Monday, November 26, 2012

Solitaire Gaming: Bowl Bound from Avalon Hill

Here's a different sort of gaming for you: college football. That's American football for those of you offshore. I used to play this game quite a bit back in the day when I had a ready opponent, but hadn't done anything with it in about 10 years before digging it out on the long holiday weekend. With a few inches of new snow on the ground, it was the perfect Sunday afternoon to set it up.

For those not familiar with the game, it's a statistics driven game matching up great college football teams from history. Basically, each player takes a team. One picks an offensive formation, the other a defensive formation, dice are rolled and results compared to see how many yards are gained (or lost). The game also takes into account penalties, turnovers, etc. Pretty cool, actually. Being statistics driven, it makes for a good solitaire game, given the right AI algorithms. There are several out there, and after some poking around, settled on one for offense and one for defense selection. It worked very well.

In game 1, I figured I would take a look ahead at what appears to be the most likely national championship game this year, and put 1966 Notre Dame against 1966 Alabama. I controlled Alabama and let the AI control Notre Dame. I lost! 17-13 in a close defensive struggle. Notre Dame returned an interception for a touchdown in the first half, while Alabama returned an interception to the ND 7 to set up its only TD for a 10-10 halftime score. After Alabama got a field goal in the fourth quarter, ND responded with a nice touchdown drive and held on over the last few minutes to win the game.

In game 2, I took 1966 Michigan State against 1997 Michigan. In a wild and exciting game, MSU pulled out a 22-21 victory. It was 3-3 in a defensive struggle early before wacky things started happening. UM got a field goal for a 6-3 lead, then tackled the Spartan in the endzone on the ensuing kickoff return for an 8-3 lead. After the free kick, another field goal made it 11-3. After yet another field goal made it 14-3, MSU fumbled the kickoff, setting up a UM touchdown. At 21-3, things looked grim. I had had some success running early, but down 21-3, I needed to pass. And that just was not going to happen on that defense. I finally got down to the 4 yard line - and came away empty. I did manage one touchdown to make it 21-10, then I switched to an option offense, and that was the ticket. Pretty much let my QB run wild, and the comeback was on. Two field goals made it 21-16, then a final clutch drive led to a touchdown with just 30 seconds to go. At that point, I went for 2 and missed, making the final 22-21 as UM could not come up with a Hail Mary at the end.

Overall, playing solitaire was kind of fun. I've tried computer/video games from time to time, but they just don't get it for me like board/miniature games. I'd definitely play this one again. I also have a Statis Pro Baseball game in the stash that I used to play solitaire all the time.

As for other solitaire projects, I'm looking at Wooden Ships & Iron Men to use with 1/1200 Napoleonic ships. Really that was one reason for playing Bowl Bound, to see how I liked solitaire again. I have HMS Guerriere almost done, and am making good progress on a USS Constitution. Hopefully that gets set up soon.

As for other board games, I also have Carrier in the stash, which I look at now and then and determine to be too daunting. I've also considered purchasing Tokyo Express.

The wife didn't say too much, but I think she thinks it's a little strange. But with no opponent readily available, what else are you gonna do?

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