Deadlines
A deadline is set for each week of the regular season and post season. Your instructions must arrive BEFORE the deadline date. If your orders fail to arrive in time then your previous set will be used instead. You will still have to pay for the game as usual. If you haven't received your report within a week of the deadline then you should phone to find out what's wrong. Deadlines are normally two weeks apart and each league will normally be run on the same day of the week each time.

 

Your Gameplan
All your instructions are saved on disk, inside the computer. Each turn you need only to send in those instructions that you want to change from your last game. This saves a lot of time in processing turns and makes a big difference in keeping costs down (if everyone filled in the whole sheet every time then the game would cost about half as much again). If there are no new instructions that arrive in time for the deadline then your previous instructions are used. Each gameplan is stored according to the league name and team name, so that if you play in more than one league then your instructions for each league will be kept entirely separate.

 

The Turnsheet
For each game you play you should send in a turnsheet with your instructions for that game. For your first game you will need to fill in all the relevant sections of the turnsheet. The section concerning team training does not apply for warm-up games, and the section concerning special actions applies only for regular season and scheduled pre-season games. Warm-up and pre-season games will often be played immediately, but for regular and post season games your instructions will simply be put on file until the deadline.

 

Game Parameters
There are seven "game parameters" that form part of your gameplan. These are values that decide when in the game and in what game situations your different strategies are used. Some you will want to change often according to each opponent faced and others you will probably change only rarely, if at all.
Type Description Notes
NFG
Normal Field Goal Range
This is the maximum distance lo the goal line for which in normal situations the computer selects a field goal attempt on fourth down. Remember the posts are ten yards behind the goal line and the kick is actually placed around seven yards being the line of scrimmage, so the actual field goal range will be around 17 yards longer than the distance to the goal line. Typical value would be around 25 to 30 yards.
LFG
Long Field Goal Range
This is the maximum distance to the goal line for which the computer will select a field goal attempt in special situations. The special situations are fourth downs after hurry up time when you're losing, the last play of the first half, and the last play of the game (if the field goal will tie or win the game). Typical value would be around 25 to 40 yards.
SYO
Short Yardage Offence
This is the maximum distance to go to the first down for which the computer will select specialist short yardage plays. Maximum value is 5 yards. Typical value would be one to three yards.
LYO
Long Yardage Offence
This is the minimum distance from the first down for which the computer will select specialist long yardage plays on offence. Minimum value is 6 yards. The computer never selects long yardage plays on first down with ten or less yards to go even if your long yardage value is less than ten. Typical values are 7 to 15 yards.
SYD
Short Yardage Defence
This works the same as the value for short yardage offence, but decides when to call specialist short yardage defences. Maximum value is 5 yards. Calling a short yardage defence is a lot more risky that calling a short yardage play on offence, so typical values tend to be slightly lower.
LYD
Long Yardage Defence
This works the same as the value for long yardage offence, but decides when to call specialist long yardage defences. Minimum value is 6 yards. Typical values are slightly lower than for offence, for obvious reasons.
HUT
Hurry Up Time
This is the earliest time gone in the game when the computer takes emergency action if you're losing. After hurry up time your long field goal range is used to decide field goal attempts, and the computer may elect to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking. If you are losing by more than one touchdown (including the point after) then your hurry up time will be extended (double if you need two scores, treble if you need three, and so on). If you choose a value less than ten then the computer will assume you mean "time remaining" rather than "time gone".

 

Gameplan Changes
  Form Offense   Defense
Situations   Z   A B C D   A B C D
Goal Line                  
Short Yardage                  
Long Yardage                  
Long & Lost Yardage                  
1st & 2nd Near                  
1st & 2nd Midfield                  
1st & 2nd Deep                  
1st & 2nd Change Up                  
1st & 2nd Change Down                  
3rd & 4th Down                  
Hurry Up & Safe                  

 

Situations
Your gameplan in the basic game consists of eleven situations on each of offence and defence. For each offence situation there is a corresponding one on defence. On each play during the game the computer searches through the list of situations from top to bottom and decides which fits the current situation according to the down, score, time gone in the game, distance to go for the first down and field position.
No. Description Notes
1 Goal Line This situation applies on any down when the number of yards needed for a touchdown is within the value you gave for your short yardage parameter (SYO on offence, SYD on defence). If you are near the goal line then the computer will reckon both how many downs you have available (three on first down, two on second and one on third) and call goal line plays if gaining this value each time would get you into the endzone (for example, with a short yardage value of 3, 1st down on the nine yard line, 2nd down on the six yard line, and 3rd or 4th down on the three yard line, are all goal line situations).
2 Short Yardage This situation applies on any down if the number of yards needed for the first down is within the value you gave for your short yardage parameter (SYO on offence, SYD on defence). Note: Goal Line and Short Yardage are similar situations. Goal Line only applies near the goal line. Short Yardage applies everywhere else on the field. Goal Line has priority over Short Yardage.
3 Long Yardage This situation applies on second to fourth downs if the number of yards needed for the first down or score is at least the value you gave for your long yardage parameter (LYO on offence, LYD on defence) unless "Long & Lost Yardage" (see below) takes priority.
4 Long & Lost Yardage This situation applies on any long yardage situation (including first down) with more than ten yards to go, and takes priority over "Long Yardage". Be warned that if you set your long yardage parameter above ten they you'll never use the "Long Yardage" situation, as "Long & Lost Yardage" will always take priority. Note: If you set your long yardage parameter below ten, then the standard "Long Yardage" situation is part of your regular routine, and it'll trip in on lots of 2nd and 3rd downs. You stay in a 2nd and 3rd down situation ONLY when your first down got you closer to the down marker than your "long yardage" value. You should take "long yardage" to be your USUAL second down situation.
5 1st & 2nd Down, Near (In field goal range) Any first or second down when the offence is within field goal range and it isn't a short yardage, long yardage, long or lost yardage, change up, change down or hurry up situation
6 1st & 2nd Down, Midfield (Outside field goal range, up to own 40 yard line) Any first or second down when the offence is outside field goal range, up to its own 40 yard line and it isn't a short yardage, long yardage, long or lost yardage, change up, change down or hurry up situation.
7 1st & 2nd Down, Deep (Inside own 40 yard line) Any first or second down when the offence is inside its own 40 yard line and it isn't a short yardage, long yardage, long or lost yardage, change up, change down or hurry up situation.
8 1st & 2nd Down, Change Up (Second half, losing by more than eight points) Any first or second down in the second half when the team on offence is losing by more than eight points and it isn't a short yardage, long yardage, long or lost yardage or hurry up situation. The Change Up defence is the defence against your opponent's Change Up offence.
9 1st & 2nd Down, Change Down (Second half, losing by more than eight points) Any first or second down in the second half when the team on defence is winning by more than eight points and it isn't a short yardage, long yardage, long or lost yardage or hurry up situation. The Change Down defence is the defence against your opponent's Change Down offence.
10 3rd & 4th Down This is the situation on third down when it isn't a short yardage, long yardage or hurry up situation.
11 Hurry Up & Safe It is a hurry up situation on any down if the time gone in the game is greater than the value you gave for hurry up time, it's not a short or long yardage situation, you're losing, and you're either outside field goal range or a field goal won't be enough to at least tie the scores. If you're losing by more than seven points then your effective hurry up time is extended by a multiple of the number of touchdowns (including points after) needed to catch up. Remember that on defence the "hurry up" situation is when your opponent has to hurry up. If your hurry up offence you're losing, in your hurry up defence you're winning.

 

Special Situations

There are several situations in the game where the play is called without reference to your gameplan. In game winning situations you will down the ball to run out the clock. If you're winning you will down the ball rather than punt on the last play of the game because of the risk of a long return. In last ditch situations you will normally chuck long passes (DL) into the endzone, but nearer to the endzone a higher percentage play (DI) will be called, and if you're very close the call will be whichever short pass worked best for you in the rest of the game. Whenever the offence is called this way, then the defence is called as wide coverage (WC).
Note: It is normally only possible to down the ball and run out the clock by agreement with the opposition, and if you're very close to your own endzone then the defence will be trying to force you over the goal line for a safety and get the ball back In these circumstances you can't down the ball and the play is called normally.

 

Formations
For each offence situation you call one formation which is used for all plays in that situation. Formations are identified by single letter codes, and the descriptions of the formations available are set out in the playbook (see Formations). These formations have different effects depending on the play call. The two formations you used most often in each game is listed in the league report along with the game statistics. The defence takes no account of formations in the basic game, but future opponents may be able to work out your playing style from the formations you use.

 

Play Calls
In each situation you must give at least one play call and may give as many as four. Play calls are identified by two letter codes, and the descriptions of the play calls available are set out in the playbook. Once the situation has been decided the computer will select a play from among those you call for that situation. The normal procedure is that a play is selected at random, but you may alter the procedure with your reaction values. At the start of the game the first play call (choice A) in the list is the most likely to be chosen, with each choice being about half as likely to be chosen as the choice before it, but the relative chance for each call will change during the games (see optional rules for more details of reactions).

 

Blanks and Clears

You do not have to use all four play calls in each situation, but if you call only one play it must be choice A, if you call two they must be A and B, and if you call three they must be A, B and C. A choice for which you make no play call is referred to as being "clear". This is distinct from leaving a box on your turnsheet "blank". You may leave any box blank on your turnsheet provided there is already something in your gameplan for that choice (or the choices following it are also clear).

 

Leaving Blanks
Please leave boxes blank on your turnsheet except when you want to change them. If you want the same thing in a box as for your previous game then leave it blank. All sections of your instructions are saved on disk all the time, so filling in the same thing each turn wastes time and money as well as increasing the risk of typing errors (everything on your turnsheet gets typed in again by the GM). You can help keep costs down for everyone by leaving blanks whenever appropriate.

 

Special Teams
The program will call formations P and F for you on punt and field goal attempts respectively, but will not allow you to use these formations in other situations. There is no way in the basic game to call fake punts or field goal attempts.

 

Kickoffs
There are three types of kickoff. If it is after the two minute warning and you're losing then you will call an onside kick. This gives the kicking side a chance of recovering the ball but gives away good field position if it fails. Play restarts after a safety with a free kick from the 20 and otherwise with a normal kickoff from the 30.

 

Conversions
In Gameplan you have no choice over whether you kick an extra point or attempt a two point conversion. You attempt a conversion if you lead by 1 point, or trail by 2, 5, 10, 12, 13 or 18. Otherwise you attempt an extra point. Conversions are not called from within your gameplan, you either make them successfully or you fail.

 

Team Training
This section should be ignored for warm-up games, but is used for all other types of game. Training is used to strengthen your team on particular play calls. Your training choices may be any play call (offence, defence or special teams). Two training points are added at the start of the game for each offence training choice, and one for each defence choice, except that if you use an offensive training choice on a defensive play call you only gain one point of training (so you are effectively wasting one point of training). You also gain one point of training for each of the six plays (two runs, two passes and two defences) highlighted in the league report after each regular season game. Unlike in previous versions of the game, training is not lost on plays which you don't call during games.

 

Key Plays
These are two of your opponent's play calls your team will attempt to neutralise. Your opponent will be less effective on the play calls you have selected as keys. You can key on any play call whether offence, defence or special teams, but the effect on a defence or special teams call is less than the effect on an offence call (there are fewer defence and special teams calls, so each is used more often). It is generally considered better to restrict your keys to offensive plays. When you key on offence plays there is some "spill over" effect onto other similar play calls (so keying on SI will also have an effect on SO and LI, for example). This effect of keys does not accumulate and applies only for the current game (but see next paragraph). Using keys has no effect on your own team strengths. Keys are not used for warm-up games.

 

Accumulated Keys
Defensive keys (i.e. against the offensive plays of your opponents) accumulate in the same way as your training, so teams will tend to get better at defending against plays they defend against often. You also gain a point of accumulated keys for each of the two runs and passes highlighted in the league report for your opponent after each regular season game. Keys against defence and special teams plays do not accumulate. Accumulated keys work simply by discounting the accumulated training of the opposing team.


Bonuses
Bonuses are similar to training except they have no cumulative effect. The bonus plays are two play calls on which your team will be stronger that game, and may be any play call (offence, defence, or special teams). The bonus categories increase your team strengths in those categories for that game and may be any category (offence, defence or special teams). Bonuses are not used in warm-up games.

 

Team Strengths
Team strengths are divided into three types. Squad strengths are normally fixed for the whole season and are the sum of the playing strengths of all the players on your roster. Form strengths are gained during the season and count only during that season. You gain extra form points every time you win (or lose only narrowly) and by extra coaching (see rosters guide, Special Actions) Some players on your roster (veterans subject to injuries, and all rookies) are counted as form instead of squad strengths. Training strengths are acquired as a result of your training instructions. There is a small bonus on special teams for home advantage.

 

Strength Categories
Squad and form strengths are divided into fourteen categories. There are five offence categories (run inside, run outside, pass short, pass long and quarterback protection) and five defence categories (the same first four plus pass rush) along with four special teams categories (punting, kicking, returning punts and returning kickoffs). Training strengths are divided up play by play.
Note: The detailed rules concerning rosters, team strengths, the draft and the selection of your initial roster are contained in a separate section.