Football season is finally underway, and a number of developers are seeking to springboard off the NFL’s popularity with their own social, football-oriented applications on Facebook. One of the biggest is CBS, which has developed CBSSports.com’s Franchise Football in conjunction with long time social sports maker, Fantasy Moguls. The game appeared on our most recent list of the fastest-growing Facebook games and currently has around 412,600 monthly active users.
The game follows behind titles like Madden NFL Superstars and Ultimate Fan, but unlike its predecessors, the game play is more oriented around Fantasy Moguls’ sports manager titles, Galacticos Football and Galacticos South Africa.
Franchise Football’s play is simple, consisting of very minimal strategy, but plenty of progression. Because of the limited strategy, the app may not sate the appetite of the avid sports manager fan.
Players start Franchise Football with a starting lineup of 23 players. The idea is to gradually improve this team in hopes of forming a football dynasty. Improvement comes not so much from growing individual players, but through recruiting new and better ones.
Each football player has a number rating associated with them. The higher this number, the more “skilled” that individual is. Depending on the position of the player, their rating will be broken up into stats such as Passing and Rushing (each skill can also be in fractions). Each team members’ rating is then added up to create the team’s overall offensive, defensive and kicking ratings that determines a player’s chance of winning a game.
The games are automated match ups against random Franchise Football players of the player’s level (though there is an option to play higher level individuals). Player’s earn a sum of money for each game they play and winning attracts the attention of free agents. Free agents are typically better than football players already on the user’s roster and can be signed to the team. However, there can only ever be 23 active team members, so for each team member gained, another is released. Releasing a team member grants the user a slight refund of the released player’s contract.
These contracts appear to be one time fees. This is a good because better football players are more expensive and, at early levels, game wins only earn around $500k. But it’s easy to progress in Franchise Football because many games can be played in quick succession.
At the start, the user is able to play 16 games and upon leveling up four more are made available. Users can also challenge their friends to both scrimmages and exhibition games. Scrimmages don’t require the friend to actually play, but can replenish up to eight regular games a day. “Polite” and “embarrassing” boasts are available as wall posts after scrimmages. Exhibition games grant the same rewards as regular games, but are limited to Facebook friends.
In addition to monetary and player rewards, each game also rewards a virtual currency called Reputation Points. Reputation points are the primary tool of strategy. They can be used to purchase special power ups that will boost parts of a team (e.g. Receivers). They can also be used to buy more games per day or even increase the total amount of funds. Better yet, at each level users can take part in a draft for new players. Unfortunately, their draft turn is pretty high (7-12), but Reputation Points can be used to purchase a better pick position.
Players are able to acquire real NFL players from both the past and present and can eventually unlock games to play professional franchises for trophies.
Franchise Football isn’t exactly a deep game, without a whole lot of strategy; it’s basically play, recruit, repeat, and thus in-depth sports manager fans may not find enough to do. But the average Facebook user will find it gratifying to watch a team evolve and grow quickly, which may help explain why this game is growing so quickly.