PPM Hockey: The New Game Engine Tactics Explained

Do you sense that? That strange sensation… as if 10,000 voices screamed out and were suddently silenced.

PPM TacticsNo, this isn’t a scene from Star Wars, it’s the unveiling of the new tactic and Game Engine at Powerplay Manager for season 7. To all the critics out there who complained that PPM don’t listen and all the people who demanded more control of their team… your wishes have been answered.

And answered incredibly well at that!

PPM introduced some pretty major changes to the game engine for this new season of PPM Hockey, giving you, the manager, much more control over how your team plays on the ice. In this post, i want to run briefly through these changes especially the tactical changes.

Game Importance

Game Importance

As you can see from the image above, PPM have added 2 new game importance options. Now, instead of just Low, Normal and High you also have Very Low and Very High. Naturally, the energy usage of these levels has changed also (see below).


Game type Very low Low Normal High Very high
Friendly and tournament games 0.02 0.05 0.10 0.20 0.30
Competitive games 0.10 0.25 0.50 1.00 1.50


Game Importance By Period

Game Importance by period

This is a fantastic move that allows you to step into the locker room and tear your team up, inspire them and send them back out with much more (or less) desire to win. Yes, you now have the ability to start the game with one game importance level and finish it on another. Incredible you say? Yes indeed!

Special Teams

ppm7tactics03

Quite possibly the BIGGEST improvement to the game engine, you now have control over your Special Teams. You have 3 options for both Powerplay and Penalty Kill which will determine how your team plays when on the PP or PK. Naturally, for every PP tactic there is a corrosponding PK tactic, so select a tactic that plays to your teams strengths. Be sure to read the guide carefully to learn which style suits your team best.

Ice Time By Line

ppm7tactics04

Ever wanted your top line to truly be a TOP line, play more ice time and give you a better chance of winning? You now can! No longer will your 4th line grinders play the same amount of ice time as your top line franchise players. PPM have now made it possible for you to manually set your own ice time levels for each line. Simply change the figures to suit your needs, just make sure that the line totals add up to 100. So for example, want to play a game much like an NHL team, you would use something like 35-30-20-15. This is an incredible feature, BUT, use it wisely, for the amount of ice time directly relates to seasonal and game energy loss, so playing your top line heavily will damage your team later in the season.

Other Changes You Can’t See

I touched on these 2 changes in my previous post. The first is that the shooting attribute now has a much more relevant role in your teams scoring success, so it is vital that you have your players trained to shoot, not just in offense.

The other main change is that the technique attribute is now more importance. Teams with low technique will start to see their team playing much more on the Penalty Kill, and we all know what happens when you spend most the game killing off penalties…

You will have noticed that the goalie star rating has decreased. Don’t worry about this, as PPM made some changes to better display the goalies strength. This is an appearance thing only, and does not mean your goalie decreased in skill.

What Now…

If you have pre-defined tactics you are going to want to check them all and make the relevant changes to bring them in-line with the new game engine. Same goes for training, especially those shooting and technique attributes.

Best of luck in season 7, may the force be with you all.

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MOVED: PPM Hockey: The New Game Engine Tactics Explained

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Special Team: Part 3 – Tracking and Record Keeping

Recording  PPM Special TeamsOver the previous 2 days I described a few tips on creating successful Powerplay and Penalty Kill units. In those articles I talked about the importance of tracking your PP and PK. In this, part 3 in the special teams series I am want to briefly talk about the tracking, and hope to offer a few tips to help in your team research.

You will need something to track your stats on. You can use anything you like to do this, although I personally suggest using a spreadsheet. If you use MS Office or Open Office, you can use their included software (Excel or Calc respectively). I personally recommend using Google Docs, as this ensures you have access regardless what computer you’re on or location you’re in.

What To Track:

What you choose to track is purely optional. I personally recommend tracking as many details as you can, including the following:

  • PP/PK Data
  • Shorthanded Data
  • Relevant scorers from PP, PK and SH

You might find it easier to use 2 separate sheets on your spreadsheet to track this.

Note: I know this may sound like a lot of work, but the time you take here can save you a lot of time down the road.

PP, PK & SH Data:

In your first sheet/tab you want to keep track of your game data relevant to PP, PK and SH. The way to do this to have the following headings across the top of the sheet (order is optional):

Game, Total PP, PPG For, Total PK, PPG Against, SH Goals For, SH Goals Against

Down the first column you want numbers 1 through 38, so you have a row for every league gameday of the season. I only track league games, as these are the most important games for your team. You can of course track all games if you so choose.

To track the data, after each game simply add the relevant figures in the appropriate column. If you had 3 PP chances and 1 PPG in game 1, then in the game 1 row, add 3 under Total PP and 1 under PPG. You can keep a running summary of your Totals using spreadsheet formulas.

Note: Your PP% is your total powerplays divided by powerplay goals. Your PK% is worked out by (Total PK – PPGA)/Total PK (ie. PKs, 1 PPGA = (6-1)/6×100, or 83.3%).

Scoring Data:

Tracking who actually scored the PP or SH goals is purely optional. I track my teams entire stats in a spreadsheet, so this data is used to add to the total stats. What this data can provide is an idea of who plays which role on your PP, and is useful if you plan to change your PP/PK lineups from time to time.

To track it, simply put a list of your teams players down column 1, and then across the top add headings for PPG, PPA, SHG & SHA. If you feel like it, also have a column for GWG and OTG (game winner, and overtime goal).

Tracking the player data takes a little more time, but once you have the hang of it, is really only about 2 minutes work each game-day. I think you’ll agree that 2 minutes is a pretty short time for such valuable data.

Why Track Data?

Simply put, tracking this information will help you further develop your team. You can use the data to help adjust your training methods or simply figure out which players do or don’t perform well on special teams.

But more importantly, why not track it? PPM don’t fully track this information, and until they do it’s up to us as managers to track it ourselves.

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MOVED: Special Team: Part 3 – Tracking and Record Keeping

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Special Teams: Part 2 – Penalty Kill

In this article, the 2nd in a series on Special Teams, I am going to talk about your Penalty Kill unit(s).

PPM Penalty KillI’ve you’ve ever played hockey yourself, you would know that there is nothing quite as important as killing off your oppositions powerplay. There is also nothing quite as rewarding as knowing that for 2 minutes (or more) you successfully managed to keep them from scoring, even though they had the man advantage.

Taking penalties and the resulting PK is a natural part of hockey. It’s pretty much impossible to play game in game out and not take penalties. So, you need to make sure your PK unit(s) are good enough for the job.

The Penalty Kill Unit Setup:

In PPM you only have to deal with the 4-man PK Unit. On this lineup, you have a Center, a Wing, and 2 defensemen. While the PK screen specifically mentions a Right Wing (RW), it should be noted that you can play either wing position here without penalty. You can also play Defensive players in Forward roles on your PK unit, again, without penalty (according to what we’ve been told on the PK forums).

Non Specific Key Attributes:

During my discussions with many other managers, and from my own personal experience there are 3 vital attributes that make up a good Penalty Killer. While not all the players on the unit need to have these, doing so can greatly increase the quality and success of your PK line.

1) Technique. This is possibly one of the most important attributes of the game actually, and there is no such thing as “too much”. High technique players have more control and better skill, 2 things vital on a PK line.

2) Defense. There has been a growing trend in recent seasons where managers have started to train forward in defense. One manager recently told me he trains his forwards defense to between 10% and 20% of his Offensive attribute. This is optional of course, and many players do have defense when they come out of the Sports Academy.

3) Passing. Like technique, there is no such thing as “too much”. High passing attributes doesn’t mean they will pass more than shoot, it simply means they are better at it. A top player should be skilled in both shooting and passing, and when you couple that with a high technique attribute, you have a highly skilled all-round player.

4) Aggression. You need to ensure that whoever you put on your PK lines has a low aggression, or if not low, at least has a technique attribute HIGHER than his aggression. This is an issue debated by many managers, however I believe no player (and i mean NO player) should have aggression higher than technique! Doing so just encourages penalties.

Position Specific – Center:

I personally think of my 2 forward positions as being separate. Your center MUST be good in all aspects of the game, and that means having great passing and tecnhique, a little defense and low aggression. Quite often, your top line center will fit the bill for this role, but don’t be afraid to look at your other centers also.

Position Specific – Wing / Defense:

While your center needs specific play-making skills to win face-offs, your wings and defense are there to simply clear the puck and/or stop goals being scored by the opposition. They don’t “need” to be able to shoot or have killer offensive skills at all, in fact, defense is far more important on this particular special team. Many managers play 3 defensemen and 1 center on their PK units for this very reason. Naturally, you need to ensure all the guys on this line have technique higher than or equal to their aggression attribute. In fact, technique and passing are vital attributes for players in these positions.

Experience:

A simple word of advice… unless you are aware of the risks, NEVER play a low experience rookie on a PK unit. Experience is used by the game engine to add strength to a players skills (according to sources) so an experienced player will always be far better than an inexperienced one. This applies to your powerplay lines also.

Practice & Tracking:

As with your powerplay lines, it can be helpful to track the teams you play and your PK stats. This can help determine which of your PK lines is most effective and which ones need work. Experiment if you have issues and be willing to take a few chances on different players. Just because someone has high defense doesn’t necessarily make them the best player to use on the PK.

Good luck with your upcoming games, I look forward to any comments you may have.s

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MOVED: Special Teams: Part 2 – Penalty Kill

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