Game Review: QB54 for Your Back Yard

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Hot and Heavy on the Offense and Defense

Number of Players: 2-8

Time: 20 Mins

Game Type: Outdoor

Gamer Type: All

Complexity: 3

Summer brings us a lot of time outside, especially since the COVID crisis seems to be abating. People are gathering with friends and family around outdoor activities. If you think of it, outdoor activities provide the best of both worlds. If you are a person worried about the small increase in COVID cases, then being outdoors should make you feel better as it allows more social distancing. Conversely, if you are “pasted” COVID, then getting outside of BBQs is helping you get back to normal. Either way, when you go outside, you are helping yourself feel better.

Ironically, after a year stuck in your home, you may wonder what the hottest thing to do outside is. Responsible hosts are now looking for activities that appeal to both COVID worriers and COVID avoids, for lack of better terms. QB54 is a game that is the best of both world, it is backyard fun, comradery, and allows for social distancing.

Story

A few years ago, the dreaded call of “Honey, It’s time to do the dishes” rose from the tryptophan haze of Thanksgiving dinner. The brothers quickly returned to their childhood ways and resurrected the game. This time, people were there to see. Neighbors gathered around and wanted to play. They knew they had something there. Now, QB54 is one of the hottest, most quickly growing games on the market. This is a great “Get out of dishes, to riches” story and earns QB54 a 9 out of 10 for in this category.

One of the biggest shortcomings of most outdoor games is that they do not have a story. This is not the case with QB54. When talking to one of the designers, the game is based on a something he and his brother created when they were children to get out of holiday dishes. These two brothers did not have enough guys for the traditional “Turkey Bowl” men have used to try to get out of dish duty since, we imagine, the Pilgrims (though it does not always work). These two brothers worked together to create a skill game which was fun, competitive, and kept them busy enough to get out of the dishes.

Art

Art is another category that outdoor games tend to shy away from. We all know the corn hole boards that are plain white, or the homemade PVC “Hillbilly Horseshoes” games. However, QB54 did not go the “cheap art” route. Their packaging, product and overall game are engaging for that tailgate experience. The game starts off with a folding chair, which has a hoop sewn into it. This makes for an easy to transport, easy to store game. It gets better. The designers had flaps and backs built into the chair so that when you are not using it, then it doubles as a camp seat.

The goalposts of the game are well made PVC, the first time or two you put them together they can be a little tight, but this keeps them together in the game. They are yellow, which is a nice touch to make them look like goal posts. They have worked with branding, so some of you favorite colleges have logs on them. The box is a good size. This is not a shelf game, but it is a game that you have to take where you are going. This means the rectangle box (or the storage bag) makes life easier by helping you transport it. 8 of 10 for Art.

Mechanics

When I test a new yard game, my first reaction is “is this a horseshoes clone?” Many games (some of them great games) are a horseshoes clone. QB54 is one of the recent games I have tested that is separate from horseshoes completely. OK yes you have teams standing on opposite sides of the pitch, but horseshoes does not have the patent on that. QB54 is a microcosm of football, passing, running (optional) and kicking without the risk of major injury from tackles.

Here is the breakdown of the game. Once you set up the chairs (goals), one team throws the ball and tries to get it into the “hoop” in the chair. This is a touchdown and worth 6 points. If you get a touchdown, you have a chance to kick an extra point, with the kickstand, if you do that is one point. If you kick the ball into the basket (called a Fitz), then you win the game automatically. This sounds easier than it is. Now, what if you do not hit the basket? If you hit the chair, then you get three points. But wait! There is more. If the ball bounces up, your opponents can steal your three points by catching the ball. This is a 6 point flip and can change the game. You play to 54 points.

Beyond the basic there are “Pro Rules” which were created by fans. These optional rules add a lot to the game and can make it more athletic. I leave these to your discretion which ones fit with your crowd. However, the mechanics are solid and earn a score of 7.5 for mechanics.

Strategy

This game is hot and heavy on the offense and defense, rush and engine building are not really present (but name a yard game where they are other than Kubb). This earns QB 54 a strong score of 8 for strategy. Let’s look at what you can do. If you are offensively minded, you can go for the glory of the hoop every time, this is a high risk, high reward strategy. Hitting the target nets you 6 points and the extra point kick which can win you the game; however, hitting the seat of the chair and missing the hoop leads to the ball bouncing up, which can lead to interceptions and opponent points.

Defensive-minded players can prey on the mistakes of the opponent. Wait for the bounce and take the free points. This usually means just throwing at the front flap of the chair for no bounces, field goals may not be sexy, but they win games. You can mix the two, but that is based on your skill level. For a backyard game, there is a lot of thinking and strategy here (especially with the pro rules), 7 out of 10.

Novelty

There is nothing on the market like this. It is easy to haul (it even fits in my little convertible), it is playable by anyone, and if you need more challenge just move the chairs further than the 40 general rules. This innovative new game brings together the fun of football without the need to have teams of dozens of players. QB54 shows the creativeness of kids who want to get out of chores and the ingenuity of Americans who can turn to dodge the dishes into a working business model. 9 of 10.

Overall

This is a great game to take with you to parties, tailgating or a plethora of other events. As it is a new game, not many people will have seen it before. As a simple game everyone can pick up the rules quickly. And as a yard game, it can can satisfy that “Post-Covid” need to keep a little distance. With a score of 40.5, this game is a monster coming on to the market. Expect to see QB54 set up beside corn hole, Hillbilly Horseshoes and regular horseshoes in the pantheon of great yard games for years to come, get your set quick because each production run sells out fast.

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer

Dr Christopher Smithmyer is the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.

NRN • New Right Network
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