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Sunday, January 17, 2016

auctions vs pay-to-draft

I've been working more on my "sports drafting game." The pitch:
As owners of 3-on-3 basketball franchises, players will draft teams and continue to build them over a series of seasons. The owners can use their scouts to see how players' values will change each season, or take risks on unscouted players. The results of each season is determined quickly to allow owners to carry their team through multiple seasons. The owner that can maintain the most successful team throughout the years is the winner.
That probably needs some work.

I prefer auctions in fantasy sport as there may be a significant value difference between subsequent picks. Auctions force owners to put a more precise number on how they value the players.

Unfortunately, traditional auctions are slow, and can be bogged down by small incremental bids. This is where drafts have the advantage over auctions. And so, I was hoping to find a way to combine the two. The process requires tracking the shifting draft order on a draft board, and goes something like this:

  1. Randomly determine the first draft order. Place the owner tokens on the 1st ($9) round, in draft order from left to right.
  2. Starting with the left-most owner, the owner can choose to draft or pass.
    1. Draft - The owner takes any player into their team area, and places the appropriate amount of money on that player. The owner's token will move to the next round. If they don't have enough funds to draft in the next round, they must move their token to the round where the cost equals the owner's remaining funds. The owner's token is placed in the rightmost open position in that round. If the owner has already drafted 4 players, remove their token.
    2. Pass - Move the owner's token to the next round in the leftmost open position.
  3. Continue with the next owner, going left to right, moving to the next round when there are no more owner tokens in that round.
  4. Continue in this manner until all owners have drafted 4 players, or until all owners' tokens are on the 10th ($0) round.
    1. Once all owners are in the 10th ($0) round, do not move tokens after drafting. Continue drafting in left-to-right order until all owners have 4 players.
This method of drafting teams is quicker than an auction, but still forces players to place a value on the players they wish to draft. It is more complicated, which concerns me from people learning from the rules. When being taught, I have found that it makes sense.

My bigger concern is if it removes the tension that comes from an escalating auction. It's fun to bid up an opponent. It's fun to get caught up in the auction and bid more than you planned. Sometimes it's fun to bid on something you know is worthless, and then stick your opponent with it when they try to bid you up.

You lose all of this with the draft.

I plan on continuing to use the draft until it appears that it's missing some spice. If I find there to be less tension, I'll have to make a decision -- does the increase in tension make up for the increased play time?