The Talk Show – April, 2012

Host: Glenn Guzzo
You can submit your question or insight on any Strat-O-Matic game to When you do, kindly include your name and town. Other gamers like to see that. And the display format below works better that way.
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
            Since all hockey-player cards are not created equally, should the ice time be divided equally so that player statistics are accurate? For example, Player A is a first line player with 50 goals. His teammate, Player B, is a fourth line player with 10 goals. Player A’s card has many more scoring chances than Player B. Player A will also get more ice time than Player B. Should that be the case? Would Player B need just as much ice time as Player A so that both players will achieve realistic scoring chances? It seems that the cards should dictate their scoring chances, not just the ice time.
            Thus, the high scoring players with the good cards have two advantages over the low scoring players with bad cards: 1) they have better cards and 2) they get more ice time.
            Is that the way the game is designed to play?
Anthony Abilo

            I have thought about this often and the answer is not obvious to me. The best players do get the most ice time and they score the most both because of their time on ice and their talent. But here’s an important factor: They also play against the top opponents. Fourth-line players tend to play against other fourth-line players. Success in limited playing time against that opposition does not translate well into consistent success over more playing time against better foes. Rating a 10-goal fourth-liner as if he was a 30-goal or 40-goal man just waiting for the chance probably distorts reality and certainly invites gamers to distort his actual use. We also should remember that in SOM, the fourth-line opponents he will see will include a lot of 1-rated and 2-rated defenders, so a 10-goal man becomes relatively dangerous if he stays in that role.
            Even with scarce information about who each man played against, a great deal of work might make it possible to design cards to produce scoring chances on his anticipated ice-time against estimated opposition. But after long thought, I’ve concluded that gamers’ 20-20 hindsight would inevitably lead to distorted use – and distorted stats after all, defeating the original purpose of the re-design.
            When news broke about Strat-O-Matic upcoming digital reprinting of past seasons it was music to all our ears. I can’t wait for those 1973 cards coming out next year, finally. The 1970s were the most ignored and most wanted cards, after all these years hopefully we will finally get them, waited way long enough. The order I would like to see in releasing seasons based on our long suffering would be [TOP 10] I, for one, would purchase every one of these.
1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1979 … 1961, 1962, 1968, 1952, 1953
            Since 1973 will be SOM’s fifth update into Super-Advanced format from the ‘70s (1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978) – and there have been no updates yet from the 1980s, and only seven combined from all of pre-WWII baseball, the ‘70s certainly are not the “most ignored.” The ‘50s and ‘60s each have had five seasons published with Super-Advanced features, so even before ’73 is updated the ‘70s are not far behind. Have you voted in SOM’s current online poll? After 1,000 votes were cast, it was pretty much a dead heat among fans who said they would most likely purchase a season from the ‘80s, one from the ‘70s or a season prior to World War II.
            Have a league with buddies using the 1990 season and would love to make it a Salary Cap draft league. What formula does SOM Online use for assigning salary to players in their online leagues seasons?
            I don’t believe that formula ever has been revealed, and I’m sure The Sporting News and Strat-O-Matic want to keep it that way. However, if you are diligent about checking the TSN salaries against the ratings, you probably can “ballpark” the equivalent salaries for your league. It is known that the salaries are not based solely on formula, but also on expert opinion.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Use the actual 1990 salaries, which can be found online in USA Today’s baseball-salary database (it goes back to 1988). Be ready for some reverse sticker shock: Roger Clemens was the highest-paid pitcher at $2.6 million.
  •  If you’d rather base your salaries on card value, and not on real GM’s imperfect projections, develop your own salaries and cap. Divide players into tiers of value. Assign a salary to each tier. Determine a reasonable average (which will depend on the number of teams and the number of players in each organization). Then set a cap a bit higher than the average to allow some flexibility.      
            I realize that very few trades are executed during the regular season in the NFL. But is it possible to add a trade feature to the Strat pro football game that is similar to the kind used in the baseball game?

Don Johnson, Bourbonnais, IL
            It would be possible, though that idea competes with other features on gamers’ wish lists. Strat-O-Matic tries to balance its new features between those that will be the most popular and those that can be completed in reasonable time.