Zane at Wellycon 2019

Check out this great video of Zane discussing the game!


Rugby: The Game was a concept that Zane of ZPG has worked on for a number of years. After playing a great many board games, he was playing with his son one day and wondered if anyone else had combined his two passions.

There was little around the world that seemed to hit the mark, and so development began. It was / has been / is a major feat to develop a professional level game after-hours and on the odd weekend, but here we are; mission accomplished in half a decade!



The major challenge in the game development has been the merging of two activities that  don't mix easily. On the one hand, a great many board game players aren't overly excited about rugby. On the other hand, there aren't a lot of footy players that like to sit down to a nice relaxing board game after some structured pugilism.

WAIT!   Did we say relaxing? Forget about that, Rugby The Game is fast paced and full of all of the excitement of the real deal! The only thing we are missing is the smell of sweat on the field, and lineament in the changing room, but feel free to bring both and make it authentic!


RTG combines modern gameplay strategies, with an intuitive board layout. Instead of laboriously moving tokens around a board like you might imagine a sport game would require, you have the focus where the ball is, with half a dozen player cards all vying for  possession or support. Add in some coaching tips, some General Play cards that can give you the edge in a set play (and maybe even a little cheating), and you have endless strategic options at your fingertips.



Rugby The Game is all about putting you right in the middle of the action. The playing board is clear and simple to use, keeping a focus on the action, front-and-centre.


The board is split with teams facing each other. There are six slots on the board for active players, a field ruler to indicate the position of the ball on the field, and slots for  Player decks and General Play Cards.

The middle of the game board visualises the action happening around the ball. Sure there are 15 players on each team, but only a handful are in action at any time. With RTG, you keep the focus where it should be; on the ball. 



Each team has a full side of 15 players, with each player being a unique character with stats that reflect their position in the team. The players have their playing stats on the front of the card, for quick and easy viewing during the game.

The stats for each position vary, giving the players attributes that suit their role. A forward will have better rucking ability than a back, however a back will cover more ground with the ball, and so on.

With easy to access stats, and clear comparison between players, it's never been easier to understand exactly where you are at without reaching for that rulebook!



But, it's not quite as simple as loading your best players on all the time and stomping the other side. Generally, if you add a support player to the action, it's from a face-down stack (there can be exceptions in certain scenarios). Sure, you get to choose if it's a forward or a back, but you might be on the run with your Hooker (well, let's say "trot", to be fair), the other team may flip over their Prop and roll a Big Hit! Now, that ain't gonna be pretty in anyones story...


RTG is a fast-paced game, just like the real thing. We realised very early in development that if we wanted a game that flowed and played smoothly, we needed to focus on the right mechanics. In RTG you spend a minimal amount of time setting up players, and more time making the pain! 


Each phase of play involves each team taking one action, such as running, bringing in support players, tackling, kicking, etc, and then resolving the outcome. For example, if the attacking team chooses to run (action), they simply move the field marker on the ruler. Play then goes to the defending team who can try and tackle (action), a successful tackle goes to a Ruck, and an unsuccessful tackle means play returns to the attacker. 

We have set play rules for all of the major elements of the game including, kick-off, rucks, line-outs, and scrums. How does that stuff work? Well, simply, for want of a better word. To form a ruck, the defending team makes a tackle, the ball goes to the ground and a ruck forms. Teams then choose to support the ruck or not. Each player supporting each ruck has a Ruck value to add, and the team with the most points wins the ruck, and the ball. The other  set-plays are different in mechanics, and equally easy to understand.


We have a HUGE stack of General Play cards that enhance the game. The cards offer a variety of added effects and strategies that can turn a predictable phase into a break-away in seconds! One of our personal favourites is the "Cheat" card, because hey, one of us is a Crusaders supporter! (Just kidding, we all love the Crusaders). There are cards that may call a TMO decision for a try, force a cramp on an opposition player, allow one of your grounded players to get back up, and many other great enhancements.



So, the game is all about just understanding the rules of rugby more than the opposition and winning, right? Nope! Couldn't be further from the truth.

We all know Rugby isn't a simple sport. The official rule book rivals the US constitution, in length and complexity. We broke it down and focussed on what we needed to make the game accessible to anyone who just wants to enjoy a fun board game. One of our team is what you would call a novice Rugby follower (at best, but don't tell him that), and trust us; if that knuckle-head can figure it out in an afternoon of playing, anyone can!

We kept an element of chance in the game to stop things getting stale. Rugby, like most sports, has a fair few "oh crap" moments going on, even for the pro's. We kept that alive by having dice rolls at certain points of the play (we use 10-sided dice for RTG), and use them to determine such things as a successful kick (usually a 3 or higher), as well as catching the kick, making and breaking tackles, and the like. 

In the end, a good player that uses their head will make good plays, but we want ANYONE to be able to get those "hell yeah" break-aways, and you can guarantee that will happen! But enough about us trying to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash. There has to be more than purple-prose and pretty pictures, surely...


Well in short, you get the most fun sports game you will ever play!But to put a finer point on it, we give you the following:

  • Folding game board
  • 30 player cards (two teams)
  • 120 General Play cards
  • 4 Coach cards
  • 4 Sin Bin cards
  • 4 help cards
  • 20 rugby ball score tokens
  • 4 head-gear tokens
  • Two 10-sided dice
  • Field distance marker standee
  • Coin toss token
  • Rule Book