Better Understanding Your Turn Football: Design and Strategies

Posted August 19th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Since its release almost two months ago now Your Turn Football has been exceedingly well received. Check out my initial impressions if you missed them. It has become the only game I play on my phone (have 28 active games at the moment to attend to). It’s highly recommended and arguably the best sports mobile game since New Star Soccer.

With that in mind I turned to Pick6 Studios developer Michael Saperstein for insight on various areas of the game that users may have questions about and tips on how to improve performance on the field and best put a team together. In this piece you’ll find out more on the general construction of the game and how to utilize the various strategies. Later in the week another article will go into how the player ratings work and more on the team “upgrades” that affect defense, special teams, and play calling. 

On the design of Your Turn Football:

Your Turn Football is meant to emulate real football, or at least the spirit of real football, in terms of what a real-life football fan would always expect.  So if you ever are wondering how something works in the game, and there’s a real-life equivalent, chances are it works exactly the same or very very close to how you believe it works in real life.

On sending challenges to friends:

You can challenge a friend via Facebook, and now also via a UserID.  It is a little bit of a pain to use the UserID, but it was something quick we could implement to allow you to play with friends who don’t want to use Facebook.  If you send them your User ID (Start a New Game/User ID/Send ID), they can copy and paste your ID in to start a game against you (Start a New Game/User ID/Enter ID).  (We hope to eventually have a much better account system to let you set your account and challenge friends via E-Mail Address and much more, but it’s going to take much longer to implement.)

On contract changes and upgrades not affecting games in progress:

Your Lineup is locked in a game once you play your first turn of that game (even if your opponent plays first).  This means you can get new players or upgrades into a game that your opponent started.  However once you play that first turn, your lineup and upgrades are locked for the remainder of the game, and any new players or upgrades won’t take affect until your next new game.  On the plus side, if player contracts expire during games that are in progress, those players get to still finish the in-progress games.

On setting team gameplans:

Don’t miss the “Gameplan” feature — Team/Misc/Gameplan.  You can influence a number of more advanced factors on how your team will play (Formations, Special Teams, Defenses, etc.), and sometimes use these to keep your opponent off-balance.  Like the Lineup, this is locked once you play your first turn of the game.

On coin distribution and team skill balancing:

You currently earn 1000 coins for a Win, and 500 for a Loss (with a limit of 3,000 earned per day max).  If you consistently have a bunch of games going at the same time, you should be able to field at least a solid, competitive team without spending any money.  You will be at a disadvantage talent-wise against teams that spend more, but it will be similar in scope to low-budget pro football teams playing against higher-budget teams in terms of differential; we have taken great pains to make sure that higher-budget teams have an advantage, but also to ensure that the game is definitely not just “pay-to-win”.

On competing against higher rated teams:

Even if your team is filled with low rated players and few upgrades, and you find yourself up against a much more talented opposing team (see the Team Matchup Screen for this information), you still have a chance to win.  But it’s tough.  Like real football: Try to play a ball control/field position game, control the clock if you can, win the turnover battle, do not take many risks on either side of the ball, and when you do, hope you can catch the other team by surprise for an easy score or big defensive play.

On the players made available to sign:

Available players in the store typically change daily, so check back often.

On some known app performance issues:

Yes there are some bugs in the game; mostly they are related to the technology we’re using. We’re aware of them and hope to eventually fix them all. Most of them only occur if you have a bad network connection and/or are low-memory on your phone. So if you’re seeing them more than once in a blue moon, the best thing you can do is to make sure you have a strong network connection, and also close down a number of the other apps you may have running in the background on your device. You also can try quitting our app (not just backgrounding it, actually stopping it) and then restarting it.

On how strategies affect gameplay outcomes:

How your strategy matches up against the other team’s is one of the main factors of success or failure in Your Turn Football.  If you run when the other team expects you to pass, and pass when they expect you to run, and keep them guessing and off-balance the entire game, you will likely do very well.  If you do what they expect, they will typically shut you down.  You can use the Statistics Screen during the game to remind yourself what the other team has been doing in terms of run/pass balance and success in each area.

On the basic offensive play calling choices:

On Offense, Mostly Run, Balanced, and Mostly Pass reflect what pro football teams typically do given score, time remaining, and down and distance.  A Mostly Run strategy will run more often than a balanced strategy, but will still usually pass when faced with long yardage, for example, and a Mostly Pass team will still try to run sometimes, most often on 2nd or 3rd and short.

On the more extreme offensive play calling choices:

On Offense, Conservative and Aggressive are extreme strategies.  Conservative will run almost always, and is meant to typically be used to control the clock or run down the clock late in the game.  Additionally, runners will be aware to protect the ball more when in the Conservative offense.  Aggressive will almost always throw downfield.  This is meant as a late-game, have-to-move-the-ball-quickly strategy.  Neither of these offenses will work well consistently, and both will work well if you catch the other team by surprise when they expect the opposite.

On what Mix it Up means for play calling:

On both Offense and Defense, Mix It Up tries to confuse the other team by shifting among the typical strategies quickly and often.

On the basic defensive play calling choices:

On Defense, Look Run, Balanced, and Look Pass reflect what pro football teams typically do given score, time remaining, and down and distance. A Look Run strategy will look for the run more often than a Balanced strategy would, but still typically look for the pass on 3rd and long, for example.

On the more extreme defensive play calling choices:

On Defense, Prevent and Blitz Often are extreme strategies.  Prevent is easily attacked by runs and quick passes, so only go to it very late in a half or if you’re way ahead.  Blitz Often can result in sacks, hits in the backfield, and hurried passes, but is also burnt often for big plays.  I personally use this no more than once or twice a game, mostly for the element of surprise.

Your Turn Football is free and supported by microtransactions. The concept of “pay to win” is often cited as an area of frustration with these type of games but Your Turn isn’t reliant on it. If you play enough that a couple games end each day you can easily support a team of decent players and occasionally upgrade the defense, special teams, or coordinators. Even still there isn’t a huge imbalance between mediocre teams and stacked teams. It certainly becomes a bigger challenge to face higher rated and upgraded teams but they’re not unbeatable. For those who decide to buy coins or cash whether as a shortcut or to support the developers that of course is an option.

One of the first things that struck me about Your Turn was how well it replicates actual football strategy. Playing smart clearly increases the chance of success. One of the other great aspects is how every game feels different, even every drive can feel different. I’ve played opponents who blew me out in one game and I blew them out in another. I’ve had epic comebacks, low scoring affairs, shootouts, blown leads, and even had a 2OT thriller. Regardless of the outcome its been fun and there’s been something to learn and improve from.

If you’d like to challenge me in a game my ID is: 190dd5086f2249f3b17b7ef0a567921a. Obviously that isn’t the most elegant solution for challenging friends but once a game ends you can choose to rematch so it only needs to be entered the once.

Grab Your Turn Football for iOS devices from the app store or on Android from Google Play.