A board game published by MB in 1990, featuring the nickname and visage of England’s then-most-famous footballer:
Or, alternatively, a board game published by MB in 1981, under the name Kick Off:
Or, alternatively, an Italian game called Rigore:
Or, alternatively, a French game called Buteur:
Or, alternatively, a Spanish game called Chuta:
Or, alternatively, an Italian (again) game called Golazo:
Or, alternatively, a much older English game called Penalty:
Or, alternatively… well, you get the idea. This game has been around a long time, and is arguably the only decent representation of an actual football match (as opposed to the management of the likes of Wembley and Roy of the Rovers) in board game form that there’s ever been – which might explain why it’s been kicking around for so long, and in so many different guises.
There’s a good summary of its rules over on The Football Attic (from where we’ve also nicked a couple of these photos – the rest are from and (c) Board Game Geek), so I won’t repeat them here – but the fact that it’s (a) relatively simple to pick up and get into and (b) a fun and tactical playing experience even if it doesn’t exactly feel like an actual football match are undoubtedly the main reasons why it endured. There are no dice, and no player counters – simply a ball that moves around the pitch depending on the playing of cards that each player holds in their hand.
If you can track a copy down – and doing so is very likely, given the abundance of different names it was available under; I imagine many of you will know it better as Kick Off, but it was Gazza! when I bought it from a car boot as a kid, so Gazza! is what I’ll always call it – it’s definitely worth a look.