English Platypus Guide

What is magic?
Then there is the witches' explanation, which comes in two forms, depending on the age of the witch. Older witches hardly put words to it at all, but may suspect in their hearts that the universe really doesn't know what the hell is going on and consists of a zillion trillion billion possibilities, and could become any one of them if a trained mind rigid with quantum certainty was inserted in the crack and twisted; that, if you really had to make someone's hat explode, all you needed to do was twist into that universe where a large number of hat molecules all decide at the same time to bounce off in different directions.
Younger witches, on the other hand, talk about it all the time and believe it involves crystals, mystic forces, and dancing about without yer drawers on.
Everyone may be right, all at the same time. That's the thing about quantum.

Terry Pratchett, "Lords and Ladies"

Digital superstars.
Beneath graphics, sound, cool text, and the whole fun, computer games are nothing more than mathematics (well, that's not always true, but we'll come back to that). No matter if you play arcade, RPG or strategy games. Digits and formulas. It's all about them. Your character doesn't shoot, doesn't run, doesn't eat. Whenever you do something, computer just gets some values (e.g. your current health is 17), finds an appropriate formula (e.g. "whenever a character touches a health pack, he gets 25 health") and calculates it ("17 + 25 = 42, wchich is character's current health"). A bit simplified, but I just wanted to say what I have in mind.

There's exactly the same situation in hattrick. You don't have a cool wingback, who is quick as hell and is irreplaceable in your team. You just have a database entry with your team ID and certain values in several fields (e.g. playmaking 4445, passing 2461, experience 9765, health 2455, etc.). Now, if you order this player to play as offensive left wingback, he'll basically add (might be more complicated, but it's irrelevant here) x*winger_skill_value to your left attack value, y*defending_skill_value to left defendce and q*defending_skill_value to the central defence value. After summing up all players' influence on all sectors and counting all other relevant factors (coach being defensive/offensive, team spirit, confidence, etc.), total strength of all your sectors (left defence, central defence, etc.) is finally set. During the game... doh! It's only an introduction to the guide and I'm not supposed to go into details :D. Generally, I just want to tell you: "if you want to win, learn to see everything as values and formulas". I've seen a funny signature, that some guy on global conferences had: "there are 10 kinds of people: those that understand binary and those that don't". Be the one who understand. Be the one who knows why Team X won 7-1.

I've said it's not always true. Yes, hattrick is a massively multiplayer game. What makes it cool is that you don't win just by having a good long-term strategy, good knowledge on tactics and a bit of luck. Here comes human factor. Convince people to buy your players at high prices ("man, he has a great set pieces combined with decent scoring... you just must buy him and watch him score long shots!"). Convince others to PiC against you and MotS against your enemies. Make your league enemiest your best buddies - you're not only have many nice folks as friends, but also league enemies who are more likely to play PiC and avoid MotS against you (but no, don't think of them as tools that make your team stronger... after all you're a decent guy, right?). Learn how your league enemies think, how they set up their teams, what influences their decisions, what mistakes they tend to make. Be smarter (but not a smart-ass).

Master those two natures (mathematical and psycho-social) of hattrick and I assure you -- you'll take your team to the top.
But having a successful team is just one part of hattrick. I know many people in LOWEST divisions, who are very successful hattrick players, simply successful at enchancing this game, by co-creating it's spirit. Examples? Some guys make great statistics (e.g. Aphro in Poland -- among other cool things he does -- around the end of the seasons makes weekly promotion tables. Just look at them and you know which league you'd play if the season ended now, or who'd you play against in qualification games. You can't even imagine how people admire Aphro for doing that :) ), some make conference talks a lot more colorful (e.g. MOD-Berbelucha), some spend a lot of time watching that everythings going all right (I know that GM-Bogdan spends couple HOURS daily doing his ht-job for free, plus he was probably the most important person of those who made our conferences free from nasty fights), some organize great federations (Sandcom and his Beer Busters - every one or two months several dozens hattrick players from Poland come to Warsaw and have a great heavy-beer-drinking parties at Chorwath's house. BeerB T-shirts, BeerB Beer glasses from every party, etc...), some help newbies a lot, some try to play RPG in hattrick (you probably know some other managers' players' names, right? They have done an excellent RPG job!) and so on, and so on. Be nice, be helpful, be imaginative. Life's 10x more fun if you are.

In this guide, I'd try to analyze all mechanisms of hattrick as deeply as possible. Whenever possible, I'll try to tell you how things should be done, but in many cases I'll just point out advantages and disadvantages of different solutions... sometimes there is no Aristotle's Golden Mean, in other cases we don't have enough knowledge to tell where it lies. I hope even experienced players will benefit from reading this guide.

Geez... I just realised (after writing many, many pages) that I have not said who I am :D. My nickname is jerzy (real name Mateusz Mucha), I manage Dziobaki (Eng. Platypi) in Polish Ekstraklasa. I've won Polish Cup once and National Championship three times so far. I'm currently a National Coach of Poland.

The guide is continuously being developped, so come and check every few days/weeks (little changes/additions are made every single day). Right now (late november, 2003) there are only first three chapters. Have fun!