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Subject: RULEBOOK 0.9 - All the text you need to start playing now! rss

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Brian Lelas
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Hey guys, it's time to reveal the rules.

What you find below, in this very long post, is the raw text version of the Soccer Mangaer Express rulebook. The actual finished rulebook will include some images, and will appear as a file in this game's entry here on BGG. You can expect that version really soon!

Images of some essential components follows at the end of this post.

I have posted this here while the Rulebook file is in the File queue here on BGG.

Thanks for all of you who have patiently waited for this to appear and have been looking forward to it.


Soccer Manager Express

Soccer Manager Express is a card and dice game for 2-6 players, playable in between 60 and 90 minutes.
The game consists of an initial draft of players to create a starting Squad, and then a season of soccer games between those team squads.
Games takes place over one season and involve six teams trying to become the League Champions. Each team will play ten games per season (a Home and an Away match against all 5 opponents) and the team with the highest points total at the end of the season is the winner.

Building your Print-and-Play copy!
Soccer Manager Express is a Print-and-Play game.
To play, you will need to print all of the Academy and Premier Player cards, the Stadium Board, Player boards and tokens. These are available as files on the entry for Soccer Manager Express under the Files section.
You will also need 6 different coloured pawns: Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Brown/Black and White. Two of each of these pawns is required.
Most importantly, this game cannot be played without making the custom dice required. There is a whole section on this at the end of these rules. All of these dice are six-sided (D6s) – so if you can acquire some blank dice with six sides, these are perfect. You could also make stickers to cover existing dice you already have. Either way is fine, but without these dice, you cannot play.
You’ll also need a standard D8 (eight-sided die) and a standard D10 (ten-sided die).

Place the Stadium board in a convenient place for all players to see and reach.
Place the Whistle token on the top (first) Match on the Fixtures table on the Stadium board.
Gather the custom dice together into a common pool. Put the D8 and D10 somewhere nearby.
Keep the Money tokens (or if you have chosen to use poker chips, beads or other forms of token instead) together to one side.
All teams get 15 Million at the start of the game.
Give all players the Player Board of their team’s colour. Place a SHOOT and a DEFEND token on each player board.
Place pawns representing all six teams (one for each) on the 0 space of the League Table points track.
Place identical pawns representing all six teams (one for each) on the 0 space of the Goal Difference track.
Separate the Premier and Academy Player cards into two piles.
Shuffle the Premier Player cards together thoroughly and put the pile near the Stadium board for now.
Create the Academy Player Deck and complete the Drafting Squads step (see below.)
Once all players have their initial squad, reveal 7 players from the Premier deck and show them face-up below the Stadium board to create a Transfer Market.
You are now ready to start playing.

Setup for each Player Count
Regardless of how many people are playing Soccer Manager Express, the game still requires all 6 teams to play matches to complete the whole season. Some player counts require Neutral teams. These are teams that are not owned by any player, but still roll for Shoot and Defend in matches.
For further details on Neutral Team rules, see below.
The following rules are required for each available player count.
2 Players: Each player controls 2 teams. There are 2 neutral teams.
3 Players: Each player controls 2 teams.
4 Players: Each player controls 1 team. There are 2 neutral teams.
5 Players: Each player controls 1 team. There is 1 neutral team.
6 Players: Each player controls 1 team. There are no neutral teams.
(Note: There is currently no official 1 Player mode in Soccer Manager Express, but one will be available in the first Expansion in 2016.)

Preparing the Academy deck
Before you can start playing matches, everyone is going to need a team of players.
To get a team, first we need to prepare the Academy deck, as follows:
1. Remove all 11 Goalkeeper players from the rest of the Academy cards.
2. Count 8 of these players facedown into a pile.
3. Add these 8 Goalkeepers to the rest of the Academy cards deck.
4. The remaining 3 Goalkeepers are put to one side. They MAY be needed later.
5. Shuffle the Academy deck thoroughly.
6. Deal out the cards evenly between all 6 teams (even if there are fewer than 6 players playing the game this time.) This should give all players a hand of 11 cards.
7. You are now ready to Draft Squads.

Drafting Squads
The hand of 11 players that each player has is NOT their initial squad. It is simply the pool of players that they must choose their first players from. This is known as Drafting.
To complete the Draft, each player must do the following:
1. From the 11 Academy Players in your hand, choose ONE that you wish to keep.
2. Put that player face down beside your player board.
3. When everyone has their first player chosen, pass the remaining cards to the person on your left. You should receive a new hand of cards to look through (which will be 10 cards the first time hands are switched.)
4. Everyone chooses ONE more card to keep, placing it face down on the other players chosen before.
5. Repeat the process of passing the remaining cards to the person on your left until everyone has received the last hand of just one card.
6. Add the last card you have just been handed to your pile of face down cards. This is your Squad! You and all other players now have an 11-man squad of players to start the season with.
7. If for any reason, a player has NO GOALKEEPER, they must randomly discard a card from their hand and replace it with one of the three Goalkeepers that had been kept aside earlier.

Drafting for Neutral Players
During the Drafting phase, if there is one or more neutral teams, someone must choose the players for each round of the draft for the neutral team. The player to the Neutral team’s RIGHT must choose the players for the Neutral Team’s squad. When drafting for Neutral Teams, ensure that all players can only draft for a maximum of one Neutral Team. (Don’t let the same person draft more than one Neutral Team!)
There are some rules to follow when drafting a Neutral Team:
1. When drafting for a Neutral Team, drafting is done face up.
2. When choosing the card to draft, the person drafting must choose a Goalkeeper if there is one available. Once the Neutral Team has a Goalkeeper, they may not draft a second one for the rest of the entire draft (unless there are only Goalkeepers remaining in the hand they are given.)
3. Players must choose the remaining position types (Defender, Midfielder and Forward) as evenly as possible. Example: If they have drafted a Defender and a Forward but have not yet drafted a Midfielder, they must choose a Midfielder if one is available in the next hand.)
NOTE: These restrictions are ONLY FOR NEUTRAL TEAMS. Players may draft ANY players they wish for their own squads, without restriction.

When all Players and Neutral teams have Drafted Squads, it’s time to start the season!!!

Choosing a Starting Line-up
Before the first match of the season, players must set up their starting line-up.
To do this, players must choose the following players and place their cards above the slots in the player boards:
1 Goalkeeper
2 Defenders
1 Midfielder
2 Forwards

Players should now add up all of the SHOOT values of their starting line-up together and place the SHOOT token on the number that matches that value. This is your team’s Minimum Shoot.
Players should also add up all of the DEFEND values of their starting line-up together and place the DEFEND token on the number that matches that value. This is your team’s Minimum Defend.
These numbers are very important, as they will allow you to calculate your Shoot attempts and Defend attempts during a match. More on this in the Matches section, below.
When all 6 teams have their Minimum Shoot and Minimum Defend values marked by the tokens on their player boards, the first match can start.

NOTE: Special Rule for Starting Line-ups in 2-Player and 3-Player games:
In Soccer Manager Express, when playing with 2 or 3 players, each player controls two teams. In order to avoid match-fixing, if a player’s two teams are to play each other, they MUST use the exact same team line-up that has just played the previous game.
When playing a match where a player’s two teams are against one another, that player nominates one opponent to roll dice for one side during Attempts on Goal.

Neutral Team Starting Line-ups

Neutral Teams have their starting line-ups chosen by the player who drafting their squad.
This player must follow the rules below when choosing the Starting Line-up.
1. The Players with the highest Shoot Value in the squad must be chosen in their Forward and Midfielder positions.
(For example, if there is a Midfielder with a Shoot Value of 4 and another with a Shoot Value of 3, the one with the Shoot Value of 4 must be chosen to occupy the Midfield position for this Neutral Team.)
2. The Players with the highest Defend Values in the squad must be chosen in their Goalkeeper and Defender positions.
3. If the Neutral Team has been Transferred a Premier Player that has a higher Shoot or Defend Value, that player must be added to the Starting Line-up of the Neutral Team for the next match.

A match is a single game of Soccer between two teams.
In Soccer Manager Express, a match consists of 3 Attempts on Goal. When players know how to play a match in Soccer Manager Express, each match should take no more than two minutes to complete.
Sometimes a real professional game of soccer can have a dozen or more goals, but in this game, the score-line of a match will always have a maximum of 3 goals in it. The result of a match in Soccer Manager Express will always be either: 0-0, 1-0, 1-1, 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0.
The first thing to figure out for a match is which two teams are about to play!
The Fixtures chart on the right side of the Stadium board shows the order of all 30 matches in the season. The first match in the season is Blue vs. Red.
The Blue Player is the Home player. The Home player owns the D10 (ten-sided die) for this game.
The Red Player is the Away player. The Away player owns the D8 (eight-sided die) for this game.
Each match consists of 3 Attempts on Goal. Regardless of the amount of goals scored, the match will end after the third Attempt on Goal is complete.

Attempt on Goal
An Attempt on Goal is a chance for one of the two teams to score a GOAL. Goals are how you win at Soccer Manager Express! An Attempt on Goal follows the following steps:
1. Determine who is making an Attempt on Goal.
To do this, the Home player rolls the D10 and the Away player rolls the D8.
Whichever player rolls the higher number, will make an Attempt on Goal.
If both players roll the same number, both must roll again.

2. Collect Shoot Dice.
The player who is making the Attempt on Goal (who rolled higher, just now) must collect the custom dice required for their players who contribute to their SHOOT value.
Any player who has a Shoot value of 1 or higher is included in the Attempt on Goal.
Typically all Forward and Midfielder players will have a Shoot value.
(Goalkeepers and Defenders do not have any Shoot value. Do not collect dice for them.)
Shoot Players will all have a specific die associated with them. (For example, Murphy is a Forward who uses the Red die.)
Players will likely need to collect 3 dice for their Attempt on Goal in the early stages of the game.

3. Collect Defend Dice.
The other player must now collect the custom dice to Defend with.
This is done in the same way as the Shoot dice, but instead of collecting dice for players with a Shoot value, the player must collect all dice for players with a Defend value.
Typically all Goalkeeper, Defender and Midfielder have a Defend value.
(Forwards never have a Defend value. Do not collect dice for them.)
Defend players have a specific die associated with them, just like Shoot players. (For example, Hewitt is a Defender who requires a blue die.)

4. Shoot!
The player making an Attempt on Goal rolls all custom dice they have collected for their Shoot players.
The results of all dice are added together.
This value is added to the Minimum Shoot value on the Player Board. This determines the Final Shoot Value for this player’s Attempt on Goal.

5. Defend!
The other player now rolls all custom dice they have collected for their Defend players.
The results of all dice are added together.
This value is added to the Minimum Defend value on the Player Board. This determines the Final Defend Value against this Attempt on Goal.

6. Determine Result
Depending on the results, the following outcomes are possible:

Shoot value is higher: GOAL!
Defend value is higher: Miss! No Goal is scored.
Shoot and Defend values are equal: Hit the woodwork! It’s a Miss! No goal is scored.

7. Adjust Goal Difference
If there was a Goal, the two following adjustments must be made on the board:
a. The team who scored moves their pawn up one space on the Goal Difference track.
b. The team who conceded the goal (did not stop the Goal from being scored) moves their pawn down one space on the Goal Difference track.

8. OPTIONAL: Substitution – only during first and second Attempts on Goal
A player may exchange ONE of the players in their team with one from their Squad.
This is done by removing the player card from the Player Board slot and returning it to your hand of players in reserve (your Squad.)
Now place a different player in that slot. The new player MUST be eligible for that position. (Example: Only Midfielder players can play in the Midfielder slot, etc.)

9. End of Attempt on Goal
This Attempt on Goal is over.

Final Score
Once there have been a total of 3 Attempts on Goal, the Match is over. Now we must determine the Final Score. There are two possibilities with different outcomes.
1. There is a Winner and a Loser
One team has scored more goals that the other!
The team that has scored more is the Winner. This team gets 3 Points on the League Table track.
The other team gets nothing.
(Possible score-lines for this result are: 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0.)

2. The Match is a Tie
Both teams have score an equal amount of goals.
Both teams score 1 Point on the League Table track.
(Possible score-lines for this result are: 0-0 or 1-1)

Transfer Market

The Transfer Market is where players can adjust their Squads by buying new Premier Players.
After every 3 Matches, the Transfer Market opens.
This means that after each team has completed a Match, they may buy some new players before the next one if they wish. There is a TRANSFER tag on the Fixture chart after every 3 matches to remind players about the Transfer Market step.

After every 6 matches, players are given an injection of funds. This means that everyone gets a regular payment to continue to grow their squad. This money is given to all players before the Transfer Market opens for purchasing new players.
Players do not have to spend any or all of their money at any point. Money is not lost between rounds. A player will not be able to buy the strongest players in the game unless they save money for multiple rounds.

Purchasing players occurs in the following manner:
1. The player who is currently in last place (bottom of the league) may purchase a player from the 7 Premier Players who are face-up below the Stadium board.
This is often the player with the fewest points on the League Table. In the case of a tie, the player with the lowest Goal Difference amongst those tied goes first.
If there is still a tie, these players roll the D10. Whoever rolls lowest goes first.
2. Players take turns from the last placed player to the League Leaders buying a Premier Player. Players may choose to buy no player and pass.
To buy a Premier Player, simply spend the amount of money in the COST box on the Premier Player card, return that money to the supply and add the Premier Player to your squad.
3. The space left by the newly purchased Premier Player is filled by a new card from the top of the Premier Player deck.
4. Once everyone has bought a player or passed, the opportunity to buy another player is available to anyone who wishes to spend more of their money.
5. Players may continue to buy players if they have money, but always in the same order (bottom of the league -> League Leaders.)
6. Players who previously Passed may, if they wish, opt to purchase a player in a subsequent round of the Transfer Market.
7. Once all players have Passed one after another, the Transfer Market is closed.
8. Remove the two cheapest players from the Transfer Market and replace them with two new ones from the top of the Premier deck. Do this whether Premier players have been purchased this round or not.

Neutral Teams during the Transfer Market
The Neutral Teams will also receive new Premier Players, but they do so without spending any money.
Neutral Teams are not present during the Transfer Market itself, but rather collect a Premier Player once the Transfer Market is closed.
The Neutral Team that is lowest in the League Table (follow the same rules to break ties between them as outlined above) simply takes the player with the lowest COST of the 7 available in the Transfer Market and adds him to its Squad.
If there are multiple players of the same COST available in the Transfer Market, the Neutral Team always goes for the player with the highest Shoot Value. If there is a tie for highest Shoot Value, the player who drafted this Neutral Team’s Squad chooses whichever player amongst those they wish to add for the Neutral Team.
When a player is added to the Neutral Team from the Transfer Market line-up, another is placed in the vacant spot from the top of the Premier Player deck, just as if a person had purchased that player.

End of the Season – Winning the Game!

When the last Match is played (Yellow vs. Brown) the Season is over.
All teams will have played 10 matches each. 5 of those will have been Home games and the other 5 Away.
Once the Season is over, we determine the winner of the game and crown that team as League Champions!!!

The League Champions are the team that has:
1. The most points in the League Table.

If any team has achieved this alone, they are automatically the winners!!!
However, if there is a tie…

2. Amongst teams tied for most points, whichever team has the Highest value on the Goal Difference track is the winner!

But there could still be a tie. In that case…

3. Teams tied at this point must have a Penalty Shootout!

A Penalty Shootout consists of a single Attempt on Goal between the tied players.
Both players are considered Home teams for the Penalty Shootout. They roll the D10 to determine who makes the Attempt on Goal.
If the first Attempt on Goal results in a miss, the OTHER player gets a chance to make their own Attempt on Goal.
Players keep making Attempts on Goal until one of them scores a goal.
The FIRST player to score a Goal is the winner!

In the highly unlikely event that there are multiple players involved in a tie that requires 3 or more to take part in the Penalty Shootout, all players roll the D10 and only the two highest rolling players take part in the Penalty Shootout.
Penalty Shootouts can also be done to determine other positions in the League if desired by players.



Please note: Players should NOT attempt to play Soccer Manager Express with ADVANCED RULES on their first play of the game.

Advanced Players may wish to add Player Fatigue to the game once they are familiar with the rules and have played the game a few times. Player Fatigue lengthens the game considerably, and it should only be played by players who know Soccer Manager Express very well.
Player Fatigue requires players to add an additional type of token to the game. You can use whatever you like for this, from coins to beads or little scraps of paper. These will be the Fatigue tokens.
Whenever a player plays an entire match (is not substituted) he gains a Fatigue token. Add a Fatigue token as soon as the match ends. Any player who gets his third fatigue token must immediately be removed from the Starting Line-up. This player cannot be substituted in to the next match either. He is unavailable for one match.
It is recommended that players leave the three Fatigue tokens on the player for the duration of the match he is unavailable for, then remove them all when he is ready to be added back into the team.
If a player is substituted out during a match, they don’t get a Fatigue token. However, players who substitute into play during a match will get a Fatigue token at the end of the match with all other players on the team.

Multiple Seasons
Some players may wish to continue their game of Soccer Manager Express for more than one season. Due to the limitation of having a Premier Player deck that is only so large, players could encounter that the deck is completed empty during their third (or even second) season in a row if they retain their squads at the end of the standard game.
Playing Multiple Seasons is doable, but it is recommended that players wait until the First Expansion for Soccer Manager Express appears which will add more players to the Premier Deck at a later date.



The following dice must be created before you can play Soccer Manager Express. All are 6-sided (D6) dice. The game cannot be played without them! You can make them with blank dice, or by making stickers to cover over existing dice.
It is important to make the dice the colours required as well. It is recommended that you colour the edges of the sides in the noted colour for ease of identification.

The numbers below should each be on one face of the die.

1 – 1 – 2 – 2 – 3 – 3 = Blue
1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 4 = Purple
1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 = Black
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 = Red
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 8 = Green
2 – 2 – 2 – 3 – 3 – 3 = Orange
2 – 2 – 3 – 3 – 4 – 4 = Pink
2 – 2 – 3 – 3 – 4 – 5 = White
2 – 3 – 4 – 4 – 5 – 6 = Yellow

It is also recommended that you try to have more than one of each die. This will make gameplay faster, as players won’t have to share dice or re-roll them if they have more than one player who uses the same die type. If possible, having 2 of each die is great. 3 of each is even better.
The Purple, Blue and Orange dice in particular are most frequently used. If you have additional spare/blank dice, it is highly recommended that you make more of these!


Game Design, Artwork and Components by Brian Lelas.
Soccer Manager Express is © 2015 Brian Lelas.

Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, in this game is completely coincidental.
Soccer Manager Express is a completely free, non-profit, Print-and-Play game purely for non-commercial sharing and enjoyment. The Designer wishes to thank playtesters and friends for helping to make this game possible.
Thanks to for being the amazing platform it is to make games like this available for people to play for free across the world! Visit and make your life better. You will find all Soccer Manager Express content there as if becomes available in the future.

An expansion that includes new Premier Player cards, a solo play variant and other potential additionals will be available in 2016.


Some essential component images:

Player Boards

The Stadium Board

Basic tokens

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