Six Picks

 Best soccer games

 Street Soccer
Fireside Football
Fastcard Soccer
World Cup Game, The

 Given how free-flowing the sport it is, soccer is quite difficult to translate to a board/card game and there are few examples of where the game works particularly well. Here are six of the best.

Street Soccer is a fabulous implementation of the five a side game. Even though it uses a die to dictate how the ball moves around the pitch, it can be played very tactically with the positioning of players and ball sometimes being critical.

Fireside Football is a card game based on Alan Parr’s play-by-mail game, United, that I played a fair bit of back in pre-email days. This one is more concerned with the managing side with players making team selections and managing their finances. Played in a league format, players also deal with injuries and overseas transfers. Good fun for up to six players.

Fastcard Soccer is perhaps more of a simulation than a game using team/player statistics to generate results. However, it is great fun and uses an ingenious commentary system on the cards that makes the game very atmospheric. It also has the attraction of being playable solo.
A list of this kind cannot ignore the granddaddy of tabletop football games, Subbuteo. Although I’ve not played in years, it brings back memories of trying to perfect those swerving flicks – something I never really got the knack of. A skilful game for those with the necessary dexterity to play well.

The World Cup Game just edges out the World Cup Tournament Football Game in the nod for the best knockout tournament. Guiding your teams through the group stages and then the knockout is often trickier than it seems, particularly if you’re playing Germany or Brazil as other players automatically target those teams for bad cards.

Zopp is my final choice and is another flicking game that is always great fun. The rubberised walls surrounding the playing area and the slick surface mean that you can get your players and the ball whizzing around the pitch very satisfyingly and there is always a nice clink sound when the ball hits the back of the net.

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