3M Company - 1972
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Challenge Football, as you might expect, is a football game. The players represent the coaches of their teams and attempt to lead them to victory.
Gameplay is quite simple. The defensive player selects a "Playcard" corresponding to the Defensive Pattern they wish to execute and covers it with the "Cover Card". The Playcard shows a pattern of triangles giving the coverage pattern of the play. The Cover Card only shows the triangles of the actual lineup at scrimmage. Both the Cover Card and the Playcard are placed in a clear plastic "Card Holder". The Defensive player then secretly selects a "Shift Card" which shows either Left, Right or None. The Card Holder is then given to the Offensive Player.
The Offensive player then draws the run pattern they wish to use on the Card Cover. Special markings are used to show where passes or handoffs occur. The Cover Card is then removed. If the line drawn for the run pattern intersects a triangle on the Playcard the ball is considered to be down at that point. Passes which intersect triangles have a chance to be intercepted. If a Left or Right shift card has been played the triangles are considered to be one space to the left or right of their printed positions.
If the line does not intersect a triangle then the play results in a touchdown. Otherwise play continues from the point where the tackle occurred. The normal rules for football apply so players must advance at least 10 yards within four downs or be forced to turn the ball over to the other player. Special rules allow for punts, field goals, points after touchdowns, kickoffs and penalties. Kicked balls can be affected by the wind.
There are fifteen plays in a quarter and the game lasts for four quarters. The player with the highest score at the end of the game is the winner.
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This is an interesting game but Challenge Football does not feel much like football to me. It is really a guessing game where one player tries to guess which card the other player has chosen. There is no way for one side to react to what the other has done so there is nothing to do but draw the line and hope. There are very few restrictions on how the line can be drawn (which can lead to some interesting running patterns) but this makes the game have even less to do with football. The way the line is drawn and the way the cards fit into the holder make it sometimes difficult to determine if a tackle has occurred and having to mentally shift all of the triangles to the left or the right depending on the shift card chosen only adds to the confusion.
The 3M sports game Thinking Man's Football does a much better job as a football game in the standard 3M sports game format. I do not know why 3M felt the need to release a bookshelf format football game and this game certainly does not add much to the line.
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