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Bringing a board game to life has been a ton of fun. I started developing the game a couple of years ago mainly just for me. I wanted a game where I could make charts with up-to-date stats and play along the current season with my favorite teams, the BC Lions of the CFL and Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.

I also wanted a game with interchangeable parts that combined both simulation and strategy;

  • Interchangeable parts – it remains to be seen if this will work. At least the flow of how the game works is the same
  • Simulation – comes from using team statistics from any year or era to generate Team Charts and realistic Player Usage
  • Strategy – mainly involves which play and player to use on offense and which formation and what to look for on defense. Also blended in is how much risk / reward to use

The first few iterations of the game had way too much strategy. I basically put in everything imaginable for a football play to work, the result was an incredibly detailed game that took over four hours to play. While I wasn’t developing the game to sell at that point, that was still a little too long even for me.

I continued to adjust the game until I could play a game in about two hours. I found that anything less meant I had to take out too much detail, so this is where I drew the line. Playing the first half, which takes an hour one day, let’s me think through strategies etc for the second half which I typically play the next day. It too takes about an hour.

I kept tinkering with the game and realized I was maybe onto something. I hadn’t had as much fun playing a board game since the eighties. I came up with a quick name, Forty Nine Football and started a Facebook group page to see if there was any interest. The response was encouraging enough to keep moving the game forward. At that time, I envisioned a print and play game for anyone interested.

After giving early iterations of the game to a couple of play testers, followed by interactions with a couple of guys who make and sell their own sports board games. They encouraged me to market the game because they thought the game was worthy and it maybe wasn’t fair to the small band of game makers trying to eek out a living when a game like this was available for free. I felt a good compromise was to sell my game at a modest price, but to include detailed instructions on how to create your own Team Charts which is one of the fun parts for me. I enjoy digging into the statistics of who I’m going to play, creating their team chart and figuring out which solitaire charts to use. Finally it’s game time. Playing against the solitaire charts has not been an easy feat. I lose as much as I win. Another fun way to play is to coach both offenses, or both defenses, or to just let the solitaire charts make play decisions for both teams.

The game has now progressed to the point of being ready for sale. I believe it is a good sign that I’ve played a ton of test games to see if my statistics are in the ballpark, and even after playing so many games, I look forward to the next. The result, in my mind is a game that plays like a real football game, only you have some control over the outcome.

The 2017 edition of Forty Nine Football will have two versions, the North (Canadian 3-downs) available the end of June, and South (American 4-down) the end of August.