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ROSTER & DRAFT CHANGES

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COST OF ACTIONS

Tne next step towards making a better balance of rosters is to change the LP cost of various actions. At present it costs 15 LPs to coach a player, but only 10 to fix a step loss and 5 to fix a reduction. You get 8 or 10 LPs per strength when you waive someone. A simple change would be to make the cost of fixing players 12 for a step and 6 for a reduction.

WAIVERS

Another option would be to change the LP value of players waived. In other games we reduce the value of a waiver by the age of the player. This would have another benefit of encouraging coaches to retain their veteran players, who are more effective. Over the years there have been too many coaches who would cut their strongest players in order to stuff their rosters with larger numbers of weaker ones (it might work several seasons down the line, but the coaches that do it usually repeat the strategy season after season and never get to see the payoff).

SPECIAL TEAMS STRENGTHS

In NuGameplan we're changing the format of player and team strengths slightly, in that we've separated the main strength categories and special teams categories. This paves the way for adding more different special teams strengths, and we could also have some other playing strengths that work the same way (ie. not as part of your main team strengths).

NEW PLAYER SKILLS

The only player strengths we consider at present are the physical ones that relate to things in your gameplan, plus experience. In real life players are much more complicated and there are a variety of other personality factors that make the difference between bad players, good players and great players.

Some players are dumb. Some are smart. Some play like veterans from the first moment they arrive in the league. Others are slow learners. Some never learn at all. Some players have all the skills but high error rates (RBs with all the moves who get all the yardage you might want, but can't stop fumbling, for example). Others are unspectacular but never make mistakes. Some players cause other people to make mistakes. Others talk trash and help to motivate the opposition.

There are a lot of player skills already in the game but semi-hidden, in that some existing skills have double meanings and we could extend the range by simply extracting those double meanings and making them explicit. For example, DPR and DKR on receivers and running backs have a second meaning as strengths running in broken field (after the catch or in run breakouts). They'd normally be paired together, but not always.

Player skills like these could added, and they could influence some of the numbers at runtime. They'd have to be used in moderation, or there would be a big risk of messing up the play balance. The "bad" skills would probably have to be paired with corresponding "good" skills.

UNCOACHABLE SKILLS

Not all player skills should be coachable or subject. We already have this to some extent with playert types and strengths that are draftable but not coachable, but some of the character strengths should be completely non-variable (ie. not subject to step losses, and not lost until the player retires).

POTENTIAL

In most games like this we include "potential" as an attribute of players. Usually potential is required for coaching actions (etc) and sometimes it reduces the cost of actions. This is a simple change that will push coaches further into making roster development decisions (retaining weaker players with potential so as to build a stronger team down the line).

SCOUTING

The draft list is currently only in week 16, but if we brought it forward either to week ten or all through the season then coaches could scout it in search of specific skills and combinations. That would increase the tendency to draft down in search of particular combinations and if we expand the range of player skills then coaches could have much more detailed information on the players scouted. Without us having to clutter the draft list with extra information.

PLAYER TYPES

A possible change would be to sub-divide player types more than at present. That would make draft choices more difficult, so that higher picks and free agent moves become more important. There are several levels we could go to splitting each position - the most obvious approach would be CB-S, MLB-ILB-OLB, DE-DT-NT, C-G-T, FB-HB-RB although we could go deeper according to formations and schemes. Then we get some complications with players changing positions, or playing more than one position (so that versaitility could be another skill).

FRANCHISE PLAYERS

Now that we have free agency as a standard part of the game an easy addition would be the option to protect key players against free agency by tagging them as franchise players. At a cost, of course. Easy and quick to implement, and it would add an extra roster decision to make in late season.

ASSISTANT COACHES

At present your team consists of a coach (that's you) and a bunch of players. In real life there are also a lot of assistant coaches, and these are often as important as the players themselves. Assistant coaches are already included in the most recent version of Gameplan, so they are available in NuGameplan (although disabled until we decide what changes to make) and work is already in progress to move them from being acquired by recruiting actions to treating them like players signed through free agency (and lost through free agency and retirements).

Assistant coaches currently work only at gametime - by adding experience to the players in their area, but we could also have them modify the LP costs of actions on their players. They could add extra training strengths, especially at the start of the season when they'd be most useful. They could increase the effect of your bonuses and keys. They could modify the chances of step losses and gains where those are applied. They could influence players in their rookie seasons by adding potential, or acting in lieu of potential, or by protecting against step losses.

Ultimately I want assistant coaches to be something you sign to strengthen and help your team develop long term in specific areas so that which coaches you hire will help define the actual and visible "personality" or "flavour" of your team.

STADIUM TYPES, WEATHER

The original outline for the game included rules for different stadium types and prevailing weather, but they got left out. Even though they're a subject that gets talked about a lot. We've got home advantage, but it's constant and not very large. Anyone want to do some stats to see how large? What we've got will be nothing like as important as whether a warm weather team from the south can win on the road in the north in the middle of winter.

I like clear functional attributes, so the roundup and scouting report tells a coach what to look out for:-
1. Speed - open field running, special teams, run after catch
2. Windy - good for home and bad for road teams on kicking plays
3. Cold - defence
4. Noise - false starts and other confusion penalities
5. Warm - extra fatigue (once we have some in-game fatigue rules)
There is a separate issue of how and when you're able to change your stadium attributes. If at all, and at what cost. Perhaps a form penalty like a change of base formation?

While we're at it, shouldn't a change of quarterback carry a form penalty?

HOME & ROAD FORM

I don't think anyone will argue with the idea that teams can have different form at home and on the road. We could, if we wanted, without making a huge difference to the software or the play balance, liven things up a bit and increase the amount of variation by keeping track of form separately at home and on the road. So that winning at home doesn't help you win on the road. Which would make home field advantage worth playing for.

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