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I Really Want To Play Eleven, The Board Game About Being A Football Manager

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I know the World Cup is on, and everyone’s got football games on the brain right now, and I don’t mean to contribute to the mania, but I’m idly obsessing about board games again. Specifically, Eleven, the football manager board game for 1 to 4 players. If you’ve been looking for games to scratch the football itch between World Cup matches (and you can’t bring yourself to go near anything with the name FIFA attached to it), maybe this is the one you’ve been looking for. If it is, let me know. Again, I want to play it.

How does it work?

Created by Thomas Jansen (Club Stories, Tavern, Streetpainball) and published by Polish studio Portal Games, Eleven is a strategy game about building and managing your own football club. A typical game plays out over six weeks, with each individual day constituting a single game phase. Each day is filled with tasks. Mondays are about setting the tone for the rest of the week — you receive your weekly resources and draw a Board Meeting card with your allotted tasks on it. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are all administrative. Team managers will need to maintain their stadiums, headhunt new players, hire staff and manage transfers. All of this propels the player toward the big day: Friday. Match Day. Here, you deploy Player and Tactic cards against your opponent to win the match. The big days, Monday and Friday, are resolved simultaneously among all four players. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are taken turn-by-turn, player-by-player. Everyone receives a hand of four randomised Director cards, with each player returning one to the deck. These cards will determine the kind of development options your club has at its disposal and where your priorities lie. The centre of the table is the Transfer Area, which is a common space between all four clubs where you can arrange player trades. Two decks of Youngster and Regular player cards sit in this area, Untrained side up. Next to the players are decks of Staff and Sponsor cards. Board meeting cards are placed nearby, face down. Cards you’ll use for Match Day are also placed nearby. You use these cards across three Boards, and they’re all fairly self-explanatory. The Stadium Board is all about upgrading and maintaining your home stadium, spending Stadium Infrastructure tokens and Contracted Sponsor cards. The Club Board is where you keep your Staff cards and Stat trackers across Cash, Fanbase, Fitness, and Operations. Finally, the Match Board is where you’ll manage each game in progress. Here you place 10 Jersey markers to represent your players, and the strategy you’re using. On Match Day, you get the check a Scout Report on your Opponent Card. This will give you information on the opposition, including the kinds of formations they are likely to play against you. You can then play one Tactic card of your choice, and place your Jersey markers on the Match Board in that formation. Rinse and repeat over six weeks. You accumulate Score points not just for games won and your position on the League Table at the end, but also for the number of Youngsters you’ve trained, the composition of your Staff, and how well you’ve maintained your Stadium. You can read the rulebook right here for a more detailed breakdown. Fair warning, it’s a bit of chunky PDF.

What’s in the box

Playing Eleven is no simple task. Because it is a complex game with a lot going on, there’s a lot of stuff in the box. Let me break it down as quickly as I can: 12 boards — 4 Match Boards, 4 Stadium Boards, 4 Club Boards. 36 regular player cards 18 youngster player cards 8 veteran player cards 16 director cards 36 staff cards 36 sponsor cards 36 board meeting cards 64 opponent cards 12 tactic cards 16 stat markers 24 score markers 80 resource markers 70 tokens covering Injury, Strength, Suspension, and Weakness 28 Stadium Infrastructure tokens 3 Scenario sheets, featuring 6 scenarios (solo play) For those trying to do the back-of-the-serviette maths, that’s 495 bits and bobs waiting for you in the box.

Are there expansions?

Like most modern board games, yes, Eleven has several priced-to-entice expansions. There’s the International Cup expansion, which introduces a set of brand new Opponent cards, new Opponent Team markers, and the International Cup board, letting you create your own World Cup games. It also ups the occurrence of Match Days to two games per week. The International Players pack ups the number of available players for transfer to five decks from around the world. The Stadium expansion is for those who must own a mega stadium capable of holding hundreds of thousands of fans. The Unexpected Events expansion is exactly what it sounds like, and introduces new cards that throw a spanner in the works during every working week. Finally, there’s even a Solo Expansion for those who want to play a round on their own and get a feel for how the game works week to week.

Where can I get a copy?

I went hunting for a place I could buy Eleven in Australia, and right now, the best bet seems to be from the official Portal Games store. They do ship to Australia, but because the game is coming from Poland, you’ll be looking at around €35 ($AU54) for postage. That’s almost as much as the €40 ($AU61.76) I’m paying for the game itself, taking us to €75 ($AU115.81). Still, could be worse! There’s plenty of board games in Australia that are going for a lot more without the international postage.

The post I Really Want To Play Eleven, The Board Game About Being A Football Manager appeared first on Kotaku Australia.

   
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