Most every great tabletop game has, at its core, great ideas about how to make the game engrossing, playable in a reasonable amount of time and a way to capture the fun.
Keith Avallone has been doing that at Plaay Games for many years and he continues that tradition with Soccer Blast. This game seems ideally suited for the way the U.S. regards soccer. Let me show an example of what I mean by using another of Avallone’s excellent games. History Maker Baseball, perhaps his finest creation.
Both soccer and baseball have extended periods where there is no scoring, though soccer is more pronounced in that tendency than baseball. But soccer is a European phenomenon that has flirted with widespread popularity in this country but never delivered that over the top blow. Baseball has long been the darling of the older sports fan who has grown up longing it and not in search of a game that matches the breakneck pace of life in general.
So Avallone approached the two games different. In History Maker Baseball, each play of the game (other than balls and strikes) is lovingly recreated. In Soccer Blast, those periods where the ball meanders up and down the field with no real scoring chance or booted out of bounds on the sides or ends are not simulated in any detail at all.
It is Avallone’s perfect understanding of the way his customers, by and large, view the respective sports.
For most of us, Soccer Blast is the nearly perfect game engine to recreate the sport for people who don’t treat it as religion and for whom the sport is probably not at the top of the gamer’s list of favorites. It remains to be seen whether it will ultimately satisfy those who maintain that this is football and the world’s ultimate sport.