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Hoop Godz | Basketball Board Game Preview & Live Play-Through Tonight!

*Component images are in prototype form*

UPDATE: If you are interested in seeing the game in action, tonight (Tues. Nov 10th), I will be live-streaming a play-through of Hoop Godz with the designer Omari Akil on the BramBeard Gaming Twitch channel  The channel is also embedded below, so you can come back to this page to watch the play-through. I hope to see you there!

It’s not often when we present board games on Funkhouser that they entirely have a direct correlation with the Kentucky Sports Radio audience. However, Hoop Godz from Board Game Brothas couldn’t be more in KSR’s wheelhouse.

Hoop Godz is a two-player game of street basketball. It is currently on Kickstarter and, as of today, it has funded with nine days left in the campaign. There are multiple stretch goals to still be obtained, including plastic miniature player add-ons. Hoop Godz does not present itself as a boring basketball simulation of crunching numbers and logging statistics. What it does provide is the same sense of action and excitement that you would get from an NBA Street or NBA Jam video game, only on your tabletop.

Gameplay

In Hoop Godz, players will control a team of three street ball players vying to be the first team to score 7 points. Players will select their team in school-yard style from a line-up of nine possible players. Each player has their own size and skill that can affect gameplay. Shorter players are going to have a harder time dunking, while larger players might have difficulty with more agile moves. The 12 characters in the game represent a wide range of diversity, between different skin color, body shapes, and genders. There are also players like Wendy “Wheels” Burns who plays in a wheelchair, and Marlon “Handles” DeRoch who only has one arm. I immediately texted Ryan Lemond when I saw “Handles” in the game because it made me think of his godson, Zach Hodskins, who played basketball with one arm for the University of Florida, then later overseas.

One of the unique mechanics in the game is the “Juice” system. To take actions, players must use juice. Some basic actions (move/pass) use one juice to play, while action cards may force you to use more juice to pull them off (crossovers, steals, etc). Once you finish your actions, juice slides down into one of three holding areas. If you have juice in the yellow or red zones, you will have to “rest” to recover up to 4 from the yellow, or score to move juice out of your red area. Also, when you rest, you take one of the 10 time tokens from the supply. If the time tokens run out, the game ends and whoever has the most points wins. If you ever end your turn by moving juice into the red zone, you will also get a G.O.A.T. card, which will give you a one time special ability. A bit of a reward for using your juice to hopefully set up a basket.

Actions such as moving and passing are basic actions, but you can use one of your action cards to perform a specific ability. If you have the available juice, you can play a green action card to attempt a move. In the example below, you could play a steal, but it will require two juice to do (three if you’re a center). Your opponent will have the opportunity to play an orange reaction card to stop you. If they do so, you will enter a dice battle for the outcome. In this case, each player would roll three dice as fast as they can to get the matching symbols on their action first. For the player using the steal, they would get a bonus die if they had a small player, and could also use juice to “boost” the roll and add another die. First person to get their symbols wins and gets to perform their action.

To score, players will play a shoot card from their hand. After winning the dice battle that follows the card play, and depending on where their player with the ball is on the court, the player will get to roll one more time to see if the shot went in. Every space has a value on it. Closest to the rim is 1, while further out goes up to 4. The player will have to get the corresponding number of basketball symbols on their dice roll to drain the shot. First player to 7 points, or most points when the time tokens run out wins.

I really think this is a game that would be of interest to those in the Kentucky Sports Radio fanbase. Hoop Godz is rules-lite, with the ability to pick up and play fairly quickly. The game is designed with both gamers and non-gamers in mind, especially those who might try Hoop Godz solely on the basketball theme.

Article written by Richmond Bramblet