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The advanced game was hardly changed in the big version 2.15 update. There were a number of changes that were on the drawing board at the start, but these got edged aside by the range and depth of the changes in the basic game. I think it's probably time to put this right and work out what improvements we'd like to make.

We have a lot of experience with the advanced game now. We know a lot more about what we're doing than we did when the game was first put together. We should be able to refine the design. We can throw out some stuff we know we don't really need. We could add stuff that we know would be interesting and more realistic.


One thing that did change in version 2.15 was the basic gameplan, but the "initial gameplan" in the advanced game (which previously matched what was in the basic gameplan) didn't get updated. But then I've never thought it was appropriate that it should. When someone starts in the advanced game they should have something that shows off what the advanced game does. Not something they could already do in the basic game.

Also, when you arrive in a league in the advanced game you usually take over the gampelan left by the previous coach, which means you have to hack through it and work out what the guy was trying to do, and how he was trying to do it, and then make your changes on top of that. Which isn't a user friendly way of going about it.

So one of the first things we coould to do in the advanced game is build a new "initial gameplan" and a blurb to explain what it's doing and how. I think this is a job for experienced coaches, with the help in the way of feedback from some new ones. Show off some of the features, without doing anything too clever, too complicated, or too contentious. Any volunteers?


At present an advanced situation is defined by (1) the down, (2) the yards for the down, (3) the field position, (4) the score and (5) the time. The time and score values appear only in a few combinations. We could chop these columns out, and replace them with a range of named combinations. It's simpler, neater and more flexible. The range of named combinations could include things other than the time and score (see the next section) and the conditions can be more sophisticated.

A good example is the change up - once you've changed up you probably want to stay with it (or another change up situation) rather than drop back into the situation that was performing poorly in the first place, and the current system doesn't allow that. Once you've fixed it you go back to what you were doing before, or to another situation that replaces the original whether it was working or not. And that's all very clumsy and weak and long overdue for a change.


Real life coaches with real life gameplans look at the stats their team is producing and adjust their gameplans accordingly. And they do react according to what they see the opposition doing. Coaches don't call play action unless they've first established the run, or seen that the opposition is playing the run, for example. In Gameplan we've got reactions. The balance of your play calls within each situation changes according to what works and what doesn't. But that only works within a given situation. We originally had a mechanism for spreading reactions from one situation into another, but it wasn't much used. Today, it might be.

An alternative would be to work out a set of conditions for which stats to react to, and write them into the situation definitions. So you could bring in a different first down situation in the third quarter according to how many running yards you achieved in the first half, for example.

At present you can only react to the score, and guess what events led you to the position you're in. You might be able to run all over someone, but their pass rush is killing your passing game. You could be losing on turnovers, so that although the correct strategy is to run hard and pass short, but the most likely reason for you losing is that your running game is failing... so your current gameplan will probably change to a longer passing game, and you get killed even worse. It's an example that probably comes up quite often. This limitation also leads people to use more extreme tactics in order to get a clearer idea of where they stand, and it's a major reason why games aren't closer more often. A lot of the time you guess wrong as to how you got into a bad situation, and that makes it more difficult to get out.


Real life coaches can do things that are much more radical. The simplest approach to gametime adjustments would probably be too brutal. But we should think about it anyway. At present you write a gameplan, and then we play the game. How about if we stopped at half time, so you could look at your gameplan and change it?

At first sight this is going to cost twice as much per game (the same amount per turn). But not necessarily. We could get around it by having two gameplans per team (one for the first half and one for the second) and then playing two games at a time (overlapping, so that for a given turn you play the second half of one game and the first half of the next).

This is probably an idea only for the jumbo version. It's actually pinched from the outline of the first class version of Run Chase (the variations in situations in the second innings of a game of cricket are so wide there seems no realistic way of writing a single gameplan that would cope).


A lot of real life coaches script a series of plays at the start of the game. They don't react to what the opponent is doing and they're usually not trying use one play call to set up something else (they way they do most of the rest of the time). The usual idea appears to be to test out how the opposition will react to a variety of things, and to test the matchups of personnel to see what might to work and what probably won't.

This also makes sense for us if the results of the scripted plays can be used to change the subsequent play calling. The simplest way to do this would probably be to modify the reactions on calls in the rest of the gameplan according to what happened in the scripted part (so that other situations react as if the scripted calls were in the same situation). Which would work in the basic game as well as in the advanced. On the other hand if an advanced gameplan can react to stats then running a script at the start of the game, so that you know exactly what's being called and when, means you know what you're reacting to.


The best way to implement scripting in the most generalised way is going to be adding a checkbox selection to each situation, alongside the reaction box. The effect would be that for a scripted situation when play calls are used and react down to zero they would stay at zero (so they'd be dropped and no longer get called). Once all the play calls in a given situation have been dropped the situation would be ignored. Currently with the numbered and "Highest" reactions the play weights don't fall below one, and on the "Sequence", "Rotate" and "Alternate" reactions they soon rotate back up.

An opening script would then be somewhere near the front your gameplan with Reaction set to "S" and Scripting to "Y" so you'd work through the list of play calls and then ignore the situation thereafter. It wouldn't have to be a catchall situation - it could be 1st & 10's only, or whatever, and other specialist situations (long yardage, short yardage, third downs, goal line etc) could have priority. And you wouldn't be restricted to having only one scripted situation.

To make this work we'd also need to have a catch-all situation in every gameplan (to apply on downs when no situation applies - currently you get defaults of A SW on offence of MD on defence if no situation is found). Most coaches already have one, but I'd make it a standard feature so you wouldn't need to give up a situation for it.


In an earlier version of the game we "token" play calls you could put in your gameplan, which would be selected like normal plays and then substituted with a real play call. In that version the only benefit was that you could swap your play calling around more quickly without editing your gameplan (just changing the calls in the token boxes). I think we only took it out to simplify things and make room on the turnsheet.

In the re-introduced version instead of swapping the play calls one-for-one the token would represent another situation, probably a single standard extra situation (similar to the catchall situation) or maybe another real situation (but that's moe complicated).

These "Overcalls" would achieve three things:
1. You can change your play calling across a range of situations quickly (the same as before),
2. You could call more than just four plays in a given situation, and
3. The reactions to the plays would change across all the situations the tokens are called from, so the results in one situation can influence the play calling in another.

An example would be that you call XO in an ordinary situation, and the actual play call is made instead from the group you've set for XO, say RT PW PL SC.

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