New Football Rules and Card Changes

Strat-O-Matic will be introducing a series of new rules and card changes for the football board game and computer game, effective this summer with the release of the 2014 season. The football rule changes involve three main concepts: Split Defensive Ratings, Flats as Runs and Yards After Catch. While all three rule changes are optional, the changes were designed to dramatically increase the realism and overall enjoyment of the football game.
“We believe Strat-O-Matic Football players will be thrilled with this added realism and the new strategy options that will come into play,” said Hal Richman, Founder and CEO of Strat-O-Matic.

The first major rule change involves the addition of Split Defensive Ratings. One of the most common requests the Company has received over the years has been to offer separate pass and run defensive ratings for linebackers and safeties. With the more detailed ratings metrics that are now available, Strat-O-Matic is finally able to add this feature. For a more detailed explanation of the new Split Defensive Ratings, click here. The new Split Defensive Ratings will be available for all new current Pro Football seasons moving forward, starting with the 2014 Pro Football season. In addition, the 2013 Pro Football Windows Season Roster will also include Split Defensive Ratings.

The second major rule change is the consideration of flat passes as runs. In recent years, the flat pass (also designated as a screen pass), has often been utilized in real-life similar to a running play. The completion is frequently made behind the line of scrimmage in order to have as high a completion percentage as possible, and the idea is to gain the same type of yardage that a typical running play might net (or hopefully more with good yards after catch). In essence, teams use these quick passes in lieu of runs. In Strat-O-Matic, this real-life change in strategy, along with a general shift in emphasis towards the passing game, has resulted in gamers guessing “Pass” most of the time, often trying to stop the run by positioning linebackers appropriately. In order to restore a balance to the defensive Run/Pass decision, Strat-O-Matic is introducing this rule that considers flat passes to be runs when determining whether a defense has guessed right or wrong. When using this optional rule, the defense will often have a much more difficult decision to make when guessing Pass or Run, which is the intent of the rule. This rule also includes Strong Safety Flat Pass Containment (which works similarly to linebacker containment but is used to contain Flat Passes). With the use of this rule, All-Pro Strong Safeties such as Troy Polamalu in his prime will become truly important weapons in your Strat-O-Matic games! To read more about the new Flats as Runs rule, click here. Please note that Strat-O-Matic recommends using the Flats as Runs rule for all seasons from 1994 through the current one.

The third and final major rule change is the addition of Yards After Catch to the game. The ability for some receivers to gain extra yards after catching the ball receives a lot of attention in today’s game. As such, Strat-O-Matic has added this optional rule along with YAC ratings and a chart that will allow great receivers to stand out in this aspect of the game. To read more about our new Yards After Catch rules and ratings, click here. The new Yards After Catch ratings will be available for all new current Pro Football seasons moving forward, starting with the 2014 Pro Football season. In addition, the 2013 Pro Football Windows Season Roster will also include Yards After Catch ratings.
“We have wanted to make these improvements for years,” said Richman. “But now we have the detailed statistical breakdowns that allow us to do this very reliably.”
In addition to the three major rule changes mentioned above, Strat-O-Matic will also be implementing two significant changes to player cards.
The first card change relates to KICKOFFS. Strat-O-Matic has modified the default starting position to better reflect modern day kickoffs. These changes will be most evident for touchbacks. Every kicker will now have four touchback combinations. The remaining touchback options will be listed as either -8 or -9 yards. In doing so, the team returning the kick will now have the option of returning a kick deep in its own end zone. Click here to view a sample card.
The second card change involves QUARTERBACK RUNNING CARDS. All QB running ratings will now exclude yards lost on kneel-downs. In most cases, this change will improve the QB’s running card and will ultimately be a much more accurate representation of his true running capability. While the QB stats listed on the cards will match what they were in real life (which includes yards lost on kneel-downs), the actual QB ratings will not account for the yards lost on kneel-downs.
If there is one thing Strat-O-Matic prides itself on, it’s the realism of our products. While all of the outlined rule changes are optional, we highly recommend familiarizing yourself and ultimately using them in order to maximize the realism of the game. We hope you will use the coming months to review these rules, which will give you plenty of time to prepare for league play by the time the new cards and computer game are released in August.