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CDS Microsystems
Board Game
ZX Spectrum 48K

Other Links

Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

This is unusual. A computer game for two to five players which comes complete with board, counters, lots of little cards and Bank of Toytown notes in £100,000 denominations. Has CDS flipped?

I don't think so. Zapping aliens is fine, but it's a lonely business. So it was onto the blower to enlist the aid of T'zer (On the 'ead, son) Maughan, Phil (Get stuck in there) South, Marcus (Are you blind, ref?) Berkmann and Rachael (Oo, err, is that the ball?) Smith.

Of course, BC's FF is a football management game, but that didn't stop Smiffy turning up in shorts and a number eleven shirt. Thank heavens nobody mentioned full team strip - she probably would have!

The aim of the game is nothing short of world domination - soccer style. At home there's a league to conquer and the cup to win. After the first season things get really exciting, because there are European competitions too. But success in these fields is only one step to acquiring management points. Teams start equal, but by the end of the game, one will be more equal than others. And the manager who's led it to fame and fortune is bestowed the title of Cloughie the Conqueror by the computer.

So it's off round the board, with the Spectrum shaking the dice. The squares you land on can help you supplement your squad, suck away your money, or crush you with the fickle finger of fate through chance events, detailed by the micro. The computer's got a more important role in the second stage of each round. That's when the matches are played. Each manager enters their team's defence and attack strengths, which are the sum of each player's personal ability points. You start by choosing from a squad of thirteen, including two utility players, who're good anywhere except in goal.

At first the teams rate much the same, but as the game progresses each player has the chance to build up their squad, or find it decimated by bad luck and face possible bankruptcy. Auctions are one way to acquire stars, but the real strategy and excitement lies in private deals.

Spend too much early on and you might well have to sell that extra striker to raise capital, especially if his transfer could result in another manager's FA Cup chances getting hammered! The computer calculates results for all the teams in the league, whether they belong to players or not, and then works out the league tables. You can set the skill level of the micro teams, to give the miserable humans an even tougher time.

After all that, it was inevitable that Rachael (Over the moon) Smith would make us all as sick as parrots. But that just goes to prove that you don't need to know anything about footie to enjoy this - you just have to be good at wheeling, dealing, bargaining and backstabbing!


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Sponsorship's a handy square, boosting the readies. But beware of buying too many men. Every time you land on Wages you have to fork out for every player you won, and a more powerful squad means paying more squid.

Land on Managers Luck or Selection Problems and the unexpected happens. It may be bad or good, but crash onto Crisis and you're fined £50,000 and lose your best specialist player automatically!

In the Auctions, a player is peeled off the pile in the centre of the board and everyone bids for him. This can be a straight contest, but in a 50 percent Auction the person who lands on the square need only pay half their final bid!

Bank Finance can come in handy if you're strapped for cash. You can sell any player to the bank for three-quarters of their nominal value, calculated at £20,000 per skill point. That could explain why all the cashiers have muddy knees!

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Despite the Basic, error trapping is good, so you can't enter ridiculous team strengths. You'll need to do well in all areas to gain maximum management points. But one of the nice things about BC's FF is that, even if you're not named Top Manager, you can still have the satisfaction of winning one of the competitions.