This doesn't try to accurately simulate a footballing role. It's not an arcade football game
either. 'What is it then?' I hear you cry, exasperated at the totally inept way the suspense
is being built up. Well, oh long-suffering reader, it's two to five player board game over
which the computer presides.
The objective is simple enough: to become as strong as successful as possible - and achieving
this takes some neat decision making, a large amount of wheeling and dealing, and a fair bit of luck.
Each player takes a managerial position over their favourite club and is given £200.000. The
computer randomly generates a team of thirteen, and the player takes the corresponding cards from a
pack of players.
Every footballer has a 'star rating' between one and five, five being the best. The player
adds up his/her total star rating for both attack and defence so that it can be typed into the
computer before a match.
The wheeling and dealing can start when all the formalities have been displayed with. The
computer 'throws' the die and prints a random number on screen - the player then moves his/her
counter around the board.
Each square on the board represents a situation in between matches with
which the manager has to deal. There are nine different squares which fall into three different
categories: financial (could be a gain or loss of money); auction (where a player card is
turned over and the managers bid for it) and luck (the computer throws up a random situation
which can either be beneficial or disastrous for the club involved).
The week's matches are played once all the counters have been moved. The fixtures can be
viewed so that managers can loan or borrow players, and once the wheeling and dealing is through
the star rating for each player is typed into the computer. The results and gate receipts are
printed out on a 'teleprinter', and the auction returns to the board.
The computer keeps details of all results, and the league can be displayed at any time. It
also awards points depending on the player's managerial abilities and at the end of the game
(a game can be any number of seasons long), the display also includes points amassed and eventually
- the winner.
This is very socially interactive game - such delights as screaming, shouting, persecution
complexes, losing friends, and falling to the floor and frothing at the mouth because your two
star players have been killed in a car crash are all part and parcel of this excellent board game.
It's easy to use and beautifully designed so that even the most ardent antifootball person
cannot help but enjoy it. It is a little pricey, but when compared with the expensive gimmicky
tosh hiding behind the 'family board game' facade that's being churned out onto the toy market
at the moment, it's a pretty good investment... as long as you lock up your knife cupboard
and hide Grandma's knitting needles!