Want a reason to dig out your old hockey cards? A childhood game I used to play with my hockey cards has come up in a few interviews recently, and there’s been some interest in hearing about the details.
It’s actually a very simple game, and ultimately just a variation on “war”, where two competitors would draw cards from their respective decks, and the drawn player having the most points wins.
This hockey card game is much the same, but expanded slightly. Now it involves selecting from a hand of five cards, and a hockey rink divided into six sections. Just take a sheet of paper, draw the ice surface, dividing it into the three zones (defensive, neutral, and offensive), before further divided in to two halves. Competitors always bring the puck up along the right side of the ice, and defend on the left.
Setting up the game requires each competitor to shuffle their deck of about 90 hockey cards (or 30 that will be re-shuffled every period), with each one representing a 40 second shift. A goalie should be randomly chosen, with any remainders added to and shuffled into the deck. Then each player draws their five cards.
Time for the opening faceoff! Each player selects a player for the draw, most points wins, and centers are doubled. The winning side now has the puck (a penny can serve this purpose nicely). The play will now be in the neutral zone, on the right side of the sheet for the player with the puck, and therefore on the left side for his opponent. The cards used for the faceoff are discarded, and a new player is drawn into each player’s hand. If a goalie is drawn, he replaces the current netminder (who is discarded), and another card is drawn for the player’s hand. Players should always have five skaters in their hands.
Now it’s time for each player to select another card. If the player with the puck wins the war, he will advance into the offensive zone. Otherwise, his opponent will win control of the puck and move it over to his right side of the ice (still in the neutral zone). Ties are broken by having the most penalty minutes, and further ties are resolved by selecting another card.
Once in the offensive zone, the player is trying to move in for a shot. This time, the defending player isn’t selecting a hockey card for its points, but for its “not points”. That is, the number of games played minus points scored. For instance, a player who earned 10 points in 70 games would have 60 “not points” and would win a war against an opponent who scored fewer than 60 points.
If the offensive player wins this war, he gets to take a shot. This is done by rolling a dice, and getting equal to or less than the opposing goalie’s goals-against average. For example, you would need to roll a 2 or less to score on Jonathan Quick, who had a goals-against average of 2.07 last year. These days, you might want to subtract one from the roll to make it a little bit easier to score!
If the goalie makes the save, there’s a battle for the rebound, which again is a war between the offensive player’s points, and the defensive player’s “not points”. If the offensive player wins, he gets to attempt another shot, otherwise the defensive player now has the puck, and will try to break out of the defensive zone. Remember to immediately draw a new card after every one that is played.
Breaking out of the defensive zone is a simple war of points, except that defensemen have their points doubled. That’s where puck-moving defensemen like P.K. Subban become unstoppable. Doubling his 53 points last year means that not even Sidney Crosby (104 points) can stop him from exiting the zone. Of course, a player with 104 points would be used to take the shot, since it’s impossible for any player to have more than 82 “not points”.
That’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s a game of war, except divided into six zones, and certain zones have modifications. Summarizing them again, centers are doubled on faceoffs, defensemen are doubled when breaking out of the zone, and “not points” are used when defending in the defensive zone.
Break out your old hockey cards and give it a try. You might want to tinker with the rules yourself, in which case I hope you drop me a line and let me know about your suggestions. Enjoy!