I know I said I would never do this.......but leagues keep opening and they suck, since leagues will keep opening, they may as well be good. This just might help. I would rather you all didn't open leagues at all, I will explain why in this document. Enjoy!
How to run an online league.
This will undoubtedly promote even more leagues to open, but since they will open anyway, I guess you may as well know how to do it right.
The main things you must adhere to before you even consider opening a league:
-You only get one shot at this. You get only 1 chance to gain your GM’s respect and confidence. It is extremely hard, if not impossible to get good GM’s in another league if your 1st one fails.
-Plan, Plan, Plan. There is no question this is tops. If you do not know your league inside and out before you even start looking for GM’s, your league is over before it began. You should give your league at least a week or 2 before you open it. Lack of planning is the #1 league killer.
-Be prepared for hard times. It may seem like commissioners have it easy, but you will have to deal with most whiney, snot nosed little buggers you have ever dealt with. There is almost no exception here, you must have patience to run a league.
-Consider not running a team in your own league, if you have to, take the last team open. This is a tough one for most people, sometimes it is hard to be interested when you do not run a team. On the other hand, it will allow you to focus primarily on the league. There are also a lot of advantages commissioners have. They have to the most active, so they pretty much get to be in on everything, especially jumping on trades that are offered. They decide when the free agents can be bided on, so really, one second after they open it, they can bid on who they like. Now, not every commish does this, but it is an unfair advantage, and no one should have an advantage. There are a lot of small things here that they have control over, and the best leagues would be the one run by a commish who takes the time to run a great league for the joy of running a great league, and not because he just wants his favorite team and can’t get it anywhere else. That is the #1 reason people start leagues, and they die very fast.
-You are in control of the destiny of the league. Here is another huge league killer….too many people are in charge of too many things. One person does the website while another sims and another does some other medial task, etc, etc. Power struggles arise and people lose interest. If you, the one commish, cannot handle every duty on your own, do not even attempt a league. It is advisable to have help, but do not rely on them. If you have no web skills (website building), don’t open a league. It just doesn’t make sense to open a league on the very thing you have no skill at does it? The Web.
-Activity…….if you are not already the most active person in your league, then it is done. The commissioner has to be accessible to everyone in the league. This means you must have msn (or whatever messenger your league uses) and be on it! Your people will have questions, and you must be able to help them. It takes serious time to run a league. This is not something where 1 or 2 hours a day will do. Be prepared to put in 5 or 6 solid hours a day into your league, on sim days and 4 on off days. If you cannot think of something to do in that time, you are not trying hard enough……something can always be done to help your league.
I am hoping this scared away at least 9/10 people (but I doubt it, most of you will undoubtedly make another bad league, while few will succeed, why? Because most people aren’t aware of their own inability to handle responsibility.), but for those who are remaining……here is the steps to building the league.
All of these leagues will give you some variety in the structures you will want to work with for rules. They are well thought out and well prepared leagues. Again, do NOT steal their rules, make your own based on the ideas. (Unless you have permission).
Don’t get a domain that is the name of your league, because after that, it is really only for your league and it will have very little practical use for anything else.
You will want a really good amount of storage for your site and files and lots of bandwidth in order to allow downloading without crashing your site all the time.
This handy little device even gives you the html code for all the colors. Mark them down somewhere!
Once you have your base made for colors, you are ready to take on the website. Start with your main page and then make the extension pages. This should take you at least 2 days to do properly. If you think you can do it in less, then you are either really good at making pages or naïve.
Your website should have all of the following features:
To use the .html files you exported from the game, upload them into
a folder on your server, for example, if the league website is at www.league.com
and you put the .html files into a folder named html then each file
would have an extension like this:
Make a chat room too, this is most easily done by creating a room at http://chat.cjb.net then it can be accessed with mIRC as well. Say you name the chat room league chat, then the room will be at http://chat.cjb.net/leaguechat/ it will also be accessible with mIRC in Mirc-X at #leaguechat. Pretty easy really.
If you wish to use just 1 version, stick with 1.16.
Check and double check each team 1 by 1 to make sure that everything is in order, you don’t want mistakes to be spotted later.
Put all of your teams on human control to begin, do not sim any days. Make your settings for the league and save the game, put it away for now.
As each GM joins, add them to the file, by placing their name in the GM box for each team.
Items to know:
After you have put in each teams lines, make sure you confirm them, this will save you from having to do this later. Once everything is entered, then you can start simming. At the end of your sim, save the league, export your html and close the game.
Big Note: Take your time on sims. There is no rush, you aren’t racing anyone. It is best to take your time when you do them! If you rush your file, you will make mistakes.
Note on staff offers: do not enter them and then save the game and close it, if you do, you will lose all staff offers. These must be entered before you sim ahead in order to work, to see why, go to the EHM Bugs section on EHM 101.
3. The offseason………..
The draft isn’t too hard, you can do it so that everyone sends in a list of players they want at each draft position they hold, this is good if it going to be live or not. If it is live, just get everyone into the chat at a certain time and have the game open at the draft screen. As each team posts their pick in the chat room, enter it. It is also nice if you have an assistant commish or co-commish posting the picks as they happen round by round in the forums.
Free agency is something that lots of people do differently, put lots of thought into it and make a plan, this will come to you quite easily if you are prepared.
4. Make sure all expectation in your league are clear, this should be done when you do your rules, no patience is the best amount for bad GM’s.
5. Try to do sims often, 3 or 4 times a week, this will help maintain
interest in the league. Also, consider a league design that stresses
parity and GM competition. You must always make sure that you are the
one who is happiest with the rules. Some commish’s are too lenient
and change things to make the GM’s happy, it is their responsibility
to read the rules before they join. If they don’t like it once
they join, then why didn’t they read it before hand? It is ok
to consider good ideas and allow the league to run with the contributions
of its people, but you have to remember one important thing……..
In some cases the GM really is doing the commish a favor though, if your league is bad, so really, this is probably where these things come from. It is good to have extreme prejudice when selecting GM’s for your league.
6. You really want to change as little as you can about the league once it has started, rules wise. You know things aren’t going well if more than half of your league has a problem with something, these are things that you can consider changing….but the world does not revolve around one or 2 GM’s.
One of the first things you do is remember, other leagues have a right to privacy, you must treat all other leagues the way you want your own to be treated. Send individual emails to people, not mass mails, but individual ones addressed to each person personally. No matter how you look at it, posting on someone elses forums without permission if they are not public forums is spam. Or, you can add people to your msn list and talk to them all personally. This is a simple recruitment proccess that takes time and effort, but it can pay off when done well.
A personal person to person email is not spam, but if a recipient of
your email tells you not to email them again, you must follow their
wishes, any subsiquent emails following that one IS spam. Fhockey has
a very specific 0 tollerance rule now on spamming, for details, see
this post: http://www.fhockey.com/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=783