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Subject: Why mandatory sideways pass? Designer's reasoning. rss

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Patryk Kowalski
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Since many people seem to be raising the issue of the mandatory sideways pass in Hat-Trick, please find below my reasoning for its inclusion in the game.

1. REALISM
In actual football the ball travels a lot between players within formations. I wanted to mirror this aspect of the game to avoid the recurring scenerio where the ball is only travelling forward, from one goal to another. With no sideways pass I felt the match would resemble tennis.
Another thing is that with sideways passes much more players are involved. This, in turn, lets me picture the match narrative better, especially when using player names (or players from the expansion), so afterwards I can analyze who played a big part and whom the game passed by.

2. DRIBBLE
With no sideways passes, dribbling with wingers would be much to easy. Since they have the lowest numbers in the attacking line, they often receive the ball. Thus, one could repeatedly use them to dribble and - considering their high attacking skills - go past opponents (or simply repeatedly dribble into the empty corners). Mandatory sideways pass makes it harder, as one must arrange the line appropiately if one wants to use wingers this way (newcomers often make this mistake that they have a ball on the wing and play dribbling so as to go forward, forgetting that there is a sideways pass first).

3. SHIELDING THE BALL
The player with the ball can't be repositioned during the movement phase. This way, the team on the ball can block key players in order to preserve the advantage in a given line. With time experienced players will learn to use the sideways pass to their advantage. If it was not mandatory though, it would make it too easy for the attacking player to shield the ball anywhere he/she wants, which leads us to the most important argument for the mandatory sideways pass...

4. AVOIDING REPETITIVENESS
The problem with each football game I previously designed was repetitiveness which always crept in after some time. Players tended to find the most efficient plays like the ones I named in the 2 previous points (dribbling with wingers and shielding the ball in the most crucial areas) and the patterns started to show. Sideways pass prevents this as you are not in full control of the ball but must 'chase' it if you want to use it to your advantage.

5. EXPANSION
The variant with various player skills had been planned from the very beginning as I always believed it to be a must in Hat-Trick. It never made it to the base game as we simply ran out of space but it was there. Thus the sideways pass. I believe that along with the combination of player skills it will make Hat-Trick even harder to master as there will be a plethora of options to consider while planning your move. For more, see my answer here.

Hope it helps. If you want to know more, shoot - most preferably with the yellow, short pass, card

P.S. In this story you might find reasoning behind some of the most crucial decisions made when designing Hat-Trick.
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Yani
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I think what you are saying is you are designing for effect. There is not a clear definition of DfE that I know of, however an accepted one is that rules may contradict in some sense reality, but produce a plausible outcome, abstracting a procedure to let the player focus on what's important.

I must say this (theme breaking) mechanism threw me off completely to start with and fell foreign and weak. I will probably learn to like it, though. It might have been more comprehensible if you called it "Action Setup" step, or something of that ilk, instead of "Sideways Pass".
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Patryk Kowalski
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I don't know too much theory myself, so I know nothing about other approaches in game design. But from the definition you have provided, I cannot agree that I was designing for effect, since one of the reasons behind inclusion of the sideways was realism: increasing number of passes to try and match reality more closely and make room for passing the ball within formations during build-up (while looking for a pass forward). So my intention was not to contradict reality here but do exactly the opposite. I guess this boils down to one's perception of reality, in this particular case – football, and this leads us nowhere, as for me it is realistic and for you not. I can just hope that you will learn to live with that.
I agree about the name, though. After reading comments questioning the sideways pass, I wish I had named it differently so that people could accept it more easily.
Thanks for sharing your insights.
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Yani
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Hat Trick wrote:
I don't know too much theory myself, so I know nothing about other approaches in game design. But from the definition you have provided, I cannot agree that I was designing for effect, since one of the reasons behind inclusion of the sideways was realism: increasing number of passes to try and match reality more closely and make room for passing the ball within formations during build-up (while looking for a pass forward). So my intention was not to contradict reality here but do exactly the opposite. I guess this boils down to one's perception of reality, in this particular case – football, and this leads us nowhere, as for me it is realistic and for you not. I can just hope that you will learn to live with that.
I agree about the name, though. After reading comments questioning the sideways pass, I wish I had named it differently so that people could accept it more easily.
Thanks for sharing your insights.


Likewise, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is always refreshing to have a conversation with a designer.
 
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