Top Of The Table – Counter Attack

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One of my favourite issues in regards to the board gaming passion is the best way video games discover such a big selection of ideas, themes, and genres. The constraint of abstraction that’s crucial to scale back a state of affairs into one thing that may be clearly articulated on the desk breeds an interesting array of outcomes. For longtime tabletop fans, a lot of the enjoyment of a brand new recreation is discovering the best way the designers and artists have crafted one thing that “feels” just like the idea or exercise the sport presents, whether or not that concept is Lovecraftian monsters or bird-watching. 

This week, we’re a sphere of board gaming that hardly ever will get consideration – the sports activities board recreation. In this case, the sport at hand is Counter Attack, a beautiful mission that captures a lot of the thrill and tactical thrill of soccer. And to supply the considerate perspective on the sport that it deserves, my colleague Matthew Kato stepped in to take a look at the sport, and provide his take as a visitor columnist. He’s had a few years of expertise with an array of sports activities video video games, and since we’re performed board video games collectively as properly, I knew he’d have one thing significant to share about exploring this assembly level between sports activities and tabletop enjoyable. 

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Here’s what Matthew Kato needed to say about Counter Attack.


In soccer video video games like Football Manager, the A.I.’s execution of your techniques could make you’re feeling like a helpless bystander. You’re by no means actually positive in case your directions are being carried out accurately by the CPU. Counter Attack, a Kickstarted mission by Colin Webster and Rachel Codd, is a two-player soccer technique board recreation that places you in command of your crew’s techniques, letting you faithfully execute your plans whereas nonetheless highlighting the person prowess of a star striker making an inconceivable strike for a glory-filled objective.

Gameplay is hex-based, with gamers’ actions, photographs, go lengths, and different actions ruled by hex distances. How many hexes a participant can transfer is outlined by their tempo attribute, however photographs and passes, as an example, are calculated by a useful customized ruler known as the Distance Stick, which helps you to precisely decide the trail and distance of the ball. From right here you may see if the ball is likely to be intercepted, whether or not it’s a transparent shot on objective, and extra.

One-on-one conditions are resolved by every participant rolling a single die and including their acceptable ability values to the function. Whomever is greater wins that state of affairs. So, a nook kick into the field would possibly come right down to the keeper’s aerial ability versus the header ability of his opponent. There are modifiers on prime of this, equivalent to for accidents or rolls of a 1 mechanically leading to photographs on objective lacking fully, for instance, but it surely’s all straightforward to determine. Refs may even affect a recreation since every of the 4 refs included has a distinct degree of leniency in how they e-book gamers for fouls.

The Distance Stick in motion

The simple nature of the gameplay leaves room for the complexity of your individual techniques. If you need to dynamically change your crew’s form throughout play you are able to do that. If you need to emulate a selected formation or tactic – whether or not they’re centered on ball possession, actions of particular gamers, counter-attacking, launching lengthy balls into the channels, and so forth., you are able to do that, too.

Key to turning your concepts into wins is seeing the pitch in its entirety, considering prematurely of the probabilities for your gamers in addition to these of your opponent. Taking actions isn’t primarily based on back-and-forth turns. Instead, whomever possesses the ball performs a specified vary of actions till they lose the ball. For instance, If you carry out a regular go, your subsequent motion can solely be to maneuver your gamers, carry out a riskier first-time go, or take a fast snapshot on objective.

While you’re performing these actions your opponent also can transfer and react to what you’re doing, so participant positioning and matchups are at all times altering, supplying you with new issues to contemplate. Keep an eye fixed on the defensive compactness of your gamers so gaps can’t be exploited. Understand the place open area is so you should utilize it. Make positive your gamers help one another so your participant with the ball has choices. All common soccer techniques stuff. I as soon as made a one-hex miscalculation with my defender that allowed a excessive go to be performed into area behind him to a pacey striker. Just like actual life, in a flash I used to be down a objective.

Although the motion on the board may be very fluid, the tempo of play itself is slower and deliberate as gamers contemplate all their choices. The recreation consists of sand timers you should utilize to restrict the period of time spent on every choice, and I feel it’ll take gamers a short while to turn into snug sufficient with the sport and their choices earlier than becoming into the acknowledged 90-minute runtime – the size of a traditional soccer match.

Another tactical layer is realizing the attributes of your individual gamers in addition to these of your opponent so you recognize what they’re able to and the way they are often utilized and exploited. At the start of the sport, groups are constructed semi-randomly, and the participant playing cards within the field are a mixture of completely different fictional names and nationalities, so you may bond together with your squad. The gamers on the pitch are represented by picket markers screenprinted in crew colours with numbers, and extra markers approximating real-world league and worldwide sides could be bought by way of the game’s website (which additionally has an FAQ and extra).

Overall, the sport’s supplies are properly made. The laborious, fold-out board is massive sufficient you may place your participant playing cards alongside its border, and the set comes with two groups, the sand timers, a guidelines guide, quick-play reminder playing cards, cube, numerous gameplay markers, two Distance Sticks, and a field for the participant playing cards.

Apart from presumably ordering new makers representing your favourite crew, one in all Counter Attack’s nice customization choices is how its easy framework permits for customized person modifications. You can simply create your individual gamers, setup a league construction, and add and modify guidelines as you see match. The recreation is for 2 gamers, however it may be performed on-line and even solo.

Counter Attack is hex-based and strategic, but it surely’s additionally extremely fluid like actual soccer. It challenges you to suppose each short- and longterm as you attempt to get particular person gamers – with their very own strengths and weaknesses – to successfully play in your tactical framework towards an opponent concurrently executing their very own methods. Now you could be a supervisor and never simply be relegated to standing on the touchline gesturing frantically and yelling at your gamers in useless.


An enormous thanks to Matthew Kato for stepping as much as deliver his sports activities experience to this week’s column. 

If soccer is not what you are in search of out of your subsequent board recreation night time, fear not. We’ve obtained a wealth of extra suggestions out there over on the Top of the Table hub, which you’ll be able to attain from the banner under. And as at all times, if you would like a private suggestion to your subsequent board, card, miniature, or role-playing recreation, drop me a line and I’ll be glad to supply up some concepts. 

Derivation

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