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GAMEPLAN            

ADVANCED GAME

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INTRODUCTION

The advanced game is the original version of Gameplan. We discovered early on that there were quite a lot of people who couldn't handle the complexity of the original game (we could see this because we'd get gameplans that were so silly they couldn't have made sense to anyone: that had to have been written by someone who hadn't understood how it worked and was filling in boxes pretty much at random), and quite a lot more who who preferred the simpler version.

The basic game is a cut-down version. It's a lot easier and quicker to sit down and decide what plays to call in the situations that are described for you. Working out what the situations should be, and understanding which situations you can define that involve you wanting to make different play calls - that's what Gameplan is about. The skill level in the advanced game is MUCH higher. The amount of thought you need to put into it is much higher.

STATISTICS

The statistics, though, are instructive. Of people who enquired in response to adverts, the proportion who joined and played through the first season in the original version was around 40%. When the basic version was introduced that rate rose to around 60% but the ratio of players between the basic and advanced versions come out at around 4 to 1.

By my reckoning, that means 40% of people who are interested enough to write a letter asking for details don't join. Of the 60% who do, two thirds are able to play the advanced game successfully, but only one fifth actually do so.

Isn't that an interesting statistic? If current players are a representative sample of the original population (a very dubious assumption) then nearly half of current players who play only the basic version are capable of playing the advanced game.

HISTORY

The 4-to-1 ratio between basic and advanced players (mentioned above) isn't a fixed value. It depends a lot on how the game is promoted. When SEP Games ran the game their proportion was more like 3-to-1. But Mike and Graham (who ran SEP) came from the advanced game themselves. Sloth Enterprises had one advanced league among thirty-something. Danny came from the basic game and I don't think he's ever started an advanced league (he's hardly ever had the chance to start new leagues anyway - the advertising locations had all disappeared by the time he got started).

These days people almost never join the advanced game. I only recently discovered how negative the comparison was in Danny's leaflet and website. I think the sentence "Itís more complicated, but does give you more flexibility if thatís what you want" would suggest to most people that it's only retained for the odd eccentric who insists on it, and "We generally recommend that new players start with Gameplan Basic, and then move on to Gameplan Advanced once they've seen the rulebook and if they feel it will suit them best" is the exact opposite of what was in the original leaflet and the opposite of what I think is appropriate.

My view is that all players should look at the advanced game. If it suits the way you think then it's the version you should be playing. I think the basic version is for people whose way of going about things doesn't fit the pattern that's needed, or who don't want to put in the extra time and effort that's involved (yet). If you do things by intuition or trial and error then the advanced game probably isn't going to work for you. If you play by analysing things, and you're confident with logic chains (if A then B, else if C then D except when E and F...) then I think for you the advanced is going to work better than the basic.

WHICH VERSION

By my way of thinking, a good test of which version would suit you best is fairly simple. If when you read the situation descriptions (the ones in paragraph 2.11 in the basic rulebook) you take them as "given", as things that are set in stone that you must react to, then the basic game is for you. On the other hand if you can see how the different situations fit together, how the current situation is decided, and how it would be different if they were in a different order, then you probably could be taking a good look at the advanced game. If you can pick out other situations in which you'd like to make play calls differently, right away, and you can see where they'd fit in the list then I think you DEFINITELY belong in the advanced game.

WARMUP GAMES

Gameplan is already equipped with a format that allows people to develop their own gameplan at their own pace in their own time. It's fine to bounce straight into a league in the basic game, but in the advanced version it's almost certainly better to spend time working through the process without the pressure of deadlines. Or the pressure of experienced opponents beating you out of sight when your first ideas turn out not to work so well.

So let's have a special offer. The usual rate (£1 per turn UK, $2 US, 2 Euros, $3 Australian or Canadian) for turns while you're playing warmup games in a warmup league with Software Simulations (if you're outside the UK then website entry for these games is probably only a few weeks away... watch this website for news). Ought to be cheap enough to give it a go.

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