Rob’s Complete Guide to Retro Bowl: Drafting and Managing Players (2023)

Building Through the Draft: The First Two Years

When you begin your career, your team will stink. All of the players on your roster will have low ratings and limited potential, and will often be on the downward slope of their late careers. You will not have enough coaching credits to afford top-tier free agents whatsoever, and the free agents you can afford will cost enough credits to ruin your efforts to rebuild the front office. Those cheaper free agents will also be terrible, worse than even late-round picks.

You best option, then, is to rebuild through the draft. In reading this guide, you have committed to winning immediately; by reading further, you are committing to rebuilding your team through the draft.

Got it? Good!

The Retro Bowl draft consists of three rounds. You will start your career with one pick in each round. One of the most important parts of your very first rookie draft occurs before the draft itself even starts. After you’ve played your first game at the start of your career – which, as a reminder, will always be the last game of a doomed season – sit back, relax, and simulate the playoffs. Once the Retro Bowl is over, go to the Roster page. It’s time to clean house and start over completely. You may or may not have players on expiring contracts; let them walk unless they are both 25 or younger, and have a potential of 4.5 or higher.

Once you’ve dealt with any players with expiring contracts, trade every star player on this terrible, forsaken roster, including the QB, for draft picks, except for any players who are both 25 or younger, and have a potential of 4.5 or higher. Such players are valuable, and worth keeping around. Since your team will be terrible, I guarantee your starting team won’t have any.

You may be tempted to hang on to the QB, if you have one; after all, there’s no guarantee you’ll find your franchise QB in this draft. But whatever QB you may have to start almost certainly doesn’t have a potential above 3.0. They’re not your QB, and they’re not gonna be. Rip off the band-aid.

This will leave you with somewhere between six to eight draft picks. Most of the extra picks will be in the third round, but you will also probably have one or two additional second-round picks. You’ll still only have one first round pick, but that will be OK, I promise.

Now, it’s time to begin the draft. The draft page resembles the roster page a great deal. You will see portraits of 10 draft prospects at a time, starting with the prospects with the highest current overall ratings. By touching each portrait, you will see the same info you see on a player’s roster detail page, except for their overall potential ratings, and their potential in each attribute. Viewing a prospect’s potential requires scouting them using the Scout Player button at bottom left. The amount of players you can scout is limited. In later drafts, you will be able to scout a maximum of 10 players, but in your first draft, you may be able to scout more.

You may also examine your existing roster during the draft to check on what positions you need, or trade existing players. You will get the pick from trading immediately, and be able to use it for that very same draft, as long as the pick is for the current round or later. Picks acquired in draft-day trades that are for already completed rounds will be added to your picks for next year’s draft.

Your first round pick in your first draft is extremely important. You must not only get a great player, you must get a player at an important position. As such, it’s OK to use a disproportionate amount of your scouting on the first round prospects. Do not use any first round pick on any player with a potential less than 4.5! First round picks, especially those available in your first draft, often have starting ratings of 3.5 or 4.0, but don’t assume their high initial rating means their potential must be higher! It’s quite possible their potential caps at 4.0; the only way to know is by scouting them.

There are five positions you should consider taking with this first round pick. They are listed below, starting with the highest priority position:

  • QB. Duh. If you scout a QB on the first round page with a potential of 4.5 or higher, take it! If there are multiple QBs appearing on the first round page, scout all of them and take the highest rated one. Do not draft a QB in the first round if all first round QBs have less than 4.5 potential! You’re not gonna get your QB right now, and that’s OK.
  • RB. If you can’t get a great passer immediately, the next best thing is a great runner. Again, don’t take anyone with potential under 4.5! Taking an RB in the first round will probably mean that you’ll be operating a run-heavy offense in your first year, but not necessarily. Hold this thought.
  • OL. Yes, you read that right! While OL is one of the least useful positions on the field, there is a logic here. A high first round OL is almost certainly within 1.0 star of their potential when drafted. Assuming you play on Dynamic Difficulty (explained in Part 1), your first year will be relatively easy; this means that your OL will rack up massive amounts of tackles right away, and level up quickly. That means the OL will max out their attributes quickly, and once attributes are maxed out, each subsequent level up nets you a coaching credit. You need lots of credits! If you can’t have a great QB or RB, the best thing after that is an OL that will net you lots of credits over time. The efficiency of this plan plummets drastically if the OL’s potential is 1.5 or more stars higher than their current rating; only draft an OL that’s close to maxing out!
  • WR. A great WR is important, but their usefulness will be limited without a good QB to get them the ball. Still, if there’s a great WR on the board and no QB, RB, or OL worth taking, go for it.
  • Best Defender Available. It is possible, albeit unlikely, that this first round is a wasteland on offense. If so, get the defender with the highest potential available. Remember, don’t take anyone with potential under 4.5!

The second and third rounds are dedicated to filling the above positions not filled in the first round. Prioritize them in the same order, but ignore the OL position; you aren’t likely to find an OL worth taking in the later rounds, so stop looking for one. Add the TE position in at the end of the priority queue in place of OL. For quick reference, this updated priority queue looks like this:

  • QB
  • RB
  • WR
  • Best Defender Available
  • TE

You have a lot of roster holes remaining, but since your trades have netted you lots of extra picks in these rounds, you should be able to stock players at most of them. Even better, players only come off the board after the end of each round. If you are trying to decide between two players and have multiple picks that round, pick one and then pick the other immediately after.

While offense is always the first priority in Retro Bowl, don’t ignore defense entirely. I recommend drafting at least one defensive player by the end of the second round. If this means settling for a third round RB or WR, that’s fine. Even in the second and third rounds, draft players according to their potential, not their current ratings! 4.5+ star potential prospects become less common in these rounds, but they’re still out there. If no such prospects are available at a position of need, that’s fine as long as you are still drafting the players with the highest potential at those positions.

If you didn’t get a QB in the first round, you might still have a chance of getting one this draft! It is absolutely worth scouting second round QBs if you did not see a first round QB worth taking. These QBs often have lower starting ratings (typically they’ll start in the 2.0-2.5 range; most first round picks have starting ratings of 3.0 or higher), but it is quite possible they still have a potential of 4.5 or more! It will take longer for such a QB to fully develop, but don’t let that dissuade you! This player is still a potential franchise QB, and you want them on your team.

The third round is trickier; while it is possible to find players with elite potential here, it is rare. Most third round picks will have a potential rating of 3.5 or less. That may be discouraging, but keep stocking your team according to the above list. If you don’t have a WR yet, make sure to grab at least one, and prioritize Speed. Few third round WRs are great, but many of them are fast, at least. Also, give an extra look to any TEs you see in the third round; even low rated TEs are much better at their job than replacement level ones.

It is also possible that you will run out of players to scout here, before you’re done making selections. If you do run out of scouting, don’t panic! Again, it is unlikely that you’re missing out on an elite player this late in the draft. Just draft players at positions you need filled with the highest current ratings.

By the end of your first draft, you should have:

  • 1 QB (if and only if you scout one with 4.5+ potential)
  • 1 RB (any)
  • At least 1 WR (any)
  • At least 2 defensive players

` If you did not get any QB in this draft, it’s still not time to worry. If you did snag your QB of the future, your roster will still be far from complete, and even further from perfect. But, regardless of whether you were able to draft a QB or not, your first season will be relatively easy if you’re playing on Dynamic Difficulty. You should still be able to meet your goals of attaining a winning record and a playoff berth, even if you lack a star QB and your RB was a second-round pick. It’s also possible that, if you didn’t draft a QB, you may end up with one by season’s end; see Player Trades, below.

For your second draft, you are filling any priority positions first, then rounding out your roster with the best players available. In the first round, prioritize among the following positions:

  • QB. If you still don’t have a star QB, it is imperative you shop for one now. That said, if there aren’t any QB s available at the top of the draft with 4.5+ potential, move on. It is never worth settling for less when drafting a QB; to draft a stopgap QB is to waste the pick.
  • WR. This is the ideal time to snag a true superstar receiver. Ideally, you picked up at least one WR in the first draft, but not in the first (or even second) round. Make sure to pick someone with extremely high potential Speed!
  • Best Defender Available. If your offense is already well-stocked, either because of good fortune or because you disregarded my advice and ignored your defense in the first draft (and if you did ignore this advice, please know that I am scowling with disapproval at you, right this very second), turn your attention to defense. Even if you did draft a few defenders last year, you probably picked up few potential superstars. Now is a great time to fix that.

Ignore all of the other positions, for now. In the first round of your second draft, You are either drafting your QB of the future or a great WR. If you’re not doing either of those things, you’re boosting your defense.

By the end of this draft, you should be able to fill the ideal 10-man roster. The ideal 10-man roster is:

  • 1 QB
  • 1 RB
  • 1 TE
  • 2 WR
  • Any 5 Defensive Players

Spend your picks in the second and third rounds to fill any holes you have left in this roster. Don’t worry if you can’t get elite talents at all of these positions; it is unrealistic to expect all of your players to have elite potential. Keep drafting based on potential, but make sure this ideal roster is filled by the end of your second draft.

If you are playing with a 12-man roster, it is unlikely that you will fill all 12 spots after just two drafts. Filling those extra two spots isn’t at all necessary to build a contender; even when I play with a 12-man roster, I often find it prudent to only fill 10 or 11 roster spots. That said, if you can fill a 12-man roster, great! For your reference, the ideal 12-man roster is:

  • 1 QB
  • 1 RB
  • 1 TE
  • 2 WR
  • 1 OL
  • Any 6 Defensive Players

If you have drafted effectively in your first two drafts, and have won as many games as you can in your first full season, you should enter your second full season with a total team rating of 8.0 or higher. That may sound ambitious, but I assure you it is quite possible, especially since your first year players should have gained plenty of XP and levels in that first year. If you followed this guide, it is fully possible (but not guaranteed) to enter your second full season with a total team rating of 8.5 or even 9.0! As long as you’ve reached that 8.0 threshold, your roster rebuild will be largely done, and almost entirely through the draft! Well done!

What to Do When You Can’t Draft a QB

The biggest possible obstacle to filling the ideal 10-man roster and reaching a total team rating of 8.0+ after two drafts is a dearth of 4.5+ potential QBs. If you do not have a star QB of any caliber on your roster going into the third round of your second draft, it is acceptable to draft a stopgap QB in the third round. However, that is not your only option in this scenario. QBs may become available during the season, either as unsigned free agents or through trades. Unsigned free agent QBs aren’t likely to be anything more than stopgaps, but you may be offered a legit, franchise QB in a trade. Each possibility will be reviewed below, under Evaluating Street Free Agents and Player Trades, respectively.

If you do not have a franchise QB by the Week 8 trade deadline of your second full season, you will have to begin saving your coaching credits in order to acquire a franchise QB from the Free Agent market, even if you do have a stopgap QB on the roster. When discussing the Front Office, I stated that in your first two years, your credits are to be used either to extend your coordinators or to improve your facilities, with one exception. This is that exception. A 4.0-rated QB costs 24 credits on the Free Agent market, while a 5.0-rated QB costs 30 credits. That’s a lot of credits at this point in the game, so you’ll need to save every credit you get. If you’re starting your second full season without a star QB, I advise that you start saving credits before the trade deadline, if at all possible.

Naturally, saving up this many credits will set back your facility improvements a great deal, but I assure you it is worth it. Remember, your goal in the third full season is nothing less than an Retro Bowl Championship. While the condition of your facilities is an important part of building a true, consistent championship contender, it’s not as important as having a QB. Nothing, in all of Retro Bowl, save for winning itself, is more important than having a great quarterback. The cost will be high, but the boost to your team will be worth every single credit.

Player Trades

Trading players away is simple. If you want to trade player out, simply press the trade button on their roster detail page, then confirm the draft offer. You will receive a pick in the round specified on the player’s detail page. Trade value is determined by the player’s current rating, as follows:

  • 1.0-1.5 Stars: Third Round Pick
  • 2.0-3.5 Stars: Second Round Pick
  • 4.0-5.0 Stars: First Round Pick

You can only receive draft picks from trading away players; there is no way to trade a star player for a star player from another team. You will only receive one draft pick per trade; there is no way to trade a star player away for multiple picks. In order to be traded away, a player must also have Bad morale or better; Toxic players cannot be traded.

How to trade players is an easily answered question; when to trade a player away requires more nuance. Only trade away a player who is both expendable in the short term, and who you do not intend to re-sign when their contract expires.

Getting more draft picks is well and good, but remember, your goal is to win games as soon as you can, and to win a Retro Bowl Championship as soon as you can. You will need to hold on to most of your star players in order to do so, including players that aren’t living up to your most optimistic expectations. If you have a 10-man roster, it’s quite possible that you don’t want to get rid of any of your star players!

It is also best to trade defensive players and kickers only. Since you have direct control over your offensive players (except OLs) in games, you can improve the XP levels and morale of struggling offensive players by giving them more opportunities to make plays on the field. You have no such control over your defenders, and as such, it is possible for defensive players to get caught in a vicious cycle of poor performance, which gives way to poor morale (or worse), which in turn gives way to continued poor performance.

But, Retro Bowl also imposes a penalty to team morale if you trade away a player in the same season as that player was signed, extended, or drafted. Therefore, it is best not to trade new players away until after the end of their first season with the team. If a rookie player is under-performing in games and/or their morale condition is consistently Poor or worse, give them their entire first season to figure things out. Even if they are only accruing small amounts of XP per game, they will level up eventually, and one level up is often all it takes for a struggling rookie to turn things around, both on and off the field.

However, a player with bad morale and bad performance in their second season is a great candidate for a trade, especially if their potential is 4.0 or less. You may trade players away as early as the off-season contract extension period, before even the draft, without penalty. This is the best time to trade players away, bar none. If you’re heading into your second draft and you know a defensive player is not in your long term plans, you can trade that player now, and draft a new player to replace them immediately.

If, for some reason, you have a Kicker on your team at the end of a season, trade them before the draft and use the pick on a more valuable position.

Early in your career, you should not be trading away any players currently worth a first round pick. You are better off having them on your team, even if their morale condition is Toxic. Later in your career, it can be a good idea, especially if you need salary cap relief. Please see the Salary Cap Management section of the Maintaining a Winning Team installment of this guide.

If you do not have a full roster of 10 or 12 players, you will occasionally receive trade offers from other teams before you begin a game. Most incoming trade offers will propose sending a player to your team, in exchange for a draft pick equal to that player’s trade value. A small handful of incoming offers will propose sending a draft pick in exchange for one of your players. Regardless of what type of trade is being offered, never accept any trade offer from another team that provides value equal to or less than the player’s listed trade value. Only accept trades that give you a player or draft pick of superior trade value in return.

By adhering to this rule, you will weed out at least 95% of all the incoming trade offers you receive, if not more. The vast majority of trade offers you get will offer a trade-value equivalent return. While it’s fine for you to trade a player away for their exact trade value, this is largely because Retro Bowl doesn’t give you a choice! However, when another team wants one of you players or picks, it’s because you should want that player or pick, too. Therefore, you should make the other team pay extra. That team is your competition, after all!

Superior value trades come in two forms. The first and more common form is when a team offers a to give you a first round pick in exchange for a player with a current rating less than 4.0. Such trades are often worth accepting, unless the player in question is someone you need to win games right now. Reject the offer if the player the other team wants is:

  • Any offensive player other than your TE or your second best WR (by current rating)
  • Your best defensive player (by current rating)

If the player the other team wants doesn’t fit either of those criteria, accept the trade! The impact on your chances of winning this season will be minimal, and after this season, you’ll have an extra first round pick!

The second, less common form of superior trade value is when a team offers you a player in exchange for draft pick in a later round than the player’s listed value. The player being offered will always have a morale condition of Bad or Toxic; that’s why the other team is trying to get rid of them! If the player’s potential is less than 4.5, reject the offer.

However, sometimes the player will have a potential of 4.5 or more, and sometimes, that player will be a QB, too! If the player offered has potential of 4.5 or more, accept the offer, even if their morale condition is Toxic. If this player is a QB, congratulations! You have finally found your franchise QB. Now, all you need to do is improve their morale (see Managing Player Morale, below).

Note that you will not be offered any player if you already have the maximum amount of players at that position on your roster. If you already have any QB of any quality level, you’re not going to be offered any QB in a trade. This is why, even given the importance of having a QB, it is always worth holding out for a franchise QB. If you use a stopgap QB for any length of time, you may miss out on the QB you actually want!

Unsigned Free Agents

If your roster isn’t full, you may be tasked with evaluating an unsigned free agent before each game, and deciding whether or not to sign them to your roster. Some of these players will be undrafted rookies, while others will be veterans. Regardless of their age, however, visiting free agents won’t be very good. Their current ratings will be 1.5 or less, unless they’re a Kicker, in which case their rating may be in the 2s.

As with incoming trade offers, the vast majority of these free agents are not worth your time. They just aren’t good enough to have on your roster, and their morale is often terrible, to boot. If their potential is less than 2.0, reject them immediately. If the player is a TE and you do not have a TE on your roster currently, you may wish to make an exception. Again, any star TE is vastly better than a replacement level one. Similarly, if you lack a QB and decide you’re truly desperate for a stopgap, signing a visiting free agent is the cheapest way to get one.

However, if their potential is 2.0 or above, it’s worth considering signing them and trading them away after the end of the season. If you insist on rostering a Kicker for some unknowable reason, this is the best way to acquire one. Even if you don’t want a Kicker, do sign any visiting Kicker with a rating of 2.0 or more, so you can trade them for a second round pick in the offseason.

If all of this sounds too complicated, minimally beneficial, or both, that’s fine! While there is occasional value to be found from unsigned free agents, that value is marginal at best. You do not need to think about unsigned free agents any harder than you want to. In fact, you can immediately reject every single unsigned free agent who visits your team without doing any real damage to the team’s development. Feel free to do so, if you prefer.

Player Development

Star players develop by gaining experience, and they gain experience through succeeding on the field. QBs gain experience by accruing passing yards and TDs, and are penalized for taking sacks and throwing interceptions. RBs, TEs, and WRs gain experience from accruing rushing yards, receiving yards, and scoring TDs. They are penalized for fumbling the ball. OLs gain experience from tackling defenders. Defensive players gain experience from making tackles, sacks, and interceptions. Kickers gain experience from yards kicked on successful extra point attempts and field goals.

When a star player gains sufficient experience, they will level up. When a player levels up, you will develop that player by improving one of that player’s attributes by one point. Once you have completely maxed out all of a player’s attributes, you will gain a credit when that player levels up instead. As players gain levels, they require progressively more and more XP in order to reach the next level, however, you can reasonably expect all of your star players to level up at least once or twice per season. Players who level up less than that are probably under performing; this is one of the best ways to evaluate defensive player performance. Players that are under performing may be worth trading; see Player Trades.

The following list explains how best to develop player attributes at each position.

  • QB: How to best develop your QB requires self-reflection on your part. Are you struggling to aim your throws? If so, focus on increasing Throw Accuracy until you stop having those problems. Tired of checking down and/or being unable to throw bombs? If so, focus on developing Arm Strength. However you go about it, though, max out Accuracy and Strength first, then Stamina, then Speed. The passing attributes are always most important, and must be fully developed first!
  • RB: As with QB, part of RB development is understanding your own playing style, and paying attention to what your RB is and is not good at. If you decide you want to break more tackles, develop Strength. If you want bigger running plays, develop Speed or Stamina. If, perish the thought, your RB is having fumbling issues, develop Catching until they stop fumbling. If you don’t have a specific problem area to address, focus on developing RB attributes evenly.
  • TE: Since any star TE is a good deal better than a replacement TE, the specifics of TE development aren’t a matter of grave concern. That said, I ensure my TE has decent Catching and Stamina first, then I develop Speed, then Strength.
  • WR: Develop Speed and Stamina first, until maxed out, focusing on one or the other according to their in-game performance. Choose Speed if you want a faster WR, and choose Stamina if you want them to run at top speed for longer. Catching is the third priority. Only develop a WR’s Strength when the other three are maxed out.
  • OL: If you’re following this guide, any OL on your team should only need a few level ups to max out their attributes. That said, make sure Tackling is maxed out, then Stamina, then Strength. Don’t worry about Speed until the other three are maxed out.

The fact that you neither control nor actually see your defensive players on the field makes developing them trickier, because you don’t have the same kind of raw, empirical data about their shortcomings that you have for your offensive stars. You have to cobble this info from other sources.

During defensive possessions, the game will explain what defender was responsible for a big offensive play, and why. Each statement directly ties this failure to a star player attribute; the three statements are “[Player] missed the tackle”, “[Player] wasn’t strong enough”, and “[Player] was too slow”. This is your best source of information on defensive performance, but even this isn’t fool proof. Sometimes, a player will even get a failure statement tied to a maxed out attribute, and sometimes players keep getting the same failure statement, even after the related attribute has been significantly improved. You must also pay attention when XP is awarded at the end of games, and to the frequency with which a player is leveling up.

But from another perspective, developing defensive players is kind of easy, since Tackling is the most important attribute for every defensive player. As such, it’s a valid strategy to not worry about micro-managing defensive development and max out everyone’s Tackling first and foremost. If you want more specific info, though, here it is:

  • DL: Focus on getting Tackling high, but also make sure you’re putting occasional points into Speed and Stamina, as well. As I said, DLs don’t have great Speed under the best of circumstances, so every little bit they have helps.
  • LB: If you have a good LB with a relatively even attribute distribution, just make sure that those attributes continue to develop evenly, giving a slight priority to Tackling.
  • DB: Speed is of utmost importance to DBs, but make sure their Tackling isn’t lagging too far behind. Even the fastest DB will struggle to gain XP if they can’t make Tackles. Stamina is third on the priority list, and Strength last.

Managing Player Morale

The tutorials and information buttons in Retro Bowl make morale out to be a bigger deal than it is. Winning fixes everything, especially morale. If you win every game you possibly can, team morale will never become a serious issue. You will only need to worry about individual players with low morale.

Better in-game performance improves morale. If you have an offensive player with low morale, you can improve it directly when you’re playing on offense. If your QB has low morale, throw more passes. If your RB has low morale, give them more touches, either on designed runs or in the passing game. If a WR or TE has low morale, throw them the ball more. Naturally, getting touchdowns on these player’s stat sheets will help, too. By the end of their first year on your team, every offensive player you have should have Good morale or better, as long as you win whenever possible.

Improving a defensive player’s morale is trickier, because you cannot control their performance at all. As I mentioned under the Player Trades section, this makes it easy for defensive players to fall into a vicious cycle of declining morale and declining performance. This can be a very difficult cycle to break, even for players with elite potential. Again, be patient, especially with rookie defenders. If a defender struggles with with Bad morale as a rookie, and those struggles continue in their second year, consider trading them. The good news is that if you’re winning, morale problems will remain isolated to a small handful of players, even on defense.

Finally, while having a player with Toxic morale on your roster does impose a penalty on team morale, this penalty will not cause a catastrophe if you’re winning. Don’t be afraid to bring on a player with Toxic morale if that player can give you a boost, especially if their potential is 4.5 or higher. Your team will improve immediately, and their morale will improve soon enough. Winning fixes everything!

Pre-Game Events and Post Game Press Conferences

Before and after most football games in Retro Bowl, you will have to deal with Events and Press Conferences. These events take a variety of forms; many are beneficial (or potentially beneficial), but some require you to choose between two detrimental options. All of these events come with their own flavor texts; I will neither catalog nor give counsel on each specific event for this guide. Rather, I will be breaking down each event by type, and providing guidance accordingly.

Pre-Game Events come in the following forms:

  • Free Agent Visit: See Unsigned Free Agents, above.
  • Meeting Dilemmas: The most common type of pre-game event, meeting dilemmas present you with two possible meetings you can take before the game, each of which provides some benefit to your team. You must choose one meeting or the other, meaning you must choose one benefit or the other. The two options in the dilemma will be one of the following people or groups, and choosing to meet with them will provide one of the benefits listed below:
    • Coaching Staff: Increases coordinator morale OR awards coordinators an XP bonus.
    • Media: Increases fan support.
    • Owner: Gives a bonus coaching credit.
    • Team: Increases team morale OR awards team XP bonus.
      • There is no one correct group to prioritize meeting with in every dilemma; it’s a matter of what resource you want more of when the dilemma presents itself. However, if you want a quick and dirty answer, always meet with the owner. Meeting with the owner is the best way to get additional credits, and you will always have use for more credits, especially early in your career.
      • That said, at least once a season, one of the meeting dilemmas you will get is a choice between meeting the owner for a credit, or meeting the team for a morale boost. Unless you are seriously strapped for credits, meet with the team. The morale boost for doing so is huge, and can even improve the morale of a defensive player stuck in a morale/performance tailspin.
      • Only meet the media if your fan support is giving you less than 3 credits per game.
      • During the bye week (including a first round playoff bye), you will be given a meeting dilemma, with increased rewards for each group. Meeting the owner awards 2 bonus credits, and meeting the media gives even more fan support. Meeting the coaches or team will give each player 40 XP; each player gets 10 XP, otherwise. Meet with the team when possible, otherwise, meet with the owner.
  • Star Player Misconduct (General): One of your star players has done something detrimental to the team’s image, as specified in the flavor text. You will be asked whether you will fine the player, or ignore the fine. Fining the player will decrease their individual morale, but ignoring the fine will decrease team morale. Always fine the individual player, even if their morale is low. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.
  • Star Player Misconduct (Poker): In this specific event, you will be informed one of your star players has been gambling large sums of money in online poker tournaments. You will be asked to criticize or defend the player in question. Criticizing them well decrease their morale. Defending them will preserve and may even improve their morale, but costs you 1 credit. Criticize the player if you need the credit, and defend them otherwise.
  • Star Player Misconduct (Retro Bowl): One of your star players was caught playing Retro Bowl during a team meeting. This is a ‘fake’ Star Player Misconduct; at first blush, it looks like a General Misconduct, except you have the option to praise or criticize the player. Praise the player. There’s no sense in hurting a player’s morale when you don’t need to.
  • Star Player Misconduct (Team): One of your star players has done something immature, and brought the team down to their level as a consequence. You will be asked whether to criticize the individual player who started it, or criticize the whole team. This will decrease the player’s individual morale or team morale, respectively. Again, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Criticize the individual player.
  • Star Player Charity: One of your star players did something charitable, and received media attention for it. You will receive a modest but completely free boost to fan support. Neat!
  • Trade Proposal: See Player Trades, above.

Post game press conferences are less varied. There are no trade proposals or visits; there are only dilemmas tied to post game questions. Some of these dilemmas give you a choice between two beneficial options, but others force you to pick between two penalties.

  • Assigning Blame for a Loss: You lost, and the press has decided someone needs to take the blame (note that you will not necessarily face this dilemma after every loss). You will be asked to select one of two options, from the following lost of possibilities:
    • Criticize Officials: Preserves team morale but costs 1 coaching credit.
    • Criticize Team: Substantially decreases team morale.
    • It’s On Me: Preserves team morale but costs 1 coaching credit.
      • This dilemma is tough; the team morale decrease you get when you throw them under the bus is huge, and the importance of credits is self-evident. Still, lose the coaching credit. That sucks, but if you don’t like it, try winning next time.
  • Bad Player Performance: One of your star players had a bad game. You will be asked to select one of two options, from the following lost of possibilities:
    • Criticize Coaching: Decreases the responsible coordinator’s morale.
    • Criticize Player: Decreases the player’s morale.
    • Defend Player: Preserves and may improve the player’s morale, but costs 1 coaching credit.
    • It’s On Me: Preserves the player’s morale, but costs 1 coaching credit.
      • I’ve never seen a coordinator have a morale condition worse than Bad, and those instances were extremely rare. Criticize Coaching whenever you have the option.
      • If you don’t have that option, choose any option available that will not cost you a coaching credit.
  • Coordinator Quiz: You will be given a coordinator’s name, and asked to identify which unit they coach. A correct answer boosts fan support, while an incorrect one decreases fan support. Do your best to memorize your coordinators’ last names.
  • Come Get Me: A star player with Toxic morale indicated to the opposing sideline that their services are available. You must either criticize that player, which hurts their morale even more, or defend them. Defending the player may (or may not) improve their morale, but costs 1 coaching credit. Defend the player if you feel you can afford losing the credit, otherwise, it’s fine to criticize them. Their morale can’t get worse, and as mentioned above, having a Toxic player isn’t the end of the world.
  • Feels Good to Win: Congratulations, coach! You’ve really turned this team around. You must choose whether to praise the fans and increase fan support further, or praise the owner and get an extra credit. Praise the owner and grab the credit. You are unlikely to get this post game question before you are earning 3 credits per game from fan support.
  • Good Player Performance: One of your star players had a great game! You will be asked to select one of two options, from the following lost of possibilities:
    • Praise Coaching: Boosts the responsible coordinator’s morale.
    • Praise Fans: Boosts fan support.
    • Praise Player: Boosts the player’s morale.
    • Praise Team: Boosts team morale.
      • Praise Fans if you need the support increase.
      • Otherwise, Praise Player, especially if their morale is flagging.
      • If you need neither, do as you wish. There are no wrong answers.
  • Player Quiz: You will be given a star player’s name, and asked to identify their position from one of two options. A correct answer boosts fan support, while an incorrect one decreases fan support. Do your best to memorize your star player’s last names!

Now that you understand every aspect of off the field management in Retro Bowl, it’s finally time to get in the film room and talk football! Remember, always win!

Links to Rob’s Complete Guide to Retro Bowl


The Front Office

Roster Basics and Player Evaluation

Winning Football Games

Maintaining a Winning Team

Changing Teams

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