Rules Overview & Introduction
Here are the broad rules overview for all players of the the Draft Night 30XX which also includes some thematic notes which elaborate on the broader narrative universe.
In addition to this introduction, there will also be a role-specific brief and a team-specific brief which will be distributed as pdfs to individuals and individual teams over Discord, respectively.
Introduction & Overview Contents
STATE OF THE LEAGUE 3076 [Transcript]
It’s certainly dark out there. Robot rebellions, the Moon Wars, techno-pollution, computerized bioviruses, World Government censorship, the breakdown of our peace talks with the High Umpires of Space Cricket, high taxes, looming internet sentience…
It’s at times like these that I find solace in this glorious sport and the League that represents it – and I know I’m not alone. It’s important to remember that the League not only offers gainful employment and the chance for athletic glory, but also community, belonging, and, dare I say it, entertainment to over 40% of the World’s population!
It’s with entertainment in mind that I’m proud to announce, in partnership with our friends at Buff-NESSTM Incorporated, a series of sweeping reforms…
These were the final words of the Commissioner for the League for the year 3076, before their untimely assassination at the hands of a Space Cricket fanatic.
The radical Commissioner’s controversial reforms around elongating the Triple-Score Zone, increasing corporate ties with League sponsors like Buff-NESS Incorporated, and increasing game spectacle were not implemented. The Commissioner spot remains technically vacant with the Deputy Commissioner filling the big shoes.
Draft Night Overview
Players will take on the role of important franchise powerbrokers on the night of the draft for the most popular sport in the world.
The draft will go several rounds, allowing franchises to draft the athletes. During the draft, the Owners will meet to discuss and agree on League policies relating to the rules of the sport, financing, and broader cultural issues. At the end of the draft, each franchise will turn in a budget which will detail their financial priorities for the upcoming season.
After the event has been completed, the sport’s season and post-season will be simulated and the next World Champions declared!
Without getting into the details, here are broad notes concerning the structure of the league:
- The League is made-up of 16 teams (‘franchises’) divided into four divisions loosely based on geography (Eurasia East, Eurasia West, North American, and Southern Division)
- During Draft Night, each franchise is run primarily by two to four influential franchise powerbrokers (‘players’) (see ‘Franchise Leadership Structure’ below). In order of senority, these roles are:
- General Manager (‘GM’)
- Saber (head analyst)
- Vice President
- While each franchise employs tens of thousands, only five professional athletes take the field each game:
- Two Tackles
- Two Guards
- One Captain
- Teams which do not have the appropriate athletes to fill all five positions will receive a heavy penalty to the team’s performance.
- Each team has two contractually acknowledged rivals – one within the team’s division and one outside the team’s division.
- Each team will play 15 games during the regular season:
- Each team plays each other team within its division twice during the regular season.
- Each team plays three of four teams in other divisions once during the regular season.
- The top two teams from each division qualify for the post-season tournament (The World Championship).
- If three or four teams are tied in their Win-Lose record , additional games may be played to determine the official division champions.
Franchise Leadership (Player Roles)
On Draft Night, three main players from each team wield significant influence over the future of their franchise.
As has become Draft Night tradition, the Owners of all the franchises of the League (collectively referred to as ‘the Cabal’) have agreed to take time out of their busy schedule running international corporations and galivanting across the globe to meet and discuss the pressing issues facing the League – and to agree on policies to enact for the upcoming season. Collectively, the Owners’ Cabal can decide on matters of League financing, the rules of the sport, broader cultural issues, and policies concerning the general operation of the League. Internally, Owners also have final say over the budget of their franchise (which can make or break a season).
General Managers (‘GMs’) are the heart-and-soul of each franchise and are the final decider on which athletes the franchise drafts on Draft Night. GMs oversee the trading of players, trading of drafting spots, and the hiring of coaches. The GM also decides how to allocate the total budget to specific budget targets.
The Sabers are the brains of the team. They analyze the athlete stats and advise the GM as to which athletes are the best draft picks. They can also tap into the League Supercomputer’s databanks to retrieve critical data or model scenarios which may not relate to the sport on the field directly.
MATH WARNING: Sabers tend to talk about stats and athlete performance a lot. Normal, number-fearing people of this planet should avoid associating with these nerds.
Many franchises also have influential Vice Presidents (VPs) of various departments. Other franchises have nosy and self-glorifying Vice Presidents of little actual importance. VPs assist the rest of their team during Draft Night and are frequently witnessed handling off-the-record negotiations, keeping track of team finances, or going on coffee runs.
 Short for ‘sabermetrician’, also known as a ‘sports statistician’. At various points during the League’s history, Sabers became so skilled in predicting the results of the season that it created a computing arms race. Steps have been taken to collectively limit their access to computing power and increase unpredictability in the sport.
The draft of prospective athletes is a “snake draft” – meaning that the draft order is reversed each draft round. In other words, the first franchise to draft an athlete in one round is the last franchise to draft in the next round, and the last franchise to draft in one round is the first franchise to draft in the next.
Draft “slots” denote the earliest possible time a franchise can draft an athlete. If a franchise does not draft an athlete within their allotted time, they can draft an athlete at any time afterward, but risk their preferred athlete being drafted by another franchise. Draft Slots are tradeable assets that can be traded between franchises as long as both franchises’ GMs approve of the trade.
During the Draft, franchise sabers will be frantically estimating which athletes are the best picks, which takes time. Because the estimation of athlete performance and the actual draft are occurring simultaneously and each draft round allows the Sabers to query more information, early draft slots are not as favorable to franchises as they are in other sports.
The athletes are off at the Draft Night Press Event which is a well-orchestrated circus designed for the broader public. Everything that needs to be known about the athletes has been measured and cataloged by the League Supercomputer. Players have access to the athlete specs which are cataloged on a public spreadsheet. Anyone can download and manipulate the data as they see fit using any sort of software they see fit.
To be clear, athletes will not be represented by living players in this event but instead treated like trading cards (blunt social commentary semi-intended).
Previously, the dramatic escalation in capabilities and use of supercomputing technology led to increasingly lopsided, predictable, and otherwise un-fun sporting seasons. Strict controls around the use of such advanced computing and statistics now means every franchise knows roughly the same amount of knowledge about all athletes’ capabilities.
At the start of Draft Night, the League Supercomputer informs each team’s Saber a number of facts regarding each other athlete’s stats which detail how the stat results for each athlete relate to their overall performance. Information on stats can be general or specific:
|Athlete Stat||General Knowledge||Specific Knowledge|
|BB||“Upper” BB stats are better than other results.|
Athletes either have an “Upper”, “Upper-middle”, or “Middle” BB
|Tibia Diameter||Tibia Diameter is not significantly indicative of performance.||Tibia Diameter of players naturally ranges from 0.5 to 5.5. The players with the smallest Tibia Diameter (0.5) corresponds to 1% better performance when compared to the players with largest Tibia Diameter (5.5).|
|Chakras||Chakras higher on the body are better.|
There are seven Chakras, ranging from “Root” to “Crown”. The Chakras associated with higher parts in the body correspond to better performance.
(The table above is populated with examples and should not be trusted as accurate for game purposes)
During each draft round, the team’s Saber can request from the League Supercomputer more information on one stat. If they request information on a stat for the first time, they will receive general information. If information is requested on a stat which the team has already received general information on (from the League Supercomputer), then the team is given specific information on the stat.
All franchises must dedicate an inquiry credit to query the general information of a stat before inquiring about specific information – even if the general information is already known by the members of the team through communicating with other teams. To put it in narrative terms, while the output of the supercomputer queries around sporting stats can seem straight forward (see examples above), the outputs are actually the result of massive modelling efforts which require the intensive checking for modelling errors and extensive fine-tuning. Only after the franchise’s allocated supercomputer has computed all the basics can it begin to predict specific information.
 Performance is an abstract metric of how much the athlete can contribute to the team’s chance of winning games. Don’t overthink it! For those with math backgrounds, the performance of players is always linearly related to continuous variables. For those without math backgrounds, please ignore the previous sentence.
 Since we’re all knowledgeable League Insiders, I won’t waste anyone’s time footnoting what the BB stat or any other stat-related acronym stands for.
League Policies & Initiatives
The League is a powerful cultural force with many enemies and lots of internal disagreement over the future of the sport and the league. The Owners’ Cabal is responsible for agreeing on what to do regarding these issues and can agree to adopt policies or initiatives to address three categories of problems: financial, sports-related, or cultural.
Owners will be further briefed on the details of League policies and initiatives and on their potential cultural and financial impacts. What is important for all players to know is that policies which change the rules of the sport can also influence the performance of individual players.
For example, the League can mandate that all players undergo mandatory Chakra realignment towards players’ “Root”. This would pull all players’ Chakras one step towards the “Root” and thus effect their on-field performance.
Another example, the League can handicap cyborg players. This would lower the performance of players with high ‘%Robot’ stats.
However, the majority of what the Owners discuss will be cultural and financial issues. GMs, Sabers, and VPs may find the Owner frustratingly uninterested in the actual performance of the team. Owners seem more interested in their pocketbook than their trophy shelf.
The League has for generations instituted generous (and sometimes not-so-generous) profit-sharing arrangements between the wealthiest franchises and the less wealthy. These profit-sharing arrangements are credited with providing stability in the league but are a persistent drain on the franchises with the largest media markets. Profit-sharing agreements or modifications to existing profit-sharing arrangements can be proposed or changed on the agreement of the Owner’s Cabal like any other policy.
The League as a whole has a small collective spending account of its own and the “League account” can be spent at the discretion of the League Commissioner or at the direction of the Owners’ Cabal (as a whole). Frequently, Owners are encouraged to chip in their part to finance the more grandiose initiatives of the League.
Finances and Other Assets
Money is a legacy asset in Draft Night so franchises will start out with the amount of money they ended on after the 3077 season, except for the following adjustments:
- The World Government’s tax on profits (but not losses)
- Direct income related to the franchise’s media market size – teams with larger media markets sizes intake larger income
- League profit-sharing arrangements (see League Finances)
Throughout Draft Night, teams can trade money with one another freely at the approval of the franchise’s Owner. All transactions will be tracked and cataloged by the League Supercomputer. Owners can also agree to share post-season profits with each other although it will be up to the individual Owners to detail said arrangements explicitly and clearly in their final franchise budgets. Promises made during Draft Night about post-season profit sharing are non-binding.
“Changes of Ownership” may also occur when a new group of players comes in as a franchise which had previously been quite poor. Narratively, the previous owner had sold the team and the new Owner has corralled new sources of capital to turn the franchise around! In terms of game mechanics, the new group of players will simply be provided with enough starting money to make their franchise capable of competing with others.
It is possible for teams to go bankrupt. Complex financial situations and post-season transaction promises will be smoothed out by the League Supercomputer to the best of its ability.
 Notably, the size of the media market is not changeable and is inherent to broader demographic and cultural trends outside the scope of the League’s influence. Profit-sharing arrangements (see League Finances) aid in countering some of the effects of a constant income imbalance.
This will be the second running of the Draft Night event and the following legacy elements will carry over from the previous season:
- Narrative elements from the previous season created such as a coaching school or “performance enhancing cigars”
- Rules passed by the Owners’ Cabal
- Available money for each franchise will carry over (with adjustments made for taxes, profit-sharing, etc.)
The following additional legacy mechanics will be introduced for the 3078 season and continue into future seasons:
- Legacy elements in the franchise budget around facilities upkeep (stadium, training facilities, soda machines)
- Legacy elements from rivalry hype (a budget item)
There are various auto-balancing (rubber-banding) effects built into the game which will prevent the continued domination of teams year after year. Chiefly among these are a tax on profits generated by franchises (courtesy of the World Government) and the League’s own profit-sharing arrangements. As previously described, if a new group of players come in and take over a franchise whose previous leadsership had left quite poor, they will be presumed to have bought it from the previous Owner and will be provided with an appropriate amount of starting capital to be competitive.
Franchise Assets & Trading - Summary
|Asset||Trading Limits & Notes|
|Information & Knowledge||Players may lie but cannot lie about the rules of the game to other players or misrepresent the moderators. Screenshots are not allowed as a method of sharing information. Players should consider Communication Guidelines, outlined below, as well. Otherwise, there are no limits on sharing critical game information.|
|Money (‘Capital’)||Permission of Owner Required to send money.|
|Support in the Owners’ Cabal||Agreements made around the support of policies in the Owners’ Cabal are non-binding. Owners will be briefed further about the Cabal.|
|Post-Draft Night Promises (Monetary or otherwise)||Promises or agreements may be made between franchises about post-season assets but they are non-binding. If a franchise intends to follow through with an arrangement made during Draft Night, it should be noted in the franchise’s budget. GMs and Owners will be briefed further about franchise budgets.|
|Athletes||Permission of GM required to trade away an athlete.|
|Draft Slots||Permission of GM required to trade away a draft slot.|
|Coaches||Permission of GM required to trade away a coach. Coaches who are traded maintain their current salary.|
|Saber STAT Query Credits & Saber BONUS Query Credits||Credits are not tradeable but the information derived from spent credits can be communicated to others, as long as its not in the form of a screenshot (same as limitations of sharing general information). Sabers will be briefed further about STAT and BONUS Query Credits.|
How Draft Night is Played
Draft Night will be played over Discord, various collaborative G Suite products (Google Forms and Google Spreadsheets), and the Glide App. Various Discord bots supplement the adjudication and administration of Draft Night.
Game moderators will represent the League Supercomputer and will verify trades, keep final records, and aid players throughout the event.
Sabers will be given a plug-in-and-play spreadsheet which can be used as a tool to determine which athletes are the best draft candidates. While advanced analysis could be done to get an edge on the other teams in determining which athletes are the best, the plug-in-and-play spreadsheet should be enough for most players. A brief crash course on the spreadsheet will be offered for anyone who desires it.
Team Owners are responsible for turning in their team’s budget for the upcoming year, and the rest of the team is responsible for making sure the Team Owner does in fact turn it in.
Standards around the communication throughout Draft Night are intended to ensure equality of experience among players who have different available free time and also ensure that the event remains an inclusive and positive event. Moderators will intervene if players are suspected of violating these guidelines and if proven, players may be punished in-game (team performance penalty) or out-of-game (banned from the game) at the discretion of the moderators.
- Players can lie in general. This includes lying about their intentions or about in-game assets like athletes, stat information, coaches, money, etc. However, players cannot lie about rules to other players or otherwise misquote the moderators.
- Trash talk is an important part of sports culture and fantasy sports drafting activities in particular. However, please refrain from trash talking individual players and avoid overly trash-talking other individual franchises. Moderators may tell teams or players prone to trash talking to “cool it” in regard to the trash talk – please respect these requests.
- The Draft Night Discord will be put on ‘slow mode’ leading up to the event in order to discourage over-planning before the event.
- Players should avoid talking to other players through private DMs before the event about Draft Night (pre-planning is futile and discouraged).
- Please avoid using private DMs when Draft Night channels are available which serve as a situation-appropriate medium of communication.
- During the event, players are encouraged to be on one of the voice channels (unless they are afk or not interested in talking to other players at that moment).
- Screenshots are not allowed as a method of transferring information (i.e. communicating) as they remove doubt from player-to-player communication in the game. Doubt is “in the spirit” of Draft Night. Exceptions can be made for things which are non-mechanical (e.g. sharing screenshot of a meme in the #trash-talk channel).
- Comments deemed racist, misogynistic, or anti-LBGTQ+, or otherwise offensive by the moderators will not be tolerated. Thankfully, these moments are rare in megagames, but it doesn’t mean they never happen.
- In relation to good-hearted trash-talking, please avoid ethnic slurs and comments which lean into negative cultural stereotypes of the areas where the franchises are based.
- Moderators reserve the right to remove players from the game who violate these guidelines.
- Sign-Up to the event through the Gen Con Online system (virtual badges to Gen Con Online are free)
- Check your Gen Con associated email account for an automated email sent to all players who purchase a ticket. That message will contain:
- A Google Form which will be used to collect player emails for game purposes (required to setup permissions for the Glide App). Emails collected will not be used for non-game purposes.
- Link to Google Spreadsheet which serves as public Role Sign-up (first come first serve)
- Link to Join the Draft Night event Discord
- Read Introduction (this document)
- Check out the webpage to pre-game links here.
- Read the rules briefing for your role (Owner, GM, Saber, VP) which are distributed via the individual role Discord Channels.
- Read the 2-page Franchise Briefing (posted and pinned in your Franchise’s Discord Channel).
Join the Discord
- Link to the Discord channel will be sent via an automated email to all players who sign up for Draft Night through the Gen Con Online system.
- Introduce yourself to your Franchise on your Franchise’s Discord channel!
- Smack talk other Franchises via the #smack-talk channel.
- Post about any thoughts, comments, concerns, questions about the upcoming event on the Discord channel (tag “@League Computer”) or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Draft Night 30XX Credits
Draft Night 30XX was designed by Peter Nixon with design and artistic input from Stefan Salva Cruz and Trenton Greyoak. Stefan Salva Cruz also designed the Glide App interface for the game. Scott McMann designed Discord bots to aid in administration of Draft Night over Discord. Thanks to the members of the Megagame Coalition for their generous community, enthusiasm, and for the use of their website for this event. Thanks to my fellow moderators for helping administrate the event.
The design was partially inspired by the O.W.L. League fantasy draft gaming event by Stefan Salva Cruz – for which it shares a number of superficial and some game mechanic similarities. Thanks to Stefan for the inspiration and input.
The idea of a “nonsense sports game” setting where the rules of the sport weren’t elaborated on was originally envisioned by Peter Nixon and Graham Gentz.
Draft Night satirically looks at contemporary sports culture through the lens of dystopian sci-fi tropes, tonally similar to the What will Football Look Like in the Future series by SB Nation, the Blernsball segments of Futurama, or bloodsport movies like Rollerball. It also highlights the important role of statistics in sports, in a similar manner to the Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (adapted into a movie). The broader background universe is a non-descript, kitchen-sink, sci-fi dystopia in the vein of Shadowrun, the Cyberpunk franchise, and others. Themes concerning the societal impact of technology are similar to those seen in the new season of West World and Black Mirror. Consuming any of this media before the event is not required or encouraged from a game play perspective.
While the draft and sports elements in Draft Night are inspired by the drafts and functions of real-world sports leagues, any likeness to real-world individuals is coincidental.