Thursday, November 1, 2012

Off Topic - Why Play Fantasy Sports When You Can Play Hattrick?

Editor's Note: Most of the entries here deal with the LGBT community and the issues that affect us as a group.  However, from time to time Adam and I will want to share things from our personal lives. 

I feel like such a shill for doing this, so I'll start off by saying that I am not in any way affiliated with Hattrick other than having enjoyed playing it for the past 10-ish years.  But seriously if you like soccer and statistics and math and fantasy should play Hattrick.

So what exactly is Hattrick?  It's an online soccer manager game driven by a large and complicated mathematical engine.


In Hattrick you act as manager, owner, and coach of a fictitious soccer team (that you can name balls69 if you want).  You're responsible for:

  • Setting training type (i.e. defending, passing, scoring, etc.)
  • Setting training intensity (what percentage is devoted to skill training and what percentage is devoted to stamina)
  • Setting individual match orders (who plays where, who subs for who, and whether a player plays offensively, defensively, towards the middle, or towards the wing)
  • Setting team match orders (choosing a captain, choosing penalty kickers, choosing the team formation, choosing team tactics, and choosing the team's intensity level)
  • Hiring and firing your head coach
  • Hiring and firing assistant coaches
  • Hiring and firing team personnel (i.e. doctors)
  • Buying and selling players (there are country-specific and worldwide transfer markets searchable by desired skills)
  • Renovating the arena as the team grows in skill and the fan club grows in numbers
  • Creating and maintaining a youth team for call-ups (optional)

Star Forward Evan Bettes-Saunders and his ratings.  As you can see by the low bars, he's a relatively poor player overall.
The set of players you start off with usually has a few with Passable or Solid ratings in one of the primary skills (Keeper, Defending, Winger, Playmaking (for Inner Middies), and Scoring), dropping all the way down to disastrous (and when you get better, up to divine).  There are 20 different levels in all, so there is a massive difference skill between the best and worst teams.

But don't worry, that's what training is for.  The training you choose directly affects the players that benefit most from that training, and also helps advance that skill in the rest of your outfielders.  That was confusing.  Let's say you choose to train Defending.  Any Defensemen or Wing Backs that play in a match will see their Defending skill improved.  All other outfielders will also see some, but much less improvement.  You're able to play two matches (one scheduled league match and one friendly that you schedule/use the automatic pool to schedule) so you can play a 5-4-1 in one match and a 5-3-2 in another (to maximize team proficiency in different formations) and get the maximum Defending training for ten different players.  As your players improve, you'll see their skills slowly start to creep up from Passable to Solid to Excellent and so on.

When you join, you start at your country's lowest tier (VI for the USA) and can advance by winning your division (8 teams, 14 matches, 2 against each team), similar to the EPL.  Because each successive tier is smaller than the last, not every division winner can advance.  The best teams (in terms of points and goal differential) auto-advance, while the rest have to play a qualification match against the worst upper level teams in danger of moving down, with the winner to advance.

Once you complete the tutorials, you'll have about $250,000 to spend, good enough to buy you a few Excellent level players with decent secondary skills, invest in a new coach, or make arena upgrades.  You make money by filling up your stadium for league matches, and by occasionally selling players.  Everything is tied together.  The more you win, the happier your fans are, and the more tickets they buy, which in turn makes you money that you can use to improve the team.

There is more depth of course, in addition to nuances and strategies that players have developed over the years, but I'll leave those alone.  And I'm always available to talk Hattrick, give advice, or revel in victories.

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