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Bases - Tudor outlook


Capa
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I have a general question on bases produced by Tudor.  First of all, I love EF and am 64 years old.  I played the game on the original boards back in the 1960's and early 70's.  I got a new set every Christmas, just like millions of others.  I took up the hobby again recently.

The game has come so far in respect to new player molds, painting, customizing, decals, etc.  However, the complaint I have heard over the years, and continue to hear is "why can't they find a way to make the heart of the game - the bases - work better out of the box". The one reason the game historically took it on the chin in criticism was due to the complaint that you can't get them to run straight...they run in circles...they run right out of bounds...etc.  This seems to be the main reason more people are not into the hobby, and why those who continue to play get frustrated.

Does/can Tudor have a plan to produce bases that are more consistent and "work" out of the box?  I know there are different lines of bases now that they produce, but most if not all continue to need "tweaking" with pliers and heat to get the players to run more realistically, regardless if rookie, TC, pro line, invisibase, etc.  This consumes dozens if not hundreds of hours on the consumer's end which most people do not have or are not willing to invest into the game.  I know production costs need to be kept down, but this one area does seem like it could stand a huge improvement.  It is 50 years later...there has to be a better solution at this point.

Thanks for any information.  I

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Yes...tried them...but the players tend to fall over a bit too much and the general consensus among most players who are into the game is that they are not great performers.  I think the traditional green bases are the best...the proline is on the right track.  But would be great if the bases came off the line to run straight...then the only tweaking that would be required would be for those who want to make loopers or move in another way.  In fact, the TC bases can be used for that to a certain degree, but as I am sure you know, the dedicated players spend most of their free time tweaking bases to run faster, straighter, etc.

If they could just run straight out of the box for 99% of them, many folks would be very happy...including new customers.

Chris

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When I first started my league, the bases were a permanent part of the figure, so you didn't have much in the way of options for fixing errant movement.  I never liked the idea of just turning the game on and watching the players run around willy nilly, no matter where the ball was on the field.  The issue with the bases was why I started using a multi-stop system.  When Tudor went to separate bases (initially rookie bases), I continued to use my multi-stop system for my solitaire league.  I don't like to spend a lot of time tweaking bases - i'd rather play the games.  I tried the TTC bases, but it didn't work for me, so I went back to using rookie bases (did some minor tweaking - candle/lighter method to burn off excess plastic).  I ran them through 10 yard sprints to rank them speed wise labeling them numerically. A lot of work initially ( I now have over 1500 bases), but once I ranked them all for speed, don't have to race them  again, unless I get new bases. I don't worry about strength, because with my multi-stop system, it doesn't seem to matter, since I rotate the players around the front of their base to react to the play at each stop,  Using rookie bases in my solitaire league seems to work well for me (i've been playing for 56 years). 

Guess I'm saying that, admittedly, the bases are a problem for beginners, but also, the method presented for playing may not help either.  Possibly, besides presenting the method of turning on the game and letting it run, Tudor could present a multi-stop system as well.  It just never made sense to me to let the game run.  Why would a ball carrier just turn around and run in the opposite direction for no reason? ( I know Jim Marshall ran the wrong way once but that was after a fumble recovery.) Why would a defensive player, all of a sudden just run away from the ball carrier (unless he didn't belong on the field in the first place)?  A multi-stop system does away with these non-football maneuvers and would allow players to use bases, pretty much right out of the box without a lot of tweaking.  Just my 2 cent.

 

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Thanks for your input guys.  yes, bases are and continue to be the game's, and the hobby's, achilles heel.  There almost certainly can be a better design but I am sure it comes down to cost.  Very good point about people not buying the product and/or giving it up due to what they experienced as a kid when the figures would run in circles and turn around all the time.

The fact that people had to create their own new rule sets is due to the poor performance of the bases to a great degree.  I do hope Tudor does a deeper dive on this and comes out with even better products in the near future.  The game is still popular and I believe will continue to grow especially as we are relegated to spending more and more time at home these days.

Video games are getting old and truth is, everything comes full circle.  Older guys want to recapture their youth and everyone had EF.  I look forward to Tudor's improvement in this area.

Chris

Edited by Capa
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3 hours ago, Capa said:

Thanks for your input guys.  yes, bases are and continue to be the game's, and the hobby's, achilles heel.  There almost certainly can be a better design but I am sure it comes down to cost.  Very good point about people not buying the product and/or giving it up due to what they experienced as a kid when the figures would run in circles and turn around all the time.

The fact that people had to create their own new rule sets is due to the poor performance of the bases to a great degree.  I do hope Tudor does a deeper dive on this and comes out with even better products in the near future.  The game is still popular and I believe will continue to grow especially as we are relegated to spending more and more time at home these days.

Video games are getting old and truth is, everything comes full circle.  Older guys want to recapture their youth and everyone had EF.  I look forward to Tudor's improvement in this area.

Chris

Until now bases have always been soft, malleable plastic.  They can be tweaked, but because of they won't always stay tweaked, or at least not they way you want it.  How about experimenting with other materials?  There has been experimentation with board surfaces.  What about a hard plastic base similar to what the figures are made out of?  Aluminum, high gauge sheet metal?  Better yet, how about a radio frequency controlled based that you can maneuver on the fly?  Just some random thoughts.   

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EF Hero,  There have been many ideas in the past that have been tried.  An old issue of "The Tweak" was dedicated to the possible future of the sport.  Some ideas have been:  Solar power bases that run when a bright light is turned on, motorized bases that run off of a hand held controler, fields that are like TV screens in which you can dial up any teams home field, and other ideas.

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I personally wouldn't want a set that ran perfect right out of the box. Part of this hobby is tweaking the players and creating your own personal player profile for each player to match real player performance. This is what makes the game larger than life, the ability to create a team with various different bases made by various different manufactures and step up to the challenge of being a real coach and crafting a team that can win against all challengers.

I think that the many hours tweaking is part of the hobby and actually enhances  the experience and makes the game more exciting. It's just my opinion............

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Coleco Command Control with the controlling arms worked well as long as your controlled defender did not cross the Line of Scrimmage, and you weren't attempting to control a receiver downfield. If you intended to blitz a defender using this, then your opponent's arm could at the least interfere, and at worst, provide a shield of sorts against this sort of a play. Same with controlling a receiver downfield after a completed pass. 

The great part of this game/hobby is that there is so much information on the topic of base tweaking that can be easily found. The Invisibases can be easily tweaked with simple things such as scissors, emory boards, or hobby pliers.  

In comparison to other dynamic (toys that move when power is applied) toys and games, did an electric train work right immediately unpacked? What about slot cars? I think not. It took time, patience, and tweaking to make the set work the way you saw it on the commercial. 

Can you say that playing a certain current football video game is a perfect experience? I think not. If you read into it, the current "champion" in that league won the big game by calling all running plays and using a punter as his quarterback. Is that any better? 

Besides, perfection is a variable. A perfect game out of the box, compared to what?  

The great part of this game is that it is as complex as you could like it to be. You never get perfection immediately, you must develop it. The enduring part of this game is that it lends itself to being a game that can become more challenging the more you play it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/19/2020 at 4:41 PM, bluesgtr said:

I personally wouldn't want a set that ran perfect right out of the box. Part of this hobby is tweaking the players and creating your own personal player profile for each player to match real player performance. This is what makes the game larger than life, the ability to create a team with various different bases made by various different manufactures and step up to the challenge of being a real coach and crafting a team that can win against all challengers.

I think that the many hours tweaking is part of the hobby and actually enhances  the experience and makes the game more exciting. It's just my opinion............

I agree with you, coach.  There are levels to this hobby.  Some folks really like the tweaking aspect of this game.  A lot of players pride themselves and, in fact, earn a reputation for being "good at tweaking".  And rightly so.  Others really enjoy the painting aspect and go the extra mile for "that look" whatever "that look" may be for them.  A lot of players likewise earn a reputation as great sculptors and artists.  And, again, rightly so.  This hobby is rich in craftsmanship of all sorts and that wealth of ability and experience is a great resource to tap into.  I can't tell you how much I've learned from all the video's and sitting down and talking with guys who've been playing this longer than I have.

However, there are others who just like the game play and don't want to "fiddle" with all that tweaking and painting.  The painting part is handled--the figures look fantastic right out of the box--just stick on some numbers and you're off and running.  Simple tweaking (running along a wide emery board for instance) can provide quick but limited results and that may be worth a try for the "non-tweakers" out there.  But, the invisibases are a GREAT alternative for those that don't want to "fiddle" over much.  Yes, you will sacrifice some performance.  But you can still play the game with them. 

However, at the end of the day, I would say the main "skill" for being "good" at electric football is....tweaking.  The better you get at tweaking, the more reliably your team will move and the better they will execute your will as coach. 

Having said that, the skill involved in consistently throwing a tiny little ball to consistently hit a tiny little figure still amazes me...

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  • 3 months later...

If you have any interest in this topic, my earlier post above is worth reading again for those who haven't.  Suffice it to say, however, I have a LOT to learn about tweaking bases.  But it is an aspect of this hobby that I really enjoy.  Using my own personal skill and simple tools I am able to craft better performance for my players.  Many coaches refer to this as "training your players" and aside from play calling is the essence of "coaching" your players in EF.  Kit Kinchen, the Electric Coach, and many many others have elaborated on the necessity of this aspect of the hobby in order to "be good at" EF.

Which brings me to my follow up point.  If you look at my above paragraph you'll notice the word "hobby" is used extensively.  I don't use the word "game".  It is an important distinction.  Electric Football is a game.  It is classified as a board game, in fact.  And that is exactly what it is.  The most unique board game in the world, actually.  So why do I use the word "hobby"?  Well, take another board game--Monopoly is a famous example.  EF is created so that the game is playable out of the box at the base level.  There are numerous videos out there of folks enjoying the game right out of the box using nothing but invisibases and basic players with stick-on numbers--classic EF.  BUT, unlike more common board games, one can IMPROVE the performance of the components of the EF game.  Let that sink in.  It's as if you could somehow make the "Top Hat" piece in Monopoly play better.  This ability to improve the pieces (whether it be via tweaking, painting, weighting, customizing or what have you) transforms Electric Football from a mere board game into a hobby.

As we move forward in our enjoyment of Electric Football, we should always strive to remember something:  Not everyone who enjoys EF is also a hobbyist.  And they don't have to be.  There are thousands of folks who enjoy playing EF that will never pick up a set of pliers.  Some, however, really enjoy both the game and the hobby.  I am one of those players.  I enjoy the game AND the hobby.

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  • 1 year later...

I believe tweaking is a necessary evil. However, I also believe that the base I need is in this current order of bases, or perhaps in the next order of bases, and I just need to find it and set it free

Michelangelo said, Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it... I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

To set the plastic figure/base free I do minimal tweaking, then I just let the plastic figure/base combination evolve on the field of play. This may take four or five games but eventually I discover what position the plastic figure/base is probably best at. (Or I throw the base in the garbage. Sometimes I throw plastic figures in the garbage because they consistently hinder the performance of good bases.) I believe it is impractical to discuss tweaking bases without connecting the plastic figure. Change the plastic figure and you change the physics.

That's probably why I have 28 teams. In some cases I'm still waiting for the better base, and in other cases I found a jewel but it wasn't what I was looking for.

Plastic has a very strong memory. You can heat it up, twist it with pliers, and a week later plastic will remember how it came out of the mold and continue that way.

On 5/16/2020 at 8:56 AM, mccaber said:

They can be tweaked, but because of they won't always stay tweaked, or at least not they way you want it.

"Not the way you want it," is the operative phrase above.

On 9/20/2020 at 1:52 PM, The Major said:

Using my own personal skill and simple tools I am able to craft better performance for my players.  Many coaches refer to this as "training your players" and aside from play calling is the essence of "coaching" your players in EF.

In the hobby, or the game, we may call ourselves coaches, but I don't believe coffee warmers, pliers, and emery boards are motivational tools. I doubt we are crafting better performance for our players. We are improving our enjoyment of the game.

On 5/19/2020 at 3:41 PM, bluesgtr said:

many hours tweaking is part of the hobby and actually enhances  the experience and makes the game more exciting.

Coffee warmers, pliers, and emery boards are tools to bend the will of the plastic to our will. Like a steam hammer on marble.

Look for the angel in the marble first.

 

 

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