FUBAMost Americans (as well as Canadians and Australians) call the sport soccer, while the rest of the world calls it soccer. I’m not going to argue who’s right and who’s wrong (I think we all know the answer), but the sport has a lot of dedicated fans in the US, and that fan base continues to grow. Whatever the reason, the sport will remain in the US. Fans like my kids would rather play it than American football, they’d definitely rather watch European football on a Saturday morning than join me on the couch doing the gridiron version of defensive back on Sunday.

Which brings us to today’s FUBA review from U&P Games. FUBA is labeled as a soccer game (meaning it’s about soccer), so I’ll refer to the sport as soccer for the rest of this review. FUBA is a two-player tactical soccer game that lasts approximately 90-120 minutes depending on the player’s experience, in which both players constantly change their teams in the hope of scoring as many goals as possible before the end of the match.

Game Overview:

There’s a lot to cover in FUBA, so I’m going to give a general overview of the main rules, but the rulebook itself is here if readers want to dive deeper: FUBA

FUBA cards
Each team has 8 formal cards to choose from.

Each move consists of 3 stages:

  1. Modification of the target area and the value of the ball: The graphic cube is moved by the controlling team to the target area on the playing field. The number of ball cubes will vary depending on the distance and the number of controlling and defending players in that area. The ball die starts at 2 (its range is 1-6).
  2. The course of the game situation: The controlling team rolls both team dice. This one roll will determine all of the following: move the referee’s time marker (move the time marker forward according to the rules), see if the controlling team maintains control of the ball cube, if the value of the ball cube changes, and indicate which team will act first in the action phase.
  3. Action: First the kicking team (based on the previous stage) and then the opponent can choose from the following actions: goal attempt (controlling team only), player movement, positioning and pressing (defending team only). Please note: The rules also allow either team to take what the rules call free and secondary actions, depending on the number of opposing teams’ players in the adjacent space.

If the goal attempt is successful, the controlling team scores a point and skips the rest of the move. The scoring team now becomes the defending team and both teams’ settings, such as the start of the game, and the game starts from Stage 1 with a new control team.

If the goal attempt results in a rebound or a corner kick, these rules are followed. If the result is a miss, then the controlling team becomes the defending team and the action phase ends. The goalkeeper of the new control team will start the game with the ball cube and start a new turn.

The game is played in two halves. The team that scored more goals wins.

FUBA gameplay
FUBA has great table presence and even better if your yellow team wants to score!

Game experience:

I have to say that I didn’t know much about FUBA, but when I opened the game I was happy with the quality and care. The game board is more like a playmat that is durable and highly detailed, along with quality printed cards, a gameplay reference sheet, meeples, dice and a rulebook. All the meeples team shirts are the same color but the goalies are different so they stand out. A ball die is a sphere that is weighted to maintain its value, and therefore not really intended to be thrown. The overall production numbers are excellent, plus the game is packaged more like a folder with an insert, making it very portable and easy to store on your gaming shelf.

FUBA Rules
The rulebook is well written and organized, but there is a lot to absorb to keep the game moving.

Description FUBA is a tactical football game, but actually this game is more like a football simulator. Yes, it has a tactical feel, but it’s much faster and smoother than a real football match. Whether you’re a controlling or defending team, you feel like a manager trying to execute your actions, constantly making adjustments as possession changes or the opposition reacts. FUBA does a great job of immersing the players in the game and gives you great opportunities and actions to move up the pitch to make a stop or score a goal. The randomness of the timing creates good tension and forces players to take risks as time approaches the stop time squares.

I highlight the overall rulebook, how well written it is (no bullshit, just great examples of gameplay) and how well organized it is, with plenty of examples provided to help you learn how to play. It’s a great reference if you read it a few times and you’ll refer to it as you play.

FUBA ball
The blue team pushes into the yellow zone, but offside?!

Now, even with a well-organized rulebook, I have to say that there is a lot to learn and try to remember. This is especially true when applying action steps or assessing special situations and advanced rules to gameplay. You won’t know all the modifiers and when they apply when you first play. Additionally, there are some rules that require players to watch for offsides and call them when you or your opponent initiate them. I like the help box about the game, but I wish there was a player help that listed all the action phase modifiers, especially goal attempts. This will reduce the frequency with which players review the rules. This difficulty will make your few games slower and longer, but hopefully won’t frustrate players. Advanced rules add great descriptive agreements and rules for adding skills to your team, positions, and special events, but they add another layer of complexity and more rules to apply.

I would like FUBA to have the opportunity to play with famous football teams. Yes, there are advanced rules for adding skills to player positions or the overall team, but there are no preset versions of the famous football teams you can play as, such as Manchester City or Arsenal FC to name a few. I’d like to see even online updates for fictional teams like AFC Richmond, or current popular ones like Wrexham AFC. I love sports games and my latest favorites are like Breakaway football allow you to play for famous American football teams, and that’s great. I would like to see the same for FUBA and in football there are many great teams from all over the world to take part from.

Final thoughts:

I have to admit I’m not as big of a soccer fan as my kids are, but I do have fun with FUBA. Great production value and a well organized rulebook will make you want to bring this to the table. Also, once you get past the first few matches, you’ll feel like you’re playing a soccer simulator.

I would like to score FUBA above, but the learning curve is significant, especially when you add the advanced rules, making the first few games quite long and slow. I’ve seen that the 4th edition rules are scheduled for release in May 2023 and are marked as a quick release, so maybe that will cut down on learning time. That said, I’d really like to play some pre-made big name teams and try them out against other bigs that would be fun to try out.

Final score: 3.5 stars – A fun soccer sim that immerses players in the game, but has a learning curve that can slow down and drag out your first few stages of the game.

3.5 starshits:
• Production values ​​and portable
• Football simulator
• Regulations

• Significant learning curve
• There are no famous football teams

Get your copy