This is a Q & A explanation of how skippers’ Fantasy Football squads points (15 players per week) are converted into distances and bearings to sail around the planet in 27 gameweeks. (The FPL game is broken down into 38 gameweeks as a way of grouping fixtures together).
Network link for Global Challenge can be found here 2008/09 Global Challenge (requires Google Earth)
Q. What is the FPL Global Challenge?
A. It’s a race around the World that’s split into 7 Legs. Points are awarded dependent on your finishing position in each Leg.
The Fleet is split into 4 Pools with 15 boats in each Pool. Boats are allocated to a Pool at random at the start of each Leg so they won’t be in the same Pool for the whole race.
In each of the 7 Legs the Boat in first will receive 15 points, the next 14 and so on down to 1 point for the Boat in last place. All Boats will score whether they finish or not. For non-finishing Boats their order will determined by their distance from their Target Waypoint at the time (with the order of that Waypoint along the Route being factored in).
Q. How does it work in relation to the performance of my FPL Team?
A. Each Gameweek is broken down into 15 Tacks - one for each of your Squad.
Q. In what order is my Team processed?
A. In the same order they appear on your My Team page after autosubs have been made. Tack 1 will always be your active Goalkeeper and Tack 12 will always be your sub Goalkeeper. Apart from those 2 all the rest will be dependent on the formation played and the order of your un-used subs.
Q. How do Player points translate into a Tack’s direction and distance.
A. At the start of each Tack a bearing is taken to a Target Waypoint. These Waypoints act as a way of giving a rough direction to the Race - without them there is no way anyone would get anywhere - all the Boats would just travel in completely random directions.
The Distance you travel is based on the points your players score during the Gameweek. How much each point is worth however changes during the Race.
A. When close to Land (for example at the beginning of the first Leg at Portsmouth) the Nm/point (nautical miles per point) is small so that Boats don’t just plough straight into the French coast on the first Tack. However if the nm/point stayed this low for the entire Leg Boats wouldn’t reach Buenos Aires by the end of GW11 - the scheduled end of Leg 1.
So as each Waypoint is passed the nm/point value increases - and then decreases again as Buenos Aires is approached.
Q. So how do I know how far I travel per point if it’s always changeing?
A. Each Waypoint has a nm/point value associated with it and at every stage your Boat will have a current Target Waypoint - so the nm/point for that Waypoint is used for your Tacks. (This value is available in the pop-up balloon for each Waypoint’s Placemark in GE).
Q. So what about the direction then?
A. Having got the Bearing to your Target Waypoint an adjustment (known as the Navigation error) is made - and the resultant Bearing is used as your direction for that Tack.
Q. How’s that adjustment made.
A. Using the difference in Player points for the GW being processed and that of the Player in the same position in your 15 the previous GW. This figure gives a % Nav Error.
Q. A % of what? - Bearings are in degrees aren’t they?
A. A % of the maximum for your current Target Waypoint. As well as nm/point each Waypoint has a Max Navigation Error associated with it. When a Waypoint is close to land a smaller figure is used, say 30°, but when in the open ocean this rises to 90°. In other words if the Max Nav Error is 30° - 30° is the maximum value your bearing will veer from the ideal (ideal being a route directly towards your current Target Waypoint) - whereas if its 90° you could end up 90° off-course.
Q. Say again?
A. If for example your current Target Waypoint has a Max Error of 90° and your Players give you a Nav Error of 50% then your actual bearing for that Tack will be 45° from the bearing to the Waypoint.
Whether the Player in question is playing at Home or Away determines whether this is 45° to Starboard or 45° to Port of the ideal.
Q. I think I’ve got that. How’s my player’s Nav Error calculated then?
A. (Points Difference * 7) with a max cut-off at 100% - where Points Difference is the Absolute difference between a Player Number’s points this week and that of the previous week - ie (10-3) is the same as (3-10).
Q. OK - so I now know (for each Tack) the direction I’m going in and how far I’m going to travel - but how do I progress along the ideal route? - How does my Target Waypoint change to the next one?
A. Each waypoint has a Wayline plotted through it. The Wayline passes through the Waypoint such that the angle it makes with the Previous and Next Waypoints is equal. Waylines for the Start and Finish are at right angles to the next and previous Waypoints respectively.
Waylines for Leg Start, Normal and Finish line
Once a Tack crosses your current Target Waypoint’s Wayline you move onto the next. This carries on until the Leg Finish Line.
Crossing a Wayline (Ideal and not-so-ideal :))
Q. What about double-gameweeks?
A. Only your Crew member’s first fixture will count - this is for both when the points are for distance and the following week when they are part of the navigation calculations. If your Crew member only plays in the second fixture of the GW his score will be zero.
Q. How are Boats that cross the Leg’s Finish Line on the same Tack separated?
A. By the % of that Tack needed to get to the Line. If Boat 1 gets to the Line by using 20% of their distance for that Tack and Boat 2 crosses the line by using 30% of their distance Boat 1 will have finished ahead of Boat 2.
Q. How accurate are the calculations?
A. Very. All data (Co-ordinates, Bearings and Distances) are in Radians and are to 15 decimal places. Co-ordinates and Bearings will be displayed in °, ‘ & “s and Distances in Nm to 2 dp - but the full 15dp for each is used in the calculations.
Q. Will better Teams have any advantage over lesser performing Teams.
A. No not really. The way the navigation is structured/calculated there is a lot of luck involved. A Crew member with a high scoring week will enable you to travel a greater distance - but will your Bearing be taking you off-course at the time? - watch out for those rocks!