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Flexdeck Card Games

Flexdeck Futbol

An Original Soccer Card Game Using the Flexdeck

Created by Martin Willett, July 2020.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.

The Flexdeck is © 2018 The Flexdeck LLC Stamford CT 06907. All rights reserved.

Players: 2

Equipment:

1 Flexdeck Original Edition or 4-Color “The Next Leg” (with all 3 jokers plus the additional info card)

1 small token or chip (a poker chip works well, a tiny soccer ball would be perfect)

Scorepad/pencil or tokens/coins for keeping track of score, substitutions, penalties, etc.

This soccer card game using the Flexdeck mirrors the actual sport in that high-scoring matches are rare, that ball possession changes frequently, and that ties (even scoreless ties) may result. Seasons or tournaments could easily be constructed, with the standard 3 points for a win and 1 point for a tie. 4-4-2 is the standard player formation for Flexdeck Futbol.

In this game, the only two Flexdeck features that matter for each card are color and strength (total number of domino spots). One player’s team’s colors are blue and gold (therefore the blue cards and gold cards belong to that team), and the other team’s colors are red and green (therefore the red cards and green cards belong to that team).  

For example, the 10 of Clubs is blue (so it belongs to the blue and gold team) and the total number of domino pips is 5 + 7, so it has a strength of 12

Each half of the match consists of going through the draw pile until empty. At halftime the deck is prepared and redistributed, but each player retains the same team colors.

Preparing the Deck (twice per game, beginning of each half)

Separate into 3 piles: 

  1. 3 jokers and the 1 extra info (“Golden Boot” card); 
  2. all blue and gold cards; 
  3. all red and green cards. 

Shuffle and cut each of the 2 team colors decks. Deal 11 facedown cards from each deck to each player, or each player can choose the 11 sight unseen in “pick-a-card” fashion. These two sets of cards are each team’s “Starting XI” players.

Take the remaining cards from each team colors deck, and shuffle them with the 4 extra cards. Cut that deck, and it becomes the draw pile which controls gameplay.

Preparing the Pitch (Field of Play)

Each player, without seeing or rearranging their cards, deals their players from the top of their deck in the following order:

  • 1 Goalkeeper
  • 4 Defenders (left to right)
  • 4 Midfielders (left to right)
  • 2 Forwards (left to right)

The ball (the chip or token) is placed in the center of the pitch, where the eight midfielders are faced against each other. The ball moves in this game; the cards do not (except for substitutions and at halftime).

Playing the Game

  • The top card of the draw pile is turned and placed next to it in a discard pile.
  • The color of that card indicates who has possession of the ball, either blue/gold or red/green. Taking into consideration the strength of the exposed gameplay card, the player in possession may either (a) move the ball; (b) make a substitution (up to 3 total times per match), or (c) take a shot on goal (if the ball is in their opponent’s defender row). 
    • MOVING THE BALL: The total number of domino spots on the turned card represents the strength of the pass, shot or or move forward. If that number equals or exceeds the total domino pips on any card in the next opposing rank towards the opposing goal, the ball advances and is placed on that card. (If more than one card qualifies, the ball is placed on an exact match or closest total. In case of a tie, the player making the successful move may choose the target card.)
    • If the strength of the turned card does not equal or surpass any of the cards in the downfield rank, the ball does not move and the next draw card is turned. 
    • MAKING A SUBSTITUTION: Up to three substitutions may be made during the game, but only when in possession of the ball. A substitution is made by exchanging a player card with the card atop the discard pile (instead of moving the ball). The replaced player is set aside to keep track of how many subs have been made for each team, but cannot re-enter the match during the half. A position cannot be replaced more than once; for example, replacing a weak goalkeeper keeps the new card and its strength in place for the rest of the half. A card bearing the ball cannot be substituted as long as the ball is on it.
    • The substitution rule adjusts the luck vs. skill balance of the game a bit, as the game relies on the luck of the draw a great deal. But keep in mind that you will have a different starting 11 in the second half, so don’t use up all of your subs in the first half. 
    • TAKING A SHOT ON GOAL: A player who advances to their opponent’s last line of defenders takes a shot on goal if the next card continues to match their team colors. A goal is scored if that card strength matches or beats the goalkeeper’s card strength. After a successful goal the ball is returned to midfield as at the beginning. An unsuccessful shot on goal does not move the ball; a saved goal may be followed up with another shot on goal, or a change of possession, as the cards dictate.
  • IF A JOKER OR EXTRA CARD (“GOLDEN BOOT” CARD) IS TURNED: If one of the 3 jokers is drawn as the first card, it is disregarded and another card is drawn. (Theoretically that could happen 3 times in a row to start a match.)
    • If one of the jokers is drawn on any subsequent play:
    • The jokers are referee calls against the player currently in possession of the ball, and must be placed alongside their goalkeeper. They apply only to half the match and are removed and redistributed at halftime.
    • OFFSIDE: The first joker assessed to a side (the side in possession based on the previous card) is an offside penalty, and the ball is moved back to the opposing team’s nearest rank. A new gameplay card is turned.
    • YELLOW CARDS: The second and third jokers assessed to a side are yellow card personal foul warnings. Ball is moved backwards to the opposing team’s nearest rank and a new card is turned.
    • RED CARD: If either player accrues two yellow cards, an automatic red card penalty is issued and the opposing team loses its least powerful non-goalkeeper card. That card is turned over but kept in place. Three strength points (domino pips) are added to every subsequent opposing card drawn, for the entire match. (These extra points are not added to the strength points of substitutions, but do carry over from the first half into the second, and into any extra time.)
    • When the deck is reshuffled and the pitch is dealt for the second half, red card penalties still allow for the opponent to neutralize their least powerful non-goalkeeper card, so that card is turned over immediately.
    • Clarification: Each side’s first joker is an offside penalty, and each side’s second and third jokers are yellow cards. All three jokers can be assessed in a half without an automatic red card penalty if each side first receives an offside penalty.
  • The non-joker extra info card is the “Golden Boot” card and adds five strength points to the next card, drawn immediately. (If a red card penalty is in effect, a total of 8 points is added to this next card.) If the “Golden Boot” card is the last card turned in the gameplay pile, extra time is added to the game. The card is removed, but the discard pile is shuffled, becomes the draw pile again, and another period of play begins. (The extra card in the 4-color “The Next Leg” deck does not have a matching card back to keep its appearance anonymous, but functions the same nonetheless, adding 5 strength points to the next card.)

Each team has a small chance to field a nearly unbeatable goalkeeper; there’s a green/red strength 18 and a blue/gold 17 available, but they would have to be (a) part of the random 11 color deck and (b) be the first player dealt onto the pitch. If you’re that lucky, you’ll likely have a clean sheet for half the match. But you still might give up a goal if your opponent has extra strength from your red card, their “Golden Boot” card, or both. 

If agreed upon, a tie after 2 regulation halves may be settled with a series of best-of-5 penalty kicks. These are card vs. goalkeeper showdowns dealt from the reshuffled discard pile (with any extra cards removed).  

SAMPLE GAME

First-half pitch dealt as shown, with card strength indicated (subs and red card removals in parentheses):

Strategy: red/green player has a fairly strong goalkeeper at strength 12, but has a weak defender at B4 (strength 5) and weak forwards at F2 and F3 (strength 5 and 2). The weak forward strength doesn’t affect offense, but will make it hard to keep the ball down near the opposing goal. First-half substitutions should be considered at those spots.

Blue/gold player has an average keeper at strength 9, 2 weak defenders at G1 and G2 (strength 4), and a weak midfielder at E1 (strength 5). First-half substitutions should go to those positions.

FIRST HALF GAMEPLAY:

GAMEPLAY CARD TURNEDACTION TAKEN
Red 11Red/Green: ball advanced to E2.
Blue 9Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D4.
Gold 3Blue/Gold: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
Green 14Red/Green: substitution at defender B4.
Green 8Red/Green: ball advanced to E3.
jokerOffside penalty assessed to red/green, ball moved back to column D.
jokerYellow card to red/green, ball moved back to column B.
Blue 17Blue/Gold: substitution at keeper.
Red 8Red/Green: ball advanced to C2.
Gold 9Blue/Gold: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
Red 8Red/Green: ball advanced to E3.
Blue 11Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D4.
Golden Boot5 points added to next card.
Gold 6 + 5Blue/Gold: ball advanced to B3.
Blue 9Shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Gold 6Shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Red 12Red/Green: ball advanced to C1.
Red 6Red/Green: ball advanced to E1.
Red 2Red/Green: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
jokerSecond yellow card assessed to red/green, automatic red card. Weakest blue card at G1 is turned over and neutralized. Blue/Gold gets 3 added points to each strength.
Green 7Red/Green: ball advanced to G2.
Blue 13 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to F1.
Green 10Red/Green: ball advanced to G3.
Green 18Shot on goal successful, 18 over 17. GOAL RED/GREEN. Ball back to center line.
Blue 12Blue/Gold: substitution G2.
Blue 12 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D1.
Blue 10 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to B3.
Red 4Red/Green: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
Green 15Red/Green: substitution at F2.
Gold 10 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Gold 7 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Green 8Red/Green: ball advanced to C1.
Blue 13 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to B3.
Red 3Red/Green: no ball movement, insufficient strength. Last card in gameplay pile, end of first half.

FIRST HALF RESULTS: 

Score: RED/GREEN 1, BLUE/GOLD 0.

Substitutions used: RED/GREEN 2 (1 remaining) / BLUE/GOLD 2 (1 remaining)

Penalties: 2 yellow cards / 1 red card to RED/GREEN.

Second-half pitch dealt as shown, with card strength indicated (subs and red card removals in parentheses):

Strategy: Red/Green is weak at keeper, defenders and midfielders, but only has one substitution left, and will need to improve keeper strength as soon as possible. Blue/Gold can neutralize its strength 6 defender at G1 right away because of the Red/Green red card, and also has one substitution available, best used to improve keeper strength. 

SECOND HALF GAMEPLAY:

GAMEPLAY CARD TURNEDACTION TAKEN
Red 4Red/Green: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
Green 13Red/Green: substitution at keeper, no substitutions left for Red/Green.
Red 5Red/Green: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
jokerOffside penalty assessed to red/green, ball moved back to column C.
Green 10Red/Green: ball advanced to E2.
Green 18Red/Green: ball advanced to G4.
Golden Boot5 points added to next card.
Red 2 (+ 5)Shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Red 6Shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Red 5Shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Gold 7 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to F1.
Green 7Red/Green: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
Blue 12 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D1.
Red 12Red/Green: ball advanced to E2.
Blue 14 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: substitution at keeper, no substitutions left for Blue/Gold.
jokerOffside penalty assessed to blue/gold, ball moved back to column F.
Gold 8 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D1.
Gold 4 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to B4.
Blue 13 (+ 3)Shot on goal successful, 16 over 13. GOAL BLUE/GOLD. Ball back to center line.
Blue 9 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D1.
Blue 16 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to B2.
jokerYellow card penalty to Blue/Gold, ball moved back to column D.
Gold 3 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to B4.
Red 11Red/Green: ball advanced to C2.
Green 12Red/Green: ball advanced to E4.
Gold 9 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D1.
Green 15Red/Green: ball advanced to E4.
Blue 13 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D2.
Red 7Red/Green: ball advanced to E3.
Gold 5 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to D1.
Gold 7 (+ 3)Blue/Gold: ball advanced to B4.
Green 8Red/Green: no ball movement, insufficient strength.
Gold 4 (+ 3)Shot on goal unsuccessful; ball does not move.
Blue 17 (+ 3)Shot on goal successful, 20 over 13. GOAL: BLUE/GOLD. Last card; match is over.

FINAL MATCH SCORE: Blue/Gold 2, Red/Green 1.

Analysis: Red/Green had an early advantage until the red card penalty, and scored a goal early. The two Blue/Gold second-half goals would have been successful even without the red card point 3-point bonus. The match may have turned out differently had either or both sides saved one more substitution for the second half; as in the real sport, when to utilize limited subs is an important strategic decision.

MORE CHALLENGING ADAPTATION

Set the starting XI by randomly dealing 11 cards to each player, but then the player can choose where to put each player card. This would inhibit scoring greatly, so it would be a good idea to mutually decide on limits, such as allowing keeper strength to be no greater than 15.

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