What if Football Manager was a tabletop game?

2021-09-07  Misc

What if Football Manager wasn’t a computer game you play alone in front of a screen until the early hours of the morning, but a physical product you could reach out an touch with your hands? Maybe even an activity you could do - dare I say it - with friends? No, I hadn’t considered it until now either, but it turns out that’s exactly what Eleven is.

Polish developer Portal Games’s football management tabletop has just opened for funding on Gamefound, and at the time of writing it’s sitting pretty at 500 per cent of its funding target (about €150,000) with 19 days remaining. So it seems that while I had never thought of playing Football Manager with dice and cards, it’s an experience people are hungry for.

Eleven describes itself as “an economic strategy board game”, which is an elaborate way of describing a game that lets you roleplay as a football manager. You and up to three friends will be bringing in players, choosing tactics, developing stadiums, signing up sponsors, and all that are typical of the coach-come-CEO role that only exists in gaming.

The base game comes in at €60, which is fairly reasonable given the number of pieces it looks like it comes with. What I was surprised at, however, is that the game is already launching with a range of five expansions, all priced at €20, which feels a little bit like the monetisation tactics of a cash-in mobile game, or what Konami is trying to do with eFootball. I just ordered the Solo Campaign expansion because my friends aren’t really into football so I’ll mainly be playing alone, but if you want everything the game has to offer on release day you’re looking at a €128 outlay (plus postage).

Is Eleven any good? Well, the YouTubers on the campaign page seemed to enjoy their preview copies enough, but of course they would. The rest of us will have to wait a year to find out - the expected release date is September 2022. When it lands on my doorstep I’ll try it out and post a review.

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