Saturday, June 28, 2014


Like many throughout the world, I've caught a touch of soccer fever (as a red-white-and-blue-blooded American I cannot call it football; THIS is football). I've also been feeling nostalgic for my high school days, when the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers were in their heyday.

Ray Hudson with the Strikers

Anyway, a recent post on TMP touched upon my fever with a set of fast-play soccer rules. My interest was piqued. I had visions of running a fictitious soccer league much like I did with Strat-o-Matic baseball in the '80s. I copied the tables into Excel and created an automatic dice-roller to speed proceedings. I created 2 teams: their Midfield and Goalie rankings were 3's but Team A had an Offense of 4 and Defense of 2 while Team B had an Offense of 2 and Defense of 4. After a few practice games (without using the "Star" rules, which were an addition to the original rules), I must say that TXWargamer accurately recreated the most salient feature of soccer - boring, scoreless ties. Yes, I had three straight 0-0 games. I know that the "Star" rules would likely alleviate that, but it added a level of complexity with which I did not want to deal.

Yet there was something appealing about the game so I decided to tinker. I removed the Chance roll and went straight to Midfield. I changed the tables to make "chance is over" results less frequent. I also made rebounds more frequent, increasing the odds of a goal. I played my revised version, and ended with a 0-0 tie.

OK, perhaps it was an aberration. It seemed that there were more shots but the ball just wasn't getting through. I tried again - a 4-0 victory for team A followed by a 2-0 victory for team B. We may be onto something here.

Nevertheless, I have an idea for a streamlined game. Instead of using the Two Hour Wargames "pass" system, the De Bellis Antiquitatis opposed die roll system could work. Each team rolls a D6 + their rating. If a tie, the chance ends. If a team wins, it takes control of the ball. Rolling double or more than the opponent allows a team to advance to the next zone (midfield to offense, offense to shot, shot to goal.). Rolling triples moves 2 zones (midfield to shot). I may have to experiment with this.

Soccer purists may complain that my rules make scoring more common than a real game. Hey, I'm 'Murican - we like offense. I've been toying with changing the sport to something faster-paced, like grav-ball (another game I played in the '80s).

Of course, a violent game like grav-ball would require rules for tackling and injuries (perhaps reduce ratings as injuries pile up). Sounds like I need to experiment. In the meantime, here's a write-up for one of my practice games. Enjoy, and go USA!