Coatsie’s board game guide to the football codes

Coatsie’s board game guide to the football codes

By Coatsie

In a pub-bound philosophical discussion recently (read piss-up with mates) I made the following formulation as a comparison guide of the football codes. It’s extremely scientific, founded on many years of extensive research as a footyheaded armchair psychologist pouring over reams of literature, and pouring plenty of cold beer down my throat.

It’s basis is comparing each of them to an existing board game.

So here we go, without any bias (cough) or disrespect intended to any other code of football (cough).

Rugby – Chess
A very complicated game of strategy which demands a great deal of skill, stamina and resolve. Each piece is different; a variety of shapes, with differing purposes, strengths and powers, with each in turn performing different tasks. Some are sacrificed to make an impact on the opposition, such as the pawns. Sent out early in the game, they are the forward pack. Elaborate strategies are created which can in turn be managed by the opposition or if constructed and executed well enough will expose their flaws. Often the pawns can win a game, but it’s in their sacrifice that the more flashy, varied and in some ways more complex pieces perform their duty. The Rooks, Knights, Bishops, Queen and King can perform these tasks and ultimately win the contest. These are the backs. With it’s multi layers and life lessons, it is traditionally embraced by scholars and achievers. It is, simply, – The Sport of Kings.

Rugby League – Chequers/Checkers
Played on the same surface as Chess in much the same fashion, with some of the same, simpler tactics of Chess. However all the pieces look blandly alike, perform pretty much the same, and take one another out individually in what is essentially a repetitive wearing down of the opposition. There are slightly less pieces in play on the field than in Chess. Usually played as a ‘best of’ series, as the action is pretty same-same; as soon as the board is wiped, (just like a tackle count) – whoops, we start again. This is played by people with no teeth, and a fondness for blowing on a jug with a banjo or a young (possibly underage) woman’s head in their lap. This is often a relative, or cheerleader. Or a relative who is a cheerleader.

Australian Rules Football/AFL – Backgammon
Don’t know anything about it, slightly curious to learn, but doubt whether I will ever find out what’s going on. Steeped in loads of tradition, which I like, but ultimately pretty pretentious and not as elegant as it aspires to be. Looks kind of lame, like it’s played by pussies, who think it’s really hard-core, but have never really done it tough, however as individuals would have loads of potential in Rugby/Chess. Due to where they were born, they don’t really know any better.

Gaelic football – Prison Backgammon
I’m never gonna go there (touch-wood*), so don’t wanna know. As above, but played with Scrabble Tiles and Monopoly counters instead of the backgammon counters. Played pissed out of your skull on black stout-style beer made in your cell toilet.

Soccer/Football – Snakes & Ladders
A simple game, which is, at the end of the day, really boring to watch, as very little really happens. One simply travels up the board, and back down the board, up the board, and back down the board, up the board, and back down the board, etc. Finally, just when you think you have it all finished, Lucas Neill trips up some piss-weak penalty-pulling continental whinger and you slide all the way down a snake to the beginning. Then you might have to go again, as luck has so much bearing on the outcome. Really a game for kids. For those who know no better.

American Football/Gridiron – Any one of the thousands of silly fucken games concocted by Parker Brothers such as Hungry-Hungry Hippos, Mousetrap or Operation
In fact, EXACTLY like these three games. Big blokes, with big mouths, who eat a lot, competing for a ball; employing totally unnecessarily complicated strategy’s to perform a simple task; and a lot of guys breaking bones and needing repairs and requiring constant surgery. Lot’s of stopping to reset. Loads of impressive looking gear, which is really just dressing. Not too complicated that if you go to the toilet you will miss something. All about making money. Totally commercial, a quick fix for those who again, know no better.

Canadian Football – Hungry-Hungry Mooses, Muskrat-trap or Surgical-pro-cee-duuuure, (eh!)
As above, with a few of the pieces missing, some snow and some bits from other board games. A backwater-diet version of the above.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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