A board game where you handle both the legal and illicit portions of an offseason of college football recruiting
I can remember years ago, back when the NCAA Football video game series was produced by EA Sports and you could waste way too many hours of your life simulating the college football season, of course, as the Syracuse Orange. When doing so, I totally spent most of my time on the offseason and the recruiting. Hell I even would simulate through the season to get to the offseason. When I found out there was a board game that came out, where you play the role of the coach of a major program, trying to visit recruits from your home base and get them to sign you can consider me intrigued. When I found out that in that game you could also lean on your bag-men and offer illicit “Envelopes of Cash” to your recruits, the hooks were in.
For some background on my taste, I’ve been an avid gamer since the NES days and an avid board gamer the last 5-6 years, being sucked in by a friend of mine. Our game group will play anything of any weight, be it Ticket to Ride or Pandemic or Carcassonne, on up to Spirit Island, Scythe, Dominant Species levels of games. Anyone who is reading this and confused by the above statement, board games are no longer just Monopoly and Life anymore folks. There’s some real fun to be had sitting down at a table.
About a year ago, the Nunesverse heard of this potential game, with Kevin pointing it out to me. I reached out to Andy Schwarz, the creator and we went back and forth, ultimately not getting consistent time to get a playtest on the table until Wednesday. I can confirm that it was an ultimately enjoyable time and the thematic nature of the game really works well.
Had a very enjoyable play session of Envelopes of Cash (https://t.co/XdLSgcGN4Q) tonight with @SethWalder and @DutchHart with @SethWalder claiming the $1 million retention bonus. A good time was had by all, at least we hope!
They may have some in-game screen shots to add. pic.twitter.com/FUddLsC3y3
— Andy Schwarz, sponsored by Envelopes of Cash (@andyhre) April 7, 2022
The game itself is played over a central map of the country, broken down into geographic region as and ““border states.” From there, each player chooses a regional coach to start with, one in the Southeast, South, Midwest and West, where you can be your completely unbranded, not-in-any-way-designed to be traditional powerhouse coach of choice. You move your recruiting bus, use the aforementioned envelopes of cash, as well as above the table donations from your boosters, to recruit randomized players around the country and add them to your squad. You’re also dealt two random cards each round that can add to your staff or program to enhance how the game progresses.
In the picture below you can get a decent look at the board as well as an example of some of the cards you can play to enhance your recruiting prowess, such as “Hire Recruit’s Relative” or “Private Jet,” to add movement to your recruiting travels, or increase currency you’re generating among other things. The cards are fun and aptly thematic to the source material. I had a coach from the Alabama coaching tree as one of my cards, and got additional booster bucks when recruiting in the South region because of it. The themes fit the flavor of the game quite well.
From a board gamer’s perspective, it also hit the right buttons. When Andy was initially describing it to us, it was mildly confusing, but within a single round of the table, you could start to figure out what was going on and subsequent games would have been much quicker. I also liked that there was enough of a game there, that my board game friends that have no interest in college football could have some potential interest in it. You can tell they understood some underlying mechanics in putting this one together.
In general I was a fan of the game. It hit a lot of the right notes, and I’m going to enjoy playing it again. I appreciate Andy spending some time and running this out with me, and don’t be surprised if you see a live playthrough at some point on the TNIAAM Twitch Stream. You can check out more and support the game at Andy’s Kickstarter campaign for Envelopes of Cash.