RUN CHASE - HINTS & TIPS
A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO "RUN CHASE"Provided by Neil Packer
PBM rulebooks often intimidate by the sheer volume of the material to be digested apparently "all at once". This outline is intended to be user-friendly startup guide - the idea is for you to get comfortable with the basics of "Run Chase" before you explore some of the more complex and detailed stuff in the "reference guide" (which we also tend to call the "rulebook").
The outline is based around a "sample turn" i.e. what you need to do to send in a first, successful set of instructions. You'll probably be taking over a standby team rather than setting up from scratch in a new league, so the first thing to do is look over your squad of 24 players, a mixture of batsmen ('BAT'), bowlers ('BWL') and wicketkeepers ('WKT'). These are covered in detail in section 3 of the reference guide.
You'll see that each players' ability, character and value to the team is described in no less than 15 categories. A players' basic ability is expressed as his "class" - he can be either "Int" (International) - the highest, or 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th (lowest). Although his class is fixed for the season, there are several other factors which influence a player's real effectiveness:(1) What are his "weaknesses" (for batsmen) and "strengths and type" (for bowlers)? There might not be much difference between an "Int" batsmen with 6 weaknesses and a "1st" with only two. Each strength or weakness is a one-letter abbreviation: P for Pace, B for bounce, M for seam (movement off the wicket), I for inswing, O for outswing, F for flight, T for turn, V for variation and X for speed through the air (sections 3.7 & 3.9 in the reference guide).
(2) What is his current form? If he's listed with a "+" or "-" next to his class, he may be playing a whole class higher/lower than normal.
(3) Does he have any bonus rating for captaincy or wicketkeeping? If he does, he may improve your teams fielding ability (in both cases) and even influence batting and bowling performaces (captaincy). Sections 3.12 and 3.13.
(4) How about his age and potential? This can be important from the point of view of team development for the future. Basically, the younger a player and the higher his potential ('POT') rating, the more chance he has of making a permanent improvement in 'Class' at the seasons end (3.14, 3.16).
(5) If you're trying to make a choice between two players of roughly equal calibre, fielding ability could make the difference: the more strengths, the better, in five possible areas - G (Ground), D (Deep), S (Slips), H (Hands) and R (Running), with up to three strengths possible in each category (3.11).
(6) What kind of "Adds" does the player have? "Adds" represent his personality or
playing style. He may have either one or two of the following:-
Doubled "adds" are possible and count double (3.10). An "AA" batsman is a real big-hitter, but a "DD" is likely to score too slowly for one-day cricket. A players "adds" should be considered in relation to (a) weather and pitch conditions, and (b) the opposing batting/bowling lineup. For instance, a "good" pitch with "fine" weather and opposing bowling attack full of seamers may make the selection of batsmen with attacking "adds" more desirable than usual.
(7) You may also want to keep in mind the weather/pitch/opposing batter when you come to pick your bowling lineup. You'll be selecting from up to eight "BOWLING TYPES", five quicker types and three slower ones -
The effectiveness of all types can be significantly increased or reduced by the prevailing weather and pitch conditions: fine weather and a good pitch favour the batsmen, while quick bowlers are helped by a fast wicket or following wind, or a pitch with unpredictable bounce. Swing bowlers are at home in overcast conditions, bowling into a headwind or with a breeze blowing across the pitch. Damp or green wickets with a lot of grass help movement off the seam, while any kind of irregularity in the pitch may encourage the spinners, whether it's in the form of a slow, damp or green wicket, or one with uneven bounce (6.1, 6.2).
STRATEGY AND TACTICS
When you have a working grasp of your squads' abilities, you need to know how to go about applying them through the various TACTICS, STRATEGIES and ACTIONS available.
Probably the first thing you'll want to do is finalise your team selection for the game ahead: your current team selection is shown at the bottom left of your "TEAM REPORT" from the previous week, and you're permitted three changes to the lineup by using the instructions under the header "[I] SELECTIONS & BATTING ORDER" on the turnsheet. These allow you to either pick/drop players or change your batting order (see 5.4).
Now you've selected your side, how do you want them to play? Let's start with your batting strategy and tactics:
Your batting strategies are decided by what you put in the top two instructions on your turnsheet, "[X] BATTING TARGETS" and "[W] WICKETS ALLOWED". You don't order the eight possible batting strategies directly ("cruise", "wickets in hand", "attack run rate", "attack target", "rush of blood", "defend wickets", "stonewall" and "slog"), as instead they're triggered automatically when a situation covered by those instructions arises (see 7.3, 7.5, 7.6, 7.9).
For example, say you specify a total of 40 runs after 10 overs as a batting target but your batsmen have only reached 35: the strategy automatically changes from "cruise" to "attack target". Likewise, if at any time you lose more wickets them in the "WICKETS ALLOWED" instructions, your strategy will change to "defend wickets" or even "stonewall". If you lose fewer wickets than you've allowed for then "wickets in hand" may be triggered instead.
Notice also that a couple of our strategies are possible in more particular circumstances: "RUSH OF BLOOD" occurs when a batsmen with attacking "adds" tries to smash inferior "class" bowlers out of the ground, while "slog" (the final all out assault on the bowling) is triggered by your "start slog" setting, provided you've enough wickets in hand.
You can change the "Start Slog" setting by using a special action (4.8). Lastly, a batsman who'd otherwise be in "cruise mode" may attempt to match an individual run-rate ("attack run-rate") which belongs to his "class" and "adds" (the higher his class and more attacking his adds, the bigger the target, see 7.10).
Unlike your strategies, tactics are ordered directly (see 7.16). Refer to "[T] Player Tactics" on the turnsheet and you'll see the three special actions available: use these to give your batsmen instructions on how to handle particular types of bowling.
The format is a 3 character code, in which the first character tells the batsmen what to do - it can be "A" (attack, increasing run rate and chance of getting out), "C" (cruise reducing wicket chance while keeping a steady run rate) or "D" (defend, reducing both the run rate and wicket chance). The second and third characters represent the bowling strengths at which the tactic is aimed. For example, a batting tactic of 'DPB' instructs the batsmen to defend against a bowler getting some pace or bounce, while 'AFT' instructs him to be more aggressive and attack slow bowlers who use flight and turn.
In addition to individual batting tactics, you can also order a general "Team Tactic" (applying to all your batters) using the same format, in the "[K] KEYS AND TEAM TACTICS" Section. The "keys" in this section enable you to improve the form of one of your players for that particular game and decreases the form of one opposing player (say who in each case).
Lots of people mix up the strategies and the tactics: strategies are decided for your team by the situation in the game (and all the targets and run rates etc you ordered) while the tactics just bend the strategies a bit for each player.
Bowling strategies and tactics work broadly speaking along the same lines as those detailed for batters: "[Z] BOWLING TARGETS" is the exact counterpart of "[X] BATTING TARGETS", if the run-rate exceeds your target, the bowling gets tighter and more defensive, and the strategy switches from "CRUISE" to "DEFEND TARGET" (7.4, 7.12).
"ATTACK" is the bowling version of "RUSH OF BLOOD", where bowlers fancy their chances of knocking over an inferior class batsman (see 7.14 and 4.10 for an option to pick and choose what class of batsman you want them to attack). "DEFEND RUNRATE" works the same way as "ATTACK RUNRATE" for batsman, as an individual target, shaped by bowler's "class" and "adds", for bowlers otherwise in "cruise" mode.
Tactics (individual and team) are also similar to those for batting (7.17 and 7.18), and emphasize the type of bowling selected, e.g. "DPB" emphasizes the effect of PACE and Bounce in order to minimise the run-rate and give nothing away, while "AFT" would mean trying to use flight and turn to attack (going for wickets, at the cost of maybe a few extra runs).
You need to complete two extra sections on your turnsheet to round off your bowling strategy -"[B] BOWLING ORDER" and "[B] REPLACEMENT BOWLERS". The first simply establishes who bowls when (maximum 10 overs per bowler), and from which end. Notice that "spells" are given in 5-over blocks, so no bowler should be ordered to bowl more than two spells.
"[B] REPLACEMENT BOWLERS" gives you the option of replacing a bowler who's getting tonked. Your "Bowling Options" (middle of the TEAM REPORT) show a MAXIMUM RATE - if the bowler is conceding more runs-per-over than this number (or he's already bowled all his overs) he'll be replaced by someone else, so this section give you the opportunity to decide who the replacement will be. If your "max run rate" is low (say, '5') then the chance of a replacement being needed is quite high, so it's best to provide an alternative!! If you don't, the computer will probably bring forward the next bowler in your regular order, which can cause problems later in the innings if you've haven't allowed for it (see 6.5). If you really don't want any replacements, use a very high "max run rate" (9 is the highest) by means of the special action (see 4.6).
The four special actions in "[E] ACTIONS" on your turnsheet allow you to make changes which aren't already covered by the other sections. Some possibilities have been mentioned in passing ("Slog" in 4.8, "Max Run Rate" in 4.6, "Bowlout" in 4.10) but there are many others. They are all included in Section 4 of the Reference Guide and its worth a read through to see what the choices are. Those you may find most useful initially are listed below:-
a) "4.4 CAPTAINS AND KEEPERS" allows you to select new captains and/ or wicketkeepers for 1st and 2nd XI. The current selections are given in the middle of your TEAM REPORT. Highly rated captains and keepers can improve not only your fielding but also general all-round play, in the case of captaincy.
b) "4.5 CONDITIONAL BATTING ORDERS" allows you to promote up to 2 attacking batsmen higher in the order if you're currently in an attacking mode ("wickets in hand", or "slog"). You can also choose to promote a defensive batter if you're in "Defend Wickets" mode at the fall of a wicket.
c) "4.14 COACHING" contains some of the most valuable special actions. There are four actions which enable you (i) to change a players existing "ADDS" or add a second if he currently has only one, (ii) eliminate one batting weakness, (iii) add another bowling strength to a player, or (iv) coach a player in "FORM" - although this change is invisible, it can contribute to a noticeable improvement in player performance 'on the day'.
That's probably enough to guide you through your early turn(s) of "RUN CHASE". As you become more familiar with the rules in the Reference Guide, you can start to exploit the financial element of the game to increase your income (Marketing, Merchandising and Membership), trade older or weaker players and sign new ones, fine-turn your strategy and tactics, and develop the potential of your entire squad of 24 players (1st and 2nd XI, remember). Put in the effort over a period of time, and you'll experience all the highs and lows, disappointments and eventual triumphs of real-life County Cricket coaching and management.