How Much Luck is there in FASISAC?

*WARNING this post is both geeky and mathsy*

I decided I wanted to analyse how different decisions you make can affect your chances of winning a match in FASISAC. I did this with thousands of computer generated simulations and the results surprised me.

In play-tester feedback I have asked where people feel FASISAC sits on a scale of 1 to 10 for luck versus strategy where 1 = entirely luck (50/50 who wins no matter what) and 10 = entirely strategy (the best manager/team will always win). The average score was 6.3 which is pretty close to where I wanted the game to be when I began designing it. But this was people’s ‘feel’, often from just one match, so I wanted some data to see just how much luck there is in the game.

I’ve been developing a companion app that can run on Android for FASISAC. It can simulate matches and do some other useful bits and pieces like keep track of your scores and calculate league positions. The simulations are especially useful if you want to play out a season or multiple seasons and include automa (non-human) managers. These automa have specific rules for how they draft, select their tactics etc. The simulator lets you fast track your way through the matches they would play against each other.

So I tweaked the app and ran some scenarios through the simulator. Below are the results.

Note: These simulations did not take into account tactics and boost cards, they simply simulated a set number of attacks for each team to see how changing the players or number of attacks changed the outcomes. 10 attacks each. 1000 simulations, unless otherwise stated.

SCENARIO 1: Rubbish Team Versus Great Team.

This is something close to the best starting line up based solely on attributes versus a very poor team, it’s not a stupid team, there is a goalkeeper in goal and a reasonable defender in defence etc. But in every position they are notably worse than the great team.

cack v good

Rubbish Team: 34 wins
Draws: 85
Great team: 881 wins

So getting a great team gets great results, but there is always hope for a giant killing!

SCENARIO 2: Out of Position FC V In Position Rangers

Same line-ups but one team is playing the striker in defence and the defender as striker

Out of position v in

Out Of Position FC: 206 wins
Draws: 204
In Position Rangers: 590

This was one of the results that shocked me the most. I knew there would obviously be an advantage to having a player with high tackling in defence and a player with good skill and shooting as striker but for it to almost treble the chances of victory when all the players are the same just goes to show how important getting the right players for each position can be.

SCENARIO 3: Slightly Less Out Of Position FC V In Position Rangers

Because I was so surprised by the last result I thought I’d see how much impact a more subtle switch had. This time I swapped the striker (Minh Zhiang) with one of the midfielders (Dingo), both players could do a job in either position so in theory the change should be minor…

SLOP FC: 327 wins
Draws: 242
In Position Rangers: 431

Even that slight adjustment in positions improved the chances of winning by 32%!*

*Maths… some folks will prefer to view this rise from 32.7% to 43.1% as an increase of 10.4%. This is perfectly acceptable but the percentage increase in wins is 32%

SCENARIO 4: Twelve Attacks City V Ten Attacks Athletic

Generally, getting your tactics right will mean at least one more attack per half than your opposition. We’ll see what that does to the win % using exactly the same teams.

Twelve Attacks City: 502
Draws: 218
Ten Attacks Athletic: 280

You’d think that 20% more attacks would result in 20% more wins but it’s far more significant than that! Getting your tactics right to get those extra attacks results in a massive 79% jump in wins in this scenario.

SCENARIO 5: Okay Keeper Wednesday V Good Keeper Villa

Same outfield players but Roberto in goal v Hofmann in goal

hofmann v roberto-01

Okay Keeper Wednesday: 310
Draws: 206
Good Keeper Villa: 484

Get your ‘keeper right and you could improve your win rate by a whopping 56%!

So there you have it. There is always an element of luck in FASISAC and indeed in every individual roll there is a big chunk of luck. But a game consists of so many rolls that the  luck is balanced out through the beauty of probability distributions. As with all football there is a chance for any team, but strategy and quality of players plays a pretty huge part in who wins.

The balance of the game is probably the thing I am most proud of. Every decision that seems small does have an impact on your chances of winning, stretch those small improvements out over a full match or even a season and they’re the difference between mid-table mediocrity and crafting a team of Champions.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you for taking an interest in FASISAC, let me know what you thought or if there are any other scenarios you’d like me to run through the simulator in a comment on the facebook page or in an email (fivaside@gmail.com).

Meet Masonga, the young Tanzanian set to make a big splash in FASISAC this season.

By Tommi Gronlund.

Masonga doesn’t have a definite date of birth, there’s a date on his birth certificate which he got at 12 years old but that was plucked out of the air. According to his mother, Anna, he was born in the wet season, on a Wednesday. Masonga translates as we talk to Anna via facebook video call. ‘We just don’t keep track of those things, ages aren’t important. You start young, you get less young.’ The call breaks up and we say our goodbyes. How did a young boy of such humble beginnings make it to becoming a professional footballer?

TG: You grew up in a village in Tanzania, playing most of your football on dirt pitches, how was that?

It was great, we could play every day with whatever ball we could find or make. Sometimes we’d have a nice ball other times we used to collect plastic bags and elastic bands. Those balls were the best because they didn’t burst when they went into the acacia thorns. Whenever they fell apart we’d go and find some more trash to tie together. We didn’t care what state the ball was in, we just wanted to run and play with our friends.

TG: So how did you go from that to more organised football? When did you first get coaching?

M: Weirdly enough I got a scholarship to an international school through music, the head of our village would teach guitar and drumming lessons and had a connection at the school. I wasn’t actually all that good but I think my attitude made me stand out, I’d turn up an hour early so that I could get in some practice on the guitar. Oh, by the way there was only one guitar between 10 of us, the lessons were mostly us watching our teacher play.

I was always pretty dedicated with music, with football whatever, I loved improving. When I was really young, maybe 5 or 6, I remember spending days practising keepy-uppies until I’d got to 50 and then 100. I always wanted to get better.

I was 13 when I got the scholarship and going to an international school was so different from what I was used to. In my village school we were sitting silently at our desks being lectured to. The kids and the teachers sometimes didn’t care or even turn up for lessons, then all of a sudden I’m sitting next to kids who are paying ten thousand dollars a year. It was so foreign to me. I hated it at first, I didn’t really know I was poor until then, after the first day I got home and I cried, I didn’t want to go back. I did though and soon enough I was loving every lesson, taking in everything I could. Then came the football, we were lucky to have a great group of boys who all pushed each other on and a coach who was happy to train us every day and we’d even do some sessions before school. One of the other boys went on to play pro in Kenya.

Before playing in the school side I had no idea about formations or anything, we’d play games of 20 a side in the village and looking back they were ridiculous. But we loved it. If you scored a winner in those games you were a hero for days.

TG: What are your thoughts on FASISAC? What do you like about this new football format?

M: I think it’s great, it’s all about entertainment and it suits my play, I just need half a yard and I have a chance of shooting whenever I get the ball in the final third. It leads to lots of action and some really great back and forth in the scoring.

TG: There have been five exhibition warm-up tournaments. How have you found the last month touring around Europe?

M: At first, there were some teething problems, people maybe didn’t know what to expect. In Spain for the first [tournament], I think it had been marketed wrong and they expected futsal or some famous players. They weren’t able to connect with the idea and the players. Honestly I thought ‘well, we tried I guess this won’t be a success’. I half expected the tour to be cancelled right then. But then something happened after Spain and people in the crowd had been watching the highlights on youtube. They saw some of the rules working well. Also as players we settled into the matches and the level of performance has been improving every game.

TG: The last game at the Bolton Arena in front of 8,000 people must have been an experience?

M: It was crazy! That was one of the best experiences of my life. If we can get those sort of crowds for the Championships then I will be so happy. There were kids asking me for my autograph, shouting ‘Masonga, Masonga’ I thought ‘Man this is surreal, they know my name!’ I’m quite a shy person but it was a huge compliment.

TG: Do you think FASISAC can really catch on and stand up in the football world as a sport in its own right?

M: Honestly, I don’t know. I think it’s a hell of a lot of fun and something a little bit different from what’s come before so I think it has a chance. What I can say for certain is that it’s been an absolute pleasure being part of the story so far.

 

If you want to be part of the story of FASISAC going forward join the facebook group: facebook.com/groups/fasisac

90s Legends

So here’s how I spent my Monday evening. Having listened to the excellent football podcast Quickly Kevin I decided I’d make a few Print ‘n’ play add on cards for FASISAC to take us back to the 90s. They’ll never be available to buy because people have image rights but I’ll print some out for my own amusement and that is still what this whole FASISAC project is all about.

Here are the eight 90s legends I’ve gone for:

Albert cardRuel Fox CardJuninho FASISAC CardAnders Limpar FASISAC CardSavo Milosevic FASISAC CardCarlton Palmer FASISAC CardOgrizovic FASISAC CardIgor Stimac FASISAC Card

Which 8 players would make it into your 90s legends 5-a-side squad?

Player Profile: Anderson Cruz Da Costa – ACDC

 

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Anderson Cruz Da Costa

The ball came into Da Costa’s feet and he was facing Peter Rasmussen, one of the best defenders in the game. Any other player would have played the simple pass back but not Da Costa, he saw moves that simply weren’t available to lesser skilled players. He dropped his left shoulder selling Rasmussen the dummy just enough to make space, in one whirling movement he put his right foot on top of the ball dragging it to the side, followed by his left foot rolling the ball forwards and past Rasmussen’s attempted tackle. The crowd gasped and cheered, they were used to seeing Da Costa make a fool of a defender but that was something special. He was through on goal, one on one with the big Russian goalkeeper Boris Karlov, one more touch to get the ball out of his feet and boom, he slammed the ball into the bottom right corner, unstoppable.

If only it had meant something.

It was an exhibition match and his goal was no more than a late consolation. The score was 3-1 but there was a clear man of the match: Da Costa.

Born in Rio De Janeiro, a stone’s throw from the famous Maracana stadium, his is not a typical Brazilian footballer success story. Though he was a good player as a child he never stood out playing 11-a-side football, it was on the futsal pitches that he shone and he was soon playing in the top futsal league in Brazil. This year Da Costa joined the FASISAC training camp for the exhibition matches that started bringing this version of the sport onto the big stage.

There are few (if any) players who have adapted to this format so explosively as Anderson Cruz Da Costa. ACDC, as his fans have nicknamed him has got the whole package: he’s great at beating defenders, he can finish and he rarely gets caught out defensively. Managing him is a pleasure, play a direct game and his speed and dribbling are a great asset, try to keep possession and work the ball into an attack and his passing and movement will delight you. I’d be surprised if he isn’t a first round draft pick.