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Pen & Paper Football
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Pen & Paper Football

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Pen & Paper Football is football without the commercials, endless merchandizing and prison sentences. A few dice and some paper is all you need to simulate an American football game. Just find some friends (or play solo), roll up some teams and pit them against each other in League Play, which requires eight simple dice rolls to play a game, or in Head-to-Head play, which simulates a game play-by-play.

P&PF has all the rules you need to play a whole season of football, with rules for passing, running, kicking, penalties, injuries and even off-season rules for team development. There are dozens of sample teams you can use and handy record sheets for teams, leagues and games.

51 pages

 
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Reviews (3)
Discussions (23)
Customer avatar
Keith G September 01, 2021 12:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
OK...just wanted to check in here...thanks to a gentleman called Electric Football Hero, I bought a copy of Pen and Paper Football, and am watching his 10-12 video tutorial/league play season---and I am HOOKED

I'm gonna get MY league going shortly. I have read the Pen and Paper book from cover to cover at least three times, and I wanted to come on here and thank John Slater for this marvelous piece of work...but I have a couple questions here

1) After you have finished your league play season, and are doing your playoffs/championship, you don't have to play those games using head to head rules, do you? I had thought about doing head to head solitaire, but league play seems to be the better format for me as far as solitaire goes

2) The Off-Season Events, Team Development, and the Off Season itself, all apply to league play and not head to head, correct?

I just want to be sure that I'm doing things right, because the whole being in charge of my own league and its'...See more
Customer avatar
George U July 21, 2021 9:08 am UTC
PURCHASER
I've run two seasons of a ten-team league in the game. In season 1 the net change in the total levels for the ten teams was -25 points. In season 2 it was -24 points.
There seems little chance at this rate of the weaker teams improving, and eventually the majority of teams will be at a pretty similar level.
In real football the teams finishing at the bottom have the top picks in the draft. I don't really see how this is accurately simulated in this game.
Has anyone who has simulated an extended number of seasons had a similar outcome in the progression of the league?
Customer avatar
James S June 09, 2021 9:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Further clarification needed on "Example Off-Season: San Diego Cruisers" on page 25. I've already read the post about the development roll being a d20 and not a d6.

However, later in the example, the income is multiplied by the result of a d6 roll:

"As a division leader with one major and minor market in their fan base, their base income is $24 million. They roll a d6 and get a 4, so they multiply their base income by 4 and get a total income of $96 million."

However, I do not see a rule that says "multiply income by 1d6." So is it correct that this is in fact the right procedure to generate income: Add up Major and Minor Markets, and multiply results by 1d6? It would make sense, as it costs $50 million just to get an attempt to add one additional ability score.
Customer avatar
James S June 06, 2021 6:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi all, I'm just starting to read the rules on this, and prepare for my first head to head game. Before I DIY, has anyone created a quick reference sheet they could share? Like with difficulty classes, modifiers, kick off chart, etc?
Customer avatar
Patrick L January 01, 2021 9:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Off-Season Rule clarification !

Reading the rulebook for team development they said to roll a D20...but the example they give for the San Diego Cruisers i read Next, they roll a d6 and get a 4. They must deduct four points from their ability scores.So i just want to know if i roll a D20 or D6.
Customer avatar
Phillip G April 02, 2021 5:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
D20. It originally used a d6, but this was revised after many players pointed out that it made it too easy for a team to lose points.
Customer avatar
Kevin L September 06, 2020 7:38 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Why do you add the QB bonus to a rushing play (I assume fakes)....wouldn't it make sense to add the Offensive Linemen (LM) to the RB bonus instead?

Also, how does solo work?...I have seen the D100 chart but I'm not sure how to pick defense..just flip a coin?
Customer avatar
Kevin L September 06, 2020 8:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
nevermind...found my answers. looking forward to trying....looks fun.
Customer avatar
Dominic M September 15, 2019 1:53 am UTC
PURCHASER
I am having a ton of fun with this, but wouldn't mind trying to replay some past seasons and would like a way in the next expansion a way to convert real stats of teams to something the game can work with. If I missed it in this book, then apologies.
Customer avatar
Bobby C August 12, 2019 2:42 am UTC
PURCHASER
Sorry for spamming this discussion thread with redundant info, but I'd like to share all the additional rules I've come up with. This is not errata, but just some additional optional things. If the author wishes to incorporate any of this into later editions, you're welcome to it. Not sure what the character count is on this board, but here goes;

1). League Play: Teams coming off a BYE week add +1 to 1d20 dice rolls (this is cumulative with the Home Field Advantage +1 to dice rolls).

2). League Play: If a 20 is rolled, roll again and add the appropriate points from the League Play table to the score.

3). League Play: If a 1 is rolled, a season-ending injury has occurred; roll 1d6, consult the Injury Table, and lower that stat by -1 for the remainder of the season (adjust bonus if necessary). Such injuries are erased at the end of a season, prior to the aging roll.

4). League Play: After a league play game, each team rolls 1d10. On a roll of 1, a season-ending...See more
Customer avatar
Bobby C August 01, 2019 7:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
It just occurred to me that rolling stats for team creation is more or less identical for rolling stats for Dungeons and Dragons characters (at least in earlier editions, I don't know about modern ones), so you could totally use all those alternate dice rolling methods to generate NFL-caliber teams. For example, roll 3d6 six times, assign stats as desired; roll 3d6 12 times, take the 6 highest rolls and assign as desired; Roll 4d6 6 times, and drop the lowest number on each roll; each stat starts at 8, roll 7d6 and add results to stats as desired (cannot exceed 18, and full value of each dice must be added...cannot be split up). Will these methods generate overpowered teams? Well in terms of the core game rules, perhaps. On the other hand, NFL teams are the sport's elite, and Manning/Brady/Montana/Bradshaw all have a QB score of 18. :P
Customer avatar
Bobby C July 29, 2019 4:13 am UTC
PURCHASER
How do you guys feel about teams receiving an additional +1 bonus to their OFF in League Play if they didn't play the week before (BYE)? Maybe to simulate a rested and recovered team? Let me know what you think.
Customer avatar
Bobby C July 29, 2019 3:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Clarification, the above should actually read an additional +1 bonus to OFF/DEF in league play.
Customer avatar
Bobby C July 29, 2019 3:49 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm experimenting with "challenges" to penalties in Head-to-Head play. It's pretty simple; a player has 2 "challenges" per game to avoid a penalty by challenging the call. The player flips a coin; if it's heads, the referee overturns the call, and there's no penalty. If it's tails, the penalty is not overturned, the team loses one timeout, and the team's number of available challenges for that game is reduced by 1. However, if a team's challenges are both successful, a 3rd challenge is awarded. IIRC, challenges can only occur prior to 2-minute warnings.

Personally, I think challenges in the NFL are lame, but if you're simulating a professional game, the above seems to do the trick well enough.
Customer avatar
Phillip G June 18, 2019 4:31 am UTC
PURCHASER
Really love this game. I've been playing it for awhile and I think it's great! The market rules are simplistic yet elegant and the League Play system lets you play through several seasons in as many minutes! There are only a couple of issues I've come across.

1) As others have pointed out, the aging rules seem extremely restrictive. I've played through the first half of the 60s with the NFL and the Detroit Lions have won every single year. In-universe I rationalized it as "that's just how dynasties worked then," but honestly other teams simply aren't able to keep up, because they age faster than they can develop (the Dallas Cowboys have finished in last every year due to their abysmal ratings). The AFL is similar, though not as bad, as the Oilers have won most titles, though the Chargers have managed to sneak in a couple of wins now and then. I just wish there was a way of balancing the teams a bit more.

2) The way the market rules are set up, it's literally impossible for...See more
Customer avatar
Phillip G June 20, 2019 8:14 am UTC
PURCHASER
Update: I didn't notice there was a revision before I posted this. I see now that the aging roll has been changed from a d6 to a d20. I don't know yet how this will affect the teams, but just looking at it I think it will make for a positive change.
Customer avatar
David B January 02, 2019 10:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bf15j5gm3dnnklv/Head%20to%20Head%20Play%20Calling%20Chart.pdf?dl=0

The link above is for the d100 version of my Head to Head Play Calling chart (which I uploaded before I changed over to using d30s), which I created on Microsoft Excel. For quick reference purposes, I copied much of the Head to Head rules and added them to the file with the charts. I'm posting this one basically as a test to see it the comments section of this site will allow hotlinking to file sharing accounts. If not and you're still interested in taking a look at it, you can always copy and paste the link to your address bar. I've adjusted the settings to allow for public access to only this file.
Customer avatar
David B January 02, 2019 10:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
OK, so it looks like hot linking's not going to work (I was hoping it'd work like Facebook, where you'd type in the web address and as soon as you click on "Post", Facebook algorithms recognize the web address and automatically hotlink to the file or web address you're looking to share.) Nevertheless, the web address is still available for viewing the early d100 version of my H2H Play Calling chart. As soon as I post the d30 version to Dropbox, I'll provide the web address for it, as well.
Customer avatar
Wesley H February 09, 2019 5:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I like what you are doing. I also have no one to play with near me, so solo rules are important to me. One thing that could potentially be improved is the random play calling that would happen in your solo adaptation. I am not for sure on how to do this, but maybe another offense and defense chart that makes the game AI more intelligent. For example, lets say you are playing offense, it's 3rd and 1 and you have a decent RB or OL, Chances are, you will try a dive play right up the middle, right? So to make thinks more realistic, on the defensive chart will be certain scenarios that dictate you to roll on a chart when certain criteria are met. Like in this example, if its 3rd down, and less that 3 yards away, roll d100, 1-50 = run defense, 60-90 = short pass/screen defense, 91-95, long pass defense , 96-100 special defense play. I know it will add more charts with mini charts, but if it's kept kinda basic it may be fun. I would like to know your thoughts on this.
Customer avatar
Wesley H February 09, 2019 8:21 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just realized that having a system like that could be easily exploited. Maybe also have the defense have the ability to call an audible. In the very same scenario I posted above, lets say on 3rd and 1 and I want to take a shot deep down field, but according to the AI enhancements I suggested, the defense would be most likely preparing for a run or short pass. I could exploit that every 3rd and short if I wanted(which would be dumb and kill the fun). To combat that, maybe add in a defensive audible. Example: its 3rd and 1, I want to go deep, so when the defense rolls for their play, they also roll a d6, 1-2 they sense nothing and no audible is called, 3-6 they sense the long pass and set up a long pass defense. This defense audible d6 roll only happens on scenarios similar to the one exemplified here.
Customer avatar
Bobby C September 30, 2019 8:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
David B, just want to thank you again for creating this random playcall chart. It has really expedited Solitaire Head-to-Head play for me.
Customer avatar
guille B December 31, 2019 6:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi David, the link don't work. Please fix it. :)
Customer avatar
David B January 01, 2020 7:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Sorry about that. I'd forgotten that I had erased it to make room for some videos I was transferring to one of my Android tablets. Here's the new link for it:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7w0txc2br32s0zq/Head%20to%20Head%20Play%20Calling%20Chart.pdf?dl=0
Customer avatar
David B January 02, 2019 9:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
I've never been that completely crazy about the 27-yard reference to PATs. I get the part where the ball travels 20 yards because the goal posts are set 10 yards behind the goal line, but it's the 7 yards that are added due to the kicker "starting 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage". I don't feel it should matter how far behind the line of scrimmage the kicker starts (even though I've seen more recent NFL and college games where the kicker starts 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage). The only yardage that should count when determining kicking distance should be starting from when the ball actually leaves the ground at the line of scrimmage until it successfully passes between the posts, in this case, 20 yards. But that's just my opinion.

Also, I've been playing with a chart for determining offensive and defensive plays when playing a Head to Head rules game solo, which I use for determining the results of playoff and championship games in my fantasy league. I'm the only one that I know...See more
Customer avatar
Bobby C August 02, 2019 3:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I've been playing pen and paper RPGs for 30 years, and I didn't even know d30s existed. I like your d100 method, because d10s are very easy to find, and 2d10s work just as well as a d100 (one of the d10s is the tens digit, and the other one is the 1s digit). I'm in the same boat as you, having no one to play this with, and I think your playcall chart will actually speed up head-to-head play when soloing.
Customer avatar
Bobby C November 27, 2018 2:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
...See more
Customer avatar
David B October 21, 2018 10:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
There's no mention in the Head to Head Play section anywhere about 2 point conversions (you'd think there'd be some mention of it), so how does anybody else handle it? I know from personal experience that I could've used a 2 point conversion rule because I just recently finished a playoff game in which at one point during the game one team was down by 8 and needed a touchdown and a 2 point conversion in hopes of tying the game and sending it into overtime for the first time in my league's playoff history. (In my league, I use League Play during the regular season and then switch to Head to Head Play for all playoff and championship games.) Unfortunately for that team, they weren't able to make it to the end zone before regulation time had expired. Also, since I'm talking about PATs, I kind of have an issue with the author of the game adding 7 yards to PAT attempts due to the kicker being 7 yards behind from where the ball is kicked on the 10-yard line. I think that it should just be a straight 20-yard attempt...See more
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 23, 2018 11:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
Two Point Conversions are covered, but it's really easy to overlook, on Page 15, under Scoring: Touchdown. These rules specify to put the ball on the 3 yard line, but it may be different in NFL.

A couple of other recent NFL rule changes aren't reflected in this book. Onside kicks are incredibly difficult now because of no running start, and extra point attempts are kicked from the 15 yard line instead of the 10, which means you'll need to roll a 5 or better.
Customer avatar
John S January 02, 2019 1:34 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Since rules are always changing - and since the game isn't necessarily meant to represent NFL rules - I had to try to find a sort of general set of rules. I usually deferred to the football I grew up with in the 1980s, but since the game play is somewhat abstract, don't worry too much about trying to catch all the intricacies of a particular set of rules.
Customer avatar
Bobby C October 02, 2019 5:35 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey John, I have a few questions re: Head-to-Head rules.

1). Should extra point attempts use up a round of play? I feel like 2 point conversion attempts should, since that requires the offense and defense to select plays, but IIRC extra point attempts don't eat up any clock time. What's your ruling on this?

2). This one comes up a lot; When the defense runs a Blitz against a special offensive play, does the Blitz's "Base DC -2" apply to the actual Base DC, or the the modified DC as a result of the special offensive play? In other words, does "Base DC -2" actually mean "Modified DC -2," or does a Blitz negate the Offense's modifier? (I'm probably overthinking this one.)

3). I think I've already asked this one elsewhere in the comments. On season-ending injuries, the rule states "random stat bonus lowered by 1 for the remainder of the game/season." Is that correct? Or did you mean lower the random stat itself (QB, WR, RB, etc.) by 1?...See more
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Product Information
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Pages
51
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QE6
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