by Ray Floriani
LYNDHURST, NJ - This time of the year we are totally immersed in March Madness. Analysis, tournament games, more insight and analysis-even a bracket out of the Oval Office.
Add to the attraction and aura of nature's 'cruelest month' is another outlet to satisfy the devoted fan. A basketball game, table-top style.
GoHoops produced by GoZone games is a dice basketball game. GoZone is known for its dice golf games, auto racing and football. The company added basketball to its sports line the latter part of 2009. There is a shopping game, produced by the company, on the market as well. GoZone of Los Gatos, California bills itself as 'the simplest, fastest, coolest dice games ever conceived'. Simplicity is a key word and source of the enjoyment.
GoHoops, as in regular basketball, has each team alternating possessions. Six dice are rolled in a cup. One white die determines a normal possession, foul or turnover. If there is a 'normal' possession, the five red dice are read. A die with a blank '.' on it is removed and the player rolls again. Rolls are continued until there are no blanks. At that point the remaining die constitute the score. If a three and two are the last two remaining, it is a trey. If there is no scoring die remaining, the defense has a stop.
Dice that are circled are automatic scored regardless of a blank in the mix. 'Coaching' can be a factor. For instance, you can get an automatic 2 pt FG on the first try but you can choose to keep going if you want and/or need a three.
There are fouls, including technicals but they enter about the same rate as a normal game.
The game affords flexibility. You can play a game of each team having twenty possessions, 10 possessions or the old playground style of 21 wins and you win by two.
A score sheet pad is provided to record possessions and score. On the reverse side is a GoHoops Tournament racket. The latter, a very good idea and concept given the popularity of bracketology. The GoHoops tournaments can accommodate 4, 8 or 16 teams. Let the imagination run wild and play that matchup (Kentucky-Syracuse anyone?) you dream about.
Taking it even farther, scoring can be broken down. Three point field goals given to guards. Forwards score two point field goals and two point field goals with a circle, are attributed to post players. Free throws made can be allotted to a guard, forward or center, at the discretion of the player rolling.
The game can be played head to head against an opponent or solitaire.
The box, shaped in a neat cube shape has the picture of a half court on the top. Along the side is the disclaimer as 'Extremely Addicting! The price, a very moderate $14.95 per game. The game is available on the company web site www.gozonegames.com or at retailers as Barnes and Noble Booksellers.
Easy and quick to learn. Adaptable and thoroughly available, GoHoops is easy and fast to play. Arguable a perfect 'nightcap' after a day of watching, breaking down and writing about the game we love.
The first time I tried it was a playing a simulation of the NJ nets at Denver. The game reeled me in and had me hooked almost immediately. By the way the Nets lost that 'sim'. Maybe there's more realism in GoHoops than we think.