#FootballMogul2012: 1.2 – The Team

Welcome back to the blog, ladies and gentlemen. On Tuesday I shared the introduction to a game series I had discovered called “Football Mogul” where I took over as the general manager of the New England Patriots in their 2001 season.

We ran out of time before we could cover the roster and other team details, so this post will get into that in some more detail and show off the game interface before we get into the actual playing of games.

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As I said in the first post, the game’s not as in-depth as Football Manager, but we do have some key stats to show for players, including their position, rating, GS (I’m assuming “Goals Scored”), and passing, rushing, and touchdown stats.

I won’t go into excessive detail about positions and formations in this post, because getting into the detail of the game would take several blogs on its own, so here’s a link to Wikipedia’s article on American Football formations, which covers what the different positions mean.

Similar to games like Madden NFL or FIFA, players are rated from 1-99 for how good they are. As I said in the last blog post, the 2001 season was really New England’s breakout into their dominant era. They’ve got a pretty average team right now. Plenty of 70s, with young quarterback Tom Brady being one of the stand-out players of the team with an 84/88 rating. At the time of writing I’m not certain what the fraction means instead of a whole number.

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Our defense is a lot better, as far as ratings go. We’ve got some highly rated defensive players, with Vrabel being a standout player with a 90/93 rating. We’ve got some solid guys in the back, perhaps favoring the linebackers, as New England is rated as a team that’s a very well for defense against passing.

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Special Teams, which comprises of the kickers, who just step in behind the offensive line in place of a quarter-back for kicking plays, consists of just three men. Kicker Adam Vinatieri, Ken Walker, and Lee Johnson. They are good men. I don’t see the need to invest significantly into better kickers when they are good enough to handle kicking a ball down-field.

There won’t be any trade or draft talk, as I can’t have a draft or handle that stuff until I’ve done this first season and enter into off-season, so this appears to be the team I’ll be working with. I can’t complain though, it’s not a bad team and it did win the Patriots their first Super Bowl, after all!

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This is an interesting looking aspect of the game. I have direct control over what the ticket, concession, and pre-game expenses are for the team. I won’t screw with that stuff for a big, but I wanted to show off the financials for the sake of completion for what this simple interface is.

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You’ll notice that we’ve had an AFC Standings page as the main window hidden away for the last many posts, and this is what is shows. The NFL is split into two conferences, the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference, which is further split by region of the team. New England, for example, is in AFC East, being in Massachusetts on the east coast.

The winner of the AFC and the winner of the NFC go into the Super Bowl, which determines the winner of the NFL as a whole for that season. Not sure what Pct. means as it’s a number I don’t recall coming across in American Football, but win-loss-tie is self-explanatory.

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Here’s our schedule. The NFL season lasts for 17 weeks with games usually on a weekend.

We open the season against the Cincinnati  Bengals. In soccer, games are usually presented as “Home versus Away”, but in the NFL it’s “Away at Home”.

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For the sake of showing it off, we can craft our own play-book, though I’m just going to run the default Patriots playbook this season. If I extend this to a second season I’ll get experimental with that one and see which plays worked and didn’t work so well.

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For our first game, we’re up against a team who’s rated strongly for running and passing plays, but not so much for defensive plays. Defensively, we could probably keep up with them, but we could probably easily take advantage of their defense, which is rated pretty weakly.

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I actually simulated this first game just to see what it did instead of actually playing the game, and we ended up losing 14-20. In the first half we both scored two touch-downs per quarter, but the Bengals pulled ahead with field goals.

For those unfamiliar with scoring in American Football since my blog is primarily about soccer and has a lot of European readers, a “touchdown” – getting the ball to the endzone, is worth 6 points, and you follow that up with either a field goal for one point (kicking the ball through the yellow goalpost) or you can take a riskier attempt for two points by lining up to try and pass or run the ball to the endzone. A field goal attempt on its own without a touchdown is worth 3 points, and if you tackle the quarterback in his own endzone, that’s a safety and worth 2 points, though that wasn’t seen in this game.

It looks like we’ll end this post 0-1 in the conference after recording our first loss of the season. I’m going to actually play future games myself, both so that I can show off the interface, and so that I can call the plays myself and have control over the potential outcome of each game.

I’m going to keep this series running just two-a-week on Tuesday and Thursday to fill the spaces between my To The Top! Football Manager series, which runs on Mon/Wed/Fri, as you’ll have noticed.

Depending on how long it makes each post and what playing each match actually entails, I’ll try for two matches per blog post, which should end the regular season in late January. By a happy accident, it looks like if we make it all the way to the Super Bowl with the 2001 Patriots we might be able to coincide that with the real Super Bowl, which takes place on February 5.

I’ll see you guys tomorrow with the next To The Top! update and again on Tuesday for the next update on my Football Mogul adventure.

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