Monday, January 5, 2015

What I Did Over My Christmas Vacation

Back to work today (real work, where I get a paycheck), and I thought I'd get the first post of the new year knocked out before I have to get down to business.

What did I do on my Christmas vacation this year?


But it didn't stop there. Let's take a trip down memory lane ...

When I was but a young slip of a boy, I was obsessed with three things: Star Wars, World War Two, and Football. I was the original football geek - knew all the stats, knew the team histories, watched the games (rooted for the Steelers first and then the Raiders - I was a Las Vegas kid, so I didn't have a home team to root for), etc.

While I had never heard of D&D, I was already a gamer at heart. One summer, I invented my own football league. Lots of teams organized into conferences and divisions. Teams like the Las Vegas Aces, Billings Mountaineers, New Jersey Battleships (there's my WW2 obsession leaking through), Jacksonville Oranges, Birmingham Yellowhammers, Canton Bulldogs (I was retro before retro was cool), Georgia Peaches and my personal favorite, the Ottumwa Hogs (my family hails from Ottumwa, IA, thus the placement of a professional team in such a small market).

I designed helmets and team colors, and then I invented a very simple way to play games between them using a dice (and when I say dice, I mean d6 - back in those days, that was just a plain old dice, no extra description required). For each quarter of the game, I rolled the dice for each team to see how many points they scored. I don't remember the exact scheme now, but I'm sure it went something like this:

1 = 0 points
2 = 3 points
3 = 6 points
4 = 7 points
5 = 10 points
6 = 14 points

For example: Ottumwa Hogs vs. Las Vegas Aces


I would roll those dice, total up the scores, and have a winner. Then I recorded the wins and losses and ties, and eventually had them in playoffs and a championship game. I kept it all in a notebook, figuring out the schedules, etc. On a long road trip back to Iowa, it kept me occupied and entertained as only a geek can be entertained by rolling dice.

Flash forward to 2015.

My brother-in-law gets me that electronic football game. I start playing with it, and realize quickly that all those game scores I'm generating are going to waste. What if I resurrected those old pretend football teams, plus a few others, and made a sort of tournament. Yeah. A tournament.

Four conferences - North, South, East and West. Eight teams per conference, so a round of games, then conference playoffs, then conference championship, then league playoffs and league championship.

And I can organize the teams in Excel, with team logos and colors.

Oooh - what if I make a random table for determining off-season stuff, like teams folding or moving to new cities or picking up or losing star players.

Yeah - star players. They can give bonus offense and defense rolls that change the final score of the electronic games.

AND - I can grab demographics on the different MSA's in the US (metropolitan statistical areas) and the different stadiums, and come up with a random way to determine attendance and TV viewership and generate money earned for each team. Then they could spend money to build the teams even more.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to put together a pen & paper version of this, a little more in depth.

So, that's what I did with my Christmas vacation, along with writing about half the next issue of NOD (which will cover the Klarkash Mountains) and finishing up the first draft of GRIT & VIGOR.

Oh, and the Ottumwa Hogs are playing for the North Conference championship, against either the throwback Browns (with their classic Brownie logo) or the Minneapolis Marines.

8 comments:

  1. I saw the picture of electronic football game and my thumb began to have memory pain from the hours and hours I smashed those buttons.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've already found a version for my phone ... with passing!

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  3. Ottumwa? Did you ever go to Spud's Emporium when it was open?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't ring a bell - I'll ask my folks. I do know the Canteen and Graham's very well, though. Too well.

      Delete
  4. Well...I'm from Minnesota...but, root for...Marines? Dunno if I can do it.

    I had that game as a kid. But there was a pattern that could get you a TD, every time.

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  5. If I learn that pattern, I'll be running a fantasy arena football league.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Don't they have rotisserie league football already? I know they have baseball.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of fantasy football around, but not quite the same as what I'm doing.

      Delete

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