There are twelve teams in each game, all fighting for a place in the finals and a chance to win the title. Only four teams play in the finals and the finals system favours the teams that placed highest in the league.
The start of the season is a short cup competition. Everyone always plays a game each week. If you're elimninated from the cup or from the finals then you play a pre-season or friendly game instead (they don't count for anything except for practice, but they do mean you get a chance to experiment with things you wouldn't try in games that count).
Teams and leagues carry over from season to season. If you're not going to win the grand final this season, then you have the freedom to start rebuilding for the season after.
Your squad is made up of exactly twenty-two players: thirteen on your starting lineup and one reserve for each position (full back, wing, centre, stand off, scrum half, prop, hooker, second row and loose forward).
Each turn you can change your lineup by swapping players with your reserves, and you can change your squad by signing new players. New signings join as reserves (the previous reserve gets released). You can trade reserves direct with other teams, one-for-one, two-for-two or whatever.
Each player has a rating for each of power, speed, handling, tackling and kicking. The different skills are more or less important according to the position played. Coaching allows you to increase the skills of your players.
Young players normally have potential, which allows them to be coached more cheaply. Older players lose skills at the end of each season.
Each game you get six possessions, each of six tackles. Your opponent gets the same. You call an attacking play for each tackle, and a defence for each possession (so the defence is the same for each tackle in that possession). Your attacking plays are matched against the defence called by your opponent.
The different attacking plays need different types of players and different skills. For each tackle a player of the right type (according to the play) is selected to carry the ball, and his immediate opponent (the guy on the other side, wearing the same shirt number) has the first shot at tackling him. If the first tackler misses then that's a line break, and another defender must make the play.
The yards gained on the play depend on the relative strengths and skills of the players. There's also a risk factor on each play. The more complciated the play, the more yards you can get, but the higher the risk of a turnover.
When there's a line break, you get extra yardage not just on the play when the tackle was missed but on the following tackle as well (because the defence will have been disrupted and scrambling to back into position).
Rugby League Breakout isn't a complicated game. The idea is to capture the look and feel of rugby league, which is the bone-crunching contests of men in collision. We don't do anything except set the guys to run at each other and see who comes out ahead. Sometimes it's a bit brutal, but that's rugby league.