PostCard Football Rules

Postcard Football is football, on a card. We recommend 3 dice and a dry erase marker to play. But, you can use even less than that if needed. In order to play, you must have an understanding of the basic rules and structure of football. The rules do not go in-depth explaining general football concepts. And if you prefer to play by different rules from football around the world, you can do that too. 

Play by play, the game works in 3 steps. 

  1. Both players secretly pick from a set of 6 strategies. Each of these choices will win or lose against their opponents choice of strategy. The winner of the strategy choice gains a bonus for step 2.
  2. Both players roll their dice to see how they perform the play.
  3. Generally, if the player on Offense rolls higher, they move the ball towards the end zone. If the player on Defense rolls higher, they either stop the play, or might be able to cause a fumble, interception or sack the quarterback.

The majority of the game involves both players rolling their dice at the same time, and then determining the result of that action with the formula (Offense – Defense). That result is then used to move the ball is moved up or down the field in increments of 5 yards.

For example, if Offense rolled a 5 and Defense rolled a 3, the result would be 2.
Or, if Offense rolled a 2 and Defense rolled a 6, the result would be -4

In the illustrated examples, Offense will use the white dice, Defense will use the Black Dice

CHOOSING STRATEGIES

Offense chooses strategy 3, and Defense chooses strategy 5. Strategy number 5 beats number 3, so Defense gains a bonus of 1 during the upcoming play.

Each play begins with both players choosing a strategy, from 1 to 6. Arrows leaving a specific strategy indicated which strategies it will beat. Each strategy can beat, or be beaten by another strategy, depending on which two are chosen. Whoever wins the strategy pick, gains an advantage of either 1 or 2 on their roll for the upcoming play. If players pick the same number, there is no advantage given to either player.

Play Tracker

At each players end zone, there are nine cicles used to track the number of plays.

After each player has chosen strategies, whoever lost the strategy choice must mark off one of the circles on the play tracker.

Once all nine circles have been marked off on one players side, reset that play tracker back to zero and then that player marks off one circle of the Time Tracker and gains the indicated bonus. (see Time Tracker)

Types of Offensive Plays

There are two types of plays you can choose, rushing and passing plays both come with their own advantages and disadvantages. 

  • Rushing plays (strategies 1, 5 and 6) are safer, but you can’t move the ball as quickly up the field.
  • Passing plays (strategies 2, 3 and 4) allow you to move the ball up the field quickly, but comes with the risk of dropped passes, interceptions and sacks.
    The result of both types of plays is determined from the result of both players rolling their dice. 

Calculate the result using Offense – Defense and refer to the chart on the field.

Rushing PLays

Note: If the final result of the dice is ever outside of the chart (ie, less than -6 or greater than 7), then the result is set at the limit of the chart.

Step 1: Both players roll their dice. Take the Offense player’s dice and subtract the value of the Defense players dice. (Offense – Defense).
Step 2: Review the chart and take actions.

Generally, if the result is positive, the ball is moved towards the Defense end zone. If the result is negative, then the play is stopped with no change in yards. However, if the result is -5 or lower, then the ball is fumbled.

Example 1: If Offense rolls a 4, and Defense rolls a 2, the result of (Offense – Defense) = 2. The ball would move 10 yards towards the Defense end zone. The player on Offense can now attempt to continue to run with the ball (see running with the ball)

Example 2: If Offense rolls a 2, and Defense rolls a 4, the result of (Offense – Defense) = -2. There would be no movement of the ball and the play would be end.

Example 3: If Offense rolls a 1, and Defense rolls a 8 (using a bonus), the result of (Offense – Defense) = -7. This is outside the bounds of the chart, so it is treated as a -6. The ball is fumbled with a loss of yards of 5. (see fumbles)

Passing Plays

Passes have additional steps compared to rushing plays.
Note: If the final result of the dice is ever outside of the chart (ie, less than -6 or greater than 13), then the result is set at the limit of the chart.

Step 1: Both players roll their dice. Take the Offense player’s dice and subtract the value of the Defense players dice. (Offense – Defense).
Step 2: (Optional) The player on Offense, may roll their dice again and add that value to the result in Step 1. If the result of Step 1 is negative, the value of the second roll is cut in half (rounded up)
Step 3: Review the chart and take actions. See below for more details.

  • Throw Distance:  Throw distance is indicated in the Passing Play row.  Throws are broken down into ranges/difficulty levels. A short throw has a difficulty level of 1. A long bomb throw has a difficulty level of 4. The player on Offense must make the choice if they want to stick with throwing a short distance, or choose to make a longer, more difficult throw.
    Special Note: If the Step 1 result was negative, but in Step 2 the Offense was able to make it a positive result (either 5, 10 or 15 yards), the difficulty for the catch will be rated at a Level 3 instead of a Level 1.
  • Defense Pressure: After the throw, the Defense can attempt to apply pressure to the catcher.
    If the throw distance is at difficulty level 1 or 2, the defense needs to roll a 6 to increase the difficulty of the catch. If the throw distance is at a difficult level 3 or 4, the defense needs to roll a 5 or 6 to increase the difficulty of the catch. If successful, the catch difficult is increased by 1 (moving to the right in the chart).
  • Catch Difficulty: Catches are broken up into 4 difficulty levels.
    • Level 1 (5-15 yards) requires the Offense to roll a 2 to 6.
    • Level 2 (20-30 yards) requires the Offense to roll a 3 to 6.
    • Level 3 (35-45 yards) requires the Offense to roll a 4 to 6.
    • Level 4 (50-65 yards) requires the Offense to roll a 5 to 6.

 

* If the Defense successfully applies pressure on a Level 4, then the Offense must roll a 6 to catch the ball.

  • Running after a catch: After a catch, the Offense can run with the ball a short distance prior to a tackle attempt from the Defense. No additional rolls are required for this step. Take the result of (Catch – Defense Pressure)
    • If the result is positive, move the ball towards the defense end zone with the result.
    • If the result is 0 or negative, the player is tackled at the location of the catch.
  • Running after a catch: After a catch, the Offense can run with the ball a short distance prior to a tackle attempt from the Defense. No additional rolls are required for this step. Take the result of (Catch – Defense Pressure)
    • If the result is positive, move the ball towards the defense end zone with the result.
    • If the result is 0 or negative, the player is tackled at the location of the catch.
  • Failed Catches: When the catch is not completed by the Offense, the Defense gets to roll their dice.
    • If the Defense rolls 1 to 5, the pass is Incomplete.
    • If the Defense rolls a 6 (or higher) then it is an Interception. (see Interceptions)
  • Interceptions: If the result after Step 2 is -2 or -3, the quarterback attempts to get rid of the ball but there is no one to catch it. The player on Defense can intercept the ball if they roll a 6. (see Interceptions)
  • Sacks: If the result after Step 2 is -4 or less, then the quarterback is sacked (see sacks), while also losing the indicated yards. The Defense rolls 2 dice, and if the sum of the two dice is 11 or 12, they can also cause the quarterback to fumble the ball, also known as a Strip Sack. (see fumbles)
Example 1: If Offense rolls a 4, and Defense rolls a 1, the result of (Offense – Defense) = 3. The Offense has an open player to throw to at 15 yards. They choose to throw to a team mate further down the field. They roll their dice again, and get a 2. They take the previous result of 3, plus their second roll of 2, and get 5, or 25 yards.
To apply extra pressure, the Defense must roll a 6. Defense rolls a 4 and are unsuccessful in applying extra pressure. The Offense needs to roll a 3 to a 6 to catch the ball. Offense rolls a 5, and catches the ball. Because the Catch-Defense Pressure = 1, , there is a 5 yard gain before the next tackle attempt.
 
Example 2: If Offense rolls a 4, and Defense rolls a 5, the result of (Offense – Defense) = -1. The Offense player rolls again and gets a 5, which when halved and rounded up equals 3. The result on the chart moves it out of the negative to a 10 yard throw, but with a level 3 difficulty. To apply extra pressure, the Defense must roll at 5 or 6. Defense rolls a 6, which increases the difficulty of the the catch to a Level 4. In order for the Offense to catch the ball, they need to roll a 5 or a 6. They roll a 4, and fail to catch the ball. The Defense has the opportunity to intercept if they roll a 6. They do roll a 6, and the ball is intercepted. (see interceptions)
 
Example 3: If Offense rolls a 1, and Defense rolls a 6, the result of (Offense – Defense) = -5. The Offense player rolls again  and gets a 2, which halved is 1, so the final result is -4, which is a sack with a 5 yard loss. Defense rolls 2 dice to see if they also strip the QB of the ball. The sum of their dice is 9, which isn’t high enough. Move the ball back 5 yards towards the Offense end zone and continue with the next play.
 
Example 4: If Offense rolls a 2, and Defense rolls a 8 (using a bonus), the result of (Offense – Defense) = -6. The Offense player rolls again and gets a 6, which halved is 3, so the final result is -3. They avoided the sack, but the Defense can try and intercept the ball with a 6. They roll and get a 3, so the ball is dead and the play is over.

RUNNING WITH THE BALL

When the ball is moved down the field after a play, fumble or interception, the offense will try to move the ball further towards the defense end zone, or the defense will try and tackle the offense.

After moving the ball from the play, players will each roll their dice, with their values being used in (Offense – Defense)

Any bonus gained at the start of the play is not carried forward, unless there is a Breakaway runner. A Breakaway is triggered at the start of the Rushing Play, or immediately after catching the ball, if the ball moves up the field 20 yards or higher.

Failed tackles

During a tackle attempt, Offense rolls a 6, and Defense rolls a 2. (Offense - Defense) = 4, so Offense moves the ball towards the Defense end zone 4 spaces (20 yards)

If the result of (Offense – Defense) is positive, the player on Offense moves the ball the number of spaces equal to (Offense – Defense).  This repeats until the team on defense is able to complete a tackle, there is a penalty, fumble or touchdown.

Successful Tackles

During a tackle attempt, Offense rolls a 3, and Defense rolls a 5. (Offense - Defense) = -2, so the Defense tackles the Offense.

If the result of (Offense – Defense) is negative, or it is 0, the Defense has made a successful tackle.

However, fumbles or penalties can occur when there is a large difference between the two dice values.

Fumbles

During a tackle, if (Offense – Defense = -5 or less), the ball is fumbled. Following a fumble, both players will roll their dice. If the dice values match, then the ball is recovered by the team who fumbled the ball with no change in yards. However, if the dice do not match, the fumble is recovered by whoever rolls higher. The ball is then advanced in favour of the player who rolled higher by the difference of the two rolls. Players then roll to see if the team that recovered the ball can continue to move down the field or if they are tackled.

PENALTIES

During a tackle, if (Offense – Defense = -5 or less), the ball is fumbled. Following a fumble, both players will roll their dice. If the dice values match, then the ball is recovered by the team who fumbled the ball with no change in yards. However, if the dice do not match, the fumble is recovered by whoever rolls higher. The ball is then advanced in favour of the player who rolled higher by the difference of the two rolls. Players then roll to see if the team that recovered the ball can continue to move down the field or if they are tackled.

INTERCEPTIONS

When an interception happens, it is treated the same as any play when a player is running with the ball. Both players roll their dice, if the player with the ball rolls higher, they move down the field. If the player with the ball rolls lower or the values match, it is a tackle.

SACKS

During a Passing Play, there is a possibility the quarterback could get sacked. There will be a loss of yards of 5, 10 or 15 yards. If a sack occurs, there is also the potential that the QB can lose possession of the ball. After a sack, the player on defense will roll both dice. If their dice add up to 11 or 12, then they also strip the QB of the ball, and play proceeds with regular fumble rules. If the Offense retains possession of the ball after a sack, each dice roll for all following plays during that possession of the ball will be worth 1 less than the indicated value.

TOUCHDOWNS

If the ball is carried past the 0 yard line and into the end zone, it is a touchdown and 6 points for that team. If a ball is thrown beyond the end zone, it is out of bounds and does not count as a touchdown.
Extra Points After Touchdown
After a touchdown, players are able to get 1 or 2 extra points.
1 point: attempt a field goal kick from the 15 yard line. (see Field Goals)
2 points: attempt a single play from the 5 yard line to get the ball in the end zone.

Gaining Bonuses

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Kicking the ball

Field Goals

Players may opt to try for a field goal. Players do not pick strategies and go straight to rolling dice. If (Offense – Defense = -5 or less), then the kick is blocked. Otherwise, the player kicking the ball will roll 2 dice and add their values together. Depending on the placement on the field, they will need to have their result between the two numbers indicated on the field. For example, if the ball is at the 20 yard line, the player must roll a value between ……………

PUNTS

If the player with the ball is on a 4th down and not in range of a field goal, you may want to punt the ball, Players do not pick strategies and go straight to rolling dice. If (Offense – Defense = -5 or less), then the punt is blocked.Roll a single dice, and place the ball at the markings on the field.

Kick Offs

Kickoffs take place at the 35-yard line. Players may choose to do a regular kickoff, or choose to do an onside kick. There are markings on the field near the End Zones for regular kickoffs, and near the center of the field for onside kicks. Prior to rolling your dice, choose whether you are doing a kickoff or an onside kick.

Regular kickoff: After rolling your dice for a kickoff, move the ball to the dice icon that matches your roll. If you roll a 1, 2 or 3, the ball will be caught at the 10, 5 or 0 yard line, respectfully. If you roll a 4, 5 or 6, the ball will be caught in the end zone. The player catching the ball can choose to call a fair catch if outside the endzone, to kneel for a touchback if caught in the end zone, or can choose to run the ball.
If the player catching the ball decides to run the ball, the player who kicked the ball gains a slight advantage on their first tackle attempt depending on where the ball was caught. If the ball is caught at the 10 or 5 yard line, they gain a bonus of 1. If the ball lands on the 0 yard line, they gain a bonus of 2. If the ball is caught in the end zone, they gain a bonus of 3.

Onside kick: After rolling your dice for an onside kick, move the ball to the dice icon that matches your roll. If you roll anything higher than a 1, the player catching the ball will attempt to run the ball while the player who kicked the ball will attempt to tackle and hope for a fumble. If the kicking player rolls a 1, the ball is loose and the play is treated like a fumble, so either player can recover the ball.

Time Tracker

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END OF GAME

After all the timers have been crossed off on the field, it is the 2-minute mark at the end of the game. From this point on, there is only enough time to complete 7 plays. To keep track of this, erase one side of the timers along the field, and after each play, cross one off. No bonuses are gained during this stage of the game.

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