Socceristic is inspired by the beautiful game of football (soccer) and claims to be a realistic representation of a football match, but as a board game. It does utilise all the main rules of soccer and when playing it I did genuinely feel like I was acting out a football match. So many other attempts at reproducing soccer as a family board game really seem to use football as an excuse to create a game and they may or may not make for a good game but Socceristic is firmly rooted in football starting from the kick off through passing, tackling, free kicks, penalties and the referee's final whistle.
Yes, you do use cards and dice but it isn't a dice dominated or card dominated game and the players have to make real time decisions as they would in an actual football match. Socceristic is played over a pre-decided time so it can get quite pacey once you've grasped the rules. The written rules looked a bit daunting to me at first but once you start playing you soon get to grips with them and I found you rarely need to consult the rules after you've been playing for a few minutes. You're soon focusing on pressing forward to get that vital goal or defending your own half of the pitch. We even found ourselves ooh-ing and aah-ing like fans at a real match.
The board is a good quality durable board that you would expect from any quality boxed game, not the flimsy bit of card which you sometimes get with cheap games. A lot of thought and development has obviously gone into its design. It is marked out as a football pitch divided into 165 squares with various symbols which guide the play. There is a plastic football and a dice plus 2 packs of cards which are round, rather than the ubiquitous rectangle, and while that adds nothing to the actual playing of the game, it does add something to the visual appeal - when you open the box you sense that you are getting something special.
What are the BAD things about Socceristic?
Nothing is perfect and here are the flaws I found in playing the game:
- The rules are quite complex which means that a lot of the first half of your first game will be spent consulting them.
- It's easy to become so engrossed in the game that you overrun the time you've decided to play. I would advise using some kind of timer - a lot of mobile phones have them these days!
And the GOOD things about Socceristic?
- It's different. Unlike all other football board games I've played it does genuinely feel like a board game for lovers of football.
- It's a great family game. The box says it is for ages 8+ and it is a fantastic "dads and lads" game because different ages can play on an equal footing.
- It's a great game for fitting into shortish spaces of time. You can decide how long to play for and if you want you can put the game away after the first half and come back to it at another time. You don't have to remember where you are or try to find somewhere to put the board safely - the Team Sheets are all that's required to start the second half.
- I haven't tried this but you might even create your own mini Socceristic league or cup competition with a group of friends.
Overall, what do I think?
Socceristic is definitely the best football board game I've played. It's lively, interactive and evocative of a soccer match. You will want to keep playing it, and the quality of the product means that it will last and definitely worth the money.