I posted recently about my interest in asynchronous gaming. Andrew Chen posted in the comments that fantasy sports leagues were probably the best and most popular example of these – a very good point. That reminded me of a post that Charles Hudson put up recently, saying that Fantasy Football is casual games for men. He breaks down the reasons for Fantasy Football’s success as follows (summarized):
Simple game mechanics – If you understand how the NFL works, you can play fantasy football.
There is a good combination of luck, skill, and strategy. Skill comes in working the waiver wire, doing your homework before the draft, and staying on top of who’s emerging during the course of the season… However, there’s a lot of luck involved – you can’t control who gets injured and how long they’re out.
The time commitment is manageable (unlike other fantasy sports) – You can basically manage a fantasy football team in a few hours a week… The beauty of fantasy football is that almost all of the action takes place in about 24 hours per week.
Fantasy football is a social experience – Go to any sports bar on Sunday and make an offhand comment about one of the players on your team. Guaranteed you’ll get at least a few other folks at the bar who have a rooting interest in one player or team. Because the rules for fantasy football are fairly universal, two players in separate leagues can often have a good conversation around fantasy football in general.
I most often hear casual games described as games with relatively simple gameplay, manageable time commitments, and a good combination of luck, skill, and strategy. Fantasy football has all of these elements, even if they’re not obvious.
Worth reading the whole thing.