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Big Time Soccer Gameplay

General Idea

Pass, dribble and kick the ball into your opponent’s net. Shots at net from outside your opponent’s “box” are low-percentage shots. On the other hand, shots taken from inside your opponent’s box are much more likely to score a goal. Throughout the game you’ll be passing and dribbling via clever card play, trying to set up inside shots and taking outside shots as a lesser alternative.

As the Offensive player, choose one of these actions on your turn:

  1. Play a Pass or Dribble card. To play a valid Pass or Dribble card, it must have a pass or dribble icon at the bottom of the card, and it must match the icon at the top of the last card you played (unless it’s the first card of an offensive play sequence). Also, its graphic must not have a red-brown area which excludes the zone of the ball’s current location on the field. You may also pass the ball to your goalkeeper by discarding any Pass card if the ball is in one of your D1 or non-box D2 zones. All ball movement is forward, diagonal or sideways (except a pass to your goalie from a D2 zone) and is usually 1 space. When you play a 2-space card, you may move the ball just 1 space if you wish.
  2. Clear the Ball Downfield, Kicking It Out of Play. You must discard a card. Your opponent will get a throw-in or goal-kick.
  3. Clear the Ball Downfield, Keeping It in Play. You can’t discard a card, but you have a 10% chance to regain the ball.
  4. Attempt to Hold the Ball. Your opponent may play a Challenge card and steal the ball. If he doesn’t there’s a 50% chance you’ll retain possession of it.
  5. Shoot the Ball at Net from Outside the Box. Play one of these cards and roll the die. You have a 5% chance to score a goal.
  6. Shoot the Ball at Net from Inside the Box

Play one of these cards and roll the die. You have a 15% chance to score a goal. (Alternatively, you can use these cards to shoot from Outside the Box.)

Free Kicks

If your opponent gets a foul, foul-plus-yellow, or red card result from the play of his C or I card, you get a free kick from the zone where the ball is located. If the ball is in your A1C zone, you have a 10% chance to score a goal. If it’s in one of your non-box A zones, you have a 5% chance to score a goal. If the ball was in your A2C zone (his box), you get a Penalty Kick and a 75% chance to score a goal.

Goal Kicks

A Goal Kick means the goalie has the ball. Roll the die and consult a chart to kick the ball away with a 40% chance of recovery, or throw-in the ball to any of your D2 zones. Note that you can aim a goal kick and gain control of the ball where you aimed with a 20% chance of success.

Corner Kicks

These can occur as the result of a shot at net. You have a 5% chance to score a goal.

Defensive Play

Play a Defensive card: To play a defensive card, it must have a C or I at its bottom. Challenge cards are played on Dribble cards and Intercept cards are played on Pass cards, after the ball is moved. The defensive player simply discards his C or I card and rolls the die for the result on the card. This can be a failed or successful tackle/interception, a foul, a foul-plus-yellow card, or even a red card. Any foul results in a play stoppage and a free kick for the offensive player. A foul against your opponent when he has ball control in your box results in a Penalty Kick. If the result is a successful tackle or interception, the defensive player gains ball control in the ball’s current zone; if the ball is in his box the goalie grabs it and he gets a Goal Kick. If the result is a failed tackle or failed interception, the offensive player retains ball control in the ball’s current zone and begins a new offensive sequence.


If you get a “foul-plus-yellow card” result (which signifies misconduct) one of the yellow card chits is drawn randomly, turned face-up and kept on your side of the field. If you later draw a yellow card with the same number, it means that the same player on your team has received two yellow cards—which equals a red card. A red card can also be assessed outright for a more serious offense (such as violent conduct). When you get a red card, your team will have to play a man short for the rest of the game. To simulate this, you must play with a 5-card hand. If you get a second red card, you must play with a 4-card hand. If you get a third red card, you must play with a 3-card hand. If each player has the same number of red cards, both players play with normal 6-card hands. Remember – a Penalty Kick has a 75% chance to score a goal.

Special Cards

  • “No Defense Allowed” Offensive Cards: These cards don’t have “C?” or “I?” in red on them, and signify brilliant offensive work. Defensive cards may not be played on them.
  • Pass+O/S Cards: If you use one of these to pass from an M1 or M2 zone into a non-box A1 zone, you may take a Shot at Net–Outside Box without the play of a Shot at Net–Outside Box card. (Alternatively, you can play this card as a normal Pass card.) Defensive “I” cards may be played on these cards; if successful they negate a shot.
  • C/I Defensive Cards With a Star: These cards can be played on your opponent’s Pass or Dribble card. The star indicates smart, careful defensive play that results in fewer fouls and yellow cards. It’s often wise to save these for use when your opponent dribbles or passes the ball into your box, threatening an inside shot at net.
  • Card #72: This card can be played as either a Pass or a Dribble card (1 space), and either type may be played on it next. A very useful card!

Stoppage Time & End of a Half

There is usually extra time in soccer due to balls that go out of play, substitutions, injuries, infractions, and other periods of inactivity. When the last card of the deck is drawn, the die is rolled and a chart consulted. A number of cards will comprise a small deck and play will continue. In stoppage time, if you choose either Clear action you must discard a card if you have any. If you have no cards and gain ball control you must choose a Clear action. Play continues until both players have played all their cards, or after all the stoppage cards are in hand, both players concede that they can’t get a shot at net. Then the half ends.

End of the Game

When the second half ends (after stoppage time), the game is over! If you don’t like ties, you can choose to decide the game via “shootout” before a game begins. Each player rolls the die three times and consults the Penalty Shot chart. Repeat once. If the number of goals scored per team is tied at the end of the six attempts, players alternately roll the die until only one player scores and each player has had the same number of attempts.

Playing Tips

  • Count the spaces forward you need to get off a shot at net. If your goalie has the ball and you only have one or two such cards, you’ll likely be better off using the Goal Kick chart – instead of playing those cards and hoping you’ll draw the cards you need.
  • Consider field position, the score, your yellow cards and the time left in a half when you decide upon your action. For example, if ahead by two goals early in the game and you have several yellow cards, you may want to hold back playing a defensive card on your opponent, to avoid a third yellow card (or a red one).
  • Later in a half you’ll know more about what cards your opponent might be holding. For example, if four Shot at Net–Inside Shot cards have been played and you hold the last two, you’ll know that your opponent can only take Outside the Box shots.
  • If you’re ahead by a couple of goals late in the game, try to burn as much time as possible. Don’t Clear–Keep Ball In Play. If your goalie has the ball, throw it in and Clear–Kick Ball Out of Play instead of using the Goal Kick chart.
  • If you have a Shot–Inside the Box card in hand, the ball is in one of your A zones, but you lack a card to advance into your opponent’s box, it might be a good idea to try the Hold action and hope you draw the card you need.
  • If you have two or three Shot–Inside the Box cards in hand, you can afford to spend one as an Outside Box shot. This can also demoralize your opponent if you’re ahead in the score. Of course, it will also alert him to the fact that you probably have at least one left.
  • You need cards that can move the ball up the field. A balanced hand might have one or two Shot cards, one or two defensive cards, and three or 4 Pass/Dribble cards. A hand composed of nothing but Shot and defensive cards is not very good.
  • You have a 40% chance of recovering your Goal Kick off the chart. This can be a time-saving offensive tactic if you’re behind in the score, especially if you hold few offensive cards.
  • Bluff on occasion. If you have no Shot cards, goad your opponent into playing a defensive card after you pass or dribble into one of your A zones, hoping for a foul and a Free Kick. Simply imply that you’ll be taking an Inside Shot from his box after the play of your next card.
  • All “Pass 2” cards are highly valuable for play after you get a “Save! Goal Kick” result, since you can throw-in to a D2 space and immediately move two more spaces ahead.
  • “Pass–Ahead 2” cards are great for advancing the ball from M2C to A2C when you have a Shot–Inside the Box card in your hand.
  • Note that you could conceivably pass the ball through your opponent’s box with a Pass 2 card that moves the ball horizontally. Passing through (or Dribbling into) your own box is extremely dangerous, since your opponent could play a defensive card and steal the ball; pass to your goalkeeper instead or clear the ball.
  • Watch for important cards. Tracking the six Shot–Inside the Box cards is a must. Tracking the eight Defensive cards carefully will elevate your play, as will tracking the five “Any” cards which cannot be defensed.
  • If you have an Inside Shot card in hand and nothing else, you could try clearing the ball (keep in play) into your opponent’s box. A lucky die roll of 1 or 2 will let you take that shot!

Each game of Big Time Soccer will play out differently. Sometimes you’ll find that everything goes your way and at other times nothing will work right. You may have 5 shots at net in a half or 15. Scores are realistically low, but sometimes can be 5-4!