Football’s Coming Home
Kennedy Bakircioglu. Chucks Nwoko. Tonton Zola Moukoko. Cherno Samba. What do all of these names have in common? They are names that anyone who has played any of the Championship Football Manager knows. I have grown up playing various incarnations of the franchise. As a Walsall fan, I have enjoyed many evenings making the digital versions of my beloved Saddlers a more successful version of their actual selves.
At the end of January, Portal Games announced their publishing plan for 2021. The football fanatic in me was drawn to one game in particular: Eleven: Football Manager Board Game.
I don’t know whether the box art of Eleven is a knowing nod to Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat and long sleeve shirt look, but it immediately gives me nostalgia of that warm summer night watching events unfold at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow where England won their first penalty shoot-out for what feels like an eternity.
Eleven is a 1-4 player economic strategy game. You will oversee a football team for one season. In that time you will be responsible for transfers, hiring staff, securing sponsorship, and basically making sure the club is managed to meet its expectations. There are also a number of starting scenarios. These are varying from overhauling an ageing squad to meeting tight deadlines in completing expansion work of the club’s stadium. No stone has been left unturned by designer Thomas Jansen. He has already flexed his football-themed board game muscles with 2017’s co-operative/solo game Club Stories.
On YouTube, Portal Games have posted a video stating that the game will be enjoyable for everyone. I think there is a definite gap in the market for a board game which allows people to live out their Klopp, Guardiola or Warnock fantasy. I look forward to seeing more of Eleven as the year progresses.
If Eleven sounds like your kind of game, keep an eye out for the Kickstarter campaign due later this year. Thanks to Portal Games… it’s coming home!