBALL is a concept game. Last year, the concept was, "Can a game be entertaining and fun using just ONE six-sided die?" This year, the concept is, "Can a sports game have enough 'sport' to satisfy sports fans AND enough 'game' to satisfy game fans?" We think the answer here is "yes," but we shall see!

Fury Football is available NOW, through the end of the year, $9 for the game PDF and four starter teams. Additional expansion team collections are available for $6 each. Order YOUR copy!

Download the FREE Fury Football SNOW BOWL teams: North Pole Sprirt vs. South Pole Grouches!

Questions? Comments? Let us know!