You might think there is no circumstance where you could ever have real fear of an away trip to a club called BK Frem.
I thought the same a few weeks ago. Then a casual encounter with a random internet post about the joys of ‘Starting Unemployed’ in Football Manager piqued my interest.
Starting Unemployed is a thing in FM lore, it turns out, a thing akin to the ML Default Challenge in PES. You’re young, you’re inexperienced, nobody knows you. How fast can you navigate up the football world to a Big Job? Or can you take the no-hoper club that you inevitably start out with to Big Club status?
I spent a few weeks jobless at the start of season 2018-19, applying for jobs and being knocked back. Then I had two proper interviews and a choice: Aberystwyth in Wales, or Avarta in Denmark. I plumped for the latter because it was more money and the club were only two leagues below the top flight.
And now here I am, gritty-eyed from yet another 3am session last night. Two full seasons played.
Normal service – i.e., reports about me playing a gamepad-football game – will resume in this Friday’s post.
That will be with FIFA20’s Career Mode, although I might do a warmup with Ultimate Team (offline of course) to get me used to the game engine. I have received a package of mods from regular commenter Paul, and there are other mods to change the entire nature of Career Mode, and possibly gameplay too.
For today’s post I still have this monkey on my back called Football Manager 2019. I’ve finished Season 2 in Denmark’s 2 Division. It’s the 3rd tier of that country’s domestic league setup, and it takes place in two phases. I took the screenshot at the top of the page after going top for the first time in the 1st phase.
I’ve since navigated my way through them both and won promotion in the 2nd phase, in 2nd place, to the NordicBet Liga, Denmark’s equivalent of the Championship. Where I am expected to ‘do a Norwich’ and spend most of the season at the bottom and come straight back down. Last night I spent two hours looking for players.
The famed addictive qualities of Football Manager are something that I’ve mostly been resistant to for most of my gaming life. I’ve had spells of enthusiasm (who hasn’t), most notably with CM4 back in whenever-that-was, then with FM2005, and a few short spells here and there since.
I have never won anything in Football Manager. Not a single trophy. I have got a few promotions in all my time, but that is where it traditionally all falls apart for me. I end up buying the wrong players, or too many players, or too few players, and then stubbornly trying to stick with the same system that worked in the division below.
My 3am sessions on FM2019 have been every bit as immersive and enjoyable as any Civilization V or XCOM2 session, and that’s saying something. FM has undergone a design change in recent years. This is my first time sampling it, and it is a total success in my view. You can do as little or as much as you want. I hand off all training to my coaches. And let them take care of press conferences too. I get the players and pick the team and the system played. I have a simmering conflict with the board about the lack of investment and am on the verge of starting to threaten to leave if they don’t develop facilities and allow me to take on more staff.
As ever the casual observer may chortle about FM being basically an interactive spreadsheet – but you can analyse anything enjoyable in that spirit, so what’s the point?
As I say, normal service will resume this Friday with FIFA20, but I will mention my FM2019 progress from time to time. I can already feel it starting to settle down and become an occasional 3am-session thing, rather than a nightly one.