The draft in Gameplan works much like that in the NFL, as each team picks one player in turn each round. In Gameplan the draft is carried out during the playoffs to save time and there are only three rounds (most real "star" players are selected in the early rounds). The draft list and your first draftsheet are issued on the final week of the regular season. There will be around one hundred players on the list available to be drafted, plus a free agent list of up to forty eight free agents. Only players from the draft list may be drafted, and only players from the free agent list may be signed with free agent bids. All will be reduced effectiveness in their first season.


Draft Order
The draft order in Gameplan is decided on regular season results only. Teams draft in reverse order of final regular season standings. Ties are broken on the basis of net points (i.e. points difference) in all games.


The Draft Sheet
For each round you receive an individual turnsheet, setting out the current state of your roster and what you have to do for that turn. You should send your orders on this draftsheet. Do not return the draft list. Your first draftsheet will tell you which players will be reduced for the following season, which players have suffered step losses, and which are retiring. Draftees, retirements, waivers, reduced effectiveness and step losses will have no effect on your roster until after mini camp. You may also get a small allocation of 10-20 losing points prior to the draft.


Reduced Effectiveness
All players at the end of the season are tested. The percentage chance of a player being reduced is related to the square of his age, and the player type. Actual values are not given, because we often have to change them. If the percentage chance is above 100 then the player is certain to be reduced, and may retire outright (see Retirements).


If a player is reduced when he is already reduced effectiveness then he retires at the end of the playoffs. Where the chance of a player being reduced is greater than 100% there is a chance of him being retired outright, even if he was not already reduced. Note that occasionally rookies will be "busts", since they are always reduced effectiveness in their first season and there is a small chance of them retiring at the end of that season. In most circumstances the name and number of a retired player will remain on your roster as a "no star" player.


Step Reductions
A number of "step reductions" are applied to each team in addition to the assessment of reduced effectiveness and retirements. A step reduction (so called because real life players are often said to have lost a step") is where a player loses one particular strength, and keeps any remaining strengths at full effectiveness. The number of step reductions applied are the same for each team in the league. Reduced effectiveness and retirements override step reductions, so a player being step reduced may be cancelled by him being reduced effectiveness or retired. A player can only have one ability step-reduced each year. Step-reduced abilities can be fixed during the draft (at a cost of 10 LP each) but this must be done before or during minicamp.


Kickers & Punters
Star kickers and punters who aren't reduced, retired or step-reduced may gain a strength in the season update (even to the point of becoming a four-strength player).


If you have a lot of reductions, retirements and step-losses you will receive extra losing points to compensate. You should remember that each season you will add 8-12 points worth of player to your roster, so you should expect similar levels of losses. Compensation is only given for excessive losses, not just above average losses or losses greater than the strengths you'll expect to gain in the draft. If you don't get compensation, then your losses were not excessive.


Draft List
The draft list consists of 99 players. Players with additional special teams strengths are indicated with an asterisk. Two asterisks indicate two additional strengths. Apart from coaching no-star players (at the usual 15 LP cost) the draft is now the only source of rookie players.


Draft Rounds 1-3
There are four sections to fill in on the draftsheet. The first section allows you to give shirt numbers and names for any players already drafted. The second section allows you to make one bid for a free agent. The third section gives you five special actions, either for waiving or fixing players (note that you cannot waive no star players, nor players who have retired). The fourth section is for your draft choices. Note that these are processed in the order shown on the turnsheet. You can't waive a player and spend the losing points on a free agent bid in the same week, but you could replace the waived player with a draftee. Orders for the three draft rounds are submitted for the same deadlines as the first three playoffs rounds (the wild card, divisional and championship games).


Draft Picks
In each round of the draft you have one pick. You may select any player from the list provided there is space for him on your roster. You will need to give a list of preferences (by draft number) for your choice to take account of other teams drafting in front of you. Your turnsheet will tell you how many choices to give. Note that a player who has retired leaves a vacancy, whereas a one value player who is step-reduced still takes up a roster spot (because he can still be fixed).


Draft By Type
Draft choices are normally given by draft numbers in a preference list, but you can select a particular type of player instead. Simply indicate the playing position you require by using one of the special action coaching codes or one of the extra draft codes (see Extra Draft Codes). You will then draft the highest value player of this type with the strength indicated, provided there is such a player available and space for him on your roster. If there is no such player that can be drafted then the draft continues with the next preference on your list.


Extra Draft Codes
In addition to using the coaching codes to "draft by type" you may also use the codes QR, DZ, LS, TL and FQ. These codes are NOT coaching codes. They are available only for drafting by type (and also creating free agents, see Training Camp).
QR attempts to draft a scrambling quarterback, DZ a blitzing defensive back, LS a linebacker with pass defence, TL a tight end with long pass receiving and FQ a running back with pass protection.


Trading Down
If the player you obtain in any draft round is of lower value than the "standard" for that round (value three in round one, two in round two and one in round three) and there is a player of at least the standard value still available, then you receive extra losing points (ten times the difference between the standard value and the actual value drafted). This represents the process of "trading down" on draft day.


Failure To Draft
If you fail to make a legal draft pick then one will be made for you, either attempting to fill weak areas of your roster, or by taking the first player in the list that fits on your roster. A quarterback will not be drafted for you unless your starter is reduced effectiveness or your pick would otherwise be wasted.


Special Actions
During the three draft rounds the special actions are restricted to waive and fix. These actions are processed AFTER free agent bids but before the draft. Fixing a reduced effectiveness player costs 5 LP per point of nominal value. Fixing a step-reduced player costs 10 LP (this is only possible during the draft or minicamp: at the end of minicamp the step reduction is actually carried out and it's too late to save the strength). A step reduced strength is worth nothing when a player is waived. You should note that players waived during the draft will go onto the free agent list and may be signed by any teams.


Free Agent List
Underneath the draft list is the list of up to 48 available free agents. Any players who are waived during the season and draft are placed on this list, so you may well find a player you waived available again. A number of other players may also appear to supplement this list. Everyone on the free agent list is assessed for retirement at the same time as players signed to teams (but with a higher chance of retirement).


Free Agent Bids
Your free agent bid may be for any ONE of the players on the free agent list, and you must have a vacancy available on your roster. Players signed are reduced effectiveness. The minimum bid for a player is 10 LP per point of nominal value OR his waiver value, whichever is higher. For example, a QB 2 is 20 LP minimum, an OPNx1 punter is 10 LP, but an OPNx2 punter is 12 LP (his nominal value is only 1, but waiver value is 12 LP). The maximum you may bid for any player is 20 LP per point of nominal value. Players sign for the highest bidder. Losing points are not deducted if the bid is unsuccessful. Tied bids are decided randomly.


Free Agents
The free agent list is also available during minicamp, training camp and during the regular season. During mini camp and training camp you have a space for one free agent bid on your draftsheet. During the regular season you have a space for one free agent bid on your gamesheet. Free agents are signed in an identical fashion to that during the draft (see Draft Rounds 1-3). Free agents signed during the regular season are reduced effectiveness until the following mini camp. When a free agent is signed the computer will either allocate him the name and shirt number of an existing, no-star player already on your roster, or from your team's current (or recent) real-life roster. If you wish to rename a free agent you will have to do so subsequently. You cannot give a free agent a name at the same time as you sign him - a name is always assigned by the computer.


Creating Free Agents
During the regular season you may create free agents using the special action FA. This creates a new free agent and places him on the free agent list, where you (or anyone else - creating the player doesn't give you any special rights to him, so you can create a free agent and then someone else can outbid you the following turn) can make a bid for them the next turn.To create a free agent enter any draft code in the "name" box to specify a player type and strength. Draft codes include all of the coaching codes (see Coaching), plus the extra ones you allowed to use for drafting by type (see Extra Draft Codes). Age is random. If you enter a value of 2 or 3 in the "shirt" box then the player will be filled out with standard strengths (for his player type) to this value. If you do not enter any value then a one strength player is created. The cost of the action is 1 LP for each player strength created (including special teams strengths). If you choose a free agent strength for a higher value player then his nominal value is calculated in the usual way (but his actual strengths will be as expected).


Creates a one point free agent offensive lineman, with OQB strength at a cost of 1 LP.


Mini Camp
In minicamp all the players who have retired are deleted, rookies and free agents are added to your roster, and step-reduced abilities are deleted from the players concerned. There are five special actions in minicamp, processed after your roster update (though step-losses are fixed before the roster update). The special actions allowed in minicamp are coach, fix, rename, start, swap and waive. If you intend to use the special actions then make sure you name and number your draftees (otherwise there is potential for confusion). The league roundup is issued at the end of minicamp.


Starting Positions
Note that rookies and free agents are added to the first spot available on your roster (completely empty spaces first, replacing no star players second). You should expect to have to make a Select Starter action for most or all of your new players after they have been added to your roster.


Training Camp
In training camp you have five special actions, those allowed being coach, fix, rename, start, swap and waive. All of these actions are reported in the league report and are not included in the league roundup (the previous turn). Orders for training camp are submitted for the same deadline as the scheduled pre-season round, and are processed BEFORE the games are played. The new regular season schedule is also issued along with the results of the pre-season games.