Coaching a Dynasty Review (PC)
I know you are all thinking, “Why are we getting a basketball review in June?” Well since nothing comes out in the summer until late July, I thought I would look and try to find some games that snuck in under the gaming radar. Arlie Rahn’s Coaching a Dynasty is one that caught my eye. With the creation of .400 software, headed by OOTP4 guru Marcus Heinsohn, Coaching a Dynasty is a game with a great future starting next year, when it changes its name to Tournament Dreams Basketball. So, how does this text-based college basketball game fare? Not too shabby.
I love that Steve makes me fill out a graphics part for a text-based game. The game does have some great photos of college games that are shown during the simming process. The athletic director picture looks a lot like the small forward at my alma mater, Queens University’s Carlos Andrade. The layout of the menus and the interface are very crisp and clear, which are great after my 10th hour of play. While you are coaching a game the interface shows key stats and the flow of the game, which kind of brings the game to life.
Ah, the meat and potatoes of what makes a great text-based game, gameplay. Coaching a Dynasty (CAD) has everything that you find in the college game. Junior College recruits, players leaving school early, conference tournaments, CAD has it all. I started my game by taking my beloved Memphis Tigers and booting Mr. Calipari to the curb. The game runs nine conferences at a time, with the other Division 1 conferences running in the background. So, you can only play against the teams of the big 6 conferences plus the other three that you choose to run. The game starts with you choosing your coaches, scouts, and trainers. While this is a nice feature, you only have around 2-4 to choose from. I would like to see more personnel in the pool in future editions. Next, you have the opportunity to red shirt or cut players. I have always loved this aspect of the college game. When you are stockpiled at one position, just simply give that young diamond another year to develop. The final thing left to do is to schedule those all important non-conference games. When scheduling, the interface will display the teams that need game for that particular period. You simply highlight who you want to play and off you go. The only thing buggy about this particular option is that some of the Elite teams don’t get a chance to reject a game. I have had Duke come to the Pyramid three years in a row, I doubt that would happen in the real world.
Finally, I am done and ready for a great season of Memphis basketball. CAD has a depth chart that the user fills out along with substitution tendencies. These help when you don’t want to actually coach your game, but sim them. Suspensions can be a big issue for your team. If your player’s GPA is below 2.0 at a certain point, he is suspended for 4 weeks. I have had 3 players suspended at one time, giving me 8 players to play at one point. Makes it quite hard to win games that way.
Recruiting is done nicely. Each week you are allowed to contact a recruit by calling, assistant visit, head coach visit, or a campus visit. Calling is allowed every week, but you can only do visits during the “contact periods” of the season. Each action is given a point value and you can see how many points you have spent on each recruit during the course of the season along with the top amount spent on him by other teams.
Finally the end of the season has come and I have a losing record. But, I still have the conference tournament to look forward to. But, that comes crashing down after the first round. After the season and all the postseason tournaments are over, you then end the season by seeing who went where in the NBA draft followed by signing day. I didn’t get any of the top recruits, so it looks like next year will be a long one too.
The only drawback to the gameplay is that not enough depth is there for some of the options available. More coaches, trainers, and scouts need to be available. I would love to see maybe 16-20 conferences allowed to be run in the foreground, this would give you more possibilities on scheduling.
There are beeps when there are warnings, that is it.
CAD has a great foundation for the future. When Tournament Dreams comes out, I expect a great game that will be up near the ranks of OOTP4. The game has some flaws, but none prevent this from being a great and addicting little game. I am now up to the year 2009 in my game and I’m still enjoying it and looking for my first NCAA bid.