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CDS Microsystems
Board Game
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Terry Pratt
Chris Bourne

At last! The real reason why Brian Clough was never offered the England job!

Lending his name to CDS' Football Fortunes shows a lack of managerial judgement on a par with neglecting to mark Maradonna in the World Cup Finals.

It's not that this computer moderated game is a particularly dire example of the various footballing games going the rounds, but it's very expensive, irritatingly fiddly (with its cards and counters), impossible to play on your own and definitely not championship material.

CDS' game puts the emphasis on the 'Fortune' and doesn't give an opportunity to show any tactical prowess.

As a former top-flight football manager myself (Welwyn, Hatfield & District Sunday League - division II), I was expecting my year of experience to pay off against the motley collection of Ipswich and Portsmouth fans I had selected to help review the game.

But after the first season, with my two stars Rush and Lineker lost to a car crash and Liam Brady sold off due to the computer telling me to fork out £300,000 to buy my home ground, my managerial rating was as miserable as my luck.

The game is for two to five players and the action is in two stages. Between each match your counter plods around a Monopoly- style board, landing on such squares as: Sponsorship (Take £30,000); Wages (you actually have to pay the rabble); Auction (a player comes on to the transfer market) and Selection Problems or Managerial Luck (pure chance).

Then it's the weekend and you pick the team from your squad, input two numbers (defensive strength and attacking strength), and find out if you've won, drawn or lost.

There's no game action. No note of who played well or badly. No tactical changes to impart at halftime. And no wonder Bobby Robson got the vote.

The computer must feel equally unfulfilled. It performs the most routine of tasks - rolling the dice, printing out results, compiling league tables and controlling the other non-player teams (these merely turn up for matches).

Us humans have to keep check of our own money and player cards. And the best bit is we can cheat like crazy - the computer is none the wiser.

The Spectrum prints up good news or catastrophe whenever a player's counter lands on Selection Problems or Managerial Luck and it prints up a random starting strength at the beginning of the season.

Oh for a game which requires a modicum of tactical thought or managerial strategy.

But if you want to know what really rankled - Portsmouth won the Championship! I ask you Brian!

Label: CDS
Price: £14.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Terry Pratt


Multi-player board/computer game combination where skill seems unnecessary. Expensive despite the trimmings.