Introducing a college football bagman boardgame: Envelopes of Cash
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That subscription pays for stuff like our travel budget (so we can do things like fly to Arizona to write about Grand Canyon), freelancers like Andy, our FOIA fees, and the copious amount of Diet Mountain Dew needed to produce 8,000+ words a week.
If we're being honest, those fees don't just pay for work around here at Extra Points HQ. They're also going towards me throwing some money at what may very well become my next obsession.
Like many of my readers, I'm a big fan of the NCAA Football video game franchise. A few summers ago, I went out and bought an Xbox 360 and a copy of the latest game (from uh, 2014) under the flimsy justification of it's for work! I find myself firing the thing up every few months, even though my poor 360 sounds a bit like an aircraft trying to take off at this point.
Playing the actual football part of the game is fun, sure. But the true allure of the game comes from Dynasty Mode, where you take over a program, and thanks to careful recruiting and roster management, ensure a powerhouse for decades. I might play video game football for the rest of my life and never really figure out how to break down a secondary, but you know what? I am good at spreadsheets. And Dynasty Mode, at its core, is really about spreadsheets.
Of course, for a lot of reasons, the recruiting and roster management mechanics in video game college football were never that realastic. The last game was released well before the words 'transfer portal' entered the lexicon, and you barely had to worry about oversigning. The video game created a world where it was much easier to find recruiting success after winning games on the field, so eventually, anybody could chase down five stars, provided you won enough.
And, of course, you couldn't cheat. There was no 'Press A to activate bagman' option. No Trans Am DLC. You simply allocated your recruiting points, leveled up your coaches, and did everything on the level.
Don't get me wrong. It's still fun! I'm fairly confident that when the next college football video game is released, it won't exactly let you channel 1981 SMU. No athletic departments wants to license their official IP for that sort of operation.
But what if there was a game where you could try to build a recruiting class with just a teensy bit more historical realism? What if you really just want to drop some envelopes of cash?
Well, good news. One of those games exists now. It's called.....Envelopes of Cash.
Granted, it's a Euro-style board game, not a AAA video game...but it stratches that itch all the same.
EoC players work as football coaches trying to secure the best recruiting class possible. They'll travel across the country, scout and pitch high school athletes and more, all while managing both their above-the-table resources (Booster Bucks), and uh, less above-the-table resources, like good ol' envelopes of cash.
Players also can use card bonuses to give their program a leg up in certain geographic areas, or fundraising, or any number of other aspects of their program. Maybe you want to play up your program's ties to particular geographies or booster communities, or maybe you want to boost that fundraising with crypto or your school's massive endowment. The choice is yours!
No comment on whether this card can be traded for a Florida card after three turns
Careful college football fans might even notice some of the card art might resemble some of their favorite college football personalities. Others who hop on the Kickstarter train and pledge at the higher level can have their own vissage immortalized in a particular card.
After all, what could be more demoralizing than beating your opponent with a card that looks like you? Or them, I guess. Maybe beating somebody with their card might be worse.
Extra Points readers probably recognize the game's creator
If you're plugged into the college sports reform movement, there's a good chance you've heard of Andy Schwarz. The economist at OSKR has been a longtime commenator on college sports and antrust related issues, particularly about anything concerning amatuerism and college sports finance. Andy also worked in the O'Bannon and Alston cases.
But he's also a huge board game nut, particularly the Euro-style games that are centered around resource management and simulation than say, a rousing game of Clue.
One could certainly read EoC as a critique of the current college sports financial system, and I think you'd probably enjoy the game a little more if you followed college sports closely, if for no other reason than you'd find the jokes a bit funnier.
But fundimentally, this is a strategy game, one far more concerned with how you spend and manage financial resources than your ability to read the correct defender to execute a read-option. You don't have to have a 247Account to enjoy the game.
Here's how you can get and play the game
EOC will drop on Kickstarter on March 8, but readers can get on the mailing list to make sure they don't miss out by signing up here.
We're also working on setting up a Envelopes of Cash league via the Extra Points Subscriber Discord, over the next few weeks. I am told that the winner of this championship may earn some fabulous prizes. I'm not going to like, mail you an envelope of cash, because I live in Chicago, but maybe I'll Venmo you some money? Who knows.
More details to come on that front soon. We've done board game nights in Discord among EP readers before, and if you read this newsletter and like playing Settlers of Catan, well, I think you'll probably enjoy driving a bus around Ohio and Michigan, looking to sign #croots.
I know I will. I've got more than a year before the next Playstation college football video game drops, and I don't know if my old 360 can make it that long. That's plenty of time to learn a new board game, and then ruthlessly dunked on by my readers.
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To sponsor a future Extra Points newsletter, please email [email protected]. For article ideas, newsletter feedback, FOIA tips, athlete NIL sponsorships and more, I'm at [email protected], or @MattBrownEP on Twitter. Andy can be reached at @AndyWittry on Twitter or at [email protected]. Extra Points can be found on Reddit at /r/extrapointsmb