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Pen & Paper Football

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Pen & Paper Football is football without the commercials, endless merchandizing and prison sentences. A few dice and some paper is all you need to simulate an American football game. Just find some friends (or play solo), roll up some teams and pit them against each other in League Play, which requires eight simple dice rolls to play a game, or in Head-to-Head play, which simulates a game play-by-play.

P&PF has all the rules you need to play a whole season of football, with rules for passing, running, kicking, penalties, injuries and even off-season rules for team development. There are dozens of sample teams you can use and handy record sheets for teams, leagues and games.

51 pages

 
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Discussions (11)
Customer avatar
David B January 02, 2019 10:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bf15j5gm3dnnklv/Head%20to%20Head%20Play%20Calling%20Chart.pdf?dl=0

The link above is for the d100 version of my Head to Head Play Calling chart (which I uploaded before I changed over to using d30s), which I created on Microsoft Excel. For quick reference purposes, I copied much of the Head to Head rules and added them to the file with the charts. I'm posting this one basically as a test to see it the comments section of this site will allow hotlinking to file sharing accounts. If not and you're still interested in taking a look at it, you can always copy and paste the link to your address bar. I've adjusted the settings to allow for public access to only this file.
Customer avatar
David B January 02, 2019 10:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
OK, so it looks like hot linking's not going to work (I was hoping it'd work like Facebook, where you'd type in the web address and as soon as you click on "Post", Facebook algorithms recognize the web address and automatically hotlink to the file or web address you're looking to share.) Nevertheless, the web address is still available for viewing the early d100 version of my H2H Play Calling chart. As soon as I post the d30 version to Dropbox, I'll provide the web address for it, as well.
Customer avatar
David B January 02, 2019 9:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
I've never been that completely crazy about the 27-yard reference to PATs. I get the part where the ball travels 20 yards because the goal posts are set 10 yards behind the goal line, but it's the 7 yards that are added due to the kicker "starting 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage". I don't feel it should matter how far behind the line of scrimmage the kicker starts (even though I've seen more recent NFL and college games where the kicker starts 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage). The only yardage that should count when determining kicking distance should be starting from when the ball actually leaves the ground at the line of scrimmage until it successfully passes between the posts, in this case, 20 yards. But that's just my opinion.

Also, I've been playing with a chart for determining offensive and defensive plays when playing a Head to Head rules game solo, which I use for determining the results of playoff and championship games in my fantasy league. I'm the only one that I know...See more
Customer avatar
Bobby C November 27, 2018 2:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
...See more
Customer avatar
David B October 21, 2018 10:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
There's no mention in the Head to Head Play section anywhere about 2 point conversions (you'd think there'd be some mention of it), so how does anybody else handle it? I know from personal experience that I could've used a 2 point conversion rule because I just recently finished a playoff game in which at one point during the game one team was down by 8 and needed a touchdown and a 2 point conversion in hopes of tying the game and sending it into overtime for the first time in my league's playoff history. (In my league, I use League Play during the regular season and then switch to Head to Head Play for all playoff and championship games.) Unfortunately for that team, they weren't able to make it to the end zone before regulation time had expired. Also, since I'm talking about PATs, I kind of have an issue with the author of the game adding 7 yards to PAT attempts due to the kicker being 7 yards behind from where the ball is kicked on the 10-yard line. I think that it should just be a straight 20-yard attempt...See more
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 23, 2018 11:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
Two Point Conversions are covered, but it's really easy to overlook, on Page 15, under Scoring: Touchdown. These rules specify to put the ball on the 3 yard line, but it may be different in NFL.

A couple of other recent NFL rule changes aren't reflected in this book. Onside kicks are incredibly difficult now because of no running start, and extra point attempts are kicked from the 15 yard line instead of the 10, which means you'll need to roll a 5 or better.
Customer avatar
John S January 02, 2019 1:34 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Since rules are always changing - and since the game isn't necessarily meant to represent NFL rules - I had to try to find a sort of general set of rules. I usually deferred to the football I grew up with in the 1980s, but since the game play is somewhat abstract, don't worry too much about trying to catch all the intricacies of a particular set of rules.
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 13, 2018 11:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Note to Author: In the game record sheets at the end, the 1st Quarter sheet is missing, and you have used the Overtime sheet instead (in other words, there are two Overtime sheets and no 1st Quarter sheet). It's not a dealbreaker, and I'll bet I can fix this by opening the PDF in OpenOffice, but you might wish to correct it in subsequent editions.
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 16, 2018 3:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm also unclear on which dice to use for Mishap Checks. Page 11 says to roll 1d10, while Page 15 (as well as the example on page 18) says to roll 1d6. Which do other players reading here use? I suppose one could make a case for either, since penalties and injuries are so prevalent in football today. I think the only difference is a 10% chance as opposed to a 16ish% chance, but I'd appreciate a clarification.
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 21, 2018 4:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Also, I've discovered that Head-to-Head teams are at somewhat of a disadvantage to League Play teams for one big reason; injuries. After 6 games, my team has already suffered 3 season-ending injuries, and my opponents have had some injuries as well. However, injuries are not accounted for during League Play with all the other teams in a league. So I've started rolling 1d10 along with the 1d20 rolls in League Play. On a roll of 10, a season-ending injury has occurred during that quarter, and I roll 1d6 and consult the table on p. 16 to determine which stats are affected. That simulates how banged up teams can get by the postseason, and it adds a little depth to League play.
Customer avatar
Wes H October 22, 2018 11:50 am UTC
PURCHASER
I didn't even catch that. I will start using that as well.
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 22, 2018 9:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
After having slept on it, I have decided against using a 1d10, because I was actually rolling too many 10s (which sure added a lot of depth, but it was running the risk of every team in the league ending up with very low Offensive/Defensive ratings by the playoffs). Now I'm using this method instead;

In League Play, on a natural roll of 1 on 1d20, that team has suffered a season-ending injury. Roll 1d6 and consult the Injury Table on p. 16, then lower the resulting stat -1. At the end of the game, check to see if the lowered stat(s) will result in a change in the team's Offensive/Defensive rating, and adjust accordingly. Then at the end of the season, remove all penalties that were a result from season-ending injuries prior to rolling 1d6 to determine how many stat points a team loses during the off-season (instead of lowering stat points as desired, I use the Injury Table on p. 16 to randomly determine the outcome).

Using this new method, I'm seeing only a handful of season-injuring...See more
Customer avatar
David B October 23, 2018 10:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
Instead of having to adjust the stats at the end of the game, I would do it at the end of every quarter, if I were you. If you suffer a season-ending injury during that quarter, it's going to affect the dice results during the remaining quarters, and ultimately the outcome of the game. Just sayin'.
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 23, 2018 11:57 am UTC
PURCHASER
Yes, that's a good point, and a good way to add more depth to League Play, where those offensive/defensive ratings really matter.

For now, I'm experimenting with having the natural 1=a season-ending injury during the game, alongside having each team roll a 1d10 at the end of the game. Rolling a 10=a season-ending injury discovered after the game. Using this approach, on week I had 8 season-ending injuries spread throughout 32 teams, which still seems high, but no higher than my team's 4 season-ending injuries in 9 games played. If all the teams in the league have a 1/1 offensive/defensive rating by the postseason, I'll know it's broken :P
Customer avatar
Bobby C November 27, 2018 2:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
After further testing (I'm really enjoying simulating football seasons with league play), I'm now using both methods mentioned above to determine injuries, as follows;

1). On a natural roll of 1 on 1d20 (the same roll used to determine League Play scoring), a player has suffered a season-ending injury. Roll 1d6 and consult the Injury table on p. 16, and subtract 1 from that stat (which could result in a detrimental adjustment to the team's OR/DR.
2). After the final score has been determined in a league play game, roll 1d10 for each team. On a natural roll of 10 (actually 0 on a ten-sided dice), a season-ending injury has been diagnosed by physicians after the game. Roll 1d6 and consult the Injury table on p. 16, and subtract 1 from that stat.

In retrospect, the above results in approx. 8-9 season-ending injuries throughout the league per week, which is fairly realistic (and remember, all season-ending injuries are wiped and the stats reset to the original values at the end of...See more
Customer avatar
Bobby C December 24, 2018 12:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
After playing through four seasons so far, I actually feel like the 1d10 rolls may be too much, especially when you take off-season development into account (it also compounds on the litany of bookkeeping). The ageing roll, as it stands, can (and often does) cripple a team's efforts to develop (meaning that teams are going to be losing stats faster than they can develop them, at least starting out, until you get star players and multiple markets to generate revenue). So I think for my upcoming season I'm going to only use the "natural roll of 1 on 1d20" to determine season-ending injuries to try to keep things more competitive. If I end up with 32 teams with 9 wins and 8 losses at the end of the season, then I'll know it's probably not enough.
Customer avatar
John S January 02, 2019 2:09 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hey - thanks for pointing these issues out to me. I've made a few adjustments, and will be uploading some revisions ASAP.
Customer avatar
Wes H January 04, 2019 8:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I plan on purchasing the print version on lulu.com. Are you going to update that version as well? If so, when?
Customer avatar
Wes H October 12, 2018 6:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Awesome game! I would love an extended rules for off season development.
Customer avatar
David B August 02, 2018 7:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
In reference to the Team Record Sheet and the League Record Sheet, does anybody know what the "PF" and "PA" columns refer to?
Customer avatar
matt D August 02, 2018 9:14 pm UTC
PF - Points For
PA - Points Against

That's my edumacated guess.
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 16, 2018 4:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Right, PF = total points scored, PA = total points scored against the team by other teams. I THINK PF might be used to determine divisional playoff seeding in the case of ties, but I'm unclear how PA is used in this gaming system.

Also unclear on "Quirks," which is found on the Team Record Sheet. Maybe it's the benefits awarded for having star players?

The only other thing I found to be confusing was the use of "DR" in the example of gameplay. I'm guessing it stands for "Defensive Rating," but everywhere else the author uses "DC" instead.
Customer avatar
John S January 02, 2019 2:13 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes, PF is points for, PA points against. Those stats have been used in the past for resolving entry into the playoffs when two teams had the same record.

Quirks - totally my fault there. It's an artifact of an earlier draft of the rules, in which teams could pick up quirks over time. The system never quite worked to my satisfaction, so I dropped it, but left the reference on the sheet.
Customer avatar
christopher M February 22, 2018 5:34 am UTC
PURCHASER
I love the idea of this, had to purchase it!! I would love to see this publisher use this “system” to make more sports Roleplaying games!
Customer avatar
Dan G January 03, 2018 2:04 am UTC
PURCHASER
is there a professionally printed version available anywhere or just the PDF book?
Customer avatar
James L March 05, 2018 4:31 pm UTC
John has his games in print on Lulu.
Customer avatar
Beau C November 11, 2017 7:15 pm UTC
PURCHASER
John! Great game!

Referring to the Income section of the rules: I noticed that in the example you wrote for the Off-Season on page 25 you reference a die roll to multiply the base income amount... but I didn't see that under the Income rules.

Am I missing something?

Thanks for the fun!

Beau
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 16, 2018 4:53 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I think maybe the bottom of page 22 should read "Roll 1d6, and multiply total revenue by that number." I'm only guessing it's 1d6, since p. 25 simply says roll the die, so I'm not at all sure, because the Cleveland Browns' total revenue in 2017 was 375 million dollars, and they were the worst team in the league. Per these rules, their total revenue would have only been 1 million dollars per major market, so even with a stake in 50 major markets, a 6 on a 1d6 roll would only yield 300 million. We would probably have to use 1d10 in order to generate NFL-level revenue, but that might also lead to teams "leveling up" too quickly.
Customer avatar
John S January 02, 2019 2:15 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Correct - I left out the reference to multiplying income by a 1d6 roll. These rolls will not give you NFL team income. These income levels are just meant to work within the game rules, not duplicate.
Customer avatar
Jeffrey B June 05, 2017 12:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Really enjoying this game. While the "eight die rolls" to determine the outcome of a game may sound simplistic, it is surprisingly addictive, particularly when you combine it with the off-season rules. The market rules are simple to follow but I find them to be extremely elegant. The one question I had about the game are the aging rolls. Rolling a D6 each year seems excessive for againg, considering that most teams at best only get one to two improvement rolls per year. I've only played a couple of years so far so I haven't seen if this is really an issue or not. Maybe finding star players makes up for the aging losses.
Customer avatar
Bobby C December 16, 2018 4:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
After having simulated a few seasons, I have to agree with this. Hardly any teams are able to bounce back from high aging rolls. It's possible it's working as intended in order to keep teams from developing into 18 OC/18 DC juggernauts, but enough high rolls on a 1d6 could ultimately lead to a league of 1 OC/1 DC pee-wee teams (although the rules mandate that such a scenario would probably result in a franchise folding long before that occurs). It does help keep things interesting and mix things up, but it also nearly guarantees no dynasties. I'm just not convinced it's balanced. Assuming a professional football team's OC/DC averages between 8 and 10 (and I personally think that's low), aging is probably going to lower that average across the board. On the other hand, if all teams are subjected to it, then you're still going to have competitive game mechanics, it's just that players may not have much of a sense of achievement developing their teams in offseason if they're fighting a losing battle.
Customer avatar
Bobby C December 24, 2018 12:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Having simulated four seasons now, I strongly feel that a 1d6 ageing roll every year is just too restrictive (having had 14 out of 32 teams roll a 6 this go around). I propose either a 1d3 roll (actually a 1d6, but 1-2 =1, 3-4 =2, 5-6 =3) or a 1d4 roll, instead. My opinion may change once there are actually some start players out there (still haven't rolled a single 20 on development rolls for 32 NFL teams in four seasons, but I've rolled plenty of 1s...), and once teams are actually showing development. On the other hand, this may all be working as intended by the author, but as with any RPG, it's up to those playing it to tailor and tweak rules to their satisfaction.
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51
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QE6
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