Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Pizza Box Football

First of all, those of you who dislike posts that don’t have to do with politics are advised to stop reading immediately.

Like many football fans, my wife and I are in the post-season dumps. A friend recommended something called Pizza Box Football, a board game in which any NFL matchup can be simulated with the use of dice and charts. Now, I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, having been a gaming dweeb since junior high. My wife needed more convincing, but since she’s even more into football than I am, I got her to sit down for a game yesterday. We chose two teams at random--she got the Seahawks, I the Buccaneers. It was slow going at first while we both grappled with the rules, but the learning curve wasn’t terribly steep, and we had a lot of fun. The game manages to simulate quite a bit with rules that aren’t terribly complex. Things aren’t based purely on chance; you need to select plays based on what you think your opponent is likely to do, and the clock is constantly a factor. Our matchup saw numerous field goal attempts (some successful), several sacks, a couple of fumbles (one recovered by the owning team, the other by the opponent), and an interception.

Oh, and the result: Tampa Bay 24, Seattle 14. Seattle has certain built-in advantages--a very strong running and short-passing game. That’s where the strategy comes in--if you know the opponent’s strengths, you can plan your defense accordingly. I’m already looking forward to our next game....

Discussions - 6 Comments


"It was slow going at first while we both grappled with the rules, but the learning curve wasn’t terribly steep, and we had a lot of fun. "

The learning curve is the slope representing the difference between the time it takes to master or complete a task initially, and then over repeated trials. What you want is a steep learning curve, which shows that your time decreased quickly. A relatively flat slope, or curve, indicates that you and your wife took nearly as much time during the final trials as you did during your initial trials.

I am certain that this is not the case, and that the learning curve was, in fact, quite steep.

I must go now, to teach my students about statistical power.

Happy Presidents’ Day.

Your friend,


Thank you, Fung. Given that we more or less few through the second half, I suppose that the curve was very steep, indeed.

I recall playing something similar back in the 1970’s. It was a board football game where action was determined by the roll of the dice, matched against a probability distribution based on actual statistics. A poor running back, for instance, would bust off a good run only on snake eyes, but a great running back would have a decent run on 7. That kind of stuff. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called.

People, start watching the NFL Network.

Don in AZ

I think you are referring to Strat-O-Matic. They are still the pre-eminent name in board game sports simulations.

Yes, John, if you are referring to Strat-O-Matic then you are mentally healthy. If you need mental health, and don’t know Strat-O-matic, then go to that board game for football or baseball. Actually, there is an on-line version of Strat-O-Matic baseball. You are the general manager and the manager, it’s like being a philosopher king, though competing with other philosopher kings, so it can be humbling. Good luck.

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