I haven't played Strat-O-Matic hockey for about two years (APBA Baseball and The Beautiful Game probably took up most of that time). I really enjoy this game and getting back into it and getting used to the rules took a relatively short amount of time. Some of the finer additional rules I had learned to use (Updated Penetrating For A Shot and Who Covers Who on Defense) I remembered as I played. The game is ultra-solid at its core and still leaves loads of room for simple add-on rules and adjustments without getting itself bogged down.
I used the Advanced Action Deck for this game and tried to work out a fair way to determine Offense and Defense Strategy settings for each team that could change at every face-off and at the start of each Period. I am still working on the best way to do this.
I figured I would play a three game series to get myself back into the game before I decided how to run a small season with all of the teams in this division.
Dallas @ St.Louis
(Using Advanced Action Deck, Individual Team Strategies and Advanced Penetration for Shot Rules)
Dallas: Kari Lehtonen
St. Louis: Brian Elliot
DAL - Spezza (Goligoski, Benn Ja.)
STL - Lehtera (Schwartz, Pietrangelo)
STL - Tarasenko (Shattenkirk, Lehtera)
DAL - Garbutt (Demers)
DAL - Benn Ja. (PP) (Seguin, Spezza)
STL - Steen (Reb)
DAL - Demers (Eaves, Hemsky)
DAL - Spezza (PP) (Goligoski, Demers)
STL - Backes (Steen, Pietrangelo)
DAL - Klingberg (Reb)
STL - Pietrbngelo (Schwartz, Tarasenko)
STL - Tarasenko (Lehtera, Shattenkirk)
DAL - Benn Jo. (Demers)
St. Louis 6
Dallas scored immediately after the opening face-off.
St. Louis gave the Dallas four Powerplay chances and the Stars cashed in on two of them.
St. Louis could not compete with Dallas head to head without committing an additional forechecker. When the Blues pressed the forecheck they gained momentum even with the Stars huddling back in their zone protecting their lead.
St. Louis had a crucial Powerplay late in the Third Period when they were down by one. Dallas squashed that Powerplay and did not allow St. Louis even one shot on goal within it.
This was a fun game - even with the 13 goals allowed. Dallas was firing away at Elliott the entire game. St. Louis could only mount attacks when they were going all-out with the forecheck.
I will use the Basic Action Deck for Game Two and compare results.
Dallas @ St.Louis
(Using the Basic Action Deck, No Team Strategies, Advanced Penetration for Shot Rules and Advanced Face-Off Rules)
Dallas: Jhonas Enroth
St. Louis: Jake Allen
6:12 Dallas - Benn, Ja. (Klingberg, Seguin)
10:58 St. Louis - Schwartz (Shattenkirk, Tarasenko)
18:52 St. Louis - Berglund (Stasny, Shattenkirk)
St. Louis 2
This game was obviously much different than the first game.
Though the Goals Scored was remarkably different it felt as though there were the same number of Scoring Chances and Shots on Goal as in Game One. I did not track Shots on Goal but I will during the next game. Dallas seemed to have as many opportunities as they had in Game One but just did not finish them. Berglund’s game winner resulted from a rebound.
After one game using the Advanced Action Deck and the Team Strategies and one game using the Basic Action Deck and no Team Strategies, I prefer the Basic Action Deck and no Team Strategies. The game flows more smoothly and I did not feel under pressure to choose the correct strategy for each team. I think the Advanced Penetration for Shot rules are a must for either the Basic or Advanced game (the mandatory die roll makes the choice for the player with the puck and provides immediate results from his player card and the chart).
I will play Game Three using the same rules as in Game Two.
The series will travel to Dallas - and I may have to stretch this to five games to complete my research.
St. Louis @ Dallas
(Using the Basic Action Deck, No Team Strategies, Advanced Penetration for Shot Rules, Advanced Face-Off Rules)
St. Louis: Brian Elliott
Dallas: Kari Lehtonen
STL - Tarasenko (Schwartz, Elliott)
DAL - Rousell - (Eakin, Golgoski)
STL - Schwartz (Pietrangelo, Lehtera)
Dallas went on the Power Play with less than three minutes left in the game.
St. Louis kept Dallas from scoring.
St. Louis 2
I play-tested a few ideas before settling in to play Game Three.
I tried using the Advanced Action Deck two ways: Always using the 2/2 setting for each team and rolling dice for every strategy change opportunity.
The 2/2 setting worked okay but the flow of the game suffered when I needed to read the cards in comparison to me reading the simple Basic Action Deck.
Rolling the dice for Strategy Settings worked decently but I found I was still working out the game situation in my head and wondering if the strategy choices were the best. I think the Advanced Action Deck and Team Strategy settings would be perfect for head-to-head games. In fact, I would recommend playing head-to-head only with the Advanced Action Deck and Team Strategy settings.
I staggered the forward line match-ups and rotated them through all possible combinations.
The results of this surprised me - the scoring increased a lot. Game One ended 7-6 and another game I played using this method ended 6-5. I checked the NHL statistics for 2014-15 and found the Goals Scored Average at 5.32 per game. Game Two ended 2-1 and Game Three ended 2-1 and this is lower than the average for the season. I enjoyed the lower scoring games but I enjoy pitchers duels in baseball, as well.
I will use the settings I played with in Game Two and Game Three as I begin a short season:
Basic Action Deck, No Team Strategies, Advanced Penetration for Shot Rules, Advanced Face-Off Rules
Strat-O-Matic hockey is extremely flexible in how it’s built and you can find a myriad of combinations of rules, house rules and charts to suit the way you want to play and enjoy the game.
What This Is
A play-through of the NHL's most competitive division in the 2014-15 season: The Western Conference Central Division. This is played using Strat-O-Matic Hockey.