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Old 12-11-2016, 08:39 PM   #1
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
Join Date: Sep 2013
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum: My career as Everton manager, 1888-?? [Retro Football Boss]

Today, I learned about a new game called Retro Football Boss. It is still in the developmental stage, but the premise was absolutely irresistible to me.

I'm a history teacher who has developed a fascination with soccer (football, to most of the rest of the planet) since a visit to the British Isles several years ago. You can, therefore, understand why a game that will let me take charge of any club in the English Football League, from its inception in 1888 until the 1990s, would catch my eye.

In its current state, Retro Football Boss is largely rooted in reality. When you begin the game, you pick a starting season and a team. Your roster contains the players who were with the club in real life. You can buy and sell players, but the AI managers' actions reflect reality. In other words, David Beckham won't be bought by Chelsea in 1996, for example. I can, however, interfere with the path of history. If I'm managing Manchester United, I could try to sell Beckham to another club.

I can set Talent Randomness to Realistic ("players will always have ability in keeping with real life") or Fantasy ("players may be better or worse than real-life counterparts.") Since one of my goals with this game is to learn more about the history of English football, I'm setting this to Realistic for now.

There are other ways in which RFB is much different from Football Manager, the only other football simulation I've ever played. As I progress through my career, I'll describe more of the workings of the game.

I'm an Everton fan, and my team was one of the 12 original members of Division One. Therefore, I'll be taking over as the club's manager in July 1888. I don't know what might lie ahead. Let's find out together, shall we?

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Old 12-11-2016, 09:21 PM   #2
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
Join Date: Sep 2013
July 1888: First Days

When I looked at my squad list, I discovered I didn't have a goalkeeper in the team. To remedy this rather glaring deficiency, I looked at my Scouting page, which contained a list of the players who are known to my Scout, a chap called Bob Smith. Bob is familiar with about 20 players right now, and three of them are goalkeepers.

My board has given me a transfer budget of 380. Since the highest-valued player Bob knows is listed at 73, I'm pretty flush. The 'keeper I want most, Robert Smalley of Preston North End, is new to his club, and they aren't interested in selling him. Instead, I purchase a Scot, Hibernian's Walter Cox, for 4. Cox is only fair at most of the things a 'keeper needs to do, such as Shot Stopping, Aerial Ability, and Distribution. He's very poor at Handling, which could be a problem. Still, unless I can prise Smalley away from Preston, or unless Bob discovers some more goalkeepers, Walter's the man.

By the way, I'm paying my new custodian 1 per week, both in and out of season. My entire wage budget is 30/week.

Retro Football Boss allows me to set my team up in a wide variety of formations; it looks like I can send the Toffees out in any shape that's ever been widely used in English football at any time. I chose to "hide" the formations that weren't really used in 1888. Apparently, if I chose to make my lads play 4-4-2, they'd be basically confused at first, but would slowly learn what I want them to do. In order to keep my Victorian footballers happy, I'll line them up in a 2-3-5 Pyramid, like this:

Look at all those attacking players! One of the formations I could select used SEVEN forwards. I'm actually playing a fairly conservative tactic for 1888.

According to my staff, my best players are Alf Milward, an 18-year-old left winger, and Edgar Chadwick, an inside left who is a year older. Chadwick is worth 110, a huge valuation in 1888. Alf and Edgar play side-by-side, and I'll be directing my attack toward them.

How can I do this? I can adjust my tactic by moving sliders for Mentality, Passing Style, Passing Focus, Tempo, Width, Pressing, and Creative Freedom. As I adjust each of these, my staff gives me feedback about how my moves affect the team's actions on the field, described as Organisation, Ball Winning, Direct Football, Ball Retention, Individual Flair, and Chance Creation. So far, I like the way tactics work in this game--simple and intuitive.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 12-12-2016 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:36 AM   #3
Greyfriars Bobby
College Prospect
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 September 1888

We played four preseason friendlies, with what I would describe as mixed results.

As expected, we had no problem with Old Carthusians, a non-League opponent who fell victim to a quick brace from wing half David Kirkwood. Three draws followed; the result against Notts County wasn't bad, but we should have done better against Long Eaton Rangers and Bootle. Two of Bootle's goals came from the penalty spot.

To be fair, the lads from Bootle had a lot to prove against us. They're located in Merseyside, just like we are, and when Everton were accepted for the Football League, Bootle were rejected. The atmosphere at their Hawthorne Roads grounds was electric, much more reminiscent of a classic derby than a pre-season friendly.

The League schedule begins on 8 September, and here's a look at the most important members of the squad I'll be taking into action.

Arthur Chadwick: Full back, age 20
Arthur is in the eleven only because I haven't been able to sign a better man. He's a sure tackler, but lacks the physical prowess to be a dominant force. Arthur's main claim to fame is the fact that his cousin is...

Edgar Chadwick: Inside left, age 19
Edgar is our star man, a dazzling player with no real flaws in his game. He is an especially clever passer, and his dribbling skills make fans gasp. Edgar has found the net in each of his last three games, and his confidence is riding high.

Walter Cox: Goalkeeper, age 20
You've met Walter already. He's done nothing in his first four appearances to convince me he's anything more than a stop-gap measure between the posts.

George Davie: Center forward, age 24
I took a flyer on Davie, purchasing him from Renton, a Scottish club, for 20. He's strong and fast, and is a very good finisher. George is battling for a spot in the first team.

Joe Davies: Inside forward, age 18
This young Welshman has been nagged by injuries during the pre-season, so I've had little chance to see what he can do. He is a clever dribbler and a slick passer, and if he were healthy, he'd be my first choice at inside right. He can also play on the wing.

George Farmer: Wing half, age 25
I signed Farmer from Oswestry Town for 31, and immediately put him into the eleven. He responded by scoring goals in his first two matches with us. George has a phenomenal work rate, and his mental approach to the game is first-rate. He is most comfortable playing on the left side of the formation.

George Fleming: Right winger, age 20
Fleming has been in the first team this summer, but he's not ready for full-time duty. He delivers a decent cross, but that's about all he can do at a First Division level.

Johnny Holt: Center half, age 23
A former Bootle man, Holt is the club's captain and a mainstay in the middle of the park. His positioning sense is flawless, and he is a relentless tackler. Johnny is valued at 93, but he's not for sale at any price. He's chipped in two goals during the pre-season.

David Kirkwood: Wing half, age 19
Kirkwood's blistering pace makes him a force to be reckoned with. He is still developing the other aspects of his game, but I expect him to be a fixture in the team for years to come. He plays on the right, teaming with Farmer and Holt to give us a first-class halfback trio. David hit a brace against Old Carthusians.

Alf Milward: Inside left, age 18
Despite his youth, Milward is an extremely polished player, whose dribbling and crossing skills are superb. He is equally good at setting up teammates or finishing moves himself. Alf's two second-half goals enabled us to rally for a draw against Notts County. I'll be writing his name on the team sheet every time.

Robert Watson: Inside right, age 20
Watson's physical attributes are very good, especially his strength and agility. However, he lacks the stamina to play effectively for ninety minutes. He'll provide decent cover for Davies once Joe is healthy.

Jimmy Weir: Wing half, age 24
I needed a decent backup halfback, so I took a punt on Weir for 4. The Third Lanark man is very strong, and can play on either side.

Walter Wilson: Full back, age 23
Blah. Walter possesses no signature skill, and he's been terrible during pre-season, with the lowest average rating in the team.

I need a serious upgrade at full back. I've been trying to persuade Preston North End to part with either Nick Ross or Bob Kelso, but the Lilywhites won't discuss a deal. Either of them would represent a massive improvement from the men I have back there now.

I could also use a better right winger, but Bob Smith doesn't know about anyone who's better than Fleming.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 12-12-2016 at 10:08 AM.
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