It’s well-known around Board Game Quest Headquarters that I’m the resident expert on professional wrestling (there are a few others who pretend they are, but those people are wrong). As such, I jumped at the chance to review a game sponsored by the band Fozzy, whose frontman is legendary wrestler Chris Jericho. Add to that fact that the game in question is built around the rules and flow of the world’s most popular spot, the beautiful game of futbol and I was incredibly excited about the entire endeavor.
The joke, however, was on me. It turns out that not only does Chris Jericho’s band have nothing to do with the game, but it’s also not a futbol game, but rather a football game. Oh well. Serves me right for not doing more exhaustive research before accepting an assignment.
Fozzy Football is a two-player dexterity game that plays in about a half hour. I have no idea why “Fozzy” is actually part of its name, although I’m now leaning toward some affiliation with the famous Muppet bear. (Clearly I still have not done any research on the topic.)
Fozzy Football is a dexterity game that, at its most basic, is shuffleboard mixed with American football. The game itself doesn’t have “rules” in the traditional way we understand them here at BGQ and rather features a few general guidelines framed around the common rules of the sport on which it is based. (I won’t go into every rule of football itself because, well, there’s a lot of them.)
In short: players will attempt to advance their position on the field of play and score against their opponent. To do this, the offensive player will slide a puck from their defensive area across the field into their opponent’s defensive area and attempt to land the puck in a positive position. (Yes: the item put into play in this football game that’s not a futbol game is named after a piece of equipment from hockey.) The defensive zones are roughly cut into two halves—running plays and passing plays—and each of these is further dissected into various other positive or negative results (more on these later).
The puck players slide has a neat crosshair at its center that helps players determine exactly what result they’ve achieved after their attack. Players then log the result using the free Fozzy Football Game Tracker app. The app is a silly addition to the game that is both incredibly useful and painfully irritating. It does make tracking each team’s position on the field easier by automatically adding and subtracting yardage gained and lost, but also hides so much of this information in a rather busy interface that it’s difficult to tell what’s actually going on at a glance. And, given the repetitive nature of the game as a continuous sliding endeavor, understanding—or, honestly, even caring—exactly where your team is on the field can be something of a chore.
Players don’t actively play defense in the game, although the set comes with defensive blockers that can be positioned prior to each offensive series to disrupt the offensive player’s slides. Up to four defensive “players” can be used, depending on the difficulty everyone chooses.
That’s essentially how the game is played. Everything else shakes out just like human football—players have four downs to gain ten yards, they score if they enter the endzone, etc. The app comes with a timer that can be variably set and will stop and start during the flow of the game itself. Once the timer is up, whoever has the most points wins the FozzyBowl.
Right off the bat it should be obvious to you, Dear Reader, if you’ll enjoy Fozzy Football. All you need to know about it is essentially contained in the components list. Players slide a thing at another thing and see what happens. On that level—which I assume is the level that the designers were going for—this might be a five-star game. It’s a lot of fun slinging these components around (the quality of the components is exceptional) and even the game’s less-than-stellar additions like the app’s funny-for-a-second-and-then-painfully-annoying announcer are mostly charming. But I can’t simply review a game based on the standard of “fun for a bar game” and as such, this one has a bunch of things that keep it from being a standout dexterity experience.
For starters, it’s basically impossible to be good at it. Sure, a player might find the range in terms of the pace with which to slide the puck and that will help get them into the vicinity of a good result, but after that, it’s a literal coin toss about what will actually happen. The dangerous areas on both the rushing and passing sides are randomly strewn in these zones, making it impossible to tactically avoid them. There is a minor bit of strategy if you choose to bounce off a blocker to change your trajectory, but even that isn’t really something even the most skilled player can control.
Really the only thing that is pretty controllable is the kicking game, which is done without any blockers and is a big bullseye on the opposite side of the field. The center of the bullseye is the strongest kick one can muster which makes sense, but even then, it’s not always good to hit that if you want a shorter punt (this is where the app making it difficult to track your field position comes in).
Another issue in the game is its very concept. It’s clear that Fozzy Football wasn’t “designed” in the way most modern board games are; it’s a neat idea that’s essentially nothing more than “football meets shuffleboard.” And that’s fine. But the game seemed to want to lean into having a bit more strategy that just never quite comes together. For instance, the defensive blockers seem like a place where you can mix up the play, but basically they always get put into the same positions and are avoided and/or crashed into in the same way by the offense. There’s also “clock management” in the game in which players can call timeouts to save time and avoid penalties. This is fun in concept, but the game plays like such a casual, bar-like experience that I never bothered to actually accept any of these “time” penalties. It seemed to go against the very nature of the experience.
If the only criterion for this review was “is this a fun bit of fluff?” then Fozzy Football would easily get five stars. But that isn’t how I’m choosing to analyze the game. The truth is there isn’t enough “game” here to give it that high of a rating. The lack of decision space from turn to turn (especially for the defense, but even for the offense), somewhat chaotic nature of internalizing field position and even the downs and score, and the similar nature of every turn—and, to some degree, every game—make this an overall average dexterity game at best.
That being said: If the goal is to add a unique item to one’s man cave that is easy to play and fun, you’d be hard-pressed to find something more accessible than Fozzy Football.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars. A really fun casual game that will be a hit with those looking for a neat distraction during the commercials on Sunday afternoons.
• Can get repetitive
• Pretty random
• App, while mostly useful, makes it difficult to actually track the pace of the game