Welcome to the Beginner's Guide. This is meant to provide information and strategy for new players to Sim Dynasty.
Welcome to Sim Dynasty! If you're like most people, right now you're wondering just what Sim Dynasty (or "SD") is. The quick answer is that SD is your chance to be the General Manager of a baseball team. You make the trades; you set the lineups and pitching rotation; you pick what's important in your draft; you develop players -- you control the team. The one thing you don't do is manage the in-game decisions. The reason for this is twofold: First, your opponents are real people too, and there's nothing worse than sitting at your desk waiting for an opponent who is late. The second reason, quite simply, is that there isn't enough time. Literally thousands of games are played every day, and to get that many games in we have to simulate them very quickly, usually in less than a second. As we get into some of the more advanced descriptions, we'll discuss how your team is managed during games, but for now, all you really need to know is that the games are simulated by computer, based on preferences that you set up.
This Beginner's Guide will walk you through the steps needed to get started with a team. You might want to leave this page open, or print it out, so you can refer back to these instructions as you go. After you finish going through this guide, you'll have your own team, all set up and ready to go win some games. We also have an Intermediate Guide and a Strategy Guide that you should check out when you feel you've mastered the basic setup. Those guides provide more in-depth information on some topics and explain some things you'll want to know before you jump into one of our Dynasty, Subscription or Term Leagues.
Obviously you're new here; that's why you're reading the Beginner's Manual. Our free Trial Leagues are the best place for beginners (although anyone is welcome). In a nutshell, a Trial League is, just as it says, a trial. Try us out! Playing in a Trial League gives you a chance to see what SD is like and explore some strategies. It's also a simpler version of the game: Because you're only playing three half-seasons, you don't have to worry as much about amateur drafts, player retirements, developing young players, and mentoring, all of which are integral in the pay leagues. In a Trial League, you still have the opportunity to draft a team, set your lineups and pitching rotation, set some preferences on how your team is managed during games, make trades, promote and demote players, make waiver-wire claims, and move injured players to the Disabled List. It's a great way to get your feet wet in SD without having to shell out any cash while you're learning.
This guide will walk you through the steps needed to get started with a team. You might want to leave this page open, or print it out, so you can refer back to these instructions as you go.
To sign up for a team, first go to the signup page. Fill out the simple form to register with SD. Next, you'll move to a screen that lets you sign up for either a new or replacement Trial League team (see below).
A replacement team is a team that another owner has already started on but has abandoned. As with any website, we have people who sign up and then forget to come back and check on their teams. The advantage of starting with one of these teams is that the draft is already done for you; it's one less thing to worry about. All you really have to do is manage your team, think of it like taking over a current major-league team after the previous GM was fired. You're not starting with a clean slate, but you have the opportunity to learn both from your own mistakes and your predecessor's. You'll also be able to dive right in and start working on your new team. If you decide to go this route, you can skip ahead to the Playing the Game section below.
Your other option is to draft a new team. There are a few steps:
i. Pick Your City. Your first decision will be what city you want to represent. Each league has 16 teams: eight in the National League (Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis) and eight in the American League (Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, New York, and Washington). The first person to sign up for a league may choose any of the sixteen cities; the 16th person will get the last city available.
ii. Name Your Team. Having chosen your city, you need to come up with a nickname for your team. Many people use traditional names (Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, etc.), but you can pick any name you want, as long as it's not offensive. After naming your team, you will go to a screen with a link to access your team. Click that link, and you'll be taken to your team's home page. You'll see a logo for your team (which you can change on the Edit Profile page), your team's name, the name of the league you're in (named after a former major league manager), and your screen name. Also on this page are announcements from the SD staff; you should briefly read them whenever you check in. This page also shows your league's current date, right next to the league name. If you signed up for a new team, it should say "04/01/1950."
iii. Drafting Players. Now you have a team, and your team has a name. But you don't have any players, because your draft hasn't run yet. It will happen soon, though, so get yourself ready. Choose GM --> Draft Center from the green menu at the top of the screen. There are a variety of skills (described in more detail below), and you decide what kind of players you want -- just fill in the boxes to say how much weight you'd like to give each category.
The drafting engine uses these numbers to determine how you value players. You get 100 rating points to divide up for Pitchers and 100 for Batters. Think of these numbers as your scouts; it's what your scouts will look at when evaluating different players. For example, if you have a 20 next to Contact Vs. L and a 20 next to Contact Vs. R and a 60 next to Youth, the draft engine will come up with a total rating for this player, weighing his age at 60% and contacts at 20% respectively. All other attributes would be disregarded. A more extreme example would be if you rated Youth as 100. The draft engine would draft your team completely based on age, with zero concern to how talented the players are.
It's a good idea not to drastically adjust any of the numbers, because in the first example you would end up with a really young team, with not a lot of power, defense, or speed. But it is a good idea to weigh each category with at least some number, because it will help with tie breakers (i.e., if you have two equal players and have points assigned to youth, you'll get the younger player).
For pitchers, Velocity and Control should both be above 40. And it is a waste of points to rank both Throws Right and Throws Left; whichever way you decide to go, just rank that one. As a rule, if you spend more than five points on one of these, you will probably end up with a team of all lefties or righties.
For batters, Contact, Power, and Speed should be your three highest ratings. These areas should add up to at least 70.
Your draft will run within 24 hours of all 16 teams in your league being taken, so be sure to set your preferences right away. In addition, you should receive an e-mail when the draft has run.
Congratulations: You now control a team! Now we'll look at setting your batting lineup, pitching rotation, and bullpen. We'll make sure you've told the computer how to manage your team during games and designated backups in case of injuries. We'll also talk about the various roster moves you can make, including offering trades to your fellow league members. Before we get into detailed instructions on setting your lineups and pitching rotation, we'll talk quickly about grades and energy.
Each player has a series of grades that range from F to A+. Each player has a grade for each skill. These grades are not like the ones you had in school; instead, they represent a 100-point scale. For instance, a D- indicates a score of four to 11, while an A+ ranges from 92 to 100. This means that the difference between an A and a B player may be more than you would expect. These skill grades provide a quick reference to see how your players compare to other players in your league.
On your lineup cards, each batter has an "energy" indicator. When this indicator dwindles to one red bar, the player will have to sit out a game. You can make your own substitutions game-by-game, or you can let the computer do the legwork, using your designated backups (see "Backups" below). Pitchers have energy levels, too. A starting pitcher must take off four days before he may start another game (unless he was pulled unusually early in his last start, way before he would have tired); the energy bars show how soon he'll be ready. For relievers, the bars reflect how heavily a pitcher has been used in your team's past five games. A reliever who has one red bar is unavailable for the next game; a pitcher with five green bars is at full strength. A pitcher at a level between these extremes will tire more quickly if he gets into the game.
After your draft, the default settings will have the first nine players on your roster in the starting lineup -- you may have a catcher playing first base and a first baseman playing shortstop. You'll probably want to change this! On the green menu, go to Manager --> Lineup vs. RHP. On the lineup screen, you'll see all of your major league batters, along with how well they hit against right-handed pitching. Set your lineup any way you want, using the drop-down menus to select each player's position and spot in the batting order. When you're done, click on the green "Update Lineup" button at the bottom of the page. If you make a mistake (for example, you have two players batting sixth), you'll see an error message. Find the mistake, fix it, and click the "Update Lineup" button again. Once you've set your lineup against right-handers, click over to Manager --> Lineup vs. LHP and go through the same process to set your lineup against southpaws.
Now you need to choose what roles you want your pitchers to fill. Click on Manager --> Rotation & Bullpen. By default, the first starting pitcher you drafted will be listed in the number-one starter position, your second draftee will be #2, and so forth. Similarly, the first reliever you drafted is listed as your long reliever and so on down the line. Adjust these roles however you want, using the drop-down menu under "Pitching Role," and be sure to click the "Update Pitchers" button at the bottom of the screen. If you do not have five starting pitchers designated, or if you have two pitchers designated with the same role, you will receive an error message.
By default, the first 25 players you drafted were placed on your major league roster, and draftees 26-50 were put in the minor leagues. From time to time, you may want to promote a minor leaguer to your major league roster; maybe you'll decide you really need another backup shortstop, or one of your regulars will get injured (more on that in a bit). To recall someone from the minors, click GM --> Promote/Demote or Manager --> Depth Chart. These pages list all of your players.
In new leagues, if you try to promote or demote a players who is over 27 years old, the system will remind you that he is out of options and must pass through waivers to move from the majors to the minors. (For more information about options, see the rulebook or the Intermediate Guide.)
After the draft, you will have 25 players in your minor league system. As minor leaguers, they will have the opportunity to improve during the season. Typically, younger players improve faster than older ones in the minor leagues. Go to Manager --> Minor Leagues. On this screen, you'll notice a number next to each player. This is that player's number of coaching points (CPs). (For more information about CPs, see the rulebook or the Intermediate Guide.)
As with MLB teams, sometimes your players will get injured. If you checked the box requesting e-mail updates when you signed up you'll get an email each time one of your players is injured. You can also find out about injuries in a couple of other ways. 1. They are listed at the bottom of the box score for the game in which the player got injured. 2. On the green menu bar click News-->Injuries. This will tell you all the players injured in your league. 3. On any of your team pages (Lineup vs. RHP, Depth Chart, etc.), your player will appear with a little red cross next to him. When a player is injured you can put him on the DL by clicking GM-->Disabled List. If you want to put the player on the DL click the box for Add to or Remove From DL. Note: If the player will be healed before 15 games is up you can still DL him but the system will give you a little prompt letting you know that he'll be healed first. Be sure to call up a reserve player either from the waiver wire or from your minor leagues.
When your player is ready to come off the DL you must first clear a roster spot by demoting one of your major league players. It's the same process you used for promoting him. Then go to GM-->Disabled List and click the box to remove your player from the DL. Note. You can remove a player from the DL before his injury is healed but if you click the box twice you'll take him off the DL and put him right back on.
You can determine which strategies your team likes to use. On the green menu board, click on Manager-->Manager Preferences. There are two modes that you can use: Regular Mode and Advanced Mode. Advanced Mode will be discussed in the intermediate section, but here we'll start with the Regular Mode. This should be the default when you first sign in. Click on the link for preferences to set how your team plays. Most of the options are self-explanatory. If you make changes, be sure to click the Save Changes button on the bottom of the page.
One of the most enjoyable parts of baseball is the opportunity to watch your team play. Because you can't watch the games in real time (games take about one second to simulate), you don't have to be online at the moment the game is playing. You have the opportunity to watch the games on your schedule. To watch your team's games, from your green menu bar go to Games-->Results. This will show you your most recent games. If you click where it says "click here" the game will run for you in Dynasty Vision. You don't see every pitch, but rather the penultimate pitch of each at bat, so it doesn't take 3 hours to watch, more like five minutes, depending on your Internet connection.
The Sim Dynasty community is full of helpful people who are more than willing to help you out with any questions or problems you might have. SD has its own message board forum, which you can access by clicking on the message board link on your green menu board. There will be several options here. For common questions and answers that others like you may have had, click on the Questions and Answers link. Many of the most common questions are discussed in this board. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, feel free to post a new question by clicking on New Topic (be sure to put a Subject in the subject line or it won't post) and posting your question. There is also a quick link for you to Report Problems as well as links to the latest news and your own league's message board. Many Trial League message boards aren't overly active because it sometimes takes owners a while to discover the SD community out there. You can see what's going on on all the message boards, however, by clicking on Today's Posts. Feel free to take a look at what's going on in other leagues, but as a courtesy please don't post in leagues you are not a member of.
When you're ready there are two more tutorials/rule books for more advanced users, but try these out first and see how you do. Have fun!