Sports Simulation Board Games

PLAAY Games in Boston: 5th Annual "Commissioner's Surprise" HOCKEY BLAST Tournament, October 26, 2019

Pittsburgh PLAAY GamersTV Time-Out: Taking a break in "Sweet Sixteen" HOCKEY BLAST action, October 26, 2019. (From left, seated) Mark Russell, Joe Petrafassi, Steve Tower;(from left, standing) Bobby McGill, Bill Sauerbier, Ken Castro, John Veruzzo, Pete Adams.

Saturday, October 26th, New England PLAAY Gamers headed to Battleground Hobbies and Games in Norton, MA for our Fifth Annual "Commissioner's Surprise" HOCKEY BLAST Tournament—where EVERY team has a chance to win it all! Among the folks who showed up to watch and/or play were Pete Adams, Brien Aronov, Ken Castro, Michael Forbes, Steven Foster, Bobby McGill, Mark Russell, Joe Petrafassi, Bill Sauerbier, John Veruzzo and AFR's Steve Tower. This was our second visit to Battleground Games, which was host to the 2014 HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL Fall Classic Pre-PLAAY! We had an another AWESOME time at Battleground Games, thanks so much to Chase and his support crew for making us feel right at home!

EVERY pro team from the current HOCKEY BLAST Pro Season card set is included in our annual tournament. It's single-elimination, and the match-ups were completely random—we will literally drew them out of a hat in a LIVE PLAAY Games Facebook webcast on Tuesday, October 1st! The previous year's real-life championship series teams always get a first round bye for this tournament, that was Boston and St. Louis this year. The pro league's expansion to Las Vegas a couple years ago gives us an un-even number of teams (31), so we've altered our format just a little bit for the event. We kicked off the tournament with a "PLAAY-in" game between the bottom two pro teams from the 2018-19 season, Los Angeles and Ottawa, streamed live on the PLAAY Games YouTube Channel Thursday night, October 3rd. The winner of that game--Los Angeles--joined the other 27 first-round teams (see pairings and results below).

The run-down of the tournament is featured below. Everything from the "Commissioner's Surprise Sweet Sixteen" right down to the championship game was played entirely on-location in Boston. As is always the case, we had some epic games. In the end, Tampa Bay showed why they dominated the real-life hockey season (even though their real-life playoff run was shockingly brief!). The Bolts ran the gauntlet of some of the league's best clubs on their path the to Commissioner's Cup, knocking off Washington, Nashville, Boston, and St. Louis before humbling New York in the championship game. We didn't choose a tournament MVP, but my vote would be for Tampa Bay's goalie Vasilevskiy, who shut down the league's most potent scoring machines, allowing just three goals in five games!

After the hockey was done, we had some time to chill out a little and talk sports games. Inspired by our PLAAY Games Laboratory Lightning Round YouTube webcast, Pete brought a formula one variant of RED WHITE & BLUE RACIN' that he's been working on and showed us how it worked. I brought along a couple of the games-in-progress I'm working on, and spent some time soliciting feedback. Bill brought along his copy of Twisted Fate: Cowboys vs. Aliens, I got to play a two-player game with him (um, we lost!).

All too soon, the afternoon was over and it was time to head home. Thanks to everyone who made the trip, it was a great afternoon spent amongst wonderful people! And thanks again to Chase and his crew at Battleground G&H for hosting us!

Boston PLAAY GamersLeafs and Wings: John Veruzzo (left) and Pete Adams (right) take a break from the Detroit-Toronto "Sweet Sixteen" matchup. The Leafs won in OT, 4-3. Steve Tower (foreground) mulls over a short-handed situation for his Bruins in their win against Arizona.

2018-19 "Commissioner's Surprise" HOCKEY BLAST Tournament Updates

The tournament pairings were announced Monday night, October 7th in a live webcast from the PLAAY Games Facebook Page. Tournament play began Thursday night, October 10th, with results posted below. Teams in blue advance to next round, person(s) who played game in [brackets]...

Boston PLAAY GamersModern Teams, Vintage Jerseys: Joe Petrafassi sports his classic Hartford Whalers jersey while coaching 2018-19 Tampa Bay against Brien Aronov, wearing his Quebec Nordique's garb while swicthing lines for Nashville. A little further up the table, Ken Castro (Montreal) and Steven Foster San Jose) square off. Other games in the background, "Sweet Sixteen" HOCKEY BLAST action, Commissioner's Surprise Tournament, October 26, 2019.
SECOND ROUND, "Sweet Sixteen"
THIRD ROUND, "Elite Eight"