Time for a Change in Hockey Strategy

By Glenn Guzzo

Strat-O-Matic is revising its Super Advanced Penetration chart to take more advantage of skaters’ little-used Tendency rating. The result should be more outside shots for defensemen, more passes for playmakers and more appreciation for players who get most of their shots close to the net.

The most significant change is one requiring players with fewer than five Tendency stars to pass some of the time after their coach has chosen to penetrate with them rather than take an outside shot.

Another change: The defender on the penetration won’t be certain until after the decision to penetrate.

This replaces the old Super Advanced Penetration Chart in both the board game and the computer game. Since the computer game defaults to Super Advanced rules, the new chart is not optional there.

After choosing to penetrate, gamers will check the corner of the Action Card for the 1-30 result to determine the defender. That check will sometimes result in a reading of “Must Pass” on the new Super Advanced Penetration Chart. That occurs in the 23-30 range (27 percent of the time) for skaters with four stars and 16-30 (half the time) for skaters with one to three stars.

Strat-O-Matic Director of Development Bob Winberry said the chart change ultimately should improve goal-scoring accuracy.

“The tendency ratings always have been part of the goal-scoring formula, but they were not required for game play,” Winberry explained. Now, players with attractive Inside Shooting columns, but who seldom took that type of shot, will penetrate far less often and get inside shots far less often.

If they are good passers, their coaches may end up giving the penetration chart a try anyway, leading to more playmaking. If, like a good many low-star defensemen, they pass poorly, their coaches are more likely to take their chances with a shot, Winberry suggested.

Requiring the penetration decision before the defender is confirmed adds variety, reduces predictability and simulates the freer-flowing play in the National Hockey League, Winberry added.
Here’s the full rule:

When penetrating you must first determine the defensive player that is being penetrated against. In addition, there are times when a player who wishes to penetrate will not be able to do so – in those cases he must pass instead.

When referring to the Super-Advanced Penetration chart, first take note of the player's Tendency rating, as this will be needed. Look at the number in the lower right portion of the last discarded Advanced Action Card. This number is in the range of 1 to 30. Refer to the Player Being Penetrated Against chart, using the puckhandler's Tendency rating. This chart will tell you whether or not the puckhandler attempts to penetrate or if he passes. If he attempts to penetrate the chart will indicate which player he is penetrating against.

If the chart says “Must Pass” then the puckhandler passes the puck following the normal passing procedure. Players who are forced to pass the puck most often are also more likely to pass than shoot in real-life (as indicated by their Tendency rating). The Tendency rating was previously only used as a guideline to help you determine who you should penetrate and shoot inside with. However since it is a component of the card-making process, this new rule will result in a more accurate simulation of real-life results.

If the chart does not say “Must Pass” it will tell you which defensive player is being penetrated against. In that case, refer to the Penetration Rating / Defensive Rating portion of the original Super Advanced Penetration Chart to determine the player's successful penetration numbers, then pick a split card and follow the normal procedure to determine if the player gets off an Inside shot or if he loses the puck. For example, if a player with a Bkwy/Penetration rating of 3 is working against a defensive player rated 2 then he successfully penetrates and gets an Inside Shot on a split card reading of 1 to 10.

When penetrating in non 5-on-5 situations, you should refer to the “All Other Situations” portion of the original Super-Advanced Penetration Chart. However, before doing so look at the number in the lower right portion of the last discarded Advanced Action Card.  Refer to the Player Being Penetrated Against chart and if that number falls within the “Must Pass” range for the puckhandler then he must pass the puck. If the player is okay to penetrate ignore the “player being penetrated against” because in these non 5-on-5 situations the defensive player's rating is not used to determine the outcome of the penetration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This rule has been changed to improve the statistical accuracy of the game. With this in mind, the decision to penetrate should always be made before referring to the number in the lower right portion of the discarded Advanced Action Card. When playing the board game in a competitive league you may wish to have a second Advanced Action Deck available solely for the purpose of selecting penetration numbers, as this would prevent somebody from cheating by glancing at the last discarded Advanced Action Deck card before determining if he wants to try to penetrate.

View the new Penetration Chart here.