Introducing FANTASY SMASHBALL - A New Way to Enjoy Smash Bros.

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Room100

Smash Apprentice
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Hello everyone!

I recently uploaded a video to my channel Room 100 Entertainment detailing an awesome game I play with my friends using Smash 4 called Fantasy Smashball. I've really wanted to share it for a while and I'm so excited I finally get to!

Here's the video!

Please check it out and try playing Smashball yourself, it's super super fun. I've also posted the full transcript under the spoiler tag for anyone interested/who needs it.


Welcome to FANTASY SMASHBALL!


(What is FANTASY SMASHBALL?)


Fantasy Smashball is a unique and entertaining way of enjoying Smash Bros that revolves around one key component: watching, not playing. It draws from the aspects that make things like the Smash Bros. franchise, the competitive Smash Bros scene, and fantasy sports leagues like Fantasy Football enjoyable to be a part of.


Here's the gist of how it works: multiple teams of a small number of Smash characters compete against each other in a ten week season. At the end of the season, the best and worst teams battle in separate tournaments to decide the final rankings for a season. It’s a blast to do, and things get heated pretty often.


(How do we play?)


The setup and routine of Fantasy Smashball is fairly simple but extremely engaging. Here's how my friends and I have played Smashball. Keep in mind that we played primarily using Smash for Wii U, which is the version we've found it works best on. I'll talk about Ultimate later.


So, the league consists of four teams. Before the start of a season, each team's “manager” participates in a draft, picking up their most desired Smash Bros characters. At the end of the draft, there should be four teams of six unique fighters. No repeats.


After this, each team selects a home stage. All Omega stages are allowed, and here's the list of legal regular stages. (Battlefield, Kongo Jungle (64), Lylat Cruise (Brawl), Smashville, Dream Land (64), Miiverse.) This aims to leave the fate of any given fight up to skill as much as possible.


Once teams have their fighters and stages, the season can begin. Each season is composed of ten weeks, and each week is composed of six matches.


A match is set up as a seven minute, three stock fight. No items on, and all other settings should be standard. The two fighters are set as Level 9 CPUs. Before the day of these six matches, each team needs to lock in three fighters they are sending out, one for each of the enemy teams. These are done secretly, so try to outsmart the enemy teams with your picks. Once the six matchups are set, there's only a couple more things to do. First, the stage a match is played on is decided as such: The team lower in current rank for the season gets to choose between the two teams' home stages. If it’s the first week, then the team who drafted their fighter later in the draft gets to choose. Finally, it's a good idea to order the matches based on how important or entertaining they might be. Could a match be the deciding factor between first and second for a week? That match should at least be in the top three Prime Time matches. Or do you just really want to see two fighters go at it? Then give em the final match of the week and watch the excitement build.


Now that the matches are set and the game is ready, just sit back, relax, and watch the mayhem. Though, this is a competition after all, so there's a few things to keep track of each week.


Most of all, make sure you're recording the wins, losses, kills, and deaths of each character individually as well as for each team as a whole. This not only builds a helpful archive of stats to reference later, but is the most important aspect of ranking the four teams in the league. Each week, teams get 1-4 points based on their team number of kills. If there’s a tie for the overall season, this can be broken based on team number of deaths, overall win-loss for the season, and win-loss records against each other specifically.


While the only truly required stats to record are win-loss and K/D records, it’s also a great idea to record a bunch of other things. Recording Damage Given, Taken, Peak Damage, and other correlating ratios helps build a better idea of the quality of each fighter. It’s also fun to record things such as Style Points, given out when a fighter does something awesome, and Player of the Weeks, awarded to one fighter each week for doing a great job. None of these are required to make the game function, but can help get you even more into the game, and it can be fun to give out awards based on these stats at the end of the season.


Keeping all that in mind, you then have ten weeks to call the best shots you can so that you’re on top by Week 10. Once the season comes to an end, it’s time for the final event: The Super Smashbowl. This is the final competition to see what team earns victory. It’s split into two sections: third and fourth play first in the Loser’s tournament, or as we call it “The Poop Bowl”, and then first and second play in the Smashbowl itself for the title of champion. The two are set up the same way, and kind of like a Pokemon battle: Final Destination, three stock, no time, no items. Each team starts by sending in one fighter blind, with first and third blocking one of the other teams’ potential first fighters, then once a fighter is defeated they can choose who to send in next. Lives carry over from one fight to the next, so each fighter has three lives to burn. Once a team has lost four fighters, that team loses the Bowl.


And with that, the season comes to an end. All teams are cleared of their members, but are allowed to choose one fighter as a “keeper” that replaces their first round draft pick for next season. As the seasons go on, things really get more and more intense as comebacks are staged and in-depth choices can be made based on a large library of fighter stats.


(What makes it so great?)


If the concept of Smashball alone doesn’t quite interest you yet, or if you’re still concerned about how fun it is, then I have a few things I’d like to share about my experience with the game.


A big part of what makes Smashball so accessible is the fact that you don’t need to play the game itself. How often are there groups of friends that play Smash where one person is just insultingly good, or one person isn’t having fun because they’re not up to par with everyone else? But with Smashball, you don’t have to worry about that. Instead of worrying about skill levels or being frustrated, everyone who likes Smash can be a part of this together and have an even playing ground.


Also, the CPUs are a BLAST to watch. If you’re worried about them not being as interesting to watch as real players, don’t be. No match plays out quite the same even between the same two fighters, and there’s a shocking combination of predictability and spontaneity in every fighter and every match. Actually, one of the things my friends and I were most shocked about was how clearly defined some of the characters’ “personalities” became. It goes even deeper than just understanding what moves they use most or which matchups work best, most of them have actual personalities and ways they act that differentiate them from others. For example, Marth ALWAYS keeps his cool; even if he’s losing, you’ll never see him completely lose his footing or get caught making dumb mistakes. Link, on the other hand, has a much wider range of dependability and control over the fight, but when he really pops off he plays as the best in the league. Even worse characters show tons of personality, like Villager who doesn’t do very well but makes nearly every kill a Style Point. It’s so easy to get invested in the CPUs as if they were real sports players that we even made some videos about our own little universe of Fantasy Smashball. I’m telling you, it’s so engaging.


Beyond the game itself though, the real enjoyment comes from playing with your friends. Yes, like I said it gets VERY competitive, as much as playing the game or a fantasy sport gets. Trash-talk, wild speculation, all of it makes the experience that much better. But in the end, what makes Smashball great for me is that it gave me and my friends some time every week to sit down together, talk, and bond over a common interest. Even while wins and losses tear you apart, it’s just so nice to have that time with your friends.


(Q&A)


So, I hope you like what you’ve heard about Fantasy Smashball, and to close up I’d like to answer a bunch of questions quickly.


(How do you know it works consistently?)


Well, considering me and my league played Smashball for two years, I’m pretty sure we’ve made a sustainable system.


(What tips can you share from your time playing Smashball?)


In general, there’s a couple clear-cut amazing fighters that should be early drafts for you. Link, Marth, Ness, Corrin, Bowser, and Dr. Mario were the top six fighters of my league, while Ryu, Lucario, Pikachu, Captain Falcon, Wario, and Olimar were the worst. There’s so much more I could dive into, but it gets pretty extensive. If Smashball gets enough interest, I could always post our full eight-season records for everyone to see.


(Does four teams/six fighters have to be the size of the league?)


No and no. It’s entirely up to you, just remember that every team needs to be sent a fighter every week. A league of three could be okay but would be a little limited, while a league of five or six would probably work very well as long as some tweaks were made to things like the Smashbowl. And with more and more characters coming to Smash Bros., making teams a bit bigger would surely give you a lot more fun options to work with, or you could limit your team number and really test your matchmaking. It’s all up to you.


(What else can I do to make my Smashball experience special?)


A big part of the investment for me came from the world of our league and the identity of my team. Team names, choosing a color scheme for your fighters, creating posters, things like that can really help you dive into Smashball as more than just simulation games. There’s a couple other big parts of our Smashball seasons I didn’t talk about that help a lot, too. Trading and agreements can lead to super fun conditions, mind games, and tactics that make Smashball very strategic. This ranges from a simple one-to-one fighter trade between two teams, to something like a two-for-one but one of the teams gets to block the other team from sending them a specific fighter for a few weeks. Along with that, it’s great to set realistic stakes from the Smashbowl. After our Smashbowls we would go out to eat. Second place bought their own food, third bought an appetizer for everyone, and fourth paid entirely for first place. Free food is a great motivator. Finally, it can be a nice change of pace to have special events both in and out of season. We had the All-Star Contest and Special Bowls. In the All-Star Contest, two teams of two managers would send out fighters in matches like Stamina and Coin, and end it in a Smashbowl-like game called the All-Star Bowl using six fighters from the two combined teams. As for Special Bowls, this is where we used a Smashbowl setup in a different version of Smash Bros, and this would always be off-season. Speaking of...


(Do other versions of Smash Bros. work?)


For the most part, yes. Smash 64 is fine, but is very limited in its roster and stage selection, and the CPUs can be kinda dumb, so it’s definitely not preferred. Melee gets a lot better, and is totally usable if you want to play Smashball in that, but the CPUs still do have some worse tendencies than later iterations that lead to unnecessary deaths. Brawl gets even better still, and again is totally usable, but the matches can go on for kind of long. Smash 4 has really been the best experience when it comes to good CPUs, entertaining and fair matches, and a good spread of worthwhile characters throughout the whole roster. And of course...


(What about Ultimate?)


The good news with Ultimate is that it takes a lot from Smash 4, so there shouldn’t be many drastic changes to how Smashball works and CPUs should still be reliable. There’s a few things we’ll have to test once we actually have it, such as time and stock limits, what non-Omega and non-Battlefield stages are legal along with the Hazard Toggle, and what special modes are available for the All-Star Contents. We’ll also have to see if we want to implement the Final Smash Meter at all, and we’re currently developing a new system for a Minor League that could be a lot of fun. However, everything should be easy enough to figure out and I’ll go more in-depth if people are interested. Mii Fighters still won’t be allowed, Echoes are separate from the original characters, and so on and so on. I can’t wait to try Smashball on Ultimate.


(I love this! What else is coming for Smashball?)


Uhhhh, I dunno. The main purpose of this video was mainly to share this fun way to play Smash Bros, since it’s brought me so much joy and I hope it’ll do the same for you. I’ve always loved the concept and it’s very interesting for both the teams and friends watching. But the thing is my league would rather we keep our Smashball playing private. If enough people are interested, I’d love to make another league that I could host on this channel, or maybe promote a couple different leagues if a lot of people play. The sky’s the limit with Smashball.


That’s all I have to share right now about Fantasy Smashball. I really hope what I’ve said interests you and please, give it a shot, it’s a ton of fun even if it sounds weird on paper. Share this video with all your Smash-loving friends, please like and subscribe to see more original content, and thank you so much for watching!
 
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