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A Sweet Computer Hockey Upgrade – Without Cavities
 
By Glenn Guzzo

New eye candy (more team colors) and new brain food (a buffet of strategy options) will make the forthcoming version of Strat-O-Matic’s computer hockey game the most attractive yet.

Version 11 – necessary to play SOM’s new season releases (2010-11, 1985-86 and 1961-62) – will make the gaming experience seriously more fun and interesting. And you will be able to share the excitement with the game’s new support for Twitter and Facebook.

V11 also is necessary to use the two new strategy rules on the computer. See the Strat-O-Matic web site for more complete descriptions of the new Enforcer Rule and the new Super Advanced Penetration Rule. Briefly, the Enforcer Rule adds value to tough guys when their opponents can’t match their intimidation ability. The Super Advanced Penetration Rule is an update that improves the game’s statistical accuracy.

Gamers wanting to refine team colors, or to create unique color combinations, get their wish with a new color-picking dialog that allows wider choice of colors for your team(s).

The visual enhancements also add functionality. For instance, 11 different dialog boxes (such as card images, player notebooks, shooting decisions and line selection) that used to open only in the center of the screen now can be saved to fixed screen positions so they won’t overlap other desirable info on the screen.

And the Intimidation Decision Dialog now includes a button so that you can view the shooter's notebook before making your choice. Of similar tactical value, when you have a chance to skate while short-handed the Skating button now shows you the player's Skating Rating so that you don't have to click his notebook to see the rating. These are destined to be hugely satisfying conveniences.

            Two new box-score-saving features are bound to earn hallelujahs:
     
  • Each league's automatically saved boxscores and play-by-play accounts are now stored in their own subfolder located within the Print folder.
  • When you restart a league, that league's boxscores are automatically saved to a different folder so that you can retain them if you wish. 
 
Add a couple more sweet features: The new Daily League Recap displays each day of the schedule, showing all games that were played that day along with the final score, goal scorers, and goalie statistics. And the Primary Stats Report now includes the STARS column for batch reports (this was already included in the regular stats package, but not the batch reports).