This question and answer exchange regarding APBA Football came up in the comments section of the About Page of this blog but I thought it deserved its own post since the topic does get brought up occasionally.
Reader Kline Gowen asks:
I love APBA. I have the new football game (my old one from 1969 was stolen outside my door when the USPS left it there when sent to me by my brother). I am wondering: Are the old cards, such as those available on e-bay, compatible with the new game and charts. It seems I heard or read that before a certain year they are not.
I honestly didn’t know the answer since I haven’t played APBA Football since the early 80s. I actually enjoyed the APBA Football game engine at the time. It was the NFL I lost interest in (though I occasionally find myself longing for a good ol’ 70s replay sometimes).
So I directed the question to Geoff Giordano who edits the popular APBA Football Club page on Facebook. He was happy to answer the question.
Kline, the “new” football game first arrived in 1983 for the 1982 season — it was a basic/master game with all the rules bundled together. The game was modified into a more basic game for the mid- to late ’90s, then reverted to the ’80s master boards before the current version of the master game was issued in the late 2000s. So any cards from 1982 onward will be generally compatible with either version of the master game from 1982 onward. Anything prior to the 1981 season should be played on the old-style “big boards” from the ’50s-’70s.
Here’s a general breakdown of the eras of the game. There were several modifications in the results boards in the ’60s and ’70s as well, so I’ve come to advise people to find the boards as close to their season set as possible for the most accuracy:
Thanks to Kline for the question. You’re not the only one wondering that, I’m sure. And much thanks to Geoff for clarifying this! His breakdown on the boards is well worth the read if you’re considering buying the game.