I want to follow up on Adam Aizer's post about Fantasy Baseball vs. Fantasy Football. Specifically, I want to focus on this point he made in Fantasy Baseball's favor:
Research seems to pay off more than it does in Fantasy Football. I find Fantasy Football to be a little more random and injury-driven than baseball.
My issue isn't with the point itself, but that Adam totally undersells it. As far as I'm concerned, that's the whole argument.
I don't know why you play Fantasy Sports. I don't know if it's to make the sport in question a little more interesting or to prove how much more you know than everyone else or to supplement your income (hopefully not), but I play it for the competition itself. I like the feeling of not only winning, but winning because of my own actions. I don't get the same sense of accomplishment if I can credit the victory to anything else.
You know what too often gets the credit in Fantasy Sports? Luck. It's why no one owner, no matter how good he is and how hard he tries, can win the league every year. He may win more often than everyone else, but sooner or later, he'll fall victim to the great equalizer.
And maybe the great equalizer is necessary just to give the competition some hope. Ultimately, you want to keep playing, and to keep playing, you need others coming back for more. I'd argue, too, that luck as a variable isn't a game-breaker. Understanding certain aspects of a game are susceptible to luck and building in defenses for bad luck is in itself strategy and, therefore, rewarding. But luck as one of several variables determining an outcome is different from luck itself determining an outcome. I'd much rather win in spite of bad luck than because of good luck.
I come at this from a slightly different perspective, being an avid board gamer. I'm always reading up on the latest imports from Europe, hoping to find one my family will want to play over and over again. Among the games we enjoy, you've probably heard of this one, but maybe not this one, this one or this one. In my research, I've found that the most beloved, most widely recommended games are the ones that de-emphasize luck and give each player the ability to control his own destiny.
Now, I like Fantasy Football. It has revolutionized the way I consume the sport and keeps me invested beyond just my home team. But I don't sweat a loss in it like I do in Fantasy Baseball, and I can't celebrate a win in it the same way either. There are just too many factors beyond my control. So much rides on so few games that patterns don't have a chance to develop, and injuries happen at the drop of a hat.
I was both a baseball fan and a football fan before I was ever into board games, so I have no doubt sentiment adds to my enjoyment of Fantasy Sports. But if you changed all the terminology, removed the real-world influence by generating statistics through some other means, and asked me to choose which game I'd rather play, I'd say Fantasy Baseball, hands down.