Ted Lasso Party Game
- Designer: Prospero Hall
- Publisher: Funko Games
- Players: 2-6
- Age: 10+
- Time: 20 minutes
- Played with review copy provided by Funko
Ted Lasso is a hit streaming show (available on Apple TV) about a folksy American football coach who somehow ends up in England, managing (not coaching) a football (not American football) side (not team), AFC Richmond.
In this game, players take on the role of the coaching staff, and their goal is to raise the Morale of the players and staff at the club – if they can score 45 Morale points by the end of the fourth round – everybody wins! If not, it’s down to the Championship with you!
The game has 5 Location mats which show locations from the show. There are three decks of cards (Believe, Character and Event) which are all shuffled to start the game. One character card is placed face up on each of the location tiles; make sure that each particular character is only seen once per round. Under the picture of the character are icons which tell you how many Trouble tiles to place on the location card. These trouble tiles have two colored faces on each; this tells you the particular troubles this character has this round. Coach Lasso and Coach Beard are placed on their starting locations, and the game is ready to start.
In each of the four rounds, a total of 24 Believe cards are dealt from the deck and split up as evenly as possible amongst the players. The top card from the Event deck is flipped over and read aloud. The players should take a moment to read the effects of each of the characters in this round, and discuss any strategy they might want to employ. It’s good to do this before the round actually starts as each round is played under a strict 2 minute timer!
The goal in each round is to play cards that match the emotions on each character’s Trouble tiles. If you have two cards which match a tile, that tile is discarded. If you are able to remove all the tiles from a character, then you will score Morale – seen in the upper right corner of the character card. Sometimes, the value is a fixed number. Othertimes, you’ll see one or more soccer balls, and to score these, you’ll roll the football die for each ball icon, gaining 0-4 Morale in the process.
When the round starts, the first player goes… That player chooses a color of card and plays all the cards of that color face up in front of them. Note that biscuit cards are wild and can be played with any color. There are three ways to use these cards:
- Be Kind – give the card to a character at a location. However, one of the two Coaches must be present at that location!
- Move a Coach – play a card to the space on the central board; then move one coach to any location
- Self Care – discard a card face down to the Self Care spot. At the end of the round, you can discard 5 cards from here to get rid of any one Trouble tile.
Once the player has used all the cards of that color, the next player then takes their turn, following the same rules. Continue until all players have either played all their cards or the timer runs out.
Now, figure out what happened that round
- If any characters managed to go the whole round without getting a card, they get an additional Trouble tile to their location
- Now, for each other character, check to see if there are 2 cards played there that matches the colors seen on a Trouble tile; if so, discard the trouble tile
- You can discard any one Trouble tile by discarding 5 cards from the Self Care space
- If a character has no more tiles left; score morale -either a fixed value in the upper right corner, or roll the soccer die. Mark the score off on the track around the lid of the box
- If any players still have cards in their hand at the end of the round, lose 3 Morale
- Shuflle all the Believe cards into a new deck EXCEPT for those left at the Self Care spot
- Refill any empty locations with new Character cards and appropriate Trouble tiles
If the Morale marker gets to 45, the players win! If this is not achieved by the end of the 4th round, the players lose!
My thoughts on the game
Like most Funko games – I feel that the audience for this is firmly in the mass market. And it hits them right on target. These games are to be sold at big box stores, and the IP is chosen to attract attention from fans of the TV show. The game does a lot to play off the theme – the soccer pitch in the box and the cool soccer ball die are nice. The use of the characters from the show obviously helps, and frankly, the pink box to hold the tiles (the backs of which look like little shortbread cookies) is genius. The iconic “Believe” sign is seen on the backs of all the cards. Essentially every component of the game reminds you of the TV show. For anyone who has ever watched an episode of the show, the components will be instantly recognized, and it should attract people to look at the box in the stores and try the game at home.
The game itself is fairly simple – again, I think perfect for who i presume is the target. Play one color, only have to choose from 3 things with the cards, and then move to the next player. As you’re really only matching the colors on the trouble tiles, you generally will play the cards you can at the existing coach locations, and then use the rest to either move the coach(es) for the next player OR discard them into the self care pile. It may help sometimes to ask the next player whether they want you to move to coach or not (depending on what they planned to play on their turn).
While the game is timed, 2 minutes is a really long time to play the 24 cards – especially if you’ve planned out the round a little bit ahead of time. We routinely finish the rounds with 30 or more seconds left on the clock. When you use the event cards, they add a small level of complexity with a new challenge added onto the round. (But, for veteran gamers, I should emphasize the “small” part of that statement).
In some rounds (depending on the character cards randomly drawn), you may not have enough Believe cards to finish all of the locations. Or, even if you have enough cards, you might not have the right distribution to do everything. Don’t worry about that, just focus on trying to finish characters where you can. If you don’t finish someone, their trouble tiles simply remain, and you’ll likely be able to quickly finish them on the next round – but you will also lose to opportunity to score more Morale points as the new character card will not be drawn for that location until the start of the next round! Also, as the round draws to a close, don’t forget to try to place at least one Believe card on each location as you don’t want to take the -3 Morale penalty for a character not having a card played on them.
The game plays quickly – as you might guess having only 4 rounds, each of with only taking 2 minutes in real time. Our group has found the game to be pleasant and a bit easy, with at least half of our games ending by the end of the 3rd round. But, this game will probably stick around on my shelf, as my whole family are soccer fans, and nearly all of them have watched the Ted Lasso shows on Apple TV. As a result, this game will almost certainly be pulled out at Thanksgiving or other holidays with them – and it will be the right type of game for that crowd.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y
- Neutral. John P
- Not for me…