Star Players
In Gameplan the playing strengths of each team are determined by the strengths of a dozen or so "star" players. The remaining players that would be on the roster of a real team are called "no star" or "zero value" players. They have no effect on team strengths and are generally ignored. Any type of player may be a star player, but some types are more likely to have higher values than others. You may fill in the names and shirt numbers of the "no star" players on your roster if you wish, but will be charged an extra turn to have them entered into the computer. Alternatively you can have them automatically entered by the computer.

 

Example Roster

 

Starters
There are thirty-three places on a Gameplan roster (by position: two quarterbacks, three running backs, two tight ends, five offensive linemen, four wide receivers, five defensive linemen, five linebackers, five defensive backs, one kicker and one punter), slightly more than would be in a team's starting line up. All positions are labelled individually, but at present the software does not distinguish between different positions except for quarterbacks and running backs (so your FB is rated differently from your HB, but your left guard and your right tackle are not treated differently) and the key players in your defensive formation (see Defence Formation).

 

Backup Players
A real team will also have a larger number of "backup" players on a roster. Some of these will play a few downs each game in special situations or when starters are injured, while others will never leave the bench. These players are not included on Gameplan rosters, which never have more than 33 players, although the roster does contain more players than would be listed as starters for a real team.

 

Strength Categories
There are fourteen categories of playing strengths. Five are offensive categories, five are defensive categories, and four apply to special teams. These are outlined below, along with the types of plays on which they apply.
Type Strength Notes
Offensive
ORI
Rushing through the middle of the offensive line (power running).
ORO
Rushing to the outside, around the end of the line (running in open field).
OPS
Short passing and dumpoffs up to ten yards, "sticky hands" for receivers.
OPL
Long passing downfield beyond ten yards, sprinting speed.
OQB
Quarterback protection on passing plays.
Defensive
DRI
Defence against rushing up the middle, straight ahead tackling and blocking.
DRO
Defence against rushing to the outside, pursuit and tackling in open field.
DPS
Defence against short passes and dumpoffs, short pass coverage.
DPL
Defence against long passes downfield, speed and long pass coverage.
DBZ
Pass rush, attempting to penetrate into the backfield and sack the quarterback.
Special Teams
OFG
Kicking field goals and extra points (accuracy and distance) and kickoffs.
OPN
Punting, for distance, accuracy, and "hangtime" (reducing return yardage).
DPR
Punt returns, speed and running in traffic (also on reverses).
DKR
Kickoff Returns, speed and running in open field (also on reverses).

 

Roster Limitations
You are limited in the number of players of each type you can have on your roster. There are ten different player types in the game (several different real life playing positions are usually run together in groups). These types, the number of each you can have on your roster, and their typical playing strengths are listed below. Other strengths and values may exist on established rosters set up under earlier versions of the rules.


Squad Strengths
Player Type Allowed Usual Strengths Others Possible Doubles Possible
QB
Quarterback
Two
OPS OPL ORO OQB OPS OPL
RB
Running Back
Three
ORI ORO OPS OQB DPR DKR None
TE
Tight End
Two
ORO OPS OPL None
WR
Wide Receiver
Four
OPS OPL DPR DKR None
OL
Offensive Lineman
Five
ORI ORO OQB   None
DL
Defensive Lineman
Five
DRI DBZ DRO None
LB
Linebacker
Five
DRI DRO DPS DBZ None
DB
Defensive Back
Five
DPS DPL DRO DBZ None
KK
Kicker
One
OFG   OFG (may also have triples)
PN
Punter
One
OPN   OPN (may also have triples)

 

Squad
Your squad strengths are the backbone of your team, and are the sum of the strengths of the players on your roster (fixed for the season). Reduced effectiveness players do not count towards squad strengths, but count for extra form strengths instead.

 

Reduced Effectiveness
Any player new to a team is "reduced effectiveness" for the whole of his first season, and each player already on your roster at the end of the season is assessed for injuries. Injuries are not critical and do not prevent a player from playing, but the player becomes reduced effectiveness for the following season. The strengths of reduced effectiveness players are counted as form strengths rather than actual squad strengths. It is important to be aware that the main disadvantage of having players of reduced effectiveness is NOT that they are weaker, but that any extra form gains will have less effect.

 

Playing Strengths
Your actual playing strengths in a game depend on your total roster or "squad" strengths with extra components for form, training, your opponent's accumulated keys (these effectively counter your accumulated training) and some additions according to the individual players on your roster. Accumulated form and training work on a sliding scale: each extra point contributes less to your actual playing strengths than the one before it (having more than four or five of either is a waste of effort). Nine points is the most allowed (any more gained are lost) for form, and seven points is the maximum allowed for training. It is better to spread your form and training around as many plays and categories as possible, provided you don't spread them too thin to be effective.

 

Nominal Values
The nominal value of a player is the sum of all his playing strengths in each category except for special teams strengths. A player with only special teams strengths has a nominal value of one. The nominal value of a player determines how much he "costs" in an initial roster selection or as a free agent and how much he is worth when waived.


Nominal Categories
On your roster the full team strengths of each player are given, but on other reports only the "nominal category" is given. This is one category in which the player has at least one strength. Players normally have their strengths spread around in different categories.

 

Age
A player's age is given in terms of a number of years experience. The effect of an extra year on the chance of injury and retirement increases as the player gets older, but experienced players
are more effective than recent recruits, counting for better individual strengths. By age eight a player has around a 50% chance of being "reduced" at the end of each season.


Player Names & Numbers
Players on rosters are identified by their shirt numbers. Player names may be up to 20 characters long, including blanks. Player names and shirt numbers must belong to current players of an appropriate type with the same team in real life. Inappropriate names and numbers will be refused. If you don't know the team's roster well enough then ask for the names and numbers to be chosen for you.


Form
Form points are temporary extra team strengths gained by successful play. Each game the winning team receives one point of form in two strength categories chosen by the computer (it chooses the ones it thinks you did best in, or in some cases the ones in which you did least badly). The losing team receives one form point if the margin of victory was less than ten points. If the game is tied then both receive one form point. A team also receives one extra point of form in a defence category if it prevents the opposing offence from scoring any touchdowns, and another for a complete shutout.


Training
Training for each game is added to an accumulated total, and it is that total which is added to playing strengths. Offence training counts for two points and defence training counts for one. The offence training boxes may be used for defence training (in which case they count for only one point), and the defence training boxes may be used for offence training (in which case they still count for only one point). Either may be used for special teams plays (FG, FB, KO, KS, ON, PN, PC, PR, PV, PB, KR and KV).


Individual Strengths
On each play call there is an extra component added to your playing strength according to whether you have appropriate players needed to take key roles on that play (for example on a flare out pass the bonus is for having a pass catching running back). A "reduced" player still counts at full strength for individual strengths. Experienced players count for more “individual” strengths than younger players (especially rookies). The longer you can keep them playing, the better they get.


Loss Of Form, Training & Keys
Form may be lost when you change starting players and defence formation during the season. At the end of each season (during mini camp) your accumulated form in each category is divided by four and your accumulated training and keys on each play are divided by three, so only a fraction of your accumulated form and training carries over into next season.


Losing Points
Losing points are the "currency" used for coaching and acquiring free agents, representing the ability of unsuccessful teams to trade away veteran players and draft picks in order to build for the future. Your current total of losing points is normally shown on your game report, and on your draftsheet during the post season. Each game (up to week ten) you gain three losing points if you lost, two if you tied or won by less than ten points, and one otherwise. Losing points at the end of the season are carried over in full to the next season, and there may be an extra allocation of losing points prior to the draft. You can also gain losing points through waivers, You may not spend losing points that you do not have.

 

Defense Formation
Your defense formation is chosen by nominating either a defensive lineman to play at nose tackle (NT) in a 3-4 formation or a linebacker to play middle linebacker (MLB) in a 4-3 formation, and the formation you have selected is shown on your roster. This choice affects how your defence strengths are assessed, and can be critical to the success of a team. To play 4-3 successfully you need to have a strong defence overall and a dominating MLB. Your choice of NT if you choose to play 3-4 should be a straight-ahead run stopper and pass rusher. If you are playing 4-3, then don't leave star players in the NT, RILB and LILB slots. If you play 3-4, then don't leave players in the MLB, DRT and DLT slots.


Quarterbacks
You may have two quarterbacks on your roster at once, but one will be designated as the starting quarterback (QB) and the other as the backup quarterback (BQ). The backup's strengths are not counted towards your team strengths. If the starter is reduced effectiveness then any strengths he has in common with the backup are still added to your team as squad strengths rather than form. If your backup quarterback is both older and weaker than the starter then their strengths are averaged while the starter is on the field. The QB starts each game, but if he is shaken up by the defence and performs badly then the backup may come on to replace him. It is not generally reckoned a good idea to have more than one "star" quarterback on your roster unless one or both is reduced effectiveness.


Backup Quarterbacks
If a rookie (first year) quarterback from the draft goes through an entire rookie season without ever being the designated starter he gains an additional strength at the end of the season (at no cost). The strength gained is normally a passing strength (you don't get to choose). Coming off the bench (when your starter is replaced) does not prevent him gaining this bonus.


Scrambling
A scrambling quarterback is one that has playing strengths other than passing. Scrambling QBs are harder to sack and may still be able to run for yardage under pressure from the defence. Those with ORO strength may carry the ball successfully on sneaks, draws, keepers and options, while those with OQB strengths will scramble only on options and to avoid a sack.


Running Backs
Any running back may play in any running back position (full back, half back or utility back), A full back should be able to run to the inside and block. A half back should be able to run to the outside. Either may catch passes equally well. The third type of running back is the "utility back" who may be either a pass catching back, a special teamer, or a backup player. The utility back is equally effective in pass catching and is the only back whose strengths count as a kick/punt returner (your starting FB and HB will not be used on Special Teams).