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Subject: Very fast silly loud sport game of real-time card play rss

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Russ Williams
Dolny Śląsk
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Fußball Ligretto is a very fast silly (and potentially loud) game of simultaneous realtime card play, ostensibly simulating a football (soccer) match, with the ball passing from player to player until a goal is scored.

It is a simple filler game that normally only takes 5 or 10 minutes to play and would particularly appeal to people who enjoy loud frantic real-time games and people who enjoy sports games.

There are 2 decks of cards, one for each team. Each card shows a named football player, and lists names of other players (1 or 2 from each team) who can be played in response to this card. Several national versions exist. E.g. I have the Polish edition "Futbol Ligretto" which comes with a red Polish team and a white "reszta świata" (rest of the world) team. (The rest of the world seems to mostly have Italian names.) E.g. a card shows the Polish player Maciej (10) who can pass the ball to Polish teammates Radosław and Jacek or have the ball stolen by opposing players Sergio and Fabio.

There are 2 special types of cards: Player 1 (from either team) must be played to start a round, and a goal scorer is played to gain a point and finish a round.

The cards are standard size and reasonably good quality, which is important since they'll probably get slapped around a lot during play!

A plastic whistle is also included for starting each round and creating the loud cheering atmosphere that's part of the game experience.

The players are divided into 2 teams; ideally there is an even number of players, so each team is equal in size, but the rules deal with the case of one team having 1 player more than the other. Playing with just 2 players (i.e. 1 person per team) is perfectly possible, but probably loses some of the cheering sports atmosphere.

Each player receives part of his team's deck and then begins drawing cards and laying them onto the table in 3 piles. When someone gets a card for player 1, they can put it into the middle of the table, which begins the real action. If you draw one of those names, or one of your 3 piles has that name on top, you can put it onto the middle pile. The rules suggest calling out the name(s) of the player(s) your side is looking for as you flip more cards. Because of that, and because of general adrenalin, the game can get quite loud and rowdy!

Certain players' cards, when played, cause a goal to be scored. (Accompanied by much cheering or groaning.) You set the goal card aside (to remember how many goals you've scored), and then everyone gathers up the cards, sorts them by team, and redistributes to begin the next round. The first team to reach 5 goals win.


Obviously there's not much in the way of deep strategy; it's a game of quickly recognizing cards and quickly playing them when appropriate. There are some basic tactics, e.g. keeping a goal card available on the top of one of your 3 piles so you can quickly grab it when the opportunity arises to play it and score. If you have the time and skill to analyze choices, some cards are better to play than others, since you'd rather play a card that can be followed by 2 of your team's players and only 1 of the other team's. And of course if you can play a card that can be followed by a goal card you or your teammate has ready, that's great. But if you stop to think, the cards you're considering may become no longer usable due to someone playing a new card on the middle pile while you're pondering.

I'm not the target audience for this game: I don't care about sports, and I'm not into real-time board/card games. It's not a game I'd suggest playing very often. But for what it is, this is a clever simple fast filler that can be fun with the right group, and I enjoyed it more than I expected. It seems popular with some other gamers in my local group, and I'm willing to play it again when they propose it at the start of a club meeting, for instance, since it's an amusing experience even if there's not much there as a game per se.

Fußball Ligretto would be especially interesting to people who enjoy sports games, as it does seem to capture the feel of a team controlling a ball, passing it from player to player, getting the ball stolen by another team's player, and the final excitement of scoring the goal.

I'd also recommend Fußball Ligretto to any groups that enjoy real-time crazy games that encourage loud laughter, whistling, and cheering. It's short enough that the losing team often proposes a second match to try for revenge.
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