With the new year officially upon us, I thought I’d put together another list of “Retro Bowl” tips.
For me, the game is a casual distraction when I have free time, mostly because games are usually quick to finish and quick to start. Since my last tips list, I’ve been experimenting with different playstyles, and here’s some tricks that I learned.
5. Extend rookie contracts to beat the salary cap
This tip is only relevant to players that have the Coaching Credits to spend, but this is something you should be able to reliably do after your 3rd to 5th season in the game.
“Retro Bowl” has a salary cap just like the real NFL, and the way the game is balanced, it’s very easy to take over a new team, trade away most of the lackluster players for draft capitol, and then put together a talented, young roster with tons of cap to spare. The issue is, rookie contracts usually only last for about 2 years, after which star player contracts balloon, which will make you choose between letting a star or two go, or going cheap in other areas in your team (i.e. letting your defense take a hit to accommodate star offensive players).
But thankfully, there’s an easy way to keep your dynasty intact without completely rearranging your team to accommodate the salary cap: Extend rookie contracts the year they expire.
Note: The game will not let you extend the contract player in their actual rookie year, so you will have to wait until their sophomore season to do this. But to my knowledge, you can do this indefinitely if you have the credits — and it’s usually worth it, as the Coaching Credits cost to do this is usually under or around what it would cost to sign a free agent to replace them.
I’ve been able to keep star TEs and WRs this way for about $10 million a year until they were 30.
It’s not the fairest trick to your virtual players, but it’s an effective way to keep your costs low and beat the salary cap.
4. Max out these stats for your QB
Your QB is arguably your most important player on the field as they handle ball distribution to your star players. In the scope of this game, I’ve found the speed and stamina stat to be almost irrelevant when it comes to QBs — I think it’s theoretically possible to nurture a great running QB like prime Michael Vick or Cam Newton, but I haven’t had any success in that department; you’re best off getting a good RB with those stats.
The two stats I always max out for QB are “throw accuracy” and “arm strength.” They’re both pretty explanatory, with “throw accuracy” probably being the one you want to level up first — you’ll be able to start a QBs’ career by making short, accurate and effective passes — whereas “arm strength” comes in handy once you already have great accuracy — it’ll let you throw rockets down the field for 30-50 yard gains (though if you reach an open passer with a good speed stat, you can easily get gains of over 70 yards).
At least in my experience playing the game, a QB with good arm strength but poor throw accuracy will become an interception machine any time they throw deep balls.
3. Max out these stats for your WRs and TEs
All four stats are useful when it comes to WR and TE, but I tend to focus on catching and speed for WRs and catching and strength for TEs.
The catching stat is undoubtedly the most important for WRs as they are constantly running routes that will have tight windows for successfully catching a pass, and their speed stat is so important for those times that you catch them open, as it will allow them to run the ball down the field, often turning something like a 15-yard catch into a 25-30 yard gain. If you’re playing against an inept defense, a WR with a good speed stat might even be able to run the ball downfield for a huge amount of yards and a TD.
For TEs, I rarely can find one with a good speed stat/potential for a good speed stat, so I usually use them like tanks. These are the players that you’ll find wide open every now and again and, while slow, they can extend a play by breaking tackles — bulldozing through the defense.
Surprisingly, I’ve found TEs to be some of the most valuable players in the game. In my four save files of 20+ seasons each, My QBs have garnered the most in-game MVP awards, but my TEs easily have the second-most, with WRs usually nabbing the Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY) award.
2. Pay attention to your rehab facilities
I generally don’t pay much attention to the game’s facilities mechanic — I usually put just enough Coaching Credits in them to keep them out of the red, then forget about them. But I always pay attention to my rehab facilities.
What I’ve found is that, if you ignore this stat, your players will stay hurt longer if they’re injured, which can be devastating. When I ignored this stat, I would have star players be out for 10 games often; afterwards, I typically only deal with injuries that last a few games.
By paying attention to this stat, you mitigate the risk that a key player — like your QB, a WR, TE or K — will be out for most or the rest of the season, which can effectively kill your hopes of reaching the Retro Bowl.
1. Max out these stats for your kicker, and don’t be afraid of deep field goals
There are really only two stats relevant to kickers: kick accuracy and kick range. I actually recommend focusing on Kick Range first, as all Kick Accuracy seems to do is make the kicking minigame easier — something that’s not hard to master if you have good timing. Though I would also make sure that they have a decent stamina, as keeping this stat low will increase the likelihood that you’ll have to go a stretch of games with an injured kicker, which can be devastating in close games.
After maxing out kick accuracy and kick range, I’ve found that it gives you a decent shot of making any kick as soon as you cross midfield — the minimum distance needed to give you the option to attempt a kick. This means that you can routinely make kicks exceeding 50, even 60 yards.
Like two-point conversions, long field goals are much easier to make in “Retro Bowl” than in the real game of professional football. Being efficient at making long field goals means that in close games, you need to only make it to midfield to either tie or win the game.