Sidestep and fend your way to glory!
Blackout Rugby is an Freemium online Rugby Union simulator played in a web browser. The game launched its closed beta in 2006, went live in 2008, and is still ongoing. The game is in its 16th season; each season lasting 16 weeks of real-time.
In the beginning, there was Hattrick, and it was good. Probably the Ur-Example of an online sports management game, Hattrick was (and still is) the most popular soccer management game on the Internet. Except, what about other sports?
Fast forward a few years, and Battrick came about. It was just like Hattrick, but with cricket! more importantly though, it added one thing that Hattrick lacked; a more detailed commentary system. In Hattrick, matches occur in real time, but there is no indication of what happens unless someone comes close to scoring a goal or some other notable event occurs, like an injury or yellow card. Battrick, on the other hand, included commentary ball-by-ball, displayed as a text crawl on the screen.
And now, we have Battrick, but for rugby!
After registration, players (called "managers" by the game) are given a rugby club in the nation of their choice, a little bit of money and playing talent, and are turned loose on the online rugby world. Each country has its own competition, organized in a league pyramid with promotion and relegation every season. Perhaps its most endearing feature though, is Blackout Rugby's commentary system. It uses a text crawl updated in real time, as Battrick does. But, it also allows users to suggest new commentary lines along with the commentary lines developers wrote themselves. Hilarity Ensues.
Blackout Rugby contains examples of:
- Awesome McCoolname: Premium members are allowed to rename their players and coaches.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Training from Hell explained below. Players have an energy statistic that affects their play on the field. Playing a game lowers a player's energy, but training lowers it the most. So, a player trained this way will gain skills very rapidly, but will always be too tired to actually play in a game.
- Big Game: Naturally.
- Boring, But Practical: Handling training. Your players won't drop the ball as much. It doesn't seem significant, but it can win a game alone if the other team's got butterfingers.
- Casanova Wannabe: Apparently, every hooker in Blackout Rugby has tried to pick up a sideline reporter during a lineout at one point.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Murray and Bill.
- Covers Always Lie: "Sidestep and fend your way to glory!"...except you're the manager, not the player.
- Death Is Not Permanent: Even if you've been relegated, you can always make it back.
- Diabolus ex Machina: A random number generator determines the result. Some people are just going to have to live with their broken hearts.
- Double Entendre: Plenty of times. Expect most of it to come from Murray. Which is Truth in Television.
- Endless Game
- Every Year They Fizzle Out: At the International level, England. Despite the largest player base, they've failed to win a World Cup so far.
- Expy: Murray and Bill. Rugby fans will recognize them as Murray Mexted and Bill McLaren.
- Female Gaze: The shorts Blackout Rugby players wear must have nothing to ensure they stay on a player's waist.
- Game-Breaking Bug: In earlier versions of the game, kicking for touch (punting out-of-bounds, trading possession to gain the yardage) was much easier to accomplish. On top of that, height was the One Stat to Rule Them All for the lineout. It became common practice to put tall guys with no talent into the team, just to steal these lineouts. Now, making touch outside of your own 22-meter line is much tougher to do, and those unskilled players aren't worth using. Height still is great to have, though.
- Infinity +1 Sword: Canadian lock Alan Elsby, all 219cm of him.
- Originally, players came in a wide range of sizes, but this was narrowed to eliminate outliers. Those players created before this change are still there. Weight does matter, but not as much as a player's height for jumping in lineouts. Elsby is the best trained and tallest of the lot. Now, if the Canadians could only put a team around him...
- Iron Butt Monkey: Those poor, poor hot dog sellers.
- Joke Character: Terry Wight, a player generated with skills so bad that his aggregate score was a 0. Of course, since this means he commanded the lowest salary at the time, he eventually became a Memetic Badass.
- Lightning Bruiser: International team players, who have all been through the Training from Hell.
- Mighty Glacier: Front-rowers, especially props.
- One Stat to Rule Them All: Stamina. It affects every other skill on the field, and helps preserve your players' Life Meter off it. Don't cut corners with Stamina.
- Only Sane Man: The main commentator, unnamed, seems to have quite a handful with Murray and Bill in the booth.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Scrumhalves.
- Recycled IN SPACE!
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Some of the commentary lines are inspired by real-life commentary from famous rugby games.
- Rugby Is Slaughter: Subverted in some commentary lines; played straight in others.
- Schmuck Bait: The commentary itself.
- Specifically, most people don't understand how the commentary works. First, the match engine creates a result, then picks randomly from a variety of commentary lines for the result generated. Unfortunately, some of these commentary lines may be non-sequiturs given the circumstances. Cue the outrage in the forums from a manager when his experienced, veteran player happens to get one of the What an Idiot! commentary lines.
- Shout-Out: Lots of the commentary lines.
- Spiritual Successor: To Hattrick and Battrick.
- Training from Hell: You have a number of specific training sessions, depending on how good your facilities are, to invest in players every week. Most people spread them out to many players, one or two sessions each. But, if you want, you can allocate up to ten sessions on one player. Expect him to be exhausted at all times, though.
- Wretched Hive: The National Managers lounge. Don't trust a single word you read there.