I have a feeling my new favorite football game this year isn’t going to be a football game at all.
With the release of GridZone (a revamped version of the now-obsolete GridBall), Gary Brown has managed to improve on a game that earned an Honorable Mention for 2013’s Best New Game of the Year. GridZone has instantly put Brown on the shortlist for that title for the second year running.
GridZone is a tabletop-sports simulation of a fictional sport that resembles 7-on-7 American Football. The difference between GridZone and American Football is that in GridZone, for each 10 yards (aka “grid”) that the offensive side is able to advance during a possession, they earn 1 point. Teams alternate possession after any two failed attempts to advance a grid. Like American Football, defenses can also take possession back by forcing a turnover.
According to the game’s website, Brown created the game when he decided he wanted a football-like experience, but more streamlined.
Second Season is my favorite table top football game. If time were not a factor, I’d still be playing my Football America league too. In fact, there are still a few SS-FA players in my GridBall league. However, I realized that if I was going to run a fictional league for multiple seasons, I needed something much more streamlined. That’s where the ideas for GridBall began over 10 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2009-10 that I actually started put things together.
GridZone introduces the following differences from its previous incarnation:
GridBall was dependent on use of the Tack™ deck, a third-party product.
The use of the Tack™ deck turned controversial when the creator of that product, Marshall Thomas of Gameyex, showed up in a Delphi Forums thread with complaints that “I still am in the red with Tack™ and whoever sells or buys the rip-off copy of my deck is hurting the person that made their beloved game possible. Gary Brown did not invent the Gridball deck, he copied it from Tack™. Is it fair that he (or someone) should profit from my invention?”
Thomas later recanted some of his accusations, but nonetheless, Brown made the decision to retire GridBall and create a new game that soon became GridZone. GridZone uses dice and charts instead of a FAC deck.
Before the release of GridBall in 2013, Brown was primarily known in the tabletop-sports community for his boxing creation, Legends of Boxing.
At this time, both GridZone and Legends of Boxing are both available as FREE PDF downloads.