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Subject: Bananagrams Football Manager rss

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Daniel Hurst
United States
Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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I'm a football/soccer fan. I especially like team management games. I've been hopelessly addicted to Football Manager 2008 on my PC. What I've done here is use my Bananagrams set to simulate managing a football team. This won't be for everybody, but I've played it a lot and quite enjoy it. It's fairly simple and I thought I'd share. Somebody will like it.

Welcome to Bananagrams Football Manager! Generally speaking there are only six steps in play:
1. TEAM SCORING
2. REMOVE CHIPS FOR CONTRACT YEARS
3. CHECK ON "COACHED" PLAYERS
4. RELEASE OUT OF CONTRACT PLAYERS
5. SCOUT AND COACH PLAYERS
6. OFFER CONTRACTS

Before this cycle starts, there's an initial SETUP.

SETUP:

First, dump out a full Bananagrams set on a table and turn the tiles face down. This represents the Talent Pool and is where your team will get its players. Second, provide 28 small chips, stones, or markers that will serve as the Team Budget. (A rich or poor team might start with more or fewer chips in the Team Budget.) In the picture, I've used white Go stones.



The next part of setup is to get a job managing a team. So congratulations, you've been hired! What does your new team look like? To find out, follow the following scouting procedure.

Scouting:

The central mechanism of the game is that each player on your team is an English word. The longer the word, the better the player. Each letter you can use in a word is worth one point to your team. The player "AT" represents two points of talent. The player "SUET" is twice as good and gives your team four points of talent. (I only allow myself common words, but you can use your Scrabble knowledge if you want.)



To start scouting a player, draw three tiles from the Talent Pool and turn them face up. (I tend to draw from the bottom of the pool and dump old tiles into the top of the pool so it recycles.) Try and form these three letters into the longest possible word. The bigger the word you can make, the better the player.

Another central mechanism: if you can make a word using all of a player's letters, you're allowed to draw another tile from the Talent Pool and add it to him. For example, if you draw the tiles IEV, you can only make the word "I" and he's stuck. But if you draw EUS, you can form those tiles into the word "SUE", so you're entitled to draw and add another tile. In this second case, if you draw a T, you can form the word "SUET" and you're entitled to draw and add yet another tile. This process continues until you can't make a word using all the player's tiles. There is no maximum length. But every player on your team will eventually have at least one "leftover" tile.

Your starting team is made up of the first eleven players you can create. Just keep drawing tiles in groups of three and following the scouting procedure until you have eleven players worth at least one point. (Discard any players worth zero, such as KHS, NTN, or SRE.)

Now the team must pay these players. Place one chip by all eleven players. This chip represents a 1-year contract. At this point, you've used 11 chips and you'll have 17 chips left in the Team Budget. Since your team just hired you, you may sign any player to a longer contract by placing more chips next to him. (I usually use a maximum contract length of 5, but I'm not sure I'd call that an absolute Rule.) In my example, I've given SUET a 4-year contract, AT a 2-year contract, and NOT a 3-year contract.

Once all eleven players have at least a 1-year contract, arrange them in whatever tactical formation you favor. I often favor a diamond 4-4-2. (I figure NOT is a good name for a keeper!) Keep the contract chips next to each player. This is the team you're taking over. It's probably a rotten team, as these things go. That's why you got the job. This ends SETUP.



Now, we start the game routine in earnest and follow these steps:
1. TEAM SCORING
2. REMOVE CHIPS FOR CONTRACT YEARS
3. CHECK ON "COACHED" PLAYERS
4. RELEASE OUT OF CONTRACT PLAYERS
5. SCOUT AND COACH PLAYERS
6. OFFER CONTRACTS

TEAM SCORING

This is a simple step, but the most important. Just count how many tiles are used in words for your starting eleven players. Don't count tiles that don't make words. This example starting team has a score of 17 - blech. Eventually, my scores tend to range from around 32-44, but you might set your own standards for year-to-year success and failure. I tend to think that 41 points starts to put me in the top four of my league. Players in the reserves are not counted.

REMOVE CHIPS FOR CONTRACT YEARS

After scoring, remove one chip from each player on your team and return these chips to your Team Budget. Some players will no longer have chips and are considered out of contract. Players with chips are still under contract with your team.



CHECK ON "COACHED" PLAYERS

At this time, if you Coached a player (see below), you can try and rearrange that player's tiles to form a new word. Turn over any facedown tile associated with the player and return the chip you paid for that tile into the Team Budget. Try and use the new tile to make a bigger word and improve the player. Once again, if you use all of a player's tiles, you can draw and add another tile and try to keep making bigger and bigger words. Players can show dramatic improvement in this way! You may offer Coached players new contracts at this point if and only if the player was improved by Coaching. To offer a new contract, the player must be worth more points after Coaching. New contracts are paid from the current Team Budget. If Coaching was unsuccessful, a player may end up with more than one "leftover" tile.

RELEASE OUT OF CONTRACT PLAYERS

Any player that is out of contract is now removed from your team. Turn his tiles over, scramble them, and return them to the Talent Pool. Unless a player was improved through Coaching, he may not be resigned to a new contract! Any player that still has chips stays with your team.

SCOUT AND COACH PLAYERS



This is the meat and potatoes step. You've got a Team Budget. You can use it in two ways:

1) The first kind of action you can take is to Scout new players. To Scout for players, pay one chip immediately and take three facedown tiles from the Talent Pool. Try to arrange these letters into a word. As always, if you can use all of a player's tiles to make a word, you're entitled to draw and add another tile and try and make a bigger word. There is no maximum length for a player. (The best I did here was OUSTED.) But even if the player is worth zero at this step, you are still required to pay for him. (This is different than SETUP.) Leave the chip you paid next to every Scouted player.

2) The second kind of action you can take is to pay one chip to Coach any player. To Coach a player, draw a facedown tile and place it facedown next to the player. This player can be in your starting eleven, newly-Scouted players out of the Talent Pool, or in your reserves. Place the chip on the facedown tile for now. A player cannot be Coached more than once during this step. The skill is in deciding which players have opportunities for growth. Here, I decided to pay to Coach the player ATI. He's definitely got more potential than someone like MRZ.

These actions continue in any order until you decide to move to the next step (or the entire Team Budget is exhausted).

OFFER CONTRACTS

With any remaining Team Budget, you can sign any newly-Scouted players to long-term contracts. Just place additional chips from the Team Budget next to any player that you want to sign to a contract of more than one year. In the example, I signed OUSTED to a 5-year contract; TEAL to a 3-year contract; and IRE, POX, and IF to 2-year contracts. You'll usually want to spend your entire Team Budget each year.

The final step is to arrange your players into whatever tactical formation you like. (IF has to be a striker, right?) You may choose to keep players in the reserves, but keep them separate from your starting eleven. You may also choose to move players into or out of your reserves at this time. You can use the zero talent players in any position, or you can leave those spots blank and imagine a "replacement level" player worth zero doing the job.

For ease of play, you may immediately recycle any unwanted newly-Scouted players into the Talent Pool at the end of this phase. Return any associated chips into the Team Budget before beginning the next year.



At this point, start the steps over again. You can see in the example that I improved the team score from 17 to 30 in the first year, even without a credible playmaker or right fullback. (We pretend there are journeyman at these positions all year.) Also, AT improved a TAD in the Coaching phase and I used the opportunity to resign him to a new contract. The picture was taken after the Coaching phase. The next picture was taken immediately after the Scoring phase in the next year, where the team score improved again to 35. Play continues until you retire.



I hope someone finds this interesting or fun. I had a great time making it. I imagine you could play two (or more) players head-to-head if everyone brought their own Bananagrams set.

Best of luck!
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Simon Taylor
Australia
Live in Perth, Australia
Born and bred in Britain
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This doesn't feel like a variant of bananagrams; it feels like a completely new game altogether that just happens to use the same pieces. Perhaps it needs its own game entry!


This is fantastic! It is just the right mix for a solitaire game of luck and judgement. It (just about) has a theme which is quite unusual for a word game like this.

I am definitely definitely going to play this as a co-op game with my mother, who loves word games, used to teach sport, but hates competition. We can work together to coach players.


Your description would be improved by making the images larger so we can read the letters. I believe that editing it and adding "medium" or "large" in the code, eg:

[ImageID = 123456medium]

(but without the spaces next to the = sign)


I spent hours playing this yesterday. I made a session report ;-)

Rule question:
- say you have MEATS E
- say you coach and get an R
- you could do STEAMER and take another letter
- are you allowed, if you so choose, only to make STREAM E, not take another letter and give STREAM a 5-year contract?
- are you then allowed, five years later, to coach again... and say you coach this time and get Z... you can still rearrange to make STEAMER Z, and get another five-year contract?

I think the answer would be 'yes' because it allows you to make a tactical decision to coach hard and risk burn-out early, or coach more slowly knowing you'll get a long term dedicated player.
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Daniel Hurst
United States
Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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Thank you for the compliments! I'm pretty thrilled that someone found these rules and enjoyed the game. I had one friend comment that he thought the game sounded fun, but no one else ever seemed to notice it on BGG.

I changed the pictures. Thank you for the suggestion. I also think it's a great idea that you could play this cooperatively.

I don't think I anticipated your MEATS -> STEAMER situation, but I could be persuaded to agree with you about your rules interpretation. The counter-argument is that a manager should really be discouraged from being able to regularly sign and re-sign players to contracts totaling ten years or more. That's probably just not how things tend to work in the real world.

I thoroughly enjoyed your session report and will be commenting there as well. I think you made me reconsider whether 41 points is a good enough target score for anyone who's a real word-hound. But I'm not sure I ever got close to 60+. Cheers! Another rules change or handicap would be to make it cost 2 chips to coach, if you're feeling that 1 is too generous.
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Nick
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Wow - this is a seriously impressive piece of design. I've just played a five-season game, limiting myself to a maximum contract length of 3 years and had a whole lot of fun. I must admit that I was feeling my way through the mechanics a little, and didn't make proper use of scouting until towards the end, but I'm going to play it again soon.

For the record, my five seasons scored as follows:

31 -> 33 -> 37 -> 29 (rebuilding year!) -> 31 for a total of 161, so that gives me something to aim at when I play again.
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Mike G.
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Newbury
New Hampshire
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Quote:
For example, if you draw the tiles IEV, you can only make the word "I" and he's stuck.


Your scout missed some talent with that guy. Perhaps another team might vie for him? whistle
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