Board game by Rich Maiers, distributed by Kadon Enterprises, Inc., Pasadena, MD
These remarks by Steffan O'Sullivan

Scoozie is a game so unique it's patented. An abstract representation of American Football, Scoozie is a game of pure skill - no chance involved at all. The game requires as much thought as chess, but is much quicker - a complete game can be played in twenty minutes, usually. There are rules to allow for longer games, if desired.

The board is very hard to describe - perhaps I'll try to scan it later. For now, picture a chessboard, with alternating green and white squares. Turn the chessboard 45 degrees, so you are now looking at diamonds instead of squares. Expand the diamonds out so the green diamonds are seven rows long by six columns wide (the white diamonds are six by five).

At the junction where two horizontally adjacent green diamonds meet two vertically adjacent white diamonds, place a large circle. Connect all the circles, orthagonally and diagonally. Ah, see, I told you it was hard to describe . . .

At any rate, there are only three types of pieces, all represented by handsome wooden pawns. The defense has eleven tackles. The offense has eight guards and three ball-carriers/receivers. Guards and tackles can only move from square to square - they can't go on the large circles described above. Ball-carriers/receivers, which have a peg on top to hold a wooden ball, are limited to movement on the circles, along the paths connecting the circles, and must always move forward when they move. They may not move on the squares, nor may they move through a tackle, or through a path next to a tackle. However, they may pass the ball to one another along a clear path, as far as possible, so long as it follows a path in a straight line.

Each turn, beginning with offense, you move exactly two pieces. You can block another piece by moving into its space, and pulling it to the side of the path through that space. Both pieces, the blocker and the blockee, are then locked in place the rest of the game. A blocked tackle still controls the paths along his half of the square, but not along the other half - the player initiating the block decides which half of the square is occupied by which piece.

The object for offense is to open up a path to allow a ball-carrier through, and for defense to tackle the ball-carrier as soon as possible. Points are awarded to offense depending on how far the ball travelled before being tackled (if at all), and then the players switch sides.

While hard to describe, the game plays very well. It doesn't provide the lightning fast moves that some football fans expect, but instead a deep-thinking, satisfying game that can be played twice in a lunch hour. Recommended.

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