Tough Guy Draft

Brett Whitehead
March 9, 2012

hate being at work. I have always hated being at work. Before I hated being at work, I hated being at school. I used to think that I just had shitty jobs, but I think it’s just the institution of having to be somewhere I do not want to be for 50% of my day that is wholly unappealing.

In that regard, thank god for the Internet. The following article is specifically for wasting time at work via the Internet. All you need is an email account that people do not eavesdrop on, a few friends who have similar email accounts, a healthy knowledge in pop culture, and time to burn. So, without further ado, I present The Tough Guy Draft.


A tough guy draft consists of a fantasy-draft competition in which the goal is to draft a group of people that would be able to defeat your opponent’s group of people in a fist-fight. The winner would be the owner of the last person standing.


In order to have a tough guy draft, you need at least three people, separated into two groups.

There can be between two and ten people in the draft. If you are starting a tough guy draft, ensure that everyone who is drafting has plenty of time to sit by a computer and everyone has a good amount of pop culture knowledge.

One unbiased person is the adjudicator. Ideally, this person doesn’t know they are the adjudicator until the task is thrust upon them. Try to wait until the draft is done before telling them they are the judge. If they refuse to judge the competition, stop being friends with them.


  1. The Draft – The draft is conducted under the standard “snake draft” fantasy formula, which means that the draft goes forward in order and then in reverse order to account for the person in the beginning getting the first pick. (Ex: A, B, C, D, E, E, D, C, B, A, A, B, C, D, E, E, etc.) . I thought that the snake draft formula was common knowledge, but after explaining it multiple times during my work-based American Idol Fantasy Draft (article coming soon!!), it turns out that this is only used for fantasy purposes. Not that this should affect your decision, just anticipate explaining why some people draft two people in a row and some people do not.
  2. Draft Qualifications – Any person real or fake can be drafted. This means any person who is currently alive or dead, any person from pop culture or real life. The only requirement is that all drafters in the game need to have a general idea of who that person is. For example, I have never seen Game of Thrones, but I know it is a show that exists. Therefore, a pick from that show is allowed, even though I don’t know that person by name. The key is you want to make sure that your judge knows the people drafted, and that wouldn’t be known until decision time. If your judge doesn’t know your draft pick, that it is essentially a wasted pick.
  3. Rules of the Game – It is assumed that the fight would take place in an enclosed area, but feel free to vary the arena as you see fit. No ancillary weapons would be allowed, but only those weapons attached to the draftee’s body or special powers that are innate to that person’s being. Therefore, Wolverine’s claws are allowed, however, Captain America wouldn’t all of a sudden be allowed to carry a machete. For the most part, guns are banned since, you know, shooting kills people. Any character that is on the fence is decided by the mutual decision, or Wikipedia. For example, see the following conversation between Pete and I during Tough Guy Draft III.
    • Brett: I debated this for a period of time and wanted an official ruling. Is
      Robocop included in this list? I wanted to include him as my wild card,
      but I didn’t know if he was truly a human for purposes of this game. He
      has human qualities and is mostly human, and he is not unbeatable, since
      drug dealers took him apart in Robocop 2. I left him off the list because
      I was afraid he was too non-human.
    • Pete: I’ve never really seen Robocop, so went to wikipedia for answers, and the movie poster ended the debate for me:
      • Part Man
      • Part Machine
      • All Cop
        So, he’s out
    • Brett: You’ve never seen Robocop?! What the hell man!!!
  4. Required Qualities – Every team must have a required set of attribute-based characters to fill out the team. These can be varied depending on taste, but the following are the standard:
    • Leader – The team leader who takes your troops in to battle. One per team.
    • Tough Guys – This is the muscle of the team. Usually each team has three to four.
    • Smart Guys – Brains over brawn, two to three members.
    • Gender Switch – The game can be played with mostly men and one designated woman, or the other way around.
    • Wild Card – An unpredictable presence to sway victory in your favor.
    • Villian – A person known for his evil tendencies, puts his/her negative proclivities aside to work with others.
    • Wise-Cracker – Someone who brings a sense of humor to the team, but can also bring victory.

Post Draft Argument

It goes without saying that the people you draft will not actually be fighting. Therefore, the owner of each team is given the opportunity to present the best argument as to why their team should prevail over the other team. Once the team is drafted, each side will present one to two sentence argument advocating for each member of the team. Once the arguments have been drafted, the teams are submitted to the judge. The judge takes all arguments under consideration, decides the winner, and must write an opinion explaining his or her granting of victory.

Example #1: Pete v. Brett – August 2009, Battle of co-founders.

Pete’s Team

  1. Schwazenegger in Predator – Tough Guy – He was an army Major and head of an elite group of commandos hired by CIA. He took out the terrorist camp outnumbered and with minimal damages to his team. He killed the Predator with limited resources at the end. Predator had superior capabilities and weaponry. Arnold outsmarted him and took away his advantages. (Keep in mind the Predator already killed the other unit of Special Forces that
    Arnold knew out of Fort Bragg and the rest of Arnold’s elite unit). Last but not least he beat Dylan aka Apollo Creed (who pushes too many pencils at CIA) in air arm wrestling.
  2. Stalin – Leader – Responsible for the death of almost 100 million people. Turned the USSR into a super power, and was a bad dude.
  3. Indiana Jones – Wise Cracker – Very smart dude who is also pretty handy to have around in a fight. Hand to hand, bullwhip, guns. Just don’t ask him to land a plane.
  4. Charles Manson – Wild Card – Crazy bastard. Doesn’t even need to
    fight so much as inspire the rest to go nuts and murder people.
  5. Chris Benoit – Tough Guy – May have lost to the Rock a lot on fake wrestling, but when it came to slaughtering his own family, he is the clear winner. ‘Roid rage goes a long way.
  6. Giaus Baltar – Smart Guy – Greatest scientific mind on the 12 colonies, could easily crack any defense system Brett’s team could come up with.
  7. Lex Luthor – Smart Guy – The only human to really give Superman a run for his money. The greatest criminal mind of his time.
  8. Fezzick (The Princess Bride) – Tough Guy – This dude is the brute squad.
    Has the strength of 20 men. Yeah, Wesley beat him one on one, but in a team competition would not get that chance.
  9. Bruce Lee – Tough Guy – His Kung Fu trumps anyone else in hand to hand combat.
  10. Sgt. Slaughter – Tough Guy – Badass fighter. Wrestler too, though I don’t remember how he fared at that. Distant cousin of Tecmo Bowl standout Webster Slaughter.

Brett’s Team

  1. Rambo – Tough guy – Sty Stalone’s most bad ass character. Remember that scene where he was hiding in the mud and then his eyes opened and he killed that guy? Yeah, dude. That’s what he’s bringing against Pete’s team. I would say Rambo is the most devistating human on either team.
  2. George Washington – Leader – The United States of America. You’re welcome.
  3. Aragon – Tough Guy – Go watch two towers again. All Aragon does that whole movie is kill things. Goblins, monsters, Liv Tyler’s Libido . . . Aragon owns that shit.
  4. Jigsaw (From the Saw Movies) – Smart Guy – Jigsaw is good at traps. I’m thinking he sets some traps and people fall in them. Definitely crazier than Charlie Manson.
  5. Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman from Kill Bill) – Tough Gal – Homegirl killed like a thousand ninjas in the first Kill Bill, punched her way out of a grave and stole Darrell Hannah’s eyeball. Yeah, good luck Chris Benoit. I know you don’t like girls, but Uma is pretty bad ass in this movie.
  6. John Wooten (UCLA coach) – Smart Guy – 10 fucking NCAA championships in a row!!! 10!!!! That’s friggin’ impossible. He can lead this team to victory.
  7. He Man – Tough Guy – C’mon man. He man. Do I really need to explain this pick?
    By the Power of Grayskull!!!!
  8. Wesley (from Princess Bride) – Wild Card – First off, we have documented evidence that he can beat up a member of Pete’s team. He’s also smarter than most smart guys, he’s a better fencer than most spanish guys and he is not left handed.
  9. Hoyce Gracie (circa UFC 1995) – Tough Guy – Dude won like a million UFC tournaments when it was totally white trash and violent. Brazillian Jujitsu is serious stuff and Gracie used it against huge dudes all the time. No brainer that Gracie takes out at least two or three dues before going down.
  10. The Rock – Wise Cracker – Gee, Eli. Do you smell what the Rock is cooking? And you may also remember that before Benoit started murdering family members, he got beat by the Rock a lot. The Rock is also very funny.

Decision, as rendered by Eli S.

This is the proudest day of my life. This one is a bit different . . . and a bit more of a challenge to judge.


Without the overall force of Luke Skywalker, Pete’s team is going to have to win this one hand to hand on the ground. Arnold in Predator and Srgt Slaughter are dominant physical forces, but I’ve seen the Aragorn take out take down mad Uruk-Kai, who are of comparable size to Slaughter and much meaner. I’ve also seen Indiana Jones take on some tuff dudes, with the help of rock crushers and WWII airplanes of course. I would have to say the x factor in all of this would be the winner of the Bruce Lee/Uma Thurman battle. I just don’t’ see Bruce losing to any broads, but Uma uses that Hainso sword like a champ. In the end, I think the “rock bottom” doesn’t fully take out Andrea the Giant and the Schwartz kills Rambo. Win Pete


Pete’s team is fucking SINISTER. Lex Luthor, even tho he pussied out in Superman II, is an evil genius If I’ve ever seen one, and Stalin was just nasty. I don’t see him being a leader tho, more of a dominator. Wooden and Washington are pure class, and as far as good dudes go, I don’t know many better, but I’m not sure they have the killer instinct that Pete’s do. Jigsaw is also really good at traps, but you’re looking at the greatest booby trap escaper ever in Indiana Jones here buddy…might not work. I don’t see an definite advantage as I did in the last bout, but it might end up a bit of trickery brings the victory…leave it to Wesley to find a way. Win Brett


A lot of wrestlers in this one, and if there is one thing wrestlers do is go over the top at times. Whatever team that wins is going to have to use all of their wrestling hype prowess to lead them. The smart guys in this one are a bit more behind the scenes and crafty…some being just downright weird and not effective (Manson). I would have to say a great Military strategist would be the key to winning overall, and I would guess that matchup between Washington and Baltar would be key. Washington took a bunch of scrubs and won independence for a country…I don’t think he leads his team to the promise land on this one. The mean streak on team Pete gives him the win. Win Pete

Overall winner – Team Pete

Example #2: Jess v. Brett – October 2009

Team Jess

  1. Wilhemina Slater of Ugly Betty – Leader – If you can make it in the cutthroat world that is the fashion industry, you can make it anywhere. Ms. Slater demands respect and compliance from her subjects, ahem, employees and inspires women everywhere with her savvy fashion sense. Oh, did I mention she’s a crappy mom? That’s the ultimate sign of a true, female leader.
  2. She-Ra – Tough Girl – She’s super-strong and has a kick-ass sword.
  3. Eve of the Ruff Ryders – Tough Girl – She’s a ride or die bitch.
  4. Joan of Arc – Tough Girl – Just a regular working class girl, guided by the word of God and blessed with combat and strategy skills.
  5. Tonya Harding – Tough Girl – I wouldn’t want to f*** with her. that bitch is crazy.
  6. Anderson “the Spider” Silva – Tough GuyUFC Middleweight Champion and the KO king.
  7. Sacagawea – Smart Girl – She’s got superior survival and navigation skillz.
  8. Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman – Smart Girl – Team medic. Somebody’s gotta tend those battle wounds.
  9. Daria Morgendorffer of Daria – Wise Cracker – The boots. The monotone. Her total distain of suburban life. Classic.
  10. Sarah Palin – Wild Card – This woman is totally insane. Not only does she know how to hunt moose, survive in the Alaskan wilderness and drill for oil in pristine forestland, she’s not afraid to play (very) dirty. Who can forget her rash of inciting anti-racial and religious riots at the drop of a hat (Obama Bin Laden?!).

Team Brett

  1. Margaret Thatcher – Leader – Margaret Thatcher led England as Prime Minister for three consecutive terms and was one of the most dominant figures in England’s political landscape. Dominant. Imagine trying to rule all the rowdy people of England. Mags owned that shit.
  2. Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman from Kill Bill) – Tough Girl – Kiddo killed like a thousand ninjas, poked out Darryl Hannah’s eyeball and killed her former love with the five fingered death punch. This is a fight to the death, I’m pretty sure Uma is winning it.
  3. Ripley (Sigurney Weaver from Aliens) – Tough Girl – Ripley fought and killed probably the most brutal aliens in space. Is there anyone on the other side who is as scary or intimidating as the Aliens from Aliens???? I’m going to say no. Advantage Ripley
  4. Starbuck from Battlestar Gallactica – Tough Girl – Starbuck was the bravest, strongest and craziest fighter pilot in Battlestar Gallactica. She regularly beat up guys and robots. Robots?!?!? Yeah, Starbuck beat up robots.
  5. Chyna – Tough Girl – Before Chyna became a drug addicted loser with a porn tape, she was the most brutal woman in the WWE. She was the only female participant in the royal rumble and once held the intercontinental tite (which is crazy). Very tough gal.
  6. Mike Tyson – Tough Guy – Wow, Ok, first off, this is Mike Tyson pre-face tattoo, pre-ear biting, and pre-rape charges. Crazy, heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. No one was scarier and more powerful than Iron Mike in the day. His name is linked with arguably the greatest Nintendo game ever created.
  7. Angela Landsbury – Smart GirlMurder She Wrote. Nobody pulled the wool over the eyes of Angela Landsury. Her craftiness keeps her around this battle.
  8. Nancy Drew – Smart Girl – Angela is experience, Nancy provides the youthful exuberance. These two detectives make sure there are no funny business in the other team.
  9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Tough Girl – I’m going to cite the same argument from Ripley. Buffy kills vampires, ghouls, goblins, werewolves and monsters. Pretty sure she can beat up Joan of Arc. Also, cheerleading experience makes buffy a very athletic competitor who is tough to take down.
  10. Lizzy Borden – Wild Card – this is taken verbatim from Wikipedia “Lizzie Andrew Borden2 (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927) was a New England spinster who was the central figure in the hatchet murders of her father and stepmother on August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts in the United States”. Interpretation – Lizzy Borden killed her family with a Hatchet. This girl is out of control and will surely be a tough match up for anyone on the other side.

Decision, as rendered by Neal G.

hahahah this is so redic. ok, so now i have to pick a winner right? i think i’ll do this like the oscars, have categories and an overall winner. and bore the hell out of you in the process

Team that made be laugh the hardest: Team 1

It is such an eclectic mix of chicks. You really have a good grasp of world history and pop culture. And I love Daria. Love her!

Most intellectual team: Team 2.

The cast is just an outstanding selection of women to complement each others’ skills. Murder she wrote?! hahah used to watch that joint all the time!

Tough guy head to head: Team 1

Tough one. I got to give it to Team 1 though. UFC guys are the full package and can fight dirty… but if iron mike caught him with an uppercut, KO4Life.

Overall winner: Team 2.

Ok hear me out. Team 1 has some hard-ass mofos, but aside from she-ra, joan of arc, and the spider, who will actually just lay it on the line and knock someones teeth into next week? Team 2 has kill bill chick. she can win it all on her own if necessary. margaret thatcher is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, but backing her up is ripley! cmon she made it out alive from the aliens! and then you still have in reserve chyna, borden, tyson, some girl i’ve never heard of from battlestar galactica, etc etc.


The best advice going forward is to please feel free to add variations to the formula where you see fit. The essential purpose is there, but things need to be changed to keep things fresh. Pete and I would disqualify people we drafted previously in subsequent drafts. As you can see from Example 2, Jess and I did all women. The possibilities are endless.

It is also good to vary your opponents and judges. Pete, for example, seems to believe that whoever has Darth Vadar wins, regardless of how everything else goes, so make sure your judges are intermittently changed to keep the game interesting. We here at are also happy to adjudicate any tough guy drafts. Please email any drafts to the address below and I would be happy to judge. For reference, I think any team that has Superman or Raylan Givens wins automatically.
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