In Honor of Superbowl Sunday

Gridiron Solitaire continues in the long tradition of solitaire variations having an over-exciting name for a game primarily played with a deck of cards all by your lonesome.  Whereas Yukon is nothing like the snowy north where one might discover Wolverine and Windigo, and Spider does not summon eight-legged hellspawn to your hands while playing, and accordion does not make you tap your beat to the latest polka jam, Gridiron Solitaire actually captures some of the essence of its namesake.

Basically, through simple opposite-color sequence tricks, you simulate a game of Football.  The more tricks you complete in a given turn (or, down, fittingly enough) the more yards you produce on offense, and reduce on defense.  Along with the tricks, you have an opportunity to call on a “big play” which either nets you another card, or a text event that may or may not be of benefit to you.

If you think it sounds simple, that’s because (at least on the surface) it is.  If you have a basic understanding of cards, you’ll pick this up quickly.  And indeed, when I saw the art style of this game (which I actually quite enjoyed) and the basic idea behind the gameplay, I thought it was silly.

But after just one game, the depth became really apparent, and after a few hours, I found myself thinking about the game when I wasn’t playing, both about the strategy involved in it, and maybe ways that the game could be made even more complex, and simulate more actual football scenarios.

Undoubtedly this is the same sort of fretting that caused the simple fun of Techmo Bowl to walk down the path that eventually led to the dry simulation of Madden.  I do think that any sequel should feature some sort of direct gameplay for special team plays, but to get more complex than that would probably ruin what’s enjoyable about the game.

And the game is very enjoyable.  It might be because, being someone who grew up with few friends, I played a lot of solitaire growing up, or it might just be that I find the gameplay to be interesting.  Or maybe it’s just the fact that everything from the art style to the music is deceptive; simple on the surface, with a lot going on once you really look at it.

Whatever the reason, I’ve already played a lot of this game, and will probably play a lot more, because it’s the perfect game to play while watching television.  Or maybe the game to play if you’re over all the “I just watch for the commercials LOL” hype and want something else to do while the big game is on break.

If I do have a problem with the game, is that sometimes I actually wish a bit more of the card-iness (for lack of a better term) was exposed.  I want to see stacks, and I want to see face cards and suits.  Plain cards get kind of boring.  Also, I would like to be able to save & quit at anytime, not just the half.  But those are minor quibbles.

My initial attraction to this game was “ok this is going to be some silly shit that maybe will be worth some irony.”  But no, my official review of this one is “Play it.”

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