Bowl Bound College Football REVIEW

Bowl Bound College Football Review (PC)

Bowl Bound College Football is the newest text-based release from Grey Dog Software, and its one that I’ve been greatly looking forward to. Grey Dog has become the premier sports text-based simulation company, and their games such as Total Pro Basketball and Total Extreme Wrestling are top-notch games. Bowl Bound is Grey Dog’s attempt at college football, and it's continues the tradition.

I have only played one text-based college football game, Front Office Football: The College Years, and that was an exceptional game. That said, Bowl Bound takes everything FOF: TCY did and improved on it. Since this game is not licensed by the NCAA, it does not include the real school names, logos, helmets and players. However, the game is fully customizable and there are a ton of user-made mods available.

When I say that this game is a complete simulation, I want to put the emphasis on complete. As the head coach, you are involved in everything from balancing the football program to recruiting to setting the depth chart for each game. The beauty of this game is that you decide how much you want to involve yourself in the game. If you are the micro-managing type, you can choose to handle every small task - including choosing a scouting service and calling every play on the field. Now if you prefer to handle only the major responsibilities, you can choose to have the computer handle everything else.

The on-field simulation is rock-solid. As the head coach, you have access to every important stat and the ability to substitute players during the game. This may not seem like a big deal, but there were previous text-based football games that did not allow you substitute players during the game. The simulation engine is spot-on and it strikes a decent balance between the blowouts when major teams play the lower-tiered teams and the upsets that occur in college football. The playcalling aspect is handled well. The game features fifteen offensive formations, ten defensive formations and over 350 offensive and defensive plays. In the future, I would like to see team-specific play books based on your team’s offensive formation. Teams like Navy that run the option will not have Shotgun or Spread offense plays in their play book, but in this game the Midshipmen do. This isn’t a huge problem, but I would love to see more variety in the next version.

The only complaints that I have regarding the on-field action involves substitutions and play by play. First, the CPU does not sub out its players during a blowout. In a game against Florida State, I was down 52-17 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and the CPU kept its starters in the entire game. Not only is this unrealistic, but it can really screw up the simulated stats. Also the play-by-play can get a little bit repetitive; but not to the point where it’s a major problem.

As a text-based simulation; graphics and sound are not of the utmost importance. Bowl Bound does offer some things to look at, however. During the game, you can view the stadium and follow your team’s field position. Other than that, there isn’t much else to the graphics. The game features no in-game sound but I would love to see that added in a future version or patch.

The off-season - especially recruiting - is the most important part of college football that doesn't occur on the field. A recruiting class can make or break a team, and Bowl Bound treats this aspect with great importance. As head coach, there are many responsibilities to handle; such as signing and re-signing your coaching staff, tracking player transfers and recruiting new players. The best way to describe recruiting in Bowl Bound is deep. The beauty of most text-based sports games is that they don’t have to concentrate on graphics, and therefore can include features that graphics-based games can't. Small things like recruits e-mailing the head coach regarding their interests in the program are welcome touches and make the game more enjoyable. In the end, Bowl Bound is the best text-based college football simulation I’ve played and I look forward to future versions of this fine game.

*Update:  In early April, Grey Dog added an enhancement pack to Bowl Bound College Football that further improves the game. An in-game player editor is now available and it's just another great feature included in this game. The editor allows you to edit everything from a player’s name to the name of his high school. A deep statistical engine is a key component to any text based sim and many of the enhancement pack's features focus on improving that engine. The enhancement pack features a deeper team and conference record book and team info screens that feature more statistics. Finally, this version patches many of the problems that were found in the original version. The patches mainly focus on better poll logic, more varied play by play, and just making the game more realistic as a whole. Now with the enhancement pack (and the game being $10 cheaper) there is no reason why any fan of college football or text based sports sims shouldn’t pick this game up.

Bowl Bound College Football Score
out of 10