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  • Fantasy Basho

On the Budget

One of the key elements in creating Fantasy Basho was making something simple. I wanted a game that a new sumo fan could jump into as a way of learning about the sport. That meant there wouldn't be rules like picking one Yokozuna, one Ozeki, one Sekiwake/Komusubi, and 3 Maegashira. It also wouldn't be reliant on simply having one good selection. Picking 8-7 rikishi would be just as important as finding the yusho winner.

Initially, this was a draft-based fantasy game. (That could come back if real interest develops.) That basically guaranteed no-one loaded up on Sanyaku wrestlers in prime form. You had to find the lower Maegashira who beat the other Maegashira to do well. When I moved Fantasy Basho to a Daily Fantasy Style game, I wanted to keep that fact. So I set up a budget.

In a usual basho, the logic of the budget works really well. With a 50 limit, a Yokozuna costing 30 means you need to pick three Maegashira if you want to pick a Yokozuna. And if you are dead set on having an Ozeki and a Komusubi, you'll need your other two to be at the foot of the Banzuke. Essentially, everyone has to pick one Sanyaku wrestler as their heavy hitter.

And then the Banzuke committee produced a 10 man Sanyaku with just one Yokozuna for Aki 2022. That made the budget look like this:

Would you like to pick Takakeisho AND Hoshoryu or Wakatakakage AND Ichinojo? You'll have to also watch the matches of Mitoryu and Hiradoumi, the Maegashira #16 and Makuuchi debutants. That is how the Banzuke shook out. After a very strange basho, the Banzuke committee decided neither Mitaekumi nor Daieisho should get a demotion after leaving the Nagoya tournament for COVID reasons. So we have three Ozeki, three Sekiwake, and three Komusubi.

I will assume no one in the Sumo Kyokai has heard of Fantasy Basho until an oyakata references us in an interview. (I'm not holding my breath for this to ever happen.) Yet these Banzuke decisions are impacting the game.

Also intriguingly, the Maegashira #1-#3 ranks are filled with fan favorites, Tobizaru, Midorifuji, Kotonowaka, Meisei, Tamawashi, and Ura. If any of these rikishi are your absolute favorite, you may want to choose them instead of a Sanyaku wrestler as your most expensive wrestler. That would at least open up the mid-Maegashira in a way picking Terunofuji does not.

Choose wisely, and think carefully through your team before locking in on Day One.

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