From the groundbreaking 1982 classic Kevin Tom’s Football Manager to modern day Football Manager football management games have always been long, lonely affairs right?
Brian Clough’s Football Fortunes tore up the rulebook in the mid 80s by uniquely combining the best elements of board games with a computer programme. For football gaming fans, the game had it all. Not only did you have the highs and lows of managing your favourite football club but you could crush your mates on the way to winning the Cup, buy their favourite player from under their nose or even lead Luton Town to unlikely European glory all without leaving your living room!
In the 32 years since Brian Clough’s Football Fortunes was released a lot has changed. Hairlines, waistlines, technology, the world itself and most definitely football. From transfer windows to Super Sundays, bungs to Bosmans, the Premier League itself and the Champions League the landscape has changed a lot. Not least the obscene amounts of money and of course, not least, the players themselves.
Football Fortunes 2019 brings football management gaming into the social setting once more with modern football rules and players, for football fans of all ages. The game emulates the highs and lows of football management, with managers having to out-think and out manoeuvre their opponents to win. Choose from multiple strategies. React best to a crisis. Stave off bankruptcy. Sign the best players. The skillset required to succeed will be varied and the hurdles challenging, just like they are in the real world!
How To Play Football Fortunes 2019
Watch our video below for a run through of how to play the new Football Fortunes game. From signing players, to transfer windows, how to use the Coach and Scout, what are Manager's Luck and Selection Problems cards and much more.
We're joined by Rory Kelly our agent and Nick Hamilton who's coding the new app for a full two season playthrough of the game. If you have questions please get in touch in the comments but almost everything that can happen in the game is in the video below.
Worth noting also that neither Nick nor Rory had played the game before...
Fast forward nearly thirty years and I found myself picking up a copy of Cloughies on eBay. When it arrived it was in mint condition. I loved every second of carefully tearing the player cards, reading through the rules and messaging my now 40 something mates to see if they fancied a game.
We played it and it had lost none of its sparkle. Watching my mates transfixed by the old school vidiprinter, celebrating wildly when they won a trophy and bantering each other to within an inch of their lives I knew I had to try to bring the game back.
I started a Facebook page and within a month it had more than 1000 fans all talking about the original game and asking questions about the remake. One of the guys on the page said that he could introduce me to the guy who published Cloughies. And so he did!
Giles Hunter is the former owner of CDS Software and the publisher of Brian Clough’s Football Fortunes among many other hugely successful game titles such as Colossus Chess and Steve Davis Snooker. Giles was hugely receptive to the idea of creating a modern version of Cloughies and better still he was still good friends with David Hall the creator and visionary behind the original game.
I made the hop over from Belfast to Donny, as Giles and David call Doncaster, on a hot day in the summer of 2017 with a bunch of ideas under my arm. The guys waxed lyrical about Cloughies, telling the tales of how it came to be, swerving responsibility for the legendary Liverpool striker John Aldridge being a 1 star player in the game (I’m gonna fix that some day) and much more, including how the original game had sold nearly 200,000 copies from England to Australia.
We agreed that bringing it back with a modernised version sounded like a great idea and set to work.
Nearly two years from then we’ve built up a community of over 5,000 fans across Facebook and beyond. We’ve shared hundreds of tales about how much Brian Clough’s Football Fortunes meant and means to so many people and discovered that there is still a very active community of people regularly playing the game to this day. The reason? The game is still unique in being the only football management game you can get your mates together to play. It has never been bettered.
We did over 400 public player votes on our Facebook page, asking our community to rate Premier League players from 1-5 stars based on their ability. We had some great fun as fans of rival teams tried to vote down players from teams they didn't like but overall we got a very balanced set of players. From the obvious 5 stars like Mo Salah and Sergio Aguero to the barrel scrapers like Saido Berahino and Vincent Janssen at the other end of the talent spectrum, the ratings were pretty much what we'd expected.
Then we removed one star players after a number of play tests, they were simply frustrating in transfer windows and auctions and annoying to get rid of from manager's squads as no one wanted to buy them. In the end we decided to take them out of the game altogether, introducing Youth Players instead which has been a great success we're pleased to say!
As the manager of your chosen club you're responsible for everything from player recruitment to managing staff, from formations to finances as well as managing the various crises the game can throw at you. The board game part of Football Fortunes is where you buy, sell, transfer and loan players as well as get sponsorship, visit your academy, hire staff and much much more. The computer app part takes care of all of the messy stuff from working out the match fixtures and results to totting up the league tables and even rolling the dice for you.
The game starts, like the real world, with a summer transfer window allowing managers to bid on the next player cards in the deck with the highest bidder winning. Players are split into two types; Professionals and Youth Players. Professional players are rated from 2-5 stars depending on their ability while Youth Players begin with no rating and are coached to become star players.
All mangers will begin the game with a 12 star defence (goalkeeper + defenders) and a 12 star attack (midfielders + attackers) and with two unrated Youth Players on the bench who can be upgraded as the game progresses. Players can be bought in free agent auctions throughout the game, can be acquired via luck cards from Selection Problems and Managers Luck, can be Bosman Free Transfers or even bought from other managers as each manager has a transfer and loan list.
Youth Players are brand new in the new game and replace the Utility Players from the original. Youth Players can be recruited by hiring a Scout, a visit to your Academy or via luck cards. They can be upgraded throughout the game, using the Coach.
Each player starts the game with a 1 star Coach. The coach can be upgraded as the game progresses either via landing on the Manage Staff square or via certain cards that can be drawn by landing on Manager's Luck for example.
The Coach is a very important addition to the new game in that his rating (from 1 to 5 stars) gets added to the overall team rating for matches as well as being the amount that Youth Players can be upgraded when the opportunity arises to do so. So if for example you have a 3 star Coach and you have the chance to upgrade a Youth Player he can be upgraded by 3 stars, for a fee of course of £20 per star.
Managers must choose their players (usually by the highest rated in each position), their team's formation from 7 different formations and how to play either defensively or in an attacking style.
If for example you choose to 'do a Mourinho' and park the bus in a defensive strategy you could set up with 6 defenders (in a 5-3-2 formation) and add your Coach to your defence to make a very solid defence likely at the expense of a weaker attack unless you have a very strong squad.
Conversely you could play an uber attacking formation of 4-2-4 for example and add your Coach's rating to your attack hoping that your goals scored outweigh the goals you might ship at the back. The stronger your playing squad the greater chance you have of course of successfully using different tactics to win matches. And if you want to win the big trophies you'll need it a big and talented squad, just like the real world!
The new Football Fortunes game offers multiple strategies and ways to win however of course each strategy has its risks! Run out of money and you're out of the game, and there are only a limited amount of Youth Players available meaning other managers can block you from buying them. In reality, just like the real world, the best managers will be able to balance a mix of seasoned pros and youth all the way to phenomenal success.
Will you try a Man City or Chelsea style moneybags approach and buy everyone in sight, a Liverpool style Moneyball philosophy where you sell big players and reinvest wisely or try to raise a team of superstars from the youth ranks like Manchester United’s famous Class of 92?
All of these approaches are possible and all are up to you! And you get to beat your friends on the way to glory too, which is the real win.
At What Stage of Development is the Football Fortunes Project?
We have a working prototype of the new game and have been out playing it for a few months at UK Games Expo as well as at many different gaming groups. We've been very encouraged by the feedback we've received both from hardcore board gamers (which I'm not!), board game newbies, football fans and non football fans alike.
Check out our Kickstarter updates where we have recently revealed the new Player Tokens, the Coach Cards, the Scout cards and we will soon be revealing the final designs for the game board, player mats, player cards and the app!
Developing the New Football Fortunes App
We have been lucky enough to secure some significant development funding from a local organisation in Belfast called Northern Ireland Screen who assist financially with digital projects within Northern Ireland. This has allowed us to move quickly from the app we had cobbled together to the production of a genuine prototype of the new game's accompanying application. We have a software developer, Big Nick, working on this as we speak and will share progress with you throughout the campaign.
The app will be available on iPad, Android, Windows and Mac platforms. We will look at the possibility of a console version in later releases.
Designing the New Physical Game Elements and Brand
We also have a professional graphic designer Chris taking our ideas and making them into something much more coherent and technically correct than what I'd been able to do with my limited design skills. So far we have a work in progress design of the new game board, a brand new design for the play money in the game and a plan for the packaging featuring the new logo and design direction which we're very taken with :)
Manufacturing the Game
We have agreed a full specification with one of the world's largest board game manufacturers Cartamundi and are very happy to say that we will be able to manufacture the game in Ireland if our Kickstarter is a success. This approach will also allow us to actually visit the factory and oversee the production process easily as we're based in Belfast and Cartamundi are in Waterford. This is a big thing for us as we want to make sure that we get a quality product to our backers.
In addition the turnaround time from manufacturing in Ireland is around a third shorter than it would be if we outsourced to China or Poland for example meaning that, all being well, the new game will be in our backers hands ahead of Xmas! Specifically if our Kickstarter is successful we will send the game to print by the end of August and it will ship to backers by the end of October.
30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Our motivation in bringing back Football Fortunes is really to make a great quality game that gives people as much joy as we got from Brian Clough's Football Fortunes and to make future versions of the game if the new one is a success.
If we don't meet your expectations in any way simply send the game back to us within 30 days of purchase for a full no questions asked refund. Please note that you will have to pay for the return shipping.
Thanks for checking our project out, we're very excited to bring this great game back with your help!
Risks and challenges
We wish to distribute the game as widely as possible however it may be difficult to provide an application in the initial release on consoles, we are continually examining ways of doing this. We will also have a minor challenge in ensuring that our player mats will arrive at the same time as the games from manufacturing as we will most likely have these made in China as opposed to Ireland.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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