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How would you do American football?


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I'd do it as a LARP with 11 people and some cos-play. Now, we just need to find a large open area with some grass ...

I think the card idea mention previously is a good idea.


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This will be cinematic football (even downright cartoonish). I think it would be fun if the players even had special abilities/feats that really made their character's pop. Understandably - sports gaming is going to be a challenge. But I think it may be fun if done right.
Hm. Let's see...

I've never played it, but I'd start with Powered by the Apocalypse. And since you're running high school, I'd throw in this: when you swap out roles on the field, you swap out playbooks. So the QB always has the QB playbook. A linebacker always has a Lineman playbook, offensive or defensive. And the useful thing about this is that you don't need anything special if the special teams unit comes out: they can just pull out the PAT playbook or the Punt playbook and they're fine.

Part of me expects that you'll want a few more off-field playbooks to round out their character, but I don't know how well that'll work with the system.

For stats... I'd start with Swagger, Brawn, Juke, and Steady. See how those mesh with the tone you're going for and the plays you want to make (on and off the field), and you'd probably be able to come up with one or two more.


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I would keep things as simple as possible. The object of the game is to maneuver the ball into the opposing end zone as the other team tries to stop you as many times as possible in the time limit. Tracking by the play or down seems the most natural to me, with the primary factors being yards traveled by the ball and ball possession (team at least, player if you can manage it), as well as some sort of time management.

As much as we want to give each PC their spotlight time, I would prioritize ease of handling on the GM. If you can abstract out the actions of the opposing team while still giving individual PC's their chance to shine, more power to you. Maybe something like the Apocalypse Engine where the players roll all the dice could work, or you could use Fate and go fractal with it.


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I'm not clear as to how this would work as a roleplaying game if it is just the on-field action that you want to replicate? :confused:

It sounds like you are asking for something like Blood Bowl, just with your players describing how the on-field moves are executed. I guess you can personalise that, just not sure why that would be fun. After all, even RPGs that heavily focus on rules for combat are initially centered around some other activity or environment.

(I haven't seen Eyeshield 21, so maybe the answer is in there?)

Civil Savage

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In my view, you cannot play out whole football games with any kind of tactical detail. It would take way too long.

So you want to emulate the way TV shows and movies do it. Show the key situations, and play those out in some detail.

If you like Fate, it would be easy to adapt to this. But you could do tactical-type modified-combat stuff if you just focus on those key turning points.

David Artman

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Any system where you move miniatures around one at a time wouldn't really work very well for football, IMO.
Don't tell the thousands of Blood Bowl players that! ;)
As for how to do "on and off the field", I'd look at 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars for how to do 'lite' tactical play with special roles on-field and 'lite' off-field rules for character development. If you want even less granular on-field stuff but more moving parts for off-field stuff, I'd definitely look at Contenders for inspiration!


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So I agree with most of the posters here - I'd definitely want to only do the highlights of the game. I'd still want there to be some tactical decision making, but only for those key moments that really count. Right now here are some things so far that have popped out from reading through some of the answers here...

-FATE: I dont know much about it or how this would work at all, but I do like the idea of aspects and stunts and how you can pass those aspects to help a team member (I block for the wide reciever who now gets the advantage of "blocked" while he attempts to catch the ball). I just dont know how this would run over the long term.

-Apocalypse World: I like the idea of only the players rolling. Mid rolls give them mid success. Failure means something bad happens. I'm not really sure how this would flesh when it comes to football teams.

-Crazy idea: Using Dread (the one with the Jenga tower): Again, just spitballing - but it does really amp the table up with high stakes. Perhaps you have to make a number of pulls based on the teams offense/defense. A spill means you don't score/opposing team scores. Maybe four towers for each quarter of a game? Dunno.

Anyone willing to spit out some fresh takes on this - I'm all ears.


Fearing No Evil
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Some great thoughts. I would love to play an RPG that takes your character through college, the draft and then through your career in the Pros. I think a similar setup like occupation in Warhammer would be a good start - what position you play. Then a standard test vs. (with success improving stats) as you progress. You could use a revised crit hit table for overall team success or even for successes and crit fails on tests.

With as popular as the NFL is right
Now, surprised no one has jumped on the RPG opportunities. With some creativity - it might be pretty fun!
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Blood Bowl is a Warhammer thing, I ttink.

There's a baseball RPG on DriveThru. If someone else remembers they can say it but I can find out later when I'm more available
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