The Computer Gets Smarter When Subbing for Injured Skaters
New for V9 Hockey: Line Promotion Strategy
By Glenn Guzzo
At last, in the eyes of many Strat-O-Matic hockey gamers, their computer-run teams will make smarter substitutions when a key player is lost to injury or penalty. That optional feature – called Line Promotion Strategy – is a key part of the advances programmed into Version 9, which will be shipped very soon.
In the past, the computer coach would use a fourth-liner to fill in for a player injured or penalized mid-game. If a player was unavailable for a new game due to injury or mandatory rest, the computer would replace him with a previously inactive player – usually a man who had played less than a full season. In these cases, if a 35-goal scorer was being replaced by a 5-goal scorer, that could undermine the potency of his line.
But with Version 9, the gamer can turn on Line Promotion Strategy. Then, when a skater goes down and out, his replacement will come from the next line – not the last one. This rolls over from line to line.
Example: The left wing on the No. 1 line is injured. With Line Promotion Strategy in effect, the left wing on the No. 2 line is promoted to the No. 1 line. The left wing on the No. 3 line is promoted to the No. 2 line and the left wing on the No. 4 line moves up to No. 3.
The changes can get more complex when the gamer also has programmed the optional Depth Chart. So check the Help File before using Line Promotion Strategy. But either way, the most heavily used lines will still have the most potency.
Strat-O-Matic Director of Development Bob Winberry said this improvement was No. 1 on the collective hockey community’s wish list.
“Many gamers want more control over the computer coach when it comes time to replace an injured or penalized player,” Winberry said. “Some thought that the previous system of using fourth-liners and partial-season players as those fill-ins made top scoring lines too weak.”
The old system has its merits, Winberry noted. Because it subs only for the lost player, it keeps two or three lines intact. Under the new system, all lines could change under a promotion system that moves a second-line player up to the first line, a third-line player up to the second line, and so forth.
For gamers who prefer the original system, they still have it – the new Line Promotion Strategy is optional and must be selected under the Depth Chart tab of the computer coach settings.