• Challenge Golf At Pebble Beach – Par 72; 6,815 Yards

    Challenge Golf at Pebble Beach

    Par 72; 6,815 Yards

    3M Company – 1972 – 1-4 Players

    Challenge Golf is another board game representation of the game of golf. This one is set on a replica of the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course in California.

    Play is quite simple. The course holes are printed on plastic coated boards and the location of the ball is noted by making a mark on the board with a special pencil. The player announces which club they are using and how far they want to hit the ball. (A chart gives the possible ranges for each club.) The player then takes the “Distance Finder”, a T-shaped piece of transparent plastic and place it on the board in the direction they wish the ball to travel with the ball location at the point corresponding to the distance they chose.

    The player then rolls dice and consults the chart for the chosen club to see if they hit the ball short or long and adjust the Distance Finder accordingly. They then make a second roll to see if the ball went straight or drifted to the left or right. Finally, the effect of wind is factored in and the ball location noted on the board.

    When the ball is on the green, a putting chart is consulted to determine the number of strokes necessary to complete the hole. Play continues through all 18 holes. There are several possible types of play, including both Match and Stroke play and Sides, Singles, Twosomes, Threesomes, Foursomes, Three-Ball and Best-Ball. The actual winning conditions vary slightly based on the type of game chosen but in general the lowest score wins (as in real golf).

    There are a wide variety of special rules dealing with trees, sand traps, water hazards, hitting from the rough and so on.

    One interesting aspect of the game is that the players select a specific golfer that they are playing. “Old Smoothy” ignores extreme die rolls, “Ironsides” is more accurate with irons, “Boomer” gets more distance with woods and “The Blade” is better at putting.

    Challenge Golf has a split personality. It is a sports game but is packaged like part of the Bookshelf games. It uses a very similar system to that used in Thinking Man’s Golf with the main difference being the way in which shot distance is determined. Players familiar with Thinking Man’s Golf should have no problem with this game. The different golfers which can be played actually improve the system by creating some differentiation between the players and by adding an additional challenge in that the players must consider how to use each golfer’s special ability to their advantage. Another very good game in the 3M line.

    As an interesting note, Pebble Beach was the site of the 1972 US Open Golf Tournament (the same year this game was released) and the four golfers from the game match the characteristics of the top players from that tournament.

  • Challenge Football

    Challenge Football

    3M Company – 1972 – 2 Players

    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.

    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.