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GAMEPLAN            

BASIC GAME

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THE ORIGINAL DESIGN

In the original design for the basic game each team had only one set of game parameters and the situation was defined for both the offence and the defence by the parameters of the team on offence (real life defences can read the offence situation easily enough, by looking at the formation and the personnel the offence put on the field, so it's a perfectly sensible way of going about it).

That didn't work especially well, because the coaches soon took to assigning all sorts of crazy values for their game parameters and modifying their play calling in line with the values they chose (an advantage for the offence, because offence knows they're going to do it, and the defence can only make guesses). So you'd get teams using their short yardage situation on first and ten, with the defence expecting short yardage, and then filling the short yardage situation with passing plays. Or doing something similar with long yardage, or the hurry up situation.

HOW IT CHANGED

The rule change to put a stop to this was adding the second set of game parameters, so that the defence could call the situation for itself. That was probably a mistake, and it would have been better to remove the game parameters entirely, or restrict them to a very narrow range of sensible values.

Removing the game parameters would mean we'd get back to the original intention, of a game where you call the plays in situations that are already defined. In each situation we'd have an straight matchup between the plays called on one side and the plays called on the other, without requiring that coaches get into situational analysis to work out which line of the gameplan the other side might be using.

HOW IT WORKS NOW

As things stand, the basic gameplan requires coaches to understand how the situations fit together. You have a major advantage if you can see when the offence and defence situations are going to be mismatched (eg. 2nd and 3, where one side has assigned short yardage as two and the other has it set to three). Many successful coaches are probably putting a lot of effort into playing in the cracks between the situations instead of playing the situations themselves.

The overall effect is probably that the coaches the game is designed for are likely to be losing a lot of the games against the coaches who should be playing the original (advanced) game. Which encourages the advanced coaches to play the basic game, and probably discourages the basic coaches from playing at all.

ALTERNATIVES

Almost certainly it would not be feasible to take the game parameters out of the basic game. I think if we were starting new basic leagues for new coaches, then I'd want to try the game without the variations in the game parameters, but I'm sure it wouldn't be popular among current coaches.

There's no fundamental reason why we couldn't have two (or more) slightly different versions of the basic game, especially if the difference is something as simple to control as whether you can change the game parameters.

INTERMEDIATE VERSIONS

The fundamental difference between the basic and advanced games is that in the advanced game you define the situations and in the basic game you don't. Given this, we could build basic leagues with any sort of gameplan we like, by using the advanced game. Design the gameplan, duplicate it, and then don't let people change it except to change the formations and play calls. If you do that, what you've got is a different basic game. It doesn't matter that it actually runs through the software for the advanced version: you play it the same you you play the basic game.

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