Gridiron Solitaire

Gridiron Solitaire

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billharris44  [developer] Jan 22, 2014 @ 9:28am
If You're New To American Football (basic rules of the game)
If you're unfamiliar with American football, I hope this short guide will help you. Please note that where there are "***", this is where Gridiron Solitaire has slightly different rules than American football, and I explain the difference.

First off, here's a basic description of how soccer and American football differ in terms of gameplay. Soccer is a real-time strategy game, where time is always moving and play never stops. American football plays more like a board game or a turn-based game. That allows for more strategic decisions to be made in a turn-based format.

Okay, let's move on to the basics.

In American football, the game consists of a series of discrete plays, and there are basically two types: kicking and non-kicking. Non-kicking plays, called "scrimmage" plays, can be either "runs" or "passes." In a running play, the center snaps the ball to the quarterback, and the quarterback then runs himself or hands the ball off to a running back. In a passing play, the quarterback throws the ball forward to a player called a "receiver", who-- if he catches the pass-- runs downfield toward the goal line.

When a team has control of the ball, there are two objectives. The larger objective is to move down the field and score points. To do that, though, a smaller objective must be met, which is to get first downs. A team has four "downs" to gain 10 yards. If they do, they get a new set of downs to try and gain 10 more yards. This allows them to keep possession of the ball.

***Please note that in Gridiron Solitaire, instead of first and 10 yards to go, it's first and 40 yards to go. This helps make a single game playable in 15 to 20 minutes, and you will still generate realistic statistics and scores.***

If a team successfully moves down the field and crosses the goal line into the end zone, it's called a "touchdown", and it's worth six points. ***This is slightly different in Gridiron Solitaire, because the touchdown is worth seven points. , and the kicking play that normally follows the touchdown (called an "extra point") is dispensed with. ***

Now, if the offense doesn't gain the needed 10 yards in their first three chances, they have to make a choice. On fourth down, the offense may choose to either go for it with a running or passing play, or may choose to kick the ball away. This is called a "punt." The center snaps the ball directly to the kicker, and he kicks it downfield. The offense can't score any points with a punt, and they lose possession of the ball, but they do (hopefully) kick the ball far downfield, keeping the other team a long distance from their goal line.

Another kind of kicking play is called the "field goal." In a field goal, the center snaps the ball back to a holder, who puts the ball in position for the kicker. If the kicked ball goes through the goal posts, it's worth three points. So on fourth down, if the offense is close enough to the goal line, they can try a field goal instead of punting.

So why would a team ever punt? Field goal kickers can't kick the ball as far as punters, and if you miss a field goal, the ball is given to the other team at the spot where it was kicked from. So a missed field goal can be a big disadvantage. That's why outside the 40-yard line, teams will usually punt.

After a scoring play, there is a "kickoff." The kicker of the scoring team places the ball on a tee from a specific location, and kicks the ball downfield to the other team. They receive the ball, run it up field, and then they have four downs to get ten yards.

There is also a special kind of kickoff called an "onside kick." This is usually used near the end of the game when the scoring team is behind on points. To have a chance to win, they need to retain possession of the ball. Instead of kicking the ball as far downfield as they can, they kick it a very short distance (by rule, at least 10 yards) and try to recover it so that they can keep possession.

***In GS, kickoffs resolve automatically.***

One last thing to cover, and that's "turnovers". When one team has the ball, they can lose possession to the other team if they "fumble" (dropping the ball on a running play, with the other team recovering) or throw an "interception" (throwing the ball to the other team on a passing play). If a turnover happens, possession changes immediately, no matter the down or the distance needed to gain.

Actually, there's one more thing. It's called a "safety", and while it's very rare, you still need to know about it. A safety is when the team in possession of the ball gets tackled behind their own goal line. If this happens, the other team scores two points, which is the only way a team can score without possession of the ball. After a safety, the team that scored (remember, without the ball) now gets possession of the ball. Like I said, this is very rare, both in real football and Gridiron Solitaire, but if you see it, you'll know what's going on.

I hope this brief introduction to American football helps you guys enjoy Gridiron Solitaire, and of course I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the game. Thank you for playing.

[UPDATE: it was requested that I add definitions for a few terms used in the game, so please see them below.]

Coffin corner: when a team punts the ball out of bounds near the opponent's goal line instead of kicking into the field of play. If the ball goes out of bounds before the goal line, it is the opposing team's ball at that point. So if Team A punts the ball and it goes out of bounds at the opponent's 7 yard line, Team B takes possession at the 7.

Touchback: when a ball is punted into the end zone and not returned. In this case, possession is given at the 20 yard line.

Kneeldown: at the end of the game, when one team is ahead, they may choose to snap the ball and immediately kneel, thus ending the play and forfeiting any possible gain. This play is solely used to run time off the clock.

Double reverse: a running play that involves a quarterback handing off to a player running in one lateral direction who then hands off to another player running in the opposite direction. Actually, in a double reverse, there's a THIRD handoff to a player running in the original direction. It's a play that takes a long time to develop, for obvious reasons.
Last edited by billharris44; Jul 4, 2014 @ 9:15am
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InsertCookiesHere Jan 24, 2014 @ 7:32pm 
Thanks for posting this, I imagine most people here are football fans but there are bound to be a few of us looking for something like Fairway Solitaire (or buying just to support you!) and it's ilk but don't know/care about football.
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