American football is also becoming more and more popular in this country. Body-hugging sport is a phenomenon: 22 muscle-packed professionals collide, enormous forces are released - and in the end the team that scored more points simply wins. The rest is tactics, strategy, cleverness, and sometimes nasty tricks. Three friends now want to bring the football fever to the home table: with the skill game MFL International - Mini Football League, which is to be financed via crowdfunding via Kickstarter. The plan: The campaign starts on September 1st and runs from then on for 24 days. The trio of authors intends to raise around 10.000 euros. 


Sebastian, Patrick and Mark with the abbreviation “MFL” dare to get dangerously close for their game to the US giants. That stirs up immense expectations, especially among connoisseurs of the world's best sport for fans. Anyone who has ever seen an American football game - ideally live on site, on television too - and understood the game after extensive reworking of the rules, can understand why fans are so into this sport. The mixture of raw strength and mass as well as tactics, strategy and skill is rarely found in this intensity in professional sports. This should now also be possible for board players. At home on the table - without breaking a sweat.

MFL International: Tip kick with eggs?

The basic requirements for playing are low. You need a playing field, a goal, four balls and two teams. So exactly what the game package includes, which the three young authors are now offering for “baking” via Kickstarter. The three have calculated a sum of around 10.000 euros, the pledges range from 65 euros to 85 euros and up to 145 euros. In return you get a football kit that allows two players to compete against each other. The individual package prices may also change before the final start of the Kickstarter campaign, Patrick, Sebastian and Mark are still in the final preparations and the revision of the calculation will certainly be an issue that will keep the three football friends busy until shortly before the start of funding will. 

The setup of the skill game is done quickly: simply drop the figures onto the "lawn" from a small height, put them down and the kick-off can take place. Photo: André Volkmann

The setup of the skill game is done quickly: simply drop the figures onto the “lawn” from a small height, put them down and the kick-off can take place. Photo: André Volkmann

To get straight to the point. MFL International is a pure game of skill, if you don't know what to do with such concepts, you will have a hard time getting involved in this new board game. The game is played in a classic duel. 1-on-1. Face to Face. Each coach takes over the ten players on his team, then it goes to the line-up. At MFL International, the structure of the game works with recourse to a very special random effect: You let your figures crash onto the PVC turf from a height of around 25 centimeters. That shows: the plastic footballers have to put up with some heavy hits in the course of their careers. Whether and how well the material can withstand this? Hard to predict based on the prototype that we had before us. Once that is done, there should be one man and five opponents in each half of the field.

Then it says: Kick off. In the truest sense of the word. The central figure of the two players is their kicker, whose foot can be moved with a small lever. In this way, they let the plastic eggs shoot across the field. So a sure instinct is required. Older board players immediately remember Tipp-Kick or “Pro Action Football” from Parker, the more modern offshoot of the table football game from the mid-nineties.

At MFL International it's a similar feel to the game: you shoot a ball and have four attempts to hit one of your own players and thus achieve a “first down” - alternatively, you can try to achieve a field goal. Of course, a touchdown is better than the successful completion of a move. The possibility of the point six arises as soon as you have managed to hit two of your own pieces. Then a player of the team is placed in the end zone field shown on the game board and has to - who can guess? - be hit with one shot. A little trick: knocked over figures are removed from the playing field. This reduces the chances of advancing with your four available downs (the shot attempts). It is then easy to determine who wins in the end: the player with the most points wins.

A sure instinct is required

Skill is required at MFL International. However, unlike other games of skill, it does not depend on a particularly steady hand, but on instinct and the ability to use your finger strength in a measured manner. Also helpful: a good eye. Hitting your own players within four tries sounds damn easy, but in practice it isn't. Success can only be achieved if you demonstrate good hand-eye coordination and move the small plastic lever with the right amount of force. It's not impossible, it just takes practice.

This is how it works: Each player has an oversized kicker that has a "third foot" with which the plastic egg can be shot across the field more or less precisely - based on the player's skill level. Photo: André Volkmann

This is how it works: Each player has an oversized kicker that has a “third foot” with which the plastic egg can be shot across the field more or less precisely - based on the player's skill level. Photo: André Volkmann

You can safely classify MFL International in the “Fun Game” category. Anyone who loves US sports or is at least looking for an alternative to the old-fashioned Tipp-Kick will enjoy the game concept. What the three young authors definitely manage with their game idea is to bring emotions to the gaming table. If, after a little getting used to, shots that were thought to be impossible suddenly succeed, that is a reason to cheer. Real joy arises, not only when the moves are successful, but also when you have failed your attempts again. The fact that you learn the rules of “real American football” while reading the instructions from MFL International is a nice side effect for beginners: Fumble, interception, turnover or two-point conversion are terms that do not remain puzzles for long .

Associated with this is one of the three authors' wishes: “American football is such a beautiful sport that unfortunately is not sufficiently appreciated in Germany”, the three friends say in unison. Why did it still have to be an implementation of the complex ball game? "Everyone can play football, see table football." Sounds like a plan.

Wrong world: For once it's about hitting your own and not the opposing males. Photo: André Volkmann

Wrong world: For once it's about hitting your own and not the opposing males. Photo: André Volkmann

In view of the topic, the project is quite ambitious, because despite the ongoing trend, American football continues to be a niche sport in this country and completely underrepresented in parlor games.

And so the trio put a lot of heart and soul into MFL International, while Sebastian, Patrick and Mark each have their own ideas about what makes football such an outstanding sport: Among other things, they mentioned tactics and action - and the excitement of who will win in the end ! Favorite teams? The three do not need, they are interested in the sport. Everyone who comes close to the “egg” will probably be cheered. In any case, the new authors are diplomatic when it comes to detailed questions: Is there something about MFL International that can be called the heart of the game? Of course: “The big picture!” Is what the three of them mean and by that they mean the entire game. 'Thinking big' is what one would say overseas.

Previous knowledge not necessary

A central question for all interested parties: Do you have to know American football to be able to play MFL International? The three agree: you don't have to. “It is not absolutely necessary to know American football,” says Sebastian. “You can start from scratch with our game and grab the rules and just play. In the second or third round you understand what it is about and maybe you want to just watch a game in the original. "

The rules were therefore deliberately kept simple, but there are technical terms, because sport should ultimately be reflected as a topic. However, you neither have to ask the search engine for help nor scratch your head in a perplexed way: "In our instructions we explain most of the technical terms that you need for the game and the original." The three makers recommend that you just start playing at MFL International - the instructions are of course at hand.

The aim of the game is to score more points than your opponent - this can be done particularly elegantly and efficiently via a touchdown. Photo: André Volkmann

The aim of the game is to score more points than your opponent - this can be done particularly elegantly and efficiently via a touchdown. Photo: André Volkmann

To choose the niche of skill games on such a topic is brave. In the opinion of the three, simply throwing a ball around is not enough: “Our game combines skill and strategy! We also had to learn in our own games and test runs that you can of course do a quick lap. " Then the but: “If you really want to be successful, you have to meticulously plan every move beforehand and the implementation also requires good hand-eye coordination. The more skillful we got, the more necessary a strategy became. "

In the end, it is not necessarily the playful part of the work that makes the game of skill MFL International entertaining, but the fact that several players can get excited about the same thing. If the game demands one prerequisite, it is this. Anyone who approaches the title with a basic enthusiasm - whether for American football or for a table kick game - will hardly be disappointed: the Mini Football League promises quick, uncomplicated fun. Without long, regular studies.

It is primarily a haptic experience, more or less a sophisticated toy with a “regular base”. How entertaining MFL International is depends to a large extent on the players themselves. What brings this game of skill closer to a board game is the degree of movement. Even if you might think so at first, because you have American football in front of your eyes: it is not superficially about hit-and-run action, but rather about patience, determining a promising path across the field and precisely aligning the kicker before the shot. Strategy can be felt in it, albeit on a completely different level than in an “ordinary board game”.

The field is long: in order to be able to play MFL International, you should have a table with a large tabletop. Photo: André Volkmann

The field is long: in order to be able to play MFL International, you should have a table with a large tabletop. Photo: André Volkmann

Incidentally, the idea for their game came about spontaneously, reveal Sebastian, Patrick and Mark about the creative process for MFL International - of course while watching football and there, of all things, during the commercial break. “During an advertising block, the sentence was: 'How cool it would be to kick the ball now!' Only a short time later the laptop with the CAD program was on the table and the first drafts were designed and immediately sent to the 3D printer. "

It shouldn't be that easy afterwards. With the start of the crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter at the latest, the tension rises for the three new authors, because then it comes down to whether or not their MFL International - Mini Football League can be realized. If it doesn't work, the project won't go away in the drawer. “Even then we won't give up and if necessary try to find other ways,” say the game designers, who are privately connected as friends, have a barbecue together and play retro games. "Outside of this time, we are passionate family fathers who also have normal jobs." That sounds like a lot of work that will increase with the launch of the financing phase. The will start on September 1st Kickstarter campaign.

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