Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

The Ultimate Tecmo Bowl Strategy Guide

Recommended Posts

The original Tecmo Bowl is a game of numerous strategic possibilities. For many players, Tecmo Bowl is merely a game of randomly picking 1 of the 4 plays. That only gives the defense a 25% chance of success on each play. I strive for 50-75 % success with our schemes and strategies. 
Our basic strategies are very useful and can be found here ---> https://www.tecmobowl-vs-rbi.com/tecmo-strategy.html

It all starts with the playbooks. Each team possesses a unique playbook & has a distinct way to be defended with either pass or run calls. Illustrated below will be strategies that are NOT geared towards matching what the offense has called. More importantly, these calls are made to nullify the best WRs & hamper those great passing playbooks. 
The premise behind “short circuiting” the run blocking schemes of the offense is also going to be explained in detail later on, but for now let's shut down the passing game.

Pass defense schemes:
When calling pass plays on defense, you can create “Computer Controlled Coverage”. This occurs when the defense DOES NOT call the same pass play as the offense, but the game gives the defense a reward. That reward is in the form of specific defender who covers a certain WR or TE. That coverage is a constant, that’s based off the combination of what the offense and defense call. For instance…the defense calling pass 1 & offense calling pass 2 with the Bears playbook will always result in the same coverage with the top DB covering the top WR.

The coverage changes from one playbook to the next. When facing the Giants playbook, the defense calling pass 1 and the offense calling pass 2 results in the bottom outside LB covering the bottom WR. The key is knowing WHERE the coverage will come from at all times, and NOT SELECTING that defender, or else you lose that “Computer Controlled Coverage”. 

The reasoning behind this strategy is to eliminate the most advantageous pass play the offense has (because you called it), and to get beneficial coverage help on the other pass play. Therefore you systematically eliminate certain players or routes from the passing game, and force the offense to “take what you give them”. The illustration below shows combination of calls that create the coverages against the Bears playbook.

coveragesbears_zps1bcae191.png coveragesbearspass_zps75c65add.png

The information above shows that to eliminate the Bears deep threat in the passing game, you must make pass calls. Within the scheme, calling Pass 1 eliminates the dump off pass play to Payton. Pass 1 is often our Base Pass call. Then what occurs when the offense calls pass 2,(See the field above) is a situation where Chicago will have 2 targets in fairly close proximity together with the TE & Bottom WR...as the top WR going deep is already covered by the top DB. That's a tight window for McMahon to throw into (inside the black circle).

Of course with Walter Payton being an elite RB, you don't want to call too many pass plays. It also shows that calling run plays gives you fairly lack luster pass coverage help against the Bears, as the top WR is uncovered within those combination of calls made. Unfortunately Chicago has one of the more difficult playbooks to defend, even though the pass plays are pretty conservative. Walter Payton's abilities as a runner really makes that playbook work.

Additionally, lets look at a different playbook...

coveragesseahawks_zpsea472dd2.png coveragesseahawkspass_zps6eee190a.png

Now take note of Seattle's playbook coverages. Should the defense call Run 2, & the offense call Pass 1, you actually get pretty decent coverage from a run call. Much better coverage option there, than calling run vs Chicago. The top DB will cover the top WR on Pass 1. That leaves your controlled player left to cover the TE and Bottom WR....both running routes in moderately close proximity. The black circle illustrate the best place to put your defender vs Seattle. This pass coverage situation improves your chances of getting an interception, or preventing a 1st down on a 3rd and long situation.

Edited by Tecmo-Mad-Brad

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Run Defense Schemes:

1st off I'm going to break down the most basic fundamentally sound facet of Tecmo Bowl run defense. It's called Strong Side Run. After that, I'll illustrate the more in-depth run defense calls. 

We call it strong side because it involves the "Human Controlled Defender". The computer controlled defender for the most part only performs its assignment, & doesn't possess the added intelligence a human offers on defense. Thus the human controlled player acts like an extra defender. 


Here's how the run blocking schemes in Tecmo Bowl operate. Think in terms of the field being cut in half. A top half & a bottom half. We refer to the Defensive end, the Outside Line-backer, & the Defensive back positions as the "Book-End" defenders. I have put a red box around these 3 positions. Stopping the run is really simple! If you use a "Book-End" defender from the top half of the field (as illustrated above) you Call the Run Play to the Top of the field which protects your defender & you also WILL NOT be blocked on a run play that goes to the bottom. The same is true in reverse with a run play to the top. Use a "book-end" defender from those bottom positions on the field, call the bottom run, & you can make an easy unblocked tackle on a run play to the to top.

If you choose a defender from somewhere on the middle of the field, you are getting blocked, or forced into trying a highly risky diving tackle against the running back.

What do you do when your fastest player is not a bookend defender??? 
Well, you hope that he falls under into the Linebacker or Defensive tackle protect guidelines...that's what. Fortunately, there are some run calls that "short circuit" the run blocking schemes, and allow these players from the middle of the field to go unblocked. 

I'm not really sure why Tecmo added in this really cool stipulation, but it really amps up the thought process that goes into calling a game from the offensive side of things.
Here's an illustration of how it works against the Colts offense, when they face a 3-4 defense. 


This breaks down what we call Linebacker Protect. The premise is simple. Call the run play to the top of the field (For Indy its Run 2) & be the Top Middle Linebacker(In the red box), & he's not blocked when the Offense calls Run 1. Just like Strong side run which was discussed above, 1 run call basically shuts down both. Fredd Young of Seattle and Karl Mecklenberg of the Denver are 2 of the fastest defenders in the game. It's a great advantage to not have these guys blocked on run plays and free to roam the field on pass plays.

When Indy faces a 4-3 defense (Chicago/Washingto/Dallas) the call changes a little.
Check out the illustration below.


We call this D-Tackle Protect. Same premise as Linebacker protect. Calling the run play towards the bottom D-tackle is how this one works. The picture above shows that it allows Steve McMichael of the Bears to go unblocked when calling Run 1. McMichael is one of the fastest defenders in Tecmo Bowl. Since Linebacker Protect doesn't work with Mike Singletary in the 3-4 defense, it's pretty beneficial for Bears.

Edited by Tecmo-Mad-Brad

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Game Planning:
With what's been shown, how can this all turn into a way to attack the Bears offense & playbook? 

As discussed previously, you have to Call a lot of Run against Chicago. One ploy we often use against Chicago is to Call Run 1 fairly often & use the top DE or top outside LB exclusively. That cuts off the quick pass to the top, and keeps Payton from running mad on our defense. Although, as you hammer away on run calls you do get slowly gouged by the passing game. So you do need to mix in some pass calls here and there. 

By continuing to use the top DE/OLB & typically calling pass, you're going to get your opponent conditioned into a couple things. 1st off, that the Pass plays are his best bet to avoid getting play-picked. 2nd, that the run to the bottom is only good for a few yards each time, but if he can catch you on a run to the top when you didn't call it, he's going to get some big yards. That's where a switch in strategy for a few plays can get you some play-picks and an easy 3 & out. Often the switch is to go to the bottom side bookend defender and go exclusively to some pass calls.


Take note of the area you need to cover(black circle) in the illustration above. If you can catch the Bears in Pass 2 with the top WR covered & you have a bottom defender you're in perfect position. Even if he's slow you still have a good shot at shutting this play down....especially on a 3rd and long. Overall just catching the Bears offense off guard with a play pick on 1st/2nd down or a good coverage situation on a 3rd down can force a punt. 

For the Bears when they face a 3-4 defense, Linebacker Opposite shuts down their run plays. Meaning the defense can use the Top Middle LB and call Run 2. The conditioning involved here is to get the player controlling the Bears offense accustomed to knowing the defense is calling a lot of Run 2 to the bottom. Since Payton is fast, he can still gain a few yards on a run to the top even though the Top Middle LB is not blocked. In theory he will begin to not want to call Run 2 to the bottom because its been a worthless play....and that's when switching to a Bottom DE and calling pass plays can really catch the Bears offense.

With the combination of things like Computer Controlled Coverage, Linebacker/D-tackle Protect, & even using the run calls to get pass coverage there's a lot going on. You can really give the offense a lot of headaches as they try to successfully navigate through the defenses calls. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

More strategies that we employ....

Bunk Bed defense:


As I outlined earlier, you have to consider the field as 2 parts.  A top and a bottom half....just like a bunk bed.  

Bunk bed defense is one of the calls you can make that also "short circuits" the run blocking scheme.  It's a lot less complicated than the "Linebacker protect" schemes, and it really bucks the trend of being unblocked on the side that the run play goes to.   Here's how it works....


You choose a defensive back.  For illustration purposes, that will be the top DB inside the red box.  From there you call the run play to the bottom...which for Seattle is "Run 2".

The Seahawks offense calls "Run 1" to the top, but the DB is not blocked, when he normally is, and he can make an easy tackle.


  BunkbedD_zps7d2c4983.png   bunkbedplays_zps53b2eb09.png


There's a few good reasons to run the Bunk bed defense.  Since you're using a DB , you are the furthest player from the line of scrimmage.  So in the case of a run to the bottom, your top DB has a long distance to travel to make the tackle, and the running back can get some good yardage...so preventing a run to the bottom limits the yardage given up.


Next reason is Computer Controlled Coverage.  Calling a run play, as outlined before in some situations gives you great pass coverage...and using the Bunk bed defense always means you can be a defender from either half of the field, while shutting down the run, and getting the coverage help from the other side.  Considering the Browns DB's are both fast, they are the most common to run this defense.  It's a good way to lock down 75% of the playbook if the calls between the offense and defense match-up correctly.  Having a DB at the snap also puts you in good position to fly around and get an interception on an attempted quick pass somewhere, so you have a bit of a jump on the offense from that position.


The last reason is that the Bunk bed defense is disguised very well.  When Seattle calls Run 1 to the top, it appears initially that there is a blocker headed for the top DB, but at the last second, he stops running and, and just gets out of the way.  By then it's too late to make an adjustment, and the DB gets an easy tackle.  The RB could attempt to take a top run to the bottom for more yards, but when you see that blocker headed for the DB, you see the great opportunity ahead to rack up big yards....but it doesn't materialize because you got Bunk'D!  

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

've figured you can really run about 8 different styles of defense in the game.

Of the ones that have already been outlined in this thread, you've got.....


-Strong side run 

-Bunk bed

-Computer Controlled Coverage

-Linebacker/DT protect


From there you can start to run combo's in the form of....


This is basically doing a "Linebacker/DT Protect" geared towards getting pass coverage help, and taking out 75% of the playbook.  Its really a good go-to call on 3rd and long, or for a lot of bend but don't break defense.

In a few cases you can also run trifecta with a strong side run call as well.


For a variation (AKA Switch) that was only touched upon a little up above

-Cat & Mouse

This is comes into play with the non-stop "top run" calls & top DE/OLB vs the Bears, then the abrupt "switch" to a pass call and using a bottom DE/OLB on a 3rd down play.  Cat & Mouse can be a 2 fold defense.


The 2nd way to use cat & Mouse is the aggressive style.  That's not just the occasional switch to trick the offense...this form involves far more frequent changes.  You are constantly changing which half of the field you use a defender from.  This ultimately confuses the offense, because they eventually have no clue which half of the field they can have success running towards, and as a result they tend to call more pass plays.  The premise behind this is to take chances that you won't get run against on your half of the field, and you can lock in with a lot of pass calls to shut down the offense.


Lastly is to just go all out

-Playpick style


Commonly run at 2 ends of the field.  When you get the offense pinned back inside their 20, and really want to devastate them, and get the ball back with great field position. Also you're more inclined to take chances when you have a lot of field to work with.  Why play bend but don;t break at their 20.  Kick their ass and get a 3 & out.  


The other time playpick style its frequently run is inside your 5.  Inside the 5 against some playbooks, computer controlled coverage doesn't always help you.  The only way to force a fieldgoal is to playpick them out of the stadium!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...