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Old 08-08-2011, 02:01 PM  
Rain Man Rain Man is offline
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Your Chance To Participate In A New Football Phenomenon (Sandbox Simulations)

I apologize if the mods think this is soliciting, and I guess it is, but at the same time it's beta testing a new product developed by long-time planeteers, and it's free.

cdcox and I have been developing a new football game for the thoughtful fan, where players build franchises and compete against each other. A description is below.

If you're interested, we're offering the game for free in Year 1 to Chiefsplanet members, with the goal of both giving the system a dry run and also hooking you like Phillip Morris. You can go to www.sandboxsimulations.com to sign up, and use the access code 6Lanier3.

Here's the overview:

Build and manage a full 53-player roster over multiple seasons, as an offseason activity to give you year-round football

Select your personnel to match your offensive and defensive scheme. Every position matters – even your blocking tight end.

Realistic and accurate simulations of league games based on head-to-head matchups against other teams in your league.


This is essentially a new concept in fantasy football that attempts to simulate as closely as possible the management of a real NFL franchise over a multi-year period. Unlike regular fantasy football, every position on the offense and defense contributes to your success or failure. On special teams, the punter, kicker, and kick returners matter.

In Sandbox Football you will build a team – an entire 53-man football team – via an initial draft, and will maintain it year after year in annual rookie drafts, trading periods, and free agency. You compete against teams in your league. In the first year of the game, before the start of the NFL season, you will build your roster by drafting veterans and rookies through separate drafts, and through trades with other teams in the league. Your roster is frozen at the beginning of the NFL season. During the real regular NFL season, you can focus on your traditional fantasy games and perhaps keep on eye on your Sandbox roster as our statistical models build the data on player performances. At the end of the regular NFL season, the Sandbox season begins. There will be 16 games in the season. In real time, the season will run about 8 weeks (2 alternate reality games per week).

Game outcomes will be simulated based on the performance of individual players during the just-completed NFL regular season. The simulations, developed by a PhD statistical expert, estimate how individual players will perform in the context of your alternate reality team competing head-to-head against other teams in the league and with the specific team that you have built. The simulations will consider the offensive and defensive schemes that you select. So you can build your roster to support a power running game or a high-flying passing attack. You can run a 3-4 or 4-3 base defense. You can run nickel formations or four-wide receiver sets. You can rotate your DL to keep them fresh.

The game is more about building a team than playing video games. So this isn't Madden, but you will have the ability to tweak your game plan to take the best advantage of your roster and the weaknesses of your opponent. Injuries are a factor in the game. If a player is unavailable during weeks 3 through 6 in the NFL, he is also unavailable during the same weeks in the alternate reality season. So roster depth matters. The game simulations are based on the most advanced statistics and the latest research regarding what matters in winning an NFL game. But, the outcomes of the games have a random component, just like real NFL games.

The calendar for the alternate reality league year will look something like this:
• Jan to Mid March: Alternate Reality regular season and playoffs.
• Mid-March to the beginning of NFL season: Roster building through trades, veteran draft (first year), free agent drafts (2nd year and beyond), and rookie draft.
• Beginning of NFL season to end of regular NFL season: Alternate reality league is dormant, but the NFL players are generating their performance stats for the up-coming AR league.
• Rinse and repeat.

Copyright Sandbox Simulations, all rights reserved.

We're still finalizing the cost structure, but this won't be an expensive game to play at all. It might range from a few bucks a year to $50 per year, depending on a few factors.

Year 1 will require a couple of days of drafting with rather high intensity, but we've got it set up where you can put your draft list together and do customized and automated drafting if you like.

So...go! Now! Time to get ready for the draft!




Note that we are still in beta testing, so things could change if we find problems in the system.


How Free Agency Works:

Free Agency will begin before the 2012 season after the rookie draft.

Our process is as follows for the 2012 season. In 2013 and beyond there will be minor changes as noted later.

1. We will unveil the list of available free agents so you can check out the talent pool.

2. If you look in "Standings", you will see that you have a salary account value of $1,300. You will use this to sign your veterans to contracts, sign your rookies to contracts, and (in a competitive bidding process) sign free agents to contracts.

The cost of a contract is as follows for players already on your roster (both veterans and rookies).

$0 - 1 season contract
$10 - 2 season contract
$22 - 3 season contract
$37 - 4 season contract
$55 - 5 season contract
$76 - 6 season contract
$100 - 7 season contract

You will sign your existing players to contracts using an interface that we will unveil shortly. If your 53-man roster is set you can spend your $1,300 on your current roster. However, it may be worthwhile to hold some money back so you can compete for free agents.

3. The free agency period begins.

Bidding for free agents will be open and competitive. As players come available, teams will be allowed to sign them if they are the high bidder. The contract length is automatically calculated by rounding down the bid to the chart below.

Contract Length (Seasons) Salary Points Bid
1 0 to 9
2 10 to 21
3 22 to 36
4 37 to 54
5 55 to 75
6 76 to 99
7 100 or more

For example, if you submit the winning bid for a player at a price of 25 salary points, that player becomes yours under a 3-year contract. If you submit a bid for 35 points and win, it’s also a 3-year contract. If you submit a bid for 38 points, it’s a 4-year contract. If you submit a bid for 120 points, it’s a 7-year contract.

For the 2012 free agency period, we will enforce the 53-man rule. You will need to cut down to 53 players before the free agency period starts, and if you sign a player to go above 53, you will need to cut a player to stay within the roster limit. NOTE: DON'T CUT YET UNLESS YOU WANT TO. WE'RE STILL FINALIZING THE SYSTEM AND WANT TO BE SURE THAT THIS RULE WORKS IN 2012.

4. Ending Bidding and Ending Free Agency.

Bids on an individual player will begin once the first player places a bid. For the 2012 season that bid must be $1 or more. Bidding ends when the existing high bid had not been raised for 72 hours. At that point, the high-bid team is awarded the player under the contract terms described in Step 3.

The free agency period in 2012 will end once there have been no bids on any players for 72 hours.

5. Unused Salary Points

If you do not use all of your salary points in a given year, they will roll over from year to year. This is experimental and we'll have to see how it works. If it doesn't work, they'll expire each year, or maybe a portion of the points can roll over. Right now, assume they all roll over.

6. Salary Points and Roster Management

In the Sandbox system, salary points and the salary cap are used only for acquiring players. You will never have to track the number of salary points “on your roster” and you will never have to cut a player for salary cap reasons.

Additionally, you are not obligated to keep a player for the full length of his contract. You can cut him or trade him at any time. However, recognize that it’s a waste of salary points to cut or trade a player before the end of his contract. But it doesn't hamstring you going forward - it's just past money that you wasted.

7. Free Agency and Contract Length - Retaining Your Current Players

When a player reaches the end of their contract, they go back into the free agency pool and teams will bid for their services. You are eligible to bid on them to get them back, just like you can bid on any free agents.

There is one exception to the rule of free agents going into the free agency pool, as follows:

• At the end of the bidding process, you have the opportunity to re-sign your own players by outbidding the high bidder. Your bid must be the minimum points to increase their contract period by a year over the high bid. (Example: your player goes to free agency, and another team bids 50 points for him, which equates to a 4-year contract. You can keep the player by paying 55 points for him, which is the minimum amount for a 5-year contract.) If the high bidder offered a contract of 100 points or more (7-years), you can keep the player by bidding 10% more points than the high bid.

8. Free Agency and Trades

If you trade for a player, their contract length is a consideration. Trading for a player with 6 years left on his contract will give you his services for that amount of time (unless you cut him or trade him, or he retires). Trading for a player with 1 year left on his contract means that he’ll go back into the free agency pool at the end of the season. (Of course, you can still retain him via Step 7.)

9. Future Years

In future years, the process will be identical to that shown above, with the following exceptions.

a. Because you will have a lot of veteran players under contract, you won't need $1,300. You'll get a new annual allotment of signing dollars. We're still working on the exact amount, but it looks like it'll be between $500 and $600.

b. In the 2012 season, we will introduce all free agents at once to catch up. In the 2013 season and beyond, the free agency period will occur during the actual NFL season. We will sprinkle the free agents in one division at a time over the course of the season. (The divisions may be randomly selected or we may release a calendar. It doesn't matter that much.) This system should be interesting because some free agents will come available early in the season when you don't know their performance for the year - greater risk, greater reward - while other free agents will come available later in the season when you know what their performance will be, but so does everyone else.

c. In the 2013 season and beyond, you will be able to retain more than 53 players through the rookie draft and the main free agency period. You will then have a cutdown period to get to 53 and we will have a final free agency period where you can sign any players who have been cut. In that final period you will have to enforce a 53-man roster, so if you sign a player you have to cut one.

10. When you think about the schedule in 2013 and beyond, it will go like this:

a. Sandbox season goes from February through April.
b. Rookie draft in May. No 53-man limit.
c. Free agency from (likely) September through December, with free agents sprinkled in throughout that period.
d. January. Roster cuts to 53.
e. Late January. Final free agency period to flesh out rosters and sign players cut in Step d.
f. New Sandbox season begins.


Last edited by Rain Man; 05-27-2013 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:07 PM   #3106
allen_kcCard allen_kcCard is offline
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Can one of you in the know talk a little more about players playing out of position when it is a similar position like NT/DT/DE3 or DE4/OLB?

Trying to figure out some draft or FA needs and it is hard to tell on some of those because I don't know if my great DT will be just as great playing the nose in 3-4, or at the very least really darn close to the same level. I know a guy like Powe on my roster can play NT even though he is listed as DE3....I know you mentioned positions like that can be petitioned to be changed, but would it even matter that much?

Same things for ILB/WLB/SLB/MLB
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:26 PM   #3107
cdcox cdcox is offline
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Here is what I sent in reply to a PM to another owner asking a similar question:

Rain Man and I really don't want to tell too much what is going on behind the curtain because people will start gaming the system.

The player's natural position is going to be considered what he played in a given year, even if the player had demonstrated that he could play other positions in past years. Part of the reason for that is that performance is context specific. Certain positions generate more favorable stats than other similar positions just due to responsibilities and match ups. You can also imagine the chaos if we started considering these kinds of position changes on a case-by-case situation. If we denied a request for good reason, someone would get ticked off if we had approved another seemingly similar case. So we consider the natural position to be the one the player played the most in during a given NFL season, and we consider his performance in the context of that position. If you move someone around, there will be an effect -- sometimes large and sometimes small--, and you're just going to have to trust that we've made those adjustments in a realistic and reasonable way. So our advice as always is to just play the game the way you think it should be played without worrying about how we've designed the game. When unrealistic aspects of the simulation are brought to our attention, we make modifications to make it more realistic.

Hope this sheds some light.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:29 PM   #3108
Rain Man Rain Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allen_kcCard View Post
Can one of you in the know talk a little more about players playing out of position when it is a similar position like NT/DT/DE3 or DE4/OLB?

Trying to figure out some draft or FA needs and it is hard to tell on some of those because I don't know if my great DT will be just as great playing the nose in 3-4, or at the very least really darn close to the same level. I know a guy like Powe on my roster can play NT even though he is listed as DE3....I know you mentioned positions like that can be petitioned to be changed, but would it even matter that much?

Same things for ILB/WLB/SLB/MLB
It's not my intent to be vague on this, but the bottom line is that you should think about it just like you would in the NFL. If you move Mike DeVito from a 3-4 DE to NT, what'll happen? Well, he'll probably get pushed around more, but could probably do it. He's better at his natural position, but he can make the shift. A really top-notch 3-4 DE like Justin Smith might be better than your run of the mill nose tackle because he's just more talented. However, he's still going to be better himself playing his natural position.

So the bottom line is that a talented guy moving to a similar position is still going to be pretty darn good, though he's always better at his natural position. On the other hand, a talented guy moving to a dissimilar position is likely going to be blasted. DeMarcus Ware is a great 3-4 OLB and would likely be a very, very good 4-3 DE or even 4-3 OLB. But if you move him to a 4-3 DT position he's probably going to be a liability against the run and perhaps even the pass since that position doesn't suit his strengths.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:31 PM   #3109
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cdcox beat me to the answer.

Oh, and note that you don't have to petition for a formal change to use a guy at a different position. If Week 14 comes up and you have no WRs at all due to injuries and you need to use Dontari Poe at WR, go right ahead. Just recognize that he's going to have problems getting open.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:31 PM   #3110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdcox View Post
Here is what I sent in reply to a PM to another owner asking a similar question:

Rain Man and I really don't want to tell too much what is going on behind the curtain because people will start gaming the system.

The player's natural position is going to be considered what he played in a given year, even if the player had demonstrated that he could play other positions in past years. Part of the reason for that is that performance is context specific. Certain positions generate more favorable stats than other similar positions just due to responsibilities and match ups. You can also imagine the chaos if we started considering these kinds of position changes on a case-by-case situation. If we denied a request for good reason, someone would get ticked off if we had approved another seemingly similar case. So we consider the natural position to be the one the player played the most in during a given NFL season, and we consider his performance in the context of that position. If you move someone around, there will be an effect -- sometimes large and sometimes small--, and you're just going to have to trust that we've made those adjustments in a realistic and reasonable way. So our advice as always is to just play the game the way you think it should be played without worrying about how we've designed the game. When unrealistic aspects of the simulation are brought to our attention, we make modifications to make it more realistic.

Hope this sheds some light.
No you don't.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:38 PM   #3111
cdcox cdcox is offline
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Quote:
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No you don't.
Rain Man, I think we can scratch patteeu off of the list for VP of public relations.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:42 PM   #3112
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The player's natural position is going to be considered what he played in a given year
I guess this is part of what I am struggling with. Played in a given year according to what? Is seems silly, but for some of these guys it is hard as hell to figure out what they play on a given year. Ranking will lump DTs and NTs up together, the pro football reference links for a play might say they are lde/dt or blank, or something else. I had one player that was listed as DE in his potion, but the pro footabll reference showed him as a SAM.

I get what you are saying, but I don't want to get 95% out of two players just because I thought one was considered a NT and the other a DE3 and for whatever reason they were the other way around. Is there something of a creed we can follow to say what position a player is really considered to be?
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:49 PM   #3113
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Rain Man, I think we can scratch patteeu off of the list for VP of public relations.
[scratch, scratch, scratch]
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:54 PM   #3114
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Originally Posted by allen_kcCard View Post
I guess this is part of what I am struggling with. Played in a given year according to what? Is seems silly, but for some of these guys it is hard as hell to figure out what they play on a given year. Ranking will lump DTs and NTs up together, the pro football reference links for a play might say they are lde/dt or blank, or something else. I had one player that was listed as DE in his potion, but the pro footabll reference showed him as a SAM.

I get what you are saying, but I don't want to get 95% out of two players just because I thought one was considered a NT and the other a DE3 and for whatever reason they were the other way around. Is there something of a creed we can follow to say what position a player is really considered to be?
We'll provide that information, note that it would be helpful to provide it as early as possible for drafting and free agency.

We're in a weird catch-up year this year, but as I think about it, going forward we won't know until after the draft and free agency, either.

The calendar will be something like this.

End the previous Sandbox season in March or thereabouts.

Draft rookies in May (or after the NFL draft, whenever it is).

Sign free agents throughout the NFL season, at which point players may be moving around in terms of position.

At the end of the NFL season, we build our databases and feed it into the model, at which point we know the stated position of each player - but that's after everyone has built out their team.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:55 PM   #3115
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Dumervil had his best year as a 3-4 OLB, but played in 2012 as a 4-3 DE. Does he still get devalued when moved to a 3-4 OLB?
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:01 PM   #3116
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Dumervil had his best year as a 3-4 OLB, but played in 2012 as a 4-3 DE. Does he still get devalued when moved to a 3-4 OLB?
Yeah. Otherwise we have to start making individual judgment calls on each player, which gets cumbersome. We recognize it's a limitation, but at the same time players tend to move to similar positions and our downgrades for moving to a similar position are mild.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:09 PM   #3117
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Yeah. Otherwise we have to start making individual judgment calls on each player, which gets cumbersome. We recognize it's a limitation, but at the same time players tend to move to similar positions and our downgrades for moving to a similar position are mild.
How mild are we talking? What about a small 4-3 DE moving to a primarily rushing 4-3 SLB?

EDIT: Maybe let me explain more. Said DE turned SLB will be blitzing basically all the time. Let's assume he never drops into coverage. Will his pass rush skills be diminished in this setup? How badly? I just want to know if I should rethink my defense while I still have a chance to pick up pieces in the draft.

Last edited by MagicHef; 05-23-2013 at 02:17 PM..
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:22 PM   #3118
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How mild are we talking? What about a small 4-3 DE moving to a primarily rushing 4-3 SLB?
Nacho Cheese Dorito to Cool Ranch Dorito. Not Spicy Chipotle Dorito to Cool Ranch Dorito.

It's hard to answer that exactly, but we do make distinctions to the level you're talking about, and also for various elements of the switch (i.e., run stopping, pass coverage, pass rushing, etc.). Seriously, the best I can say is to use your intuition about the interchangeability of positions.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:33 PM   #3119
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Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
Nacho Cheese Dorito to Cool Ranch Dorito. Not Spicy Chipotle Dorito to Cool Ranch Dorito.

It's hard to answer that exactly, but we do make distinctions to the level you're talking about, and also for various elements of the switch (i.e., run stopping, pass coverage, pass rushing, etc.). Seriously, the best I can say is to use your intuition about the interchangeability of positions.
Ok. Since he won't really be covering at all, I'm guessing the overall drop will not be severe. Thanks.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:36 PM   #3120
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And again, we're not intentionally trying to be obtuse, but we want people to think of the game more as football and less as a statistical exercise to maximize their odds. Football coaches have to make these same judgments during the course of a season - Branden Albert is injured, so do I put Stephenson in or do I move Fisher to the left and put Stephenson on the right?

I have a good example of what we're trying to avoid. Many years ago, I was in a league that played Strat-O-Matic baseball. It was a cool game, but it was baseball, which is pretty simple statistically and the game system was transparent.

Well, I had two shortstops, Cal Ripken, Jr., and a journeyman for the Twins named Al Newman. Newman was a career .226 hitter with 1 home run in eight years. Ripken was clearly the better player, but in one type of matchup (something like clutch situations against right-handed pitchers) Newman was actually better.

I did my math and figured that out, so when that situation arose, Ripken was out of there and Newman took over at shortstop. One of the guys in my league was a baseball purist and he would get furious at me when I would do that. My response was always, "I did the math."

But the bottom line is that I wasn't really playing the game in a manner suitable to baseball. I was manipulating the game system. What we don't want in this game is for someone to discover that some offensive tackle (John Tait?) got the ball once on a lateral and gained 28 yards, so you can move him to running back and he'll be Godzilla.

I'm not saying that anyone in our leagues would do that, but we all know each other and are reasonable people. Once we go commercial with the game, we'll certainly have people willing to do that, so we have to prevent it from happening, both via the game system design and via our management of the game.
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