Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Gridiron Solitaire #88: Okay, Not Last Week, But Tomorrow

I read Rock, Paper, Shotgun every day--it's the first gaming website I go to in the morning. I saw part one of their 2014 game preview last week (The Spectacular 2014 Preview Spectacular – Part One), and today, part two came out. So I was flipping through the games in part two, and I was thinking how cool it would be if Gridiron Solitaire was ever included in one of these previews.

Two screens down, I'll be damned, there it was--Gridiron Solitaire.

There have been a few surreal moments in the last few weeks, but that may be number one. I don't know who at RPS recommended it, but thanks, and thanks to Pocket Tactics, RDBK, and Gamers With Jobs as well.

We had a hockey trip scheduled last weekend, but Eli 12. 5 sustained a 2-4 week injury at practice on Thursday (details tomorrow), and Gloria volunteered to take him to watch his team. I stayed home and tested.

And tested. And tested. I played 36 games over the weekend, and 18 more today. I fixed some very minor things, as well as obscure things that I had never been able to figure out.

Now I can say with confidence, after the last 54 games, that GS is so clean it squeaks.

I can also say, and this makes me very happy, that the gameplay holds up. You'd think that playing 15+ games a day would be boring, but it wasn't. I kept peeling back layers of detail and finding another layer, and even though I created all those details, I was still surprised that I kept finding more.

I know that some people aren't going to like the game, because it's an odd bird. I don't think there's ever been a card game or a sports game quite like it, and in its own little way, it's ambitious. But I can promise that if you enjoy playing the game, you can play it for a long, long time. There are over a thousand possible headline combinations, just as an example. Thousands of different in-play text messages. Some of them become familiar, if you play hundreds of games, but they never become common.

There are a few things that I believe the game models very well in terms of real football. Momentum, for one (thank you, deck of cards). Home field advantage, for another, because an away game is much more difficult than a home game. The third thing is decision making, because all the decisions you'd make in real football get made in Gridiron Solitaire, and they get made in the same situations.

Here's a look at the season I played today--no simming--with the Moose (please note this is a crappy picture taken with my phone):

You can see my individual game scores in the right panel of the picture, and nothing there is unrealistic. The stats that get generated during the course of a game are also realistic. Home field advantage? I was 7-1 at home and 4-3 on the road.

I made it to the Gridiron Bowl and found myself in a defensive battle that I wound up narrowly winning, 17-13.

I don't usually play every game. I usually sim a few, play a road game, sim a few more, and play all games that have playoff consequences. That's a good way to experience the full game world, because you'll see more of the offseason mini-game that way, as well as building a team history. No two leagues will evolve in the same way, so every time you're in a league, it will be different.

I'm getting up early in the morning, putting in about two and a half hours of final testing, then submitting to Steam.

I'm finding it hard to believe, but there you go.

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