UPCOMING PROJECT – 2020-21 Alternative Premier League

It’s probably time that I put in my nearly annual post on this blog. I do enjoy writing, but in terms of time, typically I feel going and setting up another game is more fulfilling & important than a blog post. There really aren’t enough people who put fingers to keyboard to talk about the nuts and bolts of the tabletop hobby. For every writer about theory there are a hundred guys playing the same game over and over again on Youtube, often aimlessly…

So let’s get into this “Alternative Premier League.”

My style is experimental. I’ve done replays, they serve their purpose (and on Youtube, that purpose just seems to be fodder to have a few people chatting while you play). But I’ve found very little joy in that project type, as a large percentage of the project is already decided for you (lineups, rotations, current roster makeup, injuries, etc.). Surely there’s a good feeling when it comes to seeing and hearing names you once knew and loved, but after a couple of games it’s just rote playing everything straight up.

In some ways, this “Alternative Premier League” structure resembles a replay. This is all based on APBA Soccer’s 2020-21 English Premier League card set, and the season structure will be quite similar – 20 teams each play the other 19 opponents twice, for a total of 38 games per team and 380 in the entire season. This stands to be quite an overwhelming project, and thus my target completion will be 2023 at least.

Where it will differ: I have constructed a randomized schedule maker, and so I’ve made a completely novel 38 Matchweek schedule. I find it interesting to see how the point totals will amass if teams meet tougher (or weaker) opponents at different points in the schedule (i.e. maybe at a point before or after a key transfer was made in real life which swung the balance of power for a team).

I’ve also mapped out team’s tactical tendencies. I will be starting by rolling for each opponent to decide if they’ll go with a 4-man backline, or if they’ll be using a 3/5-man defense. At that point, the next check would be to determine the number of forwards used in the formation based on frequency in tandem with defender manpower. From those two data points the number of midfielders can be deduced. While I could have set up a check to decide the general makeup of midfield (attacking mids, holding mids, etc), there will also be a random fitness check for each player. So in some games a team might need 4 midfielders, and it is inherently better to pick the 4 that are fit vs. 3 fit and 1 fatigued though he might fit a role better against a certain opponent.

I intend to use the adjustments of a guy who goes by Dr. Z on the APBA Delphiforum. His Mini Premier League thread contains the Excel sheet which detail his modifications, and they add a Super-Advanced feel to the game.

Playing a “Preseason” to Brush Up On A Game – Detroit 2019

Rebooting the new channel has meant a chance to start fresh with a new baseball project. Most of my baseball rolling has been done with Strat-O-Matic (SOM): TBL’s 1 and 2, the Phillies 2008 Replay, a King of the Hill type tournament, and even a 1922 series between the St. Louis Browns and New York Giants. all in either SOM basic, advanced or super-advanced.

The one baseball project I started that didn’t involve SOM was a TBL 2.1, that I was calling the Tenacious History Maker Baseball League (THMBL). I played a few gamedays of the project in History Maker Baseball (HMB), but decided one TBL at a time was enough.

That brings me to today, where I’ve had HMB for over 3 years now and not much use. I decided that when TBL 2 was over, version 3 would be in HMB using the 2019 season I purchased last year. More recently I’ve decided that this will be the first 10 team league I’ll try where I will manage 1 team through the 54 game season, and the random engine selected the Boston Red Sox (the other games will be quick-played with the standard Plaay chart).

Having played it sparingly, I decided that I needed to nail down the engine and mechanics before recording for the world to see. I thought of a few potential ways to refamiliarize myself, but I kept returning to the idea of a “Preseason.” I went back and forth whether to play with Boston or another team. I decided I’d let a random choice occur, with the first team NOT in my project to come up being the one I’d play out. Detroit ended up being selected, which was cool for me because they sucked and it would give me a chance to get used to losing.

Detroit Tigers 2019 Preseason Set – Overachieving

At first, that was the case. I also used the random generation to select opponents, and the Yankees, Athletics, Indians, and Royals were chosen. I did an Away-Home alternating schedule just to help simulate that aspect.

The Tigers struggled early on, with the first three opponents being clearly out of their league. They were able to squeeze out a win from each of New York, Oakland, and Cleveland though, which set up Kansas City as a chance to finish level par. They did, winning each game by a single run, with a walk-off win in Game 1, and two Shane Greene saves to finish off the finishing sweep.

Below are the final batting and pitching stats. I will be using Sheets to track the Boston season statistics.

Why Tabletop Sports Sims and YouTube?

I’m a self-conscious person by nature, to a fault almost always. I have always worried what was thought of me. It probably started when, one day when I am barely old enough to remember, my grandfather tells my Mom & Dad, “This one’s going to make a living with his brain, because he ain’t gonna do it with his hands,” or something of the sort. It was the kind of funny thing an old patriarch says to sound shrewd and wise. And whether it’s shrewd, wise, prescient, or just plain life-defining for a kid who is maybe 3 or 4 and has his whole life ahead, it sticks with me to the point that today, yes, I have fulfilled his prophecy.

So let’s get to the question in the title, because this is something that I worry is a hangup for some (see, that self-image crap strikes again). It’s probably overthinking that has been brought about by the aforementioned “hey there’s the fat kid” or “what a nerd” style insults of the past. But I kind of understand…starting a channel on YouTube reeks of wanting to be famous, thinking you can be the primary source of definitive information on games…the kind of arrogance that just turns people off.

That’s not why I did it.

Two different genres stirred up the thoughts which brought me to Tenacious Sports: the “play it” type video game vloggers, and Disc Golf. Let me explain the latter, as everyone is all-so-familiar with the craze of the former.

In the middle part of the 2010’s, I got into disc golf as a cheaper, less time-consuming surrogate of the ball sport. It has spread a lot in recent years, much of which has come from publicity through fan-started video efforts by Jomez and TheDiscGolfGuy (for two). These guys put a lot of sweat and personal outlay into getting their videography started, and through YouTube built a standard for coverage of the pro game to the point where CBS Sports Network and ESPN came calling to broadcast tourneys in the last 3 years.

But back in 2016, when I started TenaciousStrat, disc golf still wasn’t that big. And all I saw was that it was helping a fringe sport that didn’t get much airtime anywhere get exposure, bring about people from all over to interact, watch, learn, and possibly try disc golf.

So that’s where my channel came in. I hadn’t played a ton Strat-o-matic at that point, but I did have a project started, and I had watched both Earle at Tabletop Baseball Plus as well as David at Baseball Demos quite a bit. There didn’t seem to be many others trying to give sports sims via cards & dice love on YouTube. So I figured out how to record with my phone, then eventually live-stream with it, and that’s it. And maybe guys who were new would be willing to watch someone like me fumble around a bit until I got it. It’s worked out OK.

The reasons I started doing this were really twofold: 1) I wanted to create content that would provide more chances that prospective tabletop gamers would be introduced to the pastime, and 2) I wanted to document what I was doing for myself and perhaps my kids so that one day in the future they’d be able to reflect on something that brought me joy, and maybe even decide it was something they would like.

It hasn’t always been pretty. These types of endeavors are not done in a vacuum, and carving out a quiet hour or two with young kids was challenging. My reaction to their behavior often fell short of my desired level of care when they needed attention. I also had a period of time where the game lost its joy, as my passion for the memory of a fun season (2008 Phillies) morphed into the lunacy of worrying that I couldn’t replicate their division title, let alone winning a Series. Those two situations likely cost me viewers in the long run, and regretfully don’t hold up to my reasons as state (though in some regards, the 2008 Phillies Replay could offer my kids a glimpse at the heartfelt passion that derives from rooting for a team, win or lose, through good and bad).

But honestly, I think reason 1) has gotten lost in the shuffle for me. For the early years I seemed to have quite a number of people remarking how they bought their first game or tried this other game because of seeing a video I created, and that gave me so much joy. I also enjoy projects, and completing the next game in a project is easier than trying to find new ways or places to promote the hobby.

So I hope I’ve convinced you this isn’t some effort to bring attention to myself. Lord knows I’m not the person who anyone should model their lives after. I just hope the hobby continues to grow, in times when there the advances in electronic simulation accelerate and provide even more immersive and realistic graphics. This hobby offers a chance to take a step back, slow it down, and learn a great deal about athletic performance when boiled into a statistical model. These are the endeavors of the shrewd and wise, ones where both the brains and the hands are useful for a lifetime of enjoyment.

The Case For Fictional

The small black & white dice are in my hand, the ones Second Season footballers have come to shake around in trying to discern such weird questions like, “What would happen if 2016 Oakland faced 2016 Jacksonville in the Sunshine State?” Today, a roll queries whether a short pass to Clive Walford will be completed or not. It is, but at the end of the check, there’s that blasted medical-type cross. Again.

A dilemma then ensues for me. My methods for this project have me develop rather intensive personnel diagrams, plotting out offensive and defensive usage throughout the game. I study old NFL gamebooks and Pro Football Reference for an hour or two teasing out playtime percentages in an attempt to accurately staff each team’s formations. This kind of probing analysis accounts for players who have ended up injured or inactive for each gameday. Any extra injury can feel like a departure.

But unpredictability is fun after all. Injuries generated by the game ought to create some tense moments – maybe the star cornerback has a stinger on a routine tackle which has him miss the rest of the game. Or, *gasp*, the best QB in the league is tackled hard to the ground and comes up with concussion-like symptoms. That could *never* happen, right?

In the midst of a “replay,” these injuries become quandaries. Do you count them? Do you ignore them, since you already have some injury modeling? Can you do it in a way that maintains the level of accuracy and fairness across all teams – say, you happen to like one team more than the other and you decide that losing so-and-so would be unfair, but what’s-his-name being ruled out for their opponent is just too bad for them.

But what if you had no history to go from?

So goes the Plaay fictional releases for most of their tabletop games. I’ll admit that, at first, it sounds drab to me. We all have memories of our favorite teams, or the icons of the day doing iconic things, or even the mundane infielder botching that grounder that elevated their opponent to glory. Isn’t that what we’re doing this for?

I’m not so sure. I think a lot of us do what we do because it provides a stable, rhythmic pulse to our lives which often get shredded to pieces by the worries of the day. We reminisce about play-by-play, we think about Mike Schmidt or Mitch Williams or Chase Utley or whoever finds their way to the top of our pile in that particular inning. And it brings us some peace, but also just enough “what-if” that placates our need for the random, the exciting.

But the fictional sets, they’re devoid of any preconceptions, aside from being able to look at a card and say, “Rube Feinstein is an ACE, FLASH…” etc (Keith, if there isn’t a Rube Feinstein yet, now’s your chance). Sure, when you decide to dive deep into the mechanics and start evaluating, you’re already moseying down the road of, “Hey, that’s <insert famous big-leaguer>’s card” and it could take some of the mystique away. Thus the reason I try very hard not to have a predetermination of what might come about.

In fact, Plaay’s mechanisms are well-designed for this “take it and run” purpose. With History Maker Baseball as the example for the moment:

  • HMB ratings are based on stat ranges, not intended to target exact metric recreation. Thus, just because Rube is solid doesn’t mean he’s going to do it every time.
  • The HOT and COLD momentum-riding designations are rarely incorporated in other engines.
  • Perhaps the most fitting part of the season experience are the Gameday Chart rolls. You determine team mood, injuries, skipped starts, and other trait development.

This sets in motion a unique track for every simmer who embarks – one person may have a star reliever hit the shelf for many games, while another may have minimal injuries whatsoever, but see their team beset by a dissonance that lasts for a week and completely derails their season.

And so if you’re in the midst of a real-life replay, and you decide you really want to use these mechanisms because they seem pretty neat, you’re stuck with the potential of destroying the feel and sense of pride you have about your undertaking. Who wants to relive a franchise-defining season, only to have it in a pile of rubble?

The one area I’ve experienced first-hand a fictional project is through History Maker Golf’s Pro National Golf tour sets. I’ll be starting Season 3 soon. While the long-term points leaders are often easily sleuthed out from embedded rating perusal, watching someone that looks like a surefire back-marker get some good luck and emerge as a champion is uniquely exciting. Now with Tournament Mode, you don’t get the opportunity to observe every player under the microscope of the final round. But plenty will get tested by the flame, and some pass, while others burn. I’ve even had the fun experience of creating some additional fictional players. And in Season 2, two of them won tournaments. What a blast!

Thus the case for fictional. Back to my Second Season game, each time I have an injury, I pray to the heavens that it ends up being a player who is precluded from a major injury by the back-titrated lists included at the front of every real-life set. Ahh yes, it’s Donald Penn, the Raiders’ starting left tackle, and clearly he played enough snaps to enjoy a simple d6 roll to determine that he fights through the pain or whatever. My inner struggle has been assuaged by a considered and helpful caveat.

If I had decided right off the bat to try a Football America season – what Plaay calls their fictional football series – the LT may have very well gotten injured for multiple games. But with a completely blank slate, with no expectation besides fun and excitement, that becomes an additional dollop of butter on the pancakes.

I’m not here to say that I’m done with real-life. Far from it, I have plans to get another TBL going soon, albeit in a different way. But I’m writing this for anyone who dismissed the idea that a fictional season would provide you any enjoyment. The sets are usually cheaper, and a project can be undertaken that doesn’t invest too much time before you make an ultimate decision whether it’s for you.

[For the record, Oakland won the game, 34-17 as Blake Bortles bortled his way to 3 interceptions, making it a coasting victory for Oakland. As I imagine, “What if it had been Bortles who got injured?” I look at his 2016 backup – Chad Henne, the guy who on Sunday scrambled the Kansas City Chiefs into the AFC Championship game against my Buffalo Bills. In other words, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy historical projects too.

Additionally, thanks to Steve Tower for a little bit of reconnaissance on a product, Football America, that I’ve never purchased. -E]

Link: Plaay Games’ Article On Player Participation in History Maker Golf

Here is the link to the article I mentioned in last night’s video. Keith shares some of the research and work that customer Walt has done towards understanding participation in PGA events, and also provides an alternative strategy to accomplish this goal.

In my mind, you have to suit your own desired level of realism and desire to implement whatever complexity derives. As one of my tour’s supporters has said, the fictional realm of the Pro National Golf set allows one much freedom to execute or ignore whatever conventions have been developed in real life.

To give a short recap of my plans when we get to a Season 3, which incorporate some of the findings from the above article:

  • Tournaments are divided into 3 Categories:
    • A Tier – Majors, playoffs, invitationals
    • B Tier – Medium prestige/purse tournaments
    • C Tier – Standard tournaments
  • Players are divided into brackets that change week-to-week:
    • 1-50
    • 51-100
    • 101-175
    • 176-250
  • PGA Tour participation hovers between 45% and 60%
  • For TGT Season 2, current participation average in Money Rankings 1-125 is 80%
  • For Season 3 (and the remaining Season 2 to observe the results):
    • A Tier will be primarily merit-based inclusion, i.e. top ranked players get priority
      • Top 50 likely 100% participation rate (barring injury)
      • 51-100 ~ 80%
      • 101-175 ~ 45%
      • 176-250 ~ 10%
    • B Tier
      • Top 50 ~ 60% participation rate
      • 51-100 ~ 80%
      • 101-175 ~ 70%
      • 176-250 ~ 45%
    • C Tier
      • Top 50 ~ 15% participation rate
      • 51-100 ~ 30%
      • 101-175 ~ 80%
      • 176-250 ~ 95%

The primary goal is to increase the realism to further emulate the current state of the pro circuit. While golf does experience its periods of one-golfer domination, my desire is for it to feel organic. The last dominant golfer in the vein of Dustin Emerick is Tiger Woods. His highest win conversion came in 2006, where he won 8 tournaments in 15 starts (note he started ~35% of the total tournaments on the PGA that year. Comparing to Emerick, you see 9 wins in 16 starts. Even in Tiger’s highest win year, he took 9 wins in 20 events.

This indicates to me that an adjustment is necessary. Obviously playing out several seasons within the same construct would be the most conclusive & complete way to analyze the previous participation model. Even if we are to assume that Emerick’s card is inherently better than the best Woods card, it still seems unlikely this performance level would be replicated in the real world, as Emerick’s current participation (80%) is well beyond that of any Woods year – with still the UK Champ and Playoffs ahead.

Tenacious Golf World 2019 Update – A Year Behind, But Still Swinging

It’s been a couple of years since I began what has developed into my “Tenacious Golf World. It’s time to put this all into perspective, and provide an update on its progress.

The Tenacious Golf World? What Is It?

This completely fictional golf environment is comprised principally of Plaay.com‘s Pro National Golf Tour player set. My vision for this world has adapted over time. Each layer was added in sequence, with the third still not quite implemented. But let’s lay out each layer before going into current status:

  1. Tenacious Golf Tour. The top professional tour in the TGW, the first season saw a 24 event schedule. Since the PNG set included 164 golfers, I had decided that I wanted 125 TGT exempt golfers to start. I used some random selections to bring out a good representation of various levels of golfer in the 125 exempts. Since tournament fields vary in size, usually 144 or 156 golfers, the non-exempts were married with a host of personally-created cards (PCC’s) that used random number generators to help seed the traits.
  2. Slacker Tour. Once I had pulled out the non-exempt PNG golfers, the idea began to germinate that these players needed an alternative way to become exempt. Additionally, with all of these PCC’s now entering the fold (upwards of 200 PCC’s have been created, though only about half have been utilized thus far), there needed to be a bit more thought into the structure up and down of the TGW. The Slacker Tour became the TGW’s Web.Com tour equivalent. A slimmed down 12-tournament schedule allowed for these other player to compete and determine which were ready for the big time.
  3. Stream Valley Country Club. This is the idea that has been shoved onto the backburner, but still has some place in my brain to want to develop. The online tabletop sports game community was the source of inspiration for a group of cards to be utilized like your local country club. My hope was for some random tournaments, perhaps devising a league or other outlets to foster good times within the group. The plans are stirring in my head, but with all of the other projects that take focus, this has unfortunately stayed waiting in the wings.

Year 1 was completed in due time. Since I had only 125 exempts, marrying in the non-exempt PNG and PCC cards created a final standings that had a mix of PNG’s and PCC’s. This also created some difficulty in assessing the Slacker Tour, because many of these cards had also been used in that Tour.

The 2018 Season – In A Nutshell

Interesting results were the order of the day for the TGT’s first season. Initially Yun Leesong had a great run, winning the first Major tournament, the Masterful, as well as the Sawgrass Championship and the Blues Belt Classic. It looked like he would be the frontrunner heading to the playoff

But Leesong eventually cooled. Carson Rodell took the American Open at Shinnecock Hills. Then Dustin Emerick pulled through with back to back wins in the summer, including a major at his home Championship of the UK staged at Carnoustie. After surprising Todd Ahrens grabbed the final major, the Tenacious Pro Showcase at Merion, Emerick powered through to finish the regular season in 1st place in the points, with 12 Top 10s.

Yet the ensuing Playoff was a disappointment for the favorite Emerick. He finished out of the Top 25 in the first two Playoff events at Cherry Hills and TPC Boston. Then at Congressional, he did finish a solid 3rd behind Danny Gallatin. But Heath Somers was crowned the Tour Champion at Atlanta, and the Brit was forced to wait another season to assert himself on the TGT.

Planning for Season 2

That brought us to the planning for Season 2. The aforementioned situation brought me to the decision to create a complete Priority Ranking within the TGW. This would be a continuous list from 1 through the very end of the rankings. Everyone from 1 through 125 on the TGT Point Rankings would be TGT Exempt for 2019. At the point where the TGT Playoffs began, players ranked 126-175 were dropped into the Slacker Tour Playoff, to face off against the best of the Slacker Tour.

The Top 50 from the Slacker Tour Playoff then earned provisional exemption to the TGT, as slots 126-175 on the Priority Ranking. The Slacker Tour would then be filled from 176 on with the players who were unable to qualify for the TGT, and these positions would be hard and fast – a player at 175 in the Priority Ranking is only eligible for TGT events, but if the field for a tournament is full, that player would not receive a berth in the field.

So once that played out, Plaay released their biennial update of the PNG Cards, which creates the potential for continuity troubles. In Year 1, Ellis Moberly finished 57th and Alec Newcombe 65th in the TGT points, earning them an additional exemption. Yet Plaay decided to remove them from their player set, either due to age or poor performance in their own simulations.

So I decided to develop updates to my PCC’s, which included updated cards for those not included in the 2019 PNG player set. Additionally, there are a number of brand new PNG players available in 2019, and those have been seeded into the Slacker Tour at the end of the eligibility. So there remains a way for players to play their way onto the Tenacious Golf Tour.

2019 Tenacious Golf Tour – What’s Up Now?

The TGT is currently at the halfway mark of the 2019 season, and the story has been Emerick. His 2018 shortcomings have been exorcised, amassing 6 wins thus far in 14 events. He just completed an amazing back nine in the Final Round at Augusta to win his second major title. He has nearly doubled the winnings ($9.1MM) of his nearest foe, Australian Trent McAdams ($4.8MM). No other competitor has more than one victory on the 2019 campaign.

On another note, the 2019 season saw the first PCC to prove victorious on the TGT. Harley Villanueva conquered PGA West for the Celebrity Classic title, and Samson Peterson followed suit a month later at Riviera to turn Southern California into the land of the Upstart.

There is still a lot of season left, with notable events remaining at Bethpage (Tenacious Pro Showcase), Pebble Beach (American Open), and Royal Troon (Championship of the UK). That will lead to the playoff, which will provide some real drama – unless Emerick continues to shine in the 2nd half.

2019 TGT Through 14

2019 Slacker Tour – Transition Year

Again, the Slacker Tour has been aided by the fact that players cannot interlope between the tours anymore. With a consistent field, this should allow for a clear path to join the TGT for 50 hopeful golfers.

Though only 3 events in, the 12 event Slacker will ramp up the schedule as summer approaches. Currently Damari Ramsey (PCC) tops the Slacker Tour Points, with a win on the Bayou and 2 Top 10 finishes. Lurking are Andy Jansen (PNG), Haiden Livingston (PCC), and Jason Ollinger who has 3 Top 10s but no victories.

2019 Slacker Through 3

Since the Slacker Tour also is a little more malleable, I may look to some alternative player-created courses for a few of the final events of the season. I don’t like repeating courses very much, which I did previously with Silverado. For instance, Carnoustie is a course that was created by David Gray at Back To Minnesota, and that was an excellent design for a major. So I will see if there are alternative courses available which make sense for a Slacker Tour event.

We’ll check in here with more information regarding the TGT in the future. Yes, it’s 2020, and we’re talking about a 2019 Tour (which has taken awhile to get through 14 events). But there are lots of projects going on in my gameroom, and we will complete this Season 2 in due time.

Thanks for reading this recap, and please feel free to offer comments or suggestions for ways to improve this exciting tour.

 

Tenacious Sports Prog Report – August 1

A monthly progress report will hopefully be a monthly installment here on the Tenacious blog beginning this month. It may provide some additional motivation towards moving things to their ultimate destination.

Additionally, feel free to comment with any suggestions towards future columns of interest. Thanks!

ACTIVE PROJECTS

GOLF

  • 2018 Ten-acious Golf Tour (Y1)
    • October 2017 –
    • History Maker Golf (PLAAY), 2017 Pro National Golf (PNG) fictional set
    • 70% complete, through Tournament 17 of 24.
    • Target Completion Date: October 31, 2018
  • 2018 Slacker Tour (Y1)
    • December 2017 –
    • History Maker Golf (PLAAY), 2017 PNG set + custom created cards
    • 70% complete, through Tournament 8 of 12.
    • No video coverage as of August 1, 2018
    • Target Completion Date: October 31, 2018

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

  • Nine-acious Football League
    • May 2018 –
    • Second Season Football (PLAAY), 2016 Pro Season
    • Week 1 complete
    • Video coverage at Tabletop Baseball + YouTube Channel
    • Target Completion Date: Q3 2019

COMPLETED PROJECTS

BASEBALL

  • Ten-acious Baseball League v 1.0
    • June 2016 – March 2017
    • Strat-o-matic Advanced, 2015 card set.
    • Many game videos available on Tenacious Strat YouTube channel.
  • 1922 World Series That Wasn’t
    • December 2016
    • Strat-o-matic Basic, cards provided graciously by Jerry Mora.
    • Entire series can be found on Tenacious Strat Facebook page.
  • 2008 Phillies As-Played Replay & Playoffs
    • April 2017-March 2018
    • Strat-o-matic Super-Advanced, 2008 card set w/ add’l players & printed extras
    • Many game videos available at Tabletop Baseball + YouTube channel.

INACTIVE PROJECTS

BASEBALL

  • Ten-acious Baseball League v 2.0
    • April 2017 –
    • Strat-o-matic Super-Advanced, 2016 card set
    • 28% complete, through Gameday 15
    • Stats
    • Videos found at Tabletop Baseball + YouTube channel.
  • Ten-acious History Maker Baseball League
    • June 2017 –
    • History Maker Baseball (PLAAY), 2016 card set
    • ~10% complete, through Gameday 5
    • Videos found at Tabletop Baseball + YouTube channel.

PROSPECTIVE PROJECTS

GOLF

  • Stream Valley Golf Club
    • Minor efforts have begun, still in planning phase
      • Skins games
      • Nassaus
    • History Maker Golf (PLAAY), custom cards

SOCCER

  • Undetermined project
    • APBA Soccer, in development

TGT/Slacker – Additional Updates

The eyes can often be bigger than the stomach. That’s true with food, and it can also be true with tabletop sports.

When you start picking up new games to play on top of the ones you already have, and imagine new & exciting projects to supplant older ones, it leaves you looking at what’s on your plate as if the waiter brought that delectable crème brûlée before you were finished with all the succotash your mom told you to eat.

That’s where it stands for me and the Tenacious Golf Tour – though in reality it’s more surrounding the Slacker Tour. There are also opportunities that I’ve flirted with surrounding channel supporter cards in terms of HMG.

The bottom line is that time is king. And I keep telling myself I’m not going to bog myself down too much with long projects, but in truth long projects contain much more interest for me than short ones. I will likely continue to plot out the long term projects, but attempt to improve at multitasking & efficiency. Factor in trying to grow a YouTube channel as well – it’s pretty clear that new games & sports attract new viewers.

The biggest change will affect the Slacker Tour. I am cutting out 3 events, from 15 to 12 events. This reflects half of the TGT schedule. I had nearly as many Slacker events remaining as TGT, and while I do enjoy playing tournaments, 12 is sufficient to provide golfers to add in 2019. I will continue to hone my style & schedules to reflect my desire to run longer projects, but also find ways to keep things from getting stale.

The Tenacious Golf Tour will likely grow by a couple of tournaments for 2019, and I’ll likely keep Slacker at 12.

 

TGT – Update/Concern

Seventeen tournaments into the Tenacious Golf Tour seems like a fair time to take an assessment of the way the thing is going. We’ve been using History Maker Golf from Plaay, specifically their Tournament Mode. This is the money list, with a slight modification to add each golfer’s tournament rating into the list.

Leaders

The biggest surprises are Wil Janis, Dave Symanowicz Jr and Nishiki Kawahara, two 3’s and a 4 who won tournaments.

But the greater feeling I get is that there is probably too much tourney rating influence in the game for my tastes. I think the mechanisms are great. But one of the fun things that Keith does with his mechanisms is to hide the effectiveness of the system so that it’s tougher to guess what’s going to happen. But with Tourney Ratings that remain static, there lacks the mystique of seeing things gel in a less obvious way.

This probably came to the forefront for me as top-dog TR guy Dustin Emerick (he sports a 1-A) has won two tournaments in a row, including the major at Carnoustie. I’ve been expecting him to show dominance, and if he had gone 24 tournaments without some kind of win or two, it would have been surprising. Now that the surprise factor is gone, it made me look even closer at the names at the top of the money list and say, “Wow, it’s just the way it’s supposed to be.”

In baseball, the slightly bitter taste of knowing a player’s stats going into a replay is dulled by the idea that stats don’t always equal wins (ask Mike Trout). In an individual sport like golf, the trait-based HMG is still fine to produce some interesting intermittent results (see Emerick not winning in the first 15 events).

But the Tourney Rating is extremely influential, and I will likely be brainstorming a homebrew fix for my own use on the 2019 TGT/Slacker. It may be increasing some tournament-to-tournament variability for TR’s. More likely it would be tinkering with the B+ thru D- rating system, dulling the effect of TR in post-cut determinations. Since I have my own spreadsheets that automate Keith’s out-of-contention formulas, I should be able to apply some alternative methods – even to the point of using random numbers to assign golfers ranks within the various grading levels.

Clearly with Tournament Mode you need some basis to cut at the halfway point of a tournament as well as pull guys into the final groupings. I think the ratings are very helpful for that. Where I think I’ll need to tweak is when it comes to sorting out places 13-70ish, so that the money list adopts a less predictable feel.

And again, this is mostly for my own tastes. It’s quite likely that the TR effect comes off exactly the way that the Plaay design team desired – and if you’re replaying a season, you’d like to quite closely replicate real life. But in a fictional universe, I think less predictability suits me better.

Dice Rollers & Automation

My time as a tabletop gamer has thoroughly turned me against technology when it comes to the gaming. I used to play some PC baseball sims, but anytime I try to get back into playing on the PC, it’s just too sterile. There’s something about watching the dice settle on the digits of their choosing, knowing that certain rolls are good or bad, and having the neurons and lobes make the necessary connections to piece together what happened. As opposed to clicking the mouse and instantaneously finding out the result.

Then there are dice rollers. These apps – you can find them on the web, in the appstore of most of your devices, or one can even design your own rolling spreadsheet – are somewhere between the processor and the gamer doing all the work. Throughout most of my gaming, I’ve been hesitant to even consider trying the dice rollers. It can feel a bit traitorous to turn your back on the ol’ plastic cubes.

But doing a 3rd playing of Buffalo at Oakland in my Second Season project (Oakland won Game 2 on a 35-yard Janikowski FG in overtime after a Lesean McCoy fumble) is making me reconsider.

The primary reason I’m going to try the roller when I get back to the game is because I’m using the Replay Game’s play calling chart. Using that requires you to roll 2 D6’s and a D20 to set the offensive and defensive plays. Add that to a D6 for personnel, 2 more D6’s for the actual play execution, and a D20 for rusher/intended receiver, and it feels like I’m throwing a fistful of rocks.

So this is my plan: I have a roller app picked out, which lets you customize colors and such. I will roll the 2D6/D20 playcalls, the personnel D6, and the rusher/intended receiver D20 on the app. Once I’ve nailed everything down, I will snap the ball with the black & white D6’s.

Maybe the biggest positive about a dice roller app is that you shouldn’t have to question the randomness generated from the app. The developer should have no reason to sabotage the mechanics of the random number generation. Because we’ve all been there, where your enjoyment gets interrupted by remembering that the last several throws have all been a bit too consistent.

Hopefully I’ll have a chance to post a video about all of this during the weekend sometime.