I have some scattered thoughts about Fantasy Football that don’t really fit together into a single coherent post, so I’ve decided to just throw them up more or less as is.
NFL ‘s season started this week, which means that, perhaps more importantly for some people, Fantasy Football season started this week. For those of you who may be unaware, Fantasy Football is a game where each player manages a team composed of real world players in the NFL. Each player’s achievements on-field are translated into fantasy “points”, which are used to determine the winner in a series of head-to-head matches with other players in the fantasy league, culminating in a final bracket that completes just before the playoffs begin. For instance, running 10 yards might be worth a point, and scoring a touchdown might be worth 7 points. Many leagues require a cash buy-in, with various portions of the money going for various awards throughout the year (overall #1, most total points, etc). However, many leagues don’t, and are played just as a friendly casual supplement to the season.
Based on a complete lack of research, it seems likely to me that fantasy sports started with Fantasy Baseball, which honestly makes more sense. Baseball is essentially an individual sport, so the activities of each player could be abstracted to the fantasy team more easily. I suppose people may have played fantasy sports on pen and paper in the old days, but they’ve really taken off with the rise of the internet, where on-line leagues can automatically tabulate the scores and keep track of the teams in a central but easily accessible location. In the past few years, as the American public has drifted more towards embracing football as the American pastime, fantasy football has really taken on new prominence. Some adjustments had to be made for football, such as many leagues abstracting “defense” to a single “player” per fantasy team. There’s some interesting design implications there, which I may look at in the future (short version: offense is more fun), but overall, it seems to work pretty well. The weird thing is how many people have been tricked into playing what is essentially a market valuation and information game under the guise of watching a sport. Read more…
Sportsman-like is a (hopefully) recurring feature in which I talk to an expert in a relatively obscure sport, and have them explain to me some of the rules, and also talk a little bit about whether they think their sport qualifies as a game, or if it’s something else entirely. This installment also takes the form of a podcast, marking another first both for the site and for myself.
My guest today is Revolver Grand Master Matthew Griffin, and we talked a little bit about Action Shooting, and what differentiates it from all the other shooting events out there. Much to my chagrin, we never quite got around to directly addressing whether or not it counts as a game as well as a sport, but I have a handy excuse: it’s self-evidently very game-like, complete with objective (if arbitrary) scoring standards, level design, interesting choices, and enough other stuff to fit just about any definition you can come up with. I wish I’d thought to ask about a little more detail regarding the design of courses, but for the most part I was struggling just to keep up with the basics.
Many thanks to Matt for his time and also for putting up with my down-right amateurish interview and podcast skills.[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/14348258/ROTF_Podcast_1_MattGriffin.mp3]
Resources mentioned on the podcast:
- Brian Enos Forums.
- Griffin Shooting, Matt’s website.
- Matt’s very own white whale, Jerry Miculek.
If you know somebody who would like to be the subject of a future Sportsman-like feature, please leave me a message or drop me an e-mail at charles<at>therulesonthefield.com.