Are you the Pep Guardiola of your FPL league games? Does your keen ability to clean up in the draft and put together a winning side week after week make you the envy of your fantasy-playing friends?
Let’s face it. You’re in deep with FPL if you’re visiting this site. Chances are you’re probably a pretty skilled manager. Believe it or not, the same mental skills that make you a behind-kicking FPL manager can make you quite successful at some other games collectively known as mind sports.
Rather than challenging you physically, mind sports are games that test your mental ability, resilience, and performance. We’re talking nerdy stuff like critical thinking, strategy building, pattern recognition, and memory.
To give you a better idea, let’s take a look at five demanding mind sports that require the same kinds of brain buff as FPL.
What’s the first game that comes to mind when someone mentions a “thinking person’s game?” If you said chess, you’re not alone. This board game has been challenging players for centuries—about 15 of them, in fact, as the origins of chess date back to northern India in the sixth century.
So, what does the ancient game have in common with today’s FPL? The single word answer is strategy.
Chess requires an extreme amount of strategy and planning. The same goes for FPL. Just as chess players survey their positions on the board and take stock of their resources before making a move, FPL managers consider all aspects of an upcoming match when setting their lineups.
If you’re an FPL manager, you already know how important it is to hatch well-developed strategies before each match. Chess simply zooms in on this concept by putting strategy at the forefront of every move.
Yes, we’re saying Monopoly and FPL have much in common. Hard to believe, right? We’ll explain.
Winning in Monopoly means being the last player standing with assets while every other competitor has gone bankrupt. In other words, the player with the keenest money management skills over time is probably going to prevail.
Money management is equally as important in FPL where side managers contend with a payroll of £100.0m to set an initial squad. While that’s a lofty number that most of us could only dream of getting our hands-on, the budget goes quickly when you’re hypothetically paying the top football talent in the world.
For example, do you want Mohamed Salah on your fantasy side? That’s going to cost £12.5m or over one-tenth of your budget. Now, you still need to hire 14 other players with the money you have left.
You get the idea. Successful money management is a balancing act where managers compete to get the most performance for their spend. Spend big on an asset that doesn’t reach expectations, and you may quickly find your season doomed.
Go is another ancient strategy board game that’s even older than chess. Played on a large grid board with black and white stones, Go was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago. In fact, it’s believed to be the oldest board game still played today.
The objective is to surround more territory on the board with your stones than the opponent does with their stones.
The equivalent in FPL isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison—one side doesn’t literally assume more territory on the pitch. However, the theory can certainly be applied.
Surrounding your football opponent has to do with controlling aspects of the game. Obviously, you want to have the upper hand in scoring. Are you also fielding a squad that controls the pace, ball possession, passing game, and shot count? The more control your side exerts in a match, the more scoring that manifests.
A video explains the basics of Go, an ancient Chinese strategy game still played today.
Similar to the critical thinking skills involved in FPL, developing a great poker strategy relies very much on the keenness of your mind.
Playing poker online, whether Texas Hold’Em or other variants, trains the brain to infer things from live data presented from different directions. You read inputs such as shown cards, cards in hand, the behaviour of opponents, and bet amounts to decide on the next move.
FPL managers, like poker players, are bombarded with incomplete data. There’s no shortage of stats, trends, and analysis about every Premier League side and player. The savvy manager knows how to filter this data and focus only on the information he or she needs to piece together a winning strategy for the week ahead.
Computer programming is widely considered a mind sport. Major tech companies like Google and Facebook sponsor programming competitions in which players code to solve sets of logical or mathematical problems.
And as everyone with programming experience knows, producing good looking code in an editor, is one thing, but the success of executing that code can when there are syntax errors can be quite different. Each figurative ‘i’ needs to be dotted and every ‘t’ crossed for a computer program to run flawlessly.
The same thing applies to your FPL squad. The greatest side on paper will fail if you’re not deploying the right players in the right matches.
In computer programming, there are often multiple ways to solve the same problem within the constraints of the used language. There are 15 players on an EPL side, but only 11 take the pitch at a time. As a manager, you must decide which combination of 11 players is going to return the most points each game week.
If you’ve never thought about how the skills you develop as an FPL manager could transfer to other games, you have a lot of ideas to now consider. From computer programming to games of online poker like Omaha Hi-Lo to ancient strategy board games such as chess and Go, the creative mind sports we’ve discussed here share the same foundation of critical thinking and strategy involved in FPL. Why not try your hand at a few new games? Well, right after your FPL side wins the league title, of course!
This FPL guest post was written by Xavier.
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