This has been a bit of a lighthearted week for me in writing here. Today, I want to reminisce about my past and a game that kept me occupied for hours as a pre-teen and teen. How many of you (by you I’m saying most likely anyone in their late 30’s and beyond..) remember playing “Football Strategy” by Avalon Hill games? Football Strategy was a card/dice game that you played by picking offensive plays from a chart and cross referencing them with a defense alignment picked by your opponent. Sometimes, the die was brought into play for field goals, kickoffs, long gains, and other areas of play. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, my friends and I would gather at each others’ homes during football season to play games pretending to lead our favorite NFL teams. The game faded away in the late 80’s as computers and the EA Sports Madden series of games replaced it but in the last few years, I was feeling nostalgic and began looking online to see if copies of the game in reasonable condition still existed. I had written about my search on an older blog when one day, at a library book fair I just happend to walk into, I found the 1981 version of the game! This was selling on Ebay for a decent price but apparently, someone must have been cleaning up their son’s old stuff and decided to donate this to the library.
The short of it was the library let me take it home for NOTHING. I had recently donated some decent books to them and the clerk remembered my face so he told me to put it in a bag and take it. Apparently, the game had been there for two days and nobody was interested. I got it home and examined the contents just knowing that pieces would be missing but to my surprise, it had been kept in excellent condition down to the little plastic football you use to mark your place on the field. I was delighted to share this with my son who simply smiled and said: “That’s what you used to play games with when you were my age?” I knew his appreciation would grow later. My wife simply shook her head and asked how old I was? (She said it lovingly though).
In the year since I located this little gem, I’ve gone back in time to a simpler era in gaming where no batteries or computer gear was needed to have a lot of fun. I recently shared my discovery with a couple of my pastor friends who are close in age to me and much to my surprise, many of them had a similar passion for the games of their teen years. With the NFL season at the quarter pole, we decided that it might be fun to get together and play a few rounds at the local sports grill in town. I’m going to have to make copies of the cards and charts so we can have two games going at the same time but we’ll see if our little pastor’s league grows past this season. Imagine a bunch of pastors on a Sunday night playing a card game in a local hot wing grill! There’s only four of us considering the idea and we think we might have a preseason week just to get back in the habit of calling plays and remembering how much time to tick off with a pencil (that’s right, no clocks here…time is measuring by boxes you check off!) after each play.
So what games did you play? Any that you are particularly fond of? Other favorites of mine were Strat-O-Matic baseball, All-Star Baseball (with the round playing discs that you put in the spinner holders), and Strat-O-Matic Hockey.