Below is an idea I’ve been pondering for some time. I’m really trying to pare it down to the base mechanics to make it simple and intuitive for the user, but that’s a difficult task. If I pull it off, I think it will be a crazy amount of fun to play! If I do it wrong, it will be the most boring game anyone has ever experienced.
The user plays as a corrupt athletic director, balancing resources and approval ratings, while gambling, shaving points, and siphoning money into their own pockets.
Winning and losing the game ultimately boils down to finances. If the player has no money, they can’t fund the regular expenses needed to keep the department running smoothly and will eventually get fired. The bank or bookie will offer to loan the player more money, but if they can’t pay when they come to collect, they’ll get fired immediately for financial incompetence.
Winning football games brings in more money and provides opportunity for program advancement, but requires good coaches and a bit of luck. If the player has a great season, there is a strong chance that the coach to get hired away from them.
Money can also be gained by gambling on the outcome of your own games. The player can influence the coaches, refs, and star players to try to sway the outcome in their favor. Winning bets will significantly help the departments financial situation, while losing aggressive bets can be devastating.
Approval ratings from the president, board of visitors, and boosters will ultimately decide your fate. Each group values events differently, but consistently winning and having financial success will make the player almost untouchable. If the player lets ratings get too low, they run the risk of getting fired.
Bank has loaned the school $3M to cover the budget deficit from the recent embezzling scandal. The player has 4 years to pay off the loan (at $4M) or the athletic department will be cut from the university. Unfortunately, all of that money has already been allocated.
The bookie will spot the player $50,000 since they work for a “wealthy university”. This is the entire amount the player has to work with initially. The bookie will collect at the end of the season in the amount of $100,000. This forces the player to embrace the gambling mechanic early on in the game.
The school will get invited to higher level conferences when certain achievements have been met. Conference membership comes with higher payouts, but also higher expectations for facilities and competition. The player will either need to be successful at gambling or take out further bank loans to keep up with the facility improvements (or some combination of both).
During the football season, the player will have 1 task/decision for each day of the week. Some of these will be regularly scheduled (ie. Monday press conferences, Friday wagering, Saturday Games), but others will be randomly generated decisions and events that the player will need to respond to. Decisions will lightly affect approval ratings and/or money.
During the offseason, the player will make much larger decisions. They will adjust a simple financial screen, hire/fire coaches as necessary, and set the football schedule for the upcoming season. There will probably be some other decisions here as well (recruiting related, media access, etc).
Random thoughts: I fear over-complicating the game idea since there are several moving parts. Balancing the game will be very important and I’ll need to figure out a mechanic to stop a lucky player from “running away” with financial victory.
Any feedback (positive or negative) is welcomed and encouraged!