4th Street Basketball - Information Page

How to Play the Game!

4th Street Basketball is the newest offering in the 4th Street Software line of games!  Concepts include ball movement, defensive play, and shooting in 3 different levels.  The game is simple to play, fast-moving, and fun to play! 

Players are printed in full color on 2.5" x 3.5" card stock...the same size as a bubble gum card.  

The easy-to-use symbols drive game play.  The circular ones, like "⊚," "⊛," and "↺," among others, are shot symbols.  Triangular symbols, such as "▲," "►," and "△," are for penetration plays like passing and driving toward the hoop.  Others represent actions such as a steal (↬), blocked shot (✖), or an injury (☠).

Play results are found by:

  • a setup play which determines the player with the ball and his location on the court
  • determining the winner of a player “matchup." That is, a one-on-one battle between the skills of the player in possession of the ball and the player defending him.  Most matchups are resolved simply by comparing two differently colored six-sided dice.
  • Reading the result of the play off the player who won the matchup.

Five dice are used to play 4th Street Basketball:

  • one white d6, used to identify player matchups
  • one blue d6, used for the "blue" (home) team to determine matchup winners
  • one red d6, used for the "red" (visiting) team to determine matchup winners
  • one orange d6 and black d6, which are combined and used to find the result symbol on the matchup winner's card

    Players are identified using the following number system:

    • ① = point guard
    • ② = shooting guard
    • ③ = small forward
    • ④ = power forward
    • ⑤ = center

    For example, a matchup may occur between the ball handler and the player guarding him near the 3-point line, which in this game is referred to as "Level 3."  The matchup, decided by the red and and blue d6 in conjunction with the ball handler's "Level 3" rating and the defender's "defense" rating in Level 3, might turn out to be a "," which indicates that the ball is passed successfully to a teammate identified by the white d6.  This result would have only been found if the ball handler won his matchup; had the defensive player won, the result may have been something else, such as "↬.

    The Court

    The court is mapped out according to scoring difficulty, with three "Level 1" zones (marked 1A, 1B, and 1C) right under the hoop, four "Level 2" zones (marked 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D) which are about 8-12 feet out, and four "Level 3" zones (marked 3A, 3B, 3C, and 3D) which are at or near the 3-point line. 


    The three basic defenses in 4th Street Basketball are man-to-man, zone, and press.  All 3 have some advantages and some disadvantages. 

    • Man is the easiest defense to employ; player ① covers player ①, player ④ covers player ④, etc.  While every offensive player is "covered" on a play, poor defenders can easily be over-matched.
    • The zone defense uses a set of player tokens which are physically moved on the defensive side of the court in order to create player matchups.  It allows zone collapses and expansions at the expense of creating empty areas which can be exploited.
    • The press defense is an aggressive strategy designed to create turnovers.  Unfortunately, it also creates fouls and can lead to easy buckets.

    All of these defenses can be used with or without the use of double teams.

    Location Grid

    A "Location Grid" has been generated for each season of 4th Street Basketball.  It is designed to create a proportional approach to 3-point shots and passing.

    Most action begins with a setup play...the dice are rolled and used to (a) identify the ball handler and (b) determine his location on the offensive side of the court.  As an example, let's assume that Boston and Los Angeles are playing, and Los Angeles has the ball.  Boston is playing a man-to-man defense.  Boston is the visiting team, so they're "Team Red" today.  Los Angeles is "Team Blue."



    The white roll of "5" recognizes the ball handler and his defender as player ⑤ (the centers) for both teams.  That pits Kareem Abdul-Jabbar against Dave Cowens.

    Abdul-Jabbar has the ball in zone "2A," as the orange "3" and black "5" are cross-referenced on the Location Grid for position ⑤.  We take 5 seconds off the game clock.

    The dice are now rolled again...

     ...and we compare the red and blue dice.  The red die represents the visitor, while the blue die represents the home team.

    The ball is located in zone "2A," which is in Level 2.  Abdul-Jabbar's Level 2 offensive rating is a "3."  This is added to the blue die, giving a total of "8."  Cowen's defensive rating in Level 2 is "1."  This is added to his red die, giving him a total of "2."  Abdul-Jabbar's total is more than Cowens, so we'll find the result of the play on Abdul-Jabbar's card.


    The orange "3" and black "2" are now cross-referenced on Abdul-Jabbar's card in the "Level 2" section, where we find the symbol "⊘."  That's the symbol code for a successful bank shot.  2 points, Los Angeles!


    Had Cowens won the matchup instead, a "32" on his card would have given the symbol "⊠."  Cowens would have fouled Abdul-Jabbar.


    Most plays are resolved in a very similar manner to the one outlined above.  There are rebounds, passes, drives, 3-point attempts, 3-point (and 4-point) plays, and beautiful passes.