Football 365 by Strat-O-Matic Rules

About the Game

What is Football 365 by Strat-O-Matic?

Football 365 by Strat-O-Matic is a simulation game that combines your talent as a General Manager and Coach. You must draft a full team, make trades and transactions as necessary, set your starters, choose your schemes and tendencies to create a championship winning team! No more "fantasy points" or abstract units of measurement... you have one simple goal - to win football games.

You will draft a team of 19 skill and special teams players plus 4 team units (offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, secondary) from any one of our action-packed Player Sets and join a 12-team league. Each day you can offer and accept trades with other teams, pick up free agents, scout your opposition, change your starters while managing your team’s health, and adjust your schemes and tendencies as necessary. Each night a week is simulated and the next morning you will have your results! Take a quick look at the boxscore and game recap or pore through detailed play-by-play accounts of the games to see what strategies should be adjusted going forward. You'll play a full 16-game season and, if you're good enough, you'll reach the playoffs on your way to the Championship!

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Signing Up

- How do I create a member account?
- How do I start a Football 365 team?
- Can I have more than one team?
- How much does the game cost?

Creating Your Team

To create your team, click on the "Start a New Team" button on the top-right hand corner of the screen. If you don't have any available credits, first choose your team package and complete the purchase process to add credits to your account. Then go back to the "Start a New Team" screen.

Select Football and then fill in your team location, nickname, and a coach name that will display on your team page. Next, choose your Player Set and click on the "Start Your Team!" button on the bottom of the screen.

On the next screen you'll choose your Salary Cap. The standard salary cap is $140,000,000, although you may play with a different salary cap if you choose. Make sure to click on the link to see what leagues are forming before choosing your salary cap. Also, keep in mind that if you choose to do an Auto List Draft, you'll have the option to join an Auto League, but only if you go with the standard options for your player set.

- What is an Auto League?
- What are the Auto-League settings for my player set?

Buy a Private Commissioner League!

You can buy an entire private league of 12 teams just for you and your friends and family! As Commissioner, you can use our handy invite system to email a special code/link to your guests, which they can use to quickly and easily reserve a spot and create a team in your league at no charge to them! If you don't have exactly 12 teams, you can fill out any remaining spots with computer-controlled "bot" teams at your convenience.

As Commissioner you have full control over: player set, salary cap, Free Agent Drop Penalty, Waivers or no Waivers (a.k.a. "Frenzy"), Waivers deadline scheduling, Opening Day scheduling, division assignments, kicking out teams, and adding any number of computer-controlled "bot" teams to fill any remaining spots you may have.

Note: Private Commissioner leagues are not eligible for prizes.

To get started, click here!

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Understanding the Strat-O-Matic card

How to read a Quarterback card.

How to read a Running Back card.

How to read a Wide Receiver card.

How to interpret ratings.

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Drafting Your Team

Step 1: Fill Out Your Draft List

After you've started your team and before you join a league, you'll specify which 19 players and 4 team units you want to draft. Each available player/unit has a salary, and you must make sure all 23 players/units fit under your chosen salary cap.

Take as long as you want filling out your Draft Card with the best players that fit under your salary cap. Then, once your league fills up, our draft system sorts out all the Draft Cards and automatically places players on everyone's rosters, based on where you've ranked them.

You'll need to make sure the players on your Draft Card fulfills these draft requirements:
  • You must choose the following number of players with each primary position: 2 QB, 3 HB, 2 FB or BB, 2 TE, 3 SE, 3 FL, 1 K, 1 P, 1 Offensive Line Unit, 1 Defensive Line Unit, 1 Linebacker Unit, 1 Defensive Back Unit.

  • Additionally, you must draft 2 players with a KR and/or PR position - 1 at each. These players can have a different primary position than returner. If you draft a non-primary KR or PR, the cheapest player with a return position which exceed the number required at their primary position will slot in at the KR or PR position.

Please note that since other coaches in your league may choose some of the same players you choose, you will likely lose out on some of the players you select when the Auto-Draft is run. In that case, the system will attempt to find a suitable replacement for players it couldn't give to you as specified in Step 2 below.

To add a player to your Draft Card, either search for a specific player or hit the draft link on each position section to bring up a list of players. Players will initially be sorted by salary but you can sort the player pool by any statistical heading by clicking on it. (Example: To sort quarterbacks by touchdowns, click on the TD heading). Once you find a player you like, click on his salary or the plus sign to add him to your Draft Card. Click "Ok" to continue searching for players or "Go Back to your draft list" to look at your Draft Card.

- How were the players' salaries determined?

Step 2: Rank Your Players

Once you complete your draft list, you will be asked to rank your players. Just drag the player (or use the arrows to the right of their name) to the spot where you want him listed. The Auto List Draft uses this ranking to determine which team receives a player if more than one team has him on their draft card.

How the Draft System works

The Auto List Draft uses the following logic to draft the teams:
  • If a player was selected by only one team, that team gets him.
  • If a player was selected by more than one team:
      • The team that ranked that player highest gets him.
    • If more than one team tied for ranking that player the highest:
      • That player is randomly awarded to one of those teams that ranked him the same.
    • For each team that lost out on a player:
      • The team receives the next highest-priced available player that is not on another team's draft card and has the same primary position of the original player that the team lost out on. The player received cannot exceed the original player's salary unless no other players remain at or below the original player's salary.
        • The only exception where the replacement player might not have the same primary position is for returners. If a returner with a different primary position is slotted at either the KR or PR position while creating your draft card, you will receive a returner as the replacement player.

- Here's an example.

Step 3: Join a League

Your options for joining a league are:

Option 1: Join an Auto League

This is the easiest way to join a league. An Auto League is simply a standard 12-team league with all the default settings for your given Player Set into which all coaches selecting the "Join an Auto League" option are automatically placed.

As long as your team matches the default settings, just click on the button to join one and you're in!

Option 2: Create a New League

Here you can create a new league with your own league options and even assign it a password so only your friends join. League options include:
  • Waivers/Frenzy
    • Waivers (default) - All undrafted players stay on the waiver wire for a few days after the draft, during which they are available to teams by Waiver Claim only, taking turns by Waiver Priority.
    • Frenzy- Undrafted players become available for pick up immediately after the draft.

  • When the season starts
    • 3 days after the draft (default)
    • # days after the draft - you can choose between 2-7 days after the draft (or as low as 1 for Frenzy leagues)
    • Monday - The next Monday after the draft that's at least 3 days away

  • Free Agent Drop Penalty
    • 5% (default)
    • 10%

  • Randomize division assingments
    • Yes (default) - Teams are randomly assigned to divisions when the league fills
    • No - Divisions are determined by the order users join a league

  • Allow coaches to place more than 1 team in this league
    • No (default)
    • Yes

Option 3: Join an Existing League

Any open or private leagues in your Player Set will be listed below. Click on the league name to view all options and then select yes to join the league or no to go back to the league selection screen. For private leagues, you must have the league password from the person who created the league. An invitation is usually required to join a private league. You cannot join a private league without the league password.

How do waivers work?
What is a Frenzy?
What does the Free Agent Drop penalty do?
My password gets accepted but my team is not added to the league.
Can I change leagues after I've joined a league?

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The Preseason

After you complete setting up your team and getting into a league, sit tight until the league fills. Minutes after it does your league will run the auto-draft and you will be able to check out your team! You probably did not receive all of the players you listed but hopefully you received most of them. Either way don't worry. Any and all undrafted players are now available on Waivers. (Unless you are in a Frenzy League. In this case all players can be added immediately after the draft ends). Review your team and the free agent pool. Place a claim on any player you wish to add and make sure to select a player to drop. Once the waiver period ends all still-available players become free agents and may be picked up on a first come, first served basis.

- How do I place a Waiver Claim on a player?
- How long is the Waivers Period?
- How are the Waiver Claims processed?
- How is the Waiver Priority determined?
- How many Waiver Claims can I make?
- What difference does the order of my Waiver Claims make?
- How do I change the order of my Waiver Claims?
- Can I drop players outright during the Waivers Period?
- Can I offer and make trades during the Waivers Period?
- Waivers vs. Frenzy Leagues

Once the waiver period ends and all claims are processed you can now set your lineup, rotation, and player and team strategies for your games. If you plan on making additional moves after you set your options, make sure to adjust them for the new players you added to your roster.

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The Regular Season

Starting with Opening Day, one game of each team's schedule is simulated every night, with results posted between midnight-1 am ET. Every day you'll have the chance to set your starters, adjust your team strategies, and make player transactions in preparation for that night's game. Your changes are due by 10pm ET each night.

The season goes a full 16 games, after which the playoffs begin.

Note: Free Trial teams/leagues play 4 games and do not play a postseason.

Your Roster

Your in-season roster requirements are exactly the same as your draft requirements.

Setting your Starters

To set your starters select "Set Your Starters" under the "Your Team" menu.

Select each player from the drop down menu to set them as the starter. Anyone can start at a position they are rated for. Make sure to click "Save Your Starters" to keep your changes.

If you don't set starters, or leave blank positions in it, our game engine will fill in the holes at game time. Although it will make reasonable decisions, you can improve your team's performance by setting your starters yourself.

Skill players (QB, HB, BB, FB, TE, SE, FL) may be forced to sit out the occasional game even if you list them as a starter. The letter at the beginning of a skill player's Injury Rating (e.g. the "B" in "B2") indicates how often he might be forced to sit out a given game due to overusage. All skill players may miss games occasionally; "A" rated players may be used most heavily with the smallest probability of missing games, while "F" rated players may be used the least heavily. During the season, you would see a "Q" (Questionable) or "D" (Doubtful) designation next to your player's name if he is on pace to be used too much, which would indicate that the risk of him being forced to sit out the next game is temporarily elevated. Remember to manage usage for skill players who will have more Pass Attempts, Carries, and/or Receptions than he is carded for.

Additionally, all skill players have a chance to suffer in-game injuries (if the Multi-Game Injuries option is on for a given league - which is the default setting; it can be turned off when the league is created). The number following the letter (e.g. the "6" in "C6") of a skill player's Injury Rating is, if an injury occurs in the middle of a game, the maximum number of games that player might be injured for in addition to that game. Note that all players have an equal chance of suffering in-game injuries.

- Are there usage limits on players based on their statistics or games played?
- How often can I change my starters?

Setting Your Team Strategy

You will set your offensive and defensive schemes as well as any other tendencies on the "Team Strategy" page under the "Your Team" menu. As with all settings, you may make changes as often as you like, but you must make them by 10pm ET for them to take effect for that night's games.

You must choose one offensive formation and one defensive formation that the computer manager defaults to in normal situations. This does not mean this is the only formation that the computer manager will use, as situation may dictate that another formation is used. However this will be the primary formation that the computer manager will be based on.

In addition to the formations, various offensive and defensive tendencies allow you to tweak your game plan for the current game. You need to balance your strengths and weaknesses with your opponents to achieve the ideal plan for your next game.

- What does "key" the running back mean?

Free Agent Transactions

You can release a player/unit from your team back into the free agent pool at any point after the draft and before Game 14 of the regular season. To do so, go to the "Your Team" page, and click on the player's price. You will then claim a replacement from the free agent pool (if the Waiver period is over).

Before the season starts, you receive a player's full salary back when you release him. After the season starts, however, you only receive a portion of a released player's salary. The percentage you receive back depends on your league's FA Drop Penalty settings. You can view your league settings during the season by going to the "Your League" page. Make sure to balance your salary cap carefully!

You can also pick up a free agent at any point after the preseason Waiver period is over and before Game 14 of the regular season, provided you have enough money to afford him and all roster requirements are met. Click on "Free Agents" under the "Your League" menu to search for available players. Add a player to your roster by clicking on their salary button on the right.

The season deadline for free agent transactions is Game 14. After Game 14, no transactions may be made.

- When will my free agent transaction be processed?


You can execute trades with other teams in your league at any point after the draft and before Game 14 of the regular season. In order for a trade to be executed, the new players must fit under each respective team's salary cap and also comply with standard roster requirements. You can offer a trade by going to another team page and clicking the "Offer a trade to this team" link under their team info. Or you can offer a trade from the drop-down menu on the League Standings page. Any trades offered to you can be reviewed, accepted, and declined from your Inbox.

The season deadline for trades is Game 14. After Game 14, no trades may be made.

- How can I tell if the other owner accepted my trade?
- When will my trade be processed?

The Games and Results

All games are simulated with the Football 365 by Strat-O-Matic game engine. Results are posted each night between midnight and 1 am ET. You can view your latest results by going to your "Front Office" page. There you see line scores of your last game as well as your upcoming game, updated division standings, and your starters.

Clicking on the game headline right below the line score will bring up the Recap/Boxscore and allow you to view the Play-by-Play and Ball Possession Chart.

- What does the computer do to determine the results?

Fair Play policy

Please be respectful of your league-mates throughout the season so that all may have a pleasant environment in which to play. The following behavior will not be tolerated:
  • Tanking. You may not intentionally throw games, under any circumstances.
  • Salary dumping. You may not jettison talent from your team, hold a "fire sale", or otherwise make wholesale changes to your roster that reduces the overall salary value of your team.
  • Collusion. You may not conspire with another manager, by making trades or by changing your team settings when playing against that team, to achieve any sort of anti-competitive goal, e.g. to help a team win, or to gang up on another team.
  • Offensive language. You may not communicate with other managers in a manner that they could find offensive.
If you violate any of the above rules, at our discretion, will seize control of your team and you will not be eligible for a refund. Repeat offenses will result in a ban from ever playing the game again.

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Note: The following section does not apply to Free Trial leagues, which do not participate in a postseason.

At the end of the 16-game regular season, 4 teams advance to the Playoffs - the 2 Division Winners, and a Wild Card in each of the 2 divisions. Each Division Winner will host the Wild Card from its own division in a Semi-Finals game, and the winners of the Semi-Finals round will advance to the Championship Game. The Wild Card team of each division is the team that has the best record among teams that did not win the division.


After the regular season ends, the first (Semi-Finals) round of the Playoffs will play on the next night. The Championship Game will play on the next night after that.

- What happens in the event of a tie for a Division Winner, Wild Card spot, or home-field advantage?
- Do injuries carry over from the regular season into the postseason?
- Can I make make free agent transactions or trades during the playoffs?

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Winning & Prizes

Note: Free Trial teams and Pre-paid leagues are not eligible for prizes.

All prizes are awarded as free team credits towards additional Strat-O-Matic Football 365 seasons:

- the winner of the Finals: receives 2 free credits
- the loser of the Finals: receives 1 free credit

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