To show you how LACROSSE BLAST works, let's open up the box and play a few sample minutes of a game. We'll use the fictional Canadian-American Lacrosse League to help us demonstrate the game. (The CALL card set is offered as an alternative card set for lacrosse fans who want to create their own lacrosse league history, not constrained by real-life results.) If you'd like to follow along visually, click here for a printable PDF of the game board set-up we'll be using for our demonstration, which will open in a separate browser window.We choose our teams, Quebec at Baltimore, and arrange each team's players on the LACROSSE BLAST game board. For each team, we choose six forwards, six defenders and three transition men, stacking the player cards three-deep, with the best players on top of the each stack. Two stacks of forwards and defenders, one stack of transition men. We also choose a goalie for each team. Player substitutions are called for by the game charts, and when they occur, you simply move the top player on the indicated stack to the bottom. Easy!
We roll the dice for the face-off, and add them--a "4." Reading result "4" on the face-off chart tells us that the player on the floor with the highest FO rating wins the face-off. In this case, that would be Quebec's Geoff Craig, with an FO rating of "55."
So Quebec gains possession of the ball and transitions to offense. Since the game's just started, and both teams are even-strength, we'll use the NORMAL STRENGTH game action chart on page 2 of the game book.
We again roll the dice and add them. This time we roll an "8," which results in an SCRAMBLE action. (There are a half-dozen or so distinct game actions, each resolved in its own unique manner. After you've played the game a few times, you'll have these memorized and much of the game will be played without your even needing to reference the charts!) In TV terms, a SCRAMBLE is a wide-angle camera shot of all the players on the floor executing their roles. The SCRAMBLE will call one of the game's six player qualities into play--SPEED, POWER, SKILL, SMART, STAR or HIT--and the team with MORE of the specific quality will gain momentary advantage. If the offense wins the match-up, a scoring chance is created. If the defense wins, a scoring chance is prevented!
In this case, the game book indicates that we're checking for SKILL. Quebec has three players with SKILL (Craig, Ianetti and Racine), Baltimore has four(everyone except Allen). So, Baltimore's defense uses its SKILL advantage over the course of the first possession to PREVENT a scoring chance and gain possession of the ball--we leave it to your imagination to fill in the details. We mark "Quebec, no shot" (or similar) in the first 30-second box on our stat sheet and Baltimore takes over on offense for its first possession.
We roll again on the NORMAL MINUTES game action chart, a "10." That's the TURNOVER game action, and quickly see that Quebec has enough defensive strength (indicated by the SQUARE symbol) to create a turnover. Suddenly, Quebec is back on offense! We roll again...
This time we roll a "4," the GOAL CHARGE game action. In this particular instance, the game book says the TV camera is on Baltimore's defenseman Rich Zigomanis, in stack 4. He's got the square symbol--defensive strength--so, thanks to a great play from Zigomanis, Baltimore makes another defensive stop--no shot! Baltimore again transitions to offense as we complete our first minute of the game.
We roll again, this time a "6," the CRASH game action. CRASHES are similar to SCRAMBLES, and are resolved the same way, except you're only checking the matchup of one player and his opponent instead of the entire team. In this case we're checking for the HIT quality and, because our "6" was made up of a black "4" and a white "2" we're checking the corresponding players in those areas (see illustration), Baltimore's Zigomanis against Quebec's Ianetti. Zigomanis has the HIT quality, Ianetti does not--so Zigomanis delivers a hit and in so doing, creates a Baltimore scoring chance. ALSO, whenever an individual or team wins with a HIT quality, they gain MOMENTUM...
MOMENTUM is a key element of LACROSSE BLAST, and much of the game hinges on it. When a team has MOMENTUM, it gets a boost in both shooting and play-making ability. MOMENTUM can be gained quickly by big hits, spectacular saves, sudden goals, or fights. However, it can be just as quickly LOST, with mistakes, momentum-killing events or penalties. It's completely explained in the rules, but for our demonstration purposes we'll just point out the distinction between the solid stars in the players' SHOT and ASST ratings, and the "outlined" or "white" stars. Spencer Gallard, for example, has two ASST stars--one solid, one outlined. Having momentum allows Gallard--or anyone on his team--to use BOTH solid AND outlined stars on assists and shots.
Let's now determine who's going to be involved in the Baltimore shot..
We roll the dice and check the result on the PLAY chart on page 3 of the game book. We rolled a "6," which reads "o3-[o2]-o1." That's the game's shorthand to describe which player(s) are providing assist help and which player is taking the shot. The numbers correspond to the numbered stacks of players. The top player on the numbered stack is always the contributor, unless the number is in [brackets]. If it's in [brackets], you'll rotate the top player in the stack to the bottom, and use the NEW top player as the contributor. In this way, LACROSSE BLAST realistically gets all the players into the game--starters and reserves.
In this example, for Baltimore, we'll rotate Blindenbacher to the bottom of the #2 stack, which brings Koby McFarlane into the mix for assist help. Thus, the shot combination will be o3 (Edwards) to [o2] (McFarlane) to o1 (Gallard). This means that we'll add up the stars from Edwards and McFarlane's ASSIST ratings and combine with Gallard's SHOT rating to get our total shot strength. A quick glance of the cards shows a total of four stars; Edwards and McFarlane each contrbute one ASSIST star, while Gallard has two SHOT stars. NOTE that if Baltimore hadn't just gained momentum, Edwards and McFarlane's ASSIST stars would not have counted, and it would be only a TWO star shot.
The goalie's SAVE strength will also be a factor: Quebec's goalie is Grant Koffler. On shots on goal, the numbers rolled on the black and white dice are compared to the total shot and save stars. The black die is compared to the total shot strength, the white die is compared the goalie's save strength. For a goal to be scored, the black die has to be within the shot strength range, AND the white die has to be outside the goalie's save strength range. Let's say we roll a black "2" and a white "4," for this shot. The black "2" would be inside the shot strength range (four stars) and the "4" is outside the goalie's PLAY SAVE range(three stars)--which means we go to the GOAL chart, and read the result using the SUM of the dice roll. In this case, it's "6": "Low shot zips in--GOAL!" You credit Gallard with a goal, and give assists to Edwards and McFarlane. Move each player to the bottom of his respective stack, conduct a face-off--and you're back at it again, moving to the game's next possession!
As you can see, the game moves quickly and smoothly. Fights and penalties have their own game action dice rolls, and are resolved in a similar fast, easy-to-follow fashion. There's also a BOXLA BLAST game action that zips through blocks of time and gets right to a big shot or goal. Once you get familiar with the game actions and begin to memorize the charts, you should easily be able to complete an entire lacrosse game in an hour or less.