PPM Tactics Revisited: What We Know & What We Learned

Almost a full season ago PPM made some pretty big changes to the game engine regarding tactics and counter-tactics, and the ability to score goals.

Now, 100+ days later, how have those changes stacked up? Did PPM screw the proverbial pooch with the changes, or did they improve the game?

To be perfectly honest, I believe you could ask 100 people that question and most probably end up with a 50/50 split on the resulting thoughts. Clearly, a season on and the changes have been met with plenty of mixed emotions.

tacticsFor a little catch-up, the primary changes were the reduction of counter-tactic strength and a much greater influence put on the shooting attribute. Up until this season, if someone player the Offensive tactic, you could guarantee an advantage by playing Defensive, and so on. This season that changed, with tactics being much more influenced by actual team strength. Of course, counter-tactics DO still work, just not as much or as good as they used to. The changes to the shooting influence was the biggest and most felt change to the system though, with teams who had dominated on the scoreboard finding it hard to put the puck in net this season. My own team, who had averaged 150 goals over seasons 5 and 6 dropped to just 128 this season.

So were the changes an improvement?

I can’t speak for the thousands of other managers in the Powerplay Manager community, but from my own experience the changes were, for the most part, exactly what PPM wanted them to be; as could be seen from my own goal scoring figures.

The issue however, is how do you train a strong team that uses the PPM Tactics to your advantage while still playing to the strength of your team? First of all, you need to think team first, instead of just thinking tactics. PPM Tactics are no longer a pick and play thing; they require effort and a team that can actually play the style of tactic you choose.

By this I mean, if your team has very few snipers (high shooting attribute players), then one could argue that the offensive attribute would be less effective for your players. Saying that, the other side of the coin is that the offensive attribute could mean you take more shots, and as they say, the more shots you put on net, the more chance you have of scoring goals.

The PPM Guide talks about the individual tacts at Powerplay Manager and gives a description of the type of team you need to have in order to best benefit from them. I suggest you read the tactics section of the guide often, as knowing this information will not just help you win games, but will help you build a MUCH more stronger team going forward.

PPM Tactics aside though, you need to score goals, and to do that, PPM have made it VERY clear that you need a highly trained shooting attribute on your players. If you ask around the forums you will find that most often, teams with the most goals and best seasons all have a lot of highly trained scoring players. This is no coincidence, and is pretty much the way PPM wanted it to be when they changed the influence of the shooting attribute.

Lastly, I want to briefly talk on the game importance option when you setup your games. This season saw the change from the 3 step (Low-Normal-High) importance system to a much more detailed 5 step (Very Low – Low – Normal – High – Very High) system. As with all my previous posts, I suggest playing on the lowest possible game importance you can while still ensuring wins. Teams who favoured the higher importance are now at a disadvantage in the playoffs because they have much lower seasonal energy for their players. So please keep in mind that while game importance is often overlooked, is is as vital a PPM Tactic as any of the other things I have touched on in this post.

Good luck to all the teams in the playoffs this season, and to those fighting for promotion or to avoid relegation. Remember, even if things don’t go well, there is always next season.

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MOVED: PPM Tactics Revisited: What We Know & What We Learned

Please Note: This article has been moved to the PPM Hockey Guides section.

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New To PPM: 10 Tips To Play By

Powerplay Manager Tips

In my last article I mentioned how many of us have established Powerplay Manager (PPM) Hockey Teams after having played a few seasons of the game. While my article highlighted some key points for veteran PPM managers, it had very little relevance to those new to PPM. I wanted to address that issue.

For new managers at PPM, Season 5 brings a whole lot of learning, some trial and error and hopefully, a rink-load of fun.

Here are 10 Tips to help new managers in the PPM Hockey Game get off to a good start.

  1. Read the PPM Forums. Possibly one of the best things you can do is read the forums and see what others are doing. If you have questions the forums are the place to ask them as there are always people on there willing to help out with an answer or two.
  2. Find a Mentor. A mentor is an established veteran and/or experienced manager who is willing to take you under their wing and help you with advice and guidance either by private message or through an instant messaging service (skype, msn etc). There are a lot of people who are often willing to do this. If you ever need help, you can always drop me a line and I will personally help mentor you.
  3. Learn about attributes. In the PPM Hockey game, player attributes play a vital role in your sell your team plays. You should take the time to learn how attributes work, what they do and why they are needed. I have a few articles on this site that cover this topic.
  4. Understand Line-Ups. Sometimes the best winger is not the right winger… learning the best way to setup your lines is often something that comes with practice and trial and error. A mentor can help you with this particular issue, however be sure to take a close look at your players, their attributes and find lineups that suit their skills.
  5. Manage the Market. The PPM market is where you buy and sell players and staff members. Learning how to best use the market can make a huge difference in the success you have when looking to upgrade your team. Do NOT buy a player with a high primary attribute (Off, Def, Goa) if his secondary attributes are all low, you are only wasting your money. Instead, adjust the search filters so you only get players that are good to buy. I like the 2-1-1 attribute balance personally, where the secondary attributes are half that of the primary. ie. a Winger would have Offense attribute twice that of Technique and Aggression.
  6. Fiddle your Finances. Your team finances are often central to your team upgrades. You make money from game tickets, merchandise, food, sponsor deals and other sources, and you also have a great loan system you can use. But having these and using them effectively are not always the same thing. Learning how to manage your PPM finances is not just fun, but a great way to study the other aspects of the game such as the market and facility upgrades.
  7. The Importance of Importance. Game importance is a feature you can set for each game. High importance games result in your team working “harder” for a win, but it also means a larger drain of energy. The opposite applies to low importance; less effort but lower energy loss. Play low importance in most games, especially if your opposition is far stronger and you expect to lose.
  8. Tactics & Counter-tactics. This is the single most importance feature when it comes to the actual games. For every tactic there is a perfect counter-tactic. I have an article on here that explains what they are in detail. You need to take the time to learn these, so when you analyse your opposition before a game you will know how to best set your team up for that game. Don’t worry about getting it wrong though, many of us veterans still make mistakes.
  9. Accept losing. I don’t say that to be rude or mean, in fact, quite the contrary. In PPM losing is just as important as winning. When you’re new you may lose more games than you would like. Don’t stress this… learn from it. Why did you lose? Did your opposition play a certain tactic? Did you choose the wrong tactic? How did your powerplay do? It is the questions raised from losing games that help build a much stronger team.
  10. Keep the faith and have fun! At the end of the day this is a game, and as such, please make sure you have fun playing it. If you lose, learn from it. If you win, celebrate it. Either way, enjoy it.

I know it’s cliche, but the saying “it wont happen overnight, but it will happen” truly does apply to PPM. It does not matter what league you are in.. with time, effort and a good strategy you can promote your way to the top leagues!

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Winning At PPM: Why Tactics & Strategy Are Vital

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu (Chinese General & Author, b.500BC)

I wonder how Sun Tzu would play Powerplay Manager if he were alive today. This quote above is dated around 2 and a half thousand years ago, but rings true to everybody playing PPM today. To win you need 3 things. A good solid strategy that you are able to work, tactics that you are able to understand and use, and the knowledge of how to use those 2 at the same time, so they work off each other.

When it comes to PPM tactics are one of the most misunderstood parts of the game, and those who do understand how they work tend to keep the information to themselves. There are people who claim there to be an almost brotherhood like secrecy about who knows what when it comes to that “T” word. The fact is, tactics can play such a huge role in your success that simply revealing the winning formulars publically would in many ways ruin the game. I do apologise if you’re one of those “not in the know”, but I will not be sharing the information publically in this article. That said, there are 2 big parts to tactics and counter-tactics: knowing which tactics are better than others and knowing how to best implement those tactics.

As it’s based on logic, I will share with you that the defensive tactic is the best one to beat the offensive tactic. Most people already assume this anyway, but there it is, a bit of secret brotherhood information for you all 🙂 So you know that if you analyse an upcoming game and see your opponent always plays offensive, you need to play defensive. This is the most basic type of game analysis. What happens however when your opponent changes tactics often and has no set patter to which tactics they play? If you take enough time to analyise your opponent, and that includes looking at their previous 2 or 3 games you might see that they change their tactic to match their opponent. Uh-Oh! All of a sudden you have an opponent who is doing EXACTLY what you’re doing. Obviously, he’s going to see you matching tactics and try and predict what tactic you’ll use, so he can counter it. You’ve not got a game of cat and mouse. What you now need to do is try and anticipate his move, and then counter the move you believe he will make. Sticking with offensive / defensive, lets say for example that you play defensive on a regular basis, and see that he plays offensive often, but line matches more than half the time. You have a choice, leave your current tactic set to defensive and hope he stays with offensive, or assume that he will counter your defensive tactic with the appropriate one, thus giving him the advantage again. If the latter, you can now try and predict which tactic he will use to counter your defensive, and then set a new tactic to counter the possible choice he makes.

Confused? What we’ve just talked about is pure tactic… it’s a great part of the game, but without a proper way to use this with your team, it is, as Sun Tzu called it, just noise. Don’t worry if you’re a little lost, it actually all makes sense once you fully immerse yourselve into PPM.

This brings us to strategy. Using tactics is great, but using tactics wisely is how you win, and that is where strategy comes into play. Some opponents are easy to read, and will be simple to counter-tactic, but others are not so much. If you’re not sure, sometimes you need to take a gamble, and there will be times when you’ll make the wrong choice, and lose. It’s at times like this that you need to ask yourself, why did you lose? Why did your opponent choose the tactics he did. Research is needed both before and after games to give you a better understanding of the way your opponents think. If you could go back and do-over the game, what would you change? Would you keep the same tactic and play on normal importance rather than low?

In fact, the very simple low/normal/high importance setting is an absolutely amazing strategy tool in itself. I believe playing low importance whereever possible is a great idea, and only play normal against teams you really want to beat, or believe you can do so by upping the importance lever. Some play normal at the start of the season to notch a few wins early on, while others believe holding off and using the higher importance settings later in the league. Maybe that opponent mentioned above who is countering your tactics is beatable if you play on normal, but not on low. Do you do it? The energy loss could be worth it if you notch up a win… right?

You’ll notice i ask a lot of questions in this article. That’s because at the end of the day my strategy is not yours, and yours is not the next persons. Everybody has their own preferred way of playing the game.

Before i sign off, I wanted to give you one little tip that can be a great help when choosing tactics early on in the season. As you know at the start of the season there is not enough data to pick a good counter-tactic strategy, so go to your opponents team page, click on their history and find out what league they were in last season. Now go to the league section and then the “results” area. Now, in the drop-down, change to the last round (38) of last season in the league that person played. Once there you can click on the game results link (score) of your opponents game from last season. Do this for the last 3-5 games of last season and see what tactics your opponent played. Chances are, if he played the same tactics every game, he will most probably continue to do that again this season.

Good luck with your strategy and tactics in season 4. As always, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me either here or on PPM (my username is trueblue55 over there).

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