Ab Initio Games & Software Simulations

Interactive Sports, Historical & Sci-Fi Games

Online & Postal Play - Running Since 1986

Hoopplan - NBA Basketball

Your chance to be an NBA Coach

* Coach your own NBA team from the comfort of your own home

* Compete in a league against other coaches throughout the world

* Play by Internet or Play by Mail - your choice

* Play through full regular season and playoffs

* Sign and draft players, choose lineups, deal with injuries

* The ultimate in NBA simulation games, running all year round

Hoopplan is a simulation of National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball. You are the coach of an NBA club, taking your team through the regular season, trying to reach and win the NBA Finals.

In Hoopplan we try to make the game work the same way as in real life, with realistic decisions to be made about team coaching and management. The choices you make are the same as you’d have to make in real life. Sometimes you’ll have to make tough decisions, whether to sign better players, or develop your stadium and income sources to improve your future finances.

In addition to the management decisions about signing and cutting players you’ve also got to shuffle your lineups from game to game. You’ve injuries to contend with, as well as players losing form. You have to decide which players to play, when to play them and who to bring in from the bench when you rest the starters. You also have to decide on tactics for every single game.

Hoopplan is a mixture of a management and coaching game, featuring "game-day" coaching aspects as well as longer-term roster building aspects (including management of the salary cap). For those looking for a mixture of a coaching game and a roster-building game Hoopplan could be just the game you’re looking for.

Hoopplan runs all year round - the game isn't a "fantasy game" based on the performances of real life players in the NBA - it's a simulation of how real life Basketball works - much more involved, and we think, much more fun. Turns are normally run every two weeks to give you plenty of time for planning and analysis.

How it works

Players and skills

Selections and depth charts

Team balance

Rosters and the salary cap

Playoffs and draft

Game reports

Hoopplan Coach

Games and turnfees

Sending Orders/Play by Email

Players from outside the U.K.

How To Join

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How it works

Your objective is to win the NBA Finals against teams run by other players drawn from all over the country (and around the world). Each league contains twenty eight teams, divided into two conferences, each of which has two divisions with seven teams in each. During each turn you play five games against teams within your league.

You have to make a mixture of decisions: both "playing" decisions and "management" decisions are both are equally important to a basketball coach.

Hoopplan runs all year round - the game isn't a "fantasy game" based on the performances of real life players in the NBA - it's a simulation of how real life Basketball works - much more involved, and we think, much more fun. Turns are normally run every two weeks to give you plenty of time for planning and analysis.

Players and skills

Each team has as an "active" roster (the players available for selection every game) of exactly twelve players, plus a number of players in reserve, playing in minor basketball leagues, who can be promoted to the active roster when required. Your roster will comprise a mixture of centers, forwards and guards.

Each player is rated according to sixteen different skills: long shooting, close shooting, defense, passing, dribbling, blocking and so on. These abilities determine his effectiveness and performance during a game. The better a player’s skills are the more effective he will be, but the higher his wage demands will tend to be. 

Hoopplan is as much about financial management as coaching, mirroring the real life salary cap - you can’t build a "superteam" because you’ve only got limited finances, so the key to success is getting the best value for money out of your roster.

Selections and depth charts

Each turn you have to decide on your depth chart. Your starters cannot play a full game so you have to decide who to bring in from the bench when you need to replace them, and how much to play your starters (if you overplay them they get tired, and become less effective). 

You also determine when each player will take the opportunity to attempt a shot. In Basketball most players make 50% of their attempts - the better shooters score more points because they attempt more shots, taking on the most difficult chances - a good shooter isn't measured by the percentage of shots he makes, but the number of shots he is able to make and still maintain around a 50% success rate.

Team balance

Your team needs to have a balance of skills. There’s no point in building a team full of superstar shooters. You need to be able to create decent chances for your shooters, play defence, win the ball and so on. Nor can you run your stars into the ground by overplaying them. You have find a balance between winning and leaving your players fresh enough to be successful during the playoffs, so depth amongst your roster is critical, ensuring you've got quality reserves who can come in every game and allow your stars to rest and save their energy without losing the games.

Rosters and the salary cap

In addition to these "game-day" decisions you’ve also got to make roster decisions and financial decisions. You can sign free-agents, or make trades with other coaches. Whilst on the free agent list players’ values (and their wages) drop, so you’ll commonly find you’ll need to leave some of your over-priced veterans on the free-agent list and then resign them when their demands have dropped to more realistic levels. Other teams may sign them in the meantime but if you lose a player to another team you do get compensation. 

All of these financial decisions are made within the restrictions of the salary cap, which ensures that a team cannot have a wage bill too high, or restricts who they can sign if their wage bill goes over the salary cap.

Playoffs and draft

At the end of the regular season the top eight teams in each conference (in fact the two divisional winners plus the six next best teams, known as "wild cards") move forward into the playoffs. These are played over four rounds, the first round best-of-five games and the remaining rounds best-of-seven games, to determine the NBA Finals winners. Teams that fail to make the playoffs, or are eliminated during the playoffs play in a Consolation competition or play pre-season games, readying themselves for the following season. 

During the playoffs each team participates in the college draft, signing new talent to their rosters. These are usually "promising" players packed with potential who’ll need a season or two to mature. At the end of each season each player is also assessed for gaining or losing abilities. This is dependent upon a player’s "potential" - a player loses one point of potential each season. A player with lots of potential is likely to gain skills quickly, particularly if his form during the season was good. A player with no potential will start to lose skills. Either way, players’ wage demands increase as they get older so you’ll need to decide whether a player is continuing to provide value for money.

Game reports

Each turn you’ll receive over a dozen pages of reports: a full roster listing with current form, injury details, lineups and so on, plus detailed stats for all of your players. You’ll also receive game reports and full box-scores for all games you played, and outline reports on all games played in your league that turn, as well as details of free agent signings, trades, injuries and all the other news you’ll need from around the league. 

There are also many optional stats listings which you can choose to receive, though the extra listings won’t give you an advantage over other coaches (though they may well increase your enjoyment of the game). Many of these stats listings are regularly issued as part of the standard reports.

Normally reports are sent to you by email, so you'll have your result within minutes of the game being played, but players can receive their results by post if they wish. For more details on play-by-email click here.

Hoopplan Coach

Hoopplan also has a "quick" version, Hoopplan Coach. The original game is Hoopplan Advanced, including all of the features detailed above. Hoopplan Coach is a streamlined version of the game, which is easier to play (with lower turnfees) but has less detail and you don’t have as much control. Some of the more complicated parts of the game (such as the salary cap) are avoided. 

When you send in your application you can ask for both rulebooks, and look through them before deciding which version will suit you best.

Games and turnfees

There are half a dozen games of Hoopplan already running in the UK. All run with two week deadlines (so you've fourteen days between turns). We have positions available in most of these games that will allow you to start play immediately (as in real-life, you take over a team and try to turn their fortunes around). 

Turnfees in Hoopplan Advanced are £3.25 for one, £13.00 for four, £28.00 for ten and £50.00 for twenty. Turnfees in Hoopplan Coach are £2.00 for one, £8.00 for four, £18.00 for ten and £32.00 for twenty. Click here for more details of turnfees.

We welcome players from outside the UK. Click here for more details of overseas players.

There are further discounts available if you play in more than one game. You can always switch from one version to another once you've started playing.

Sending Orders/Play by Email

Your instructions are normally sent through our active website, but can also be sent by post or fax if required. Click here for more details on play by email

How to Join

To join Hoopplan you'll need to send £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games) along with your name and address, which covers the cost of your rulebook(s), team setup and first two turns. If you know whether you wish to play Hoopplan Advanced or Hoopplan Coach please state which you want to play and give a number of team preferences (NBA teams only, the more preferences you give the sooner we can start you playing) and we'll be able to start you playing immediately. If you aren't sure then we'll send you both rulebooks and you can decide when you've had a look at then, though this will mean a delay in starting to play the game.

To join the game immediately just click here to pay your startup fee by credit card via our secure server website. When you send us your payment please also email Danny McConnell with your team preferences (the more the better, real life NBA teams) then we'll be able to get you started in a game even more quickly. If you'd rather submit your application by post, please print off the form below and include payment when you send it to us.

Hoopplan is run by Danny McConnell of Ab Initio Games. Click here for details of waiting lists.

Please print, complete and return the details below, indicating the option you require: 

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YES, I’d like to join a game of Hoopplan Advanced/Hoopplan Coach/Wait until I've received the rulebooks before deciding (please delete as applicable).

I’ve enclosed a cheque/postal order for £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games).

Team Preferences: 

Name:

Address:

Email Address if you're happy to be contacted this way:

Where did you first hear about Hoopplan?: 

For more information please contact: Danny McConnell, 49 Westpoint, Shortlands Grove, Bromley, Kent, BR2 0ND, United Kingdom. Email: danny@pbmsports.com

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