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Subject: Time of Soccer: An Overview of a Great Game rss

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Gordon J
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First off, a little back story--I was never a soccer fan in years past. Football and baseball have always been my #1 and #2 sports to watch. But when you live with a Polish family, soccer is pretty damn important. Initially I tolerated watching it. Lots of running and no scoring = boring boring boring. And then a few years ago the worm turned a little, in the World Cup the Polish played the Russians, and it was exciting, each team scoring 2 points, and despite the fact the Polish squandered several opportunities to outright win the game (the Polish are kind of like Minnesota in regards to sports--cursed), it ended in a tie and I was partially hooked. Couple years later the Americans were in the Cup (and not the Polish) and I watched all the U.S. games. It was great.

Which brings me to TIME OF SOCCER, despite the horrible title (the game is from Spain, so it must be cooler sounding in Spanish), is also a game I would not have gotten years ago, but not only do I enjoy soccer, but the game is that grand strategic type of sports game that I love, command a team in all facets, doing everything you need to do to run a team successfully: run your finances, find and sign players, sell players off to make more cap space, fight over free agents, public relations, advertising, fan support, hiring and firing coaches, and winning games.



Let's start off with the most important aspect of the game: the players. You start the game off with a mostly empty team board. The empty spots on your board are manned with basic B-rated talent players that end up giving you a (-2) score to that position until you end up hiring a new player to fill that spot and get rid of the minus and get whatever (+) the new player gives that position and certain other advanced skills. Each player, shown with the red dots in the middle of their tile, shows the positions they can play/fill on your team if you hire them. The blue circles and purple triangles and other shapes give you bonuses.



Players will have some of these types of skills:



If you can get players to gel, or link up similar skills you can get big bonuses.



For example, here, the blue circles of three players match, which shows their chemistry, running plays, shooting the ball, and passing with each other.



But players are not the only important people, you have to have scouts, and talent managers to find new plucky players to add to your team:



You also have a marketing department that gets advertisements and TV contracts to make your team money, and help draw in money when you play home games. You also have a kind of public relations (Twitter, blog, fan interaction) department, that drums up support before and after a game, increasing your fans and popularity throughout the game:



Of course you don't just get to grab this talent and players and goodies for nothing, you have to pay for most of it, and compete with other players to grab it before they do. So in order to simulate the somewhat competitive market of grabbing free agents and other talent, you run your car/coach/scout around the board trying to scoop up the tiles before other players do. The better your organization/scouting department is, the more spaces you can move on the board and grab stuff:



You also hire coaches, and all coaches are different: some give you re-rolls to offensive and defensive rolls in games, some give you a certain bonus to certain players skills. All of the players stats and the coach bonuses add up to your team's overall Offensive and Defensive score, that you use to compare to other teams during a match or Cup run.



When you win games in the regular league (there are ten weeks in the game and a game each week) you score VPs. During the World Cup, you get VPs depending on how far you make it--if you get knocked out in the first round, it's not a huge deal, you have other venues to score your VPs. Lots of things give you VPs.



Each week the game matches you up with other teams, some are player teams, and some are non-player teams. Non player teams are handled in a simple but effective manner, their ability increases as the game goes along, and there are variable difficulty levels, and yes the non-player teams can win the game.



Time of Soccer gives you complete control of your team. The game overall is pretty tense, especially moving your car around the market board and trying to scoop up the juicy tiles before other players do. Also it's interesting trying to fiddle with player configurations in order to squeeze the last point to make your team just that much better, and when to drop a player to make money so you can pick up that star free agent. Resolving the games takes some math skills, but it's fast, you get to chuck dice and that always creates drama and is fun.

But that's not all, a recommended variant tells you to keep track of your team's fatigue and energy level throughout the season:



Push your team too hard and they won't play well. Play too many games with your main starters and they will tire out. Want to schedule that exhibition/friendly match to earn some more quick cash? Better think twice as it saps your players and fatigues them for the next more important game.

A pretty darn interesting design. I like this a lot, my only complaint is there isn't a baseball version of this game. I'd love a system like this for a baseball or football team. Hopefully I can get this to the table on a Friday soon. It's a deep game, a little bit meaty, but overall it's pretty easy to learn. It would be a few hours to play for sure, but you get the whole experience of building your team up from nothing to superstars competing for the World Cup. Even if you're not a soccer fan, I think you'd like this game.

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Timothy Sullivan
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Great review!

Were you able to obtain the game in the US? How?

Tim
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Gordon J
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t_s_sullivan wrote:
Great review!

Were you able to obtain the game in the US? How?

Tim


I bought it from someone on BGG who lives in England, they shipped it over for me, paid extra for shipping of course, but it was worth it.
 
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Anders Olin
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Bought the game today, so this was one heck of a teaser! thank you! cool
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Moe45673
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I Want this game so bad because of your review......
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Gordon J
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Moe45673 wrote:
I Want this game so bad because of your review......


Nice! That's my mission spreading the love...
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Michael Weber
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Thanks for this excellent review. I watched the game playthrough posted here on the geek and it somewhat like the games at the end of each week are rather boring with just a couple of standard dice to throw. Would you agree on this or is there actually some tension build up?
 
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Peter Kossits
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The games themselves can be exciting because of the sequence in which the dice get rolled and there are some reroll decisions which are interesting. But, yes, the mechanism is all about simulating the games quickly.
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Gordon J
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Mixo wrote:
Thanks for this excellent review. I watched the game playthrough posted here on the geek and it somewhat like the games at the end of each week are rather boring with just a couple of standard dice to throw. Would you agree on this or is there actually some tension build up?


The games at the end of the week are quick and fun. The rest of the week is a great build up to the game. I love rolling the dice for the games, lends an element of chaos and tension.
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