Yes!!! That's right ladies and gentleman of Solitaire Times; TWO games to speak of!! And here they are...
First, let me start with my unexpected "Bargain Ninja" find; Forbidden Island. I was at Talize (second hand store) and saw this amongst the board games. I was happy to see it there as I've had my eye on it for a while. Not as a "Must Have" by any means, but one that would be fun and easy to teach to others and play with family, as it's lighter than my typical go-to style of games. It was $7 CDN (compared to the $20-$25 CDN new). Bargain! I opened the tin to make sure it looked like everything was there. All looked intact and in good shape. Just missing the rulebook (no big deal).
Sadly, for the first time in 'Bargain Ninja' history, I took a gut punch with this one...
When I got it home, and downloaded the rulebook I learned (sadly) it IS missing a couple components. 1-flood card and 1-location tile. Both different (meaning 2 total locations are unusable). Thankfully, all treasure cards and locations are there. Also, the flood meter board is missing (although I have the tracker piece for it...) 🙄 This is no big deal though, I can make one. I was saddened as my perfect record with used games has finally been tarnished. 😥 I think it will still be playable, with 2-less locations however. I plan to ask experienced players of this game on the BGG forum - unless someone here can tell me if this would be an issue or not? I don't see why not as of right now... I guess for only $7 I can't complain. The gameplay seems quite straight forward and the co-op will feel "Pandemic-esque".
With football/soccer as my lifelong passion, this game was a no-brainer for me. Especially since it had a solo mode. I was beyond excited for this to finally arrive! I unboxed it Friday afternoon, however with having to head to soccer myself (for all us old, injured, retired players) my time was limited and I spent it punching out components and learning the gameplay. I also watched a clip of a solo play for a bit before heading out to my own for a night of exercise, friends and football fun.
Saturday (yesterday) was taken from me by Mother Nature as she sent (another) massive storm through our region/province. Shovelling just over a foot of snow that landed on us was my ENTIRE morning, and then we spent the afternoon with friends who were visiting.
Today however, after hockey this morning and watching my United get pummelled by Liverpool 😥, I got Eleven: Football Manager to the table to get pummelled myself. 🤣
First thing's first, it's a table hog for sure (which I love)...
This is just a solo setup too. Wow! The stadium board (top right), match board (bottom right) and staff boar (bottom centre) are your "player boards". In other words, add another three of those to the table if you're playing multiplayer. Whoa! I'm actually running through ideas in my head of how to set this up on my usual gaming table downstairs (which is currently pre-occupied by another puzzle my daughter is doing - which is why I'm on the dining room table).
The rulebook is just over 30-pages and I wouldn't call it the best. But if you take your time, you get it sorted out.
My team was ready to take on the third division today (so I thought). This game is tough!! I finished extremely poorly after my first playthrough today (standings wise and victory point wise). But did I ever enjoy it!!! I'm in love with the fact that I have a football game in my collection that I can bring to the table! And one with plenty of replaybility I feel!
From your board of directors, weekly board meetings (where anything can happen), hiring staff, signing players, selling players, managing your stadium, sorting out your tactics for the weekly match... There's alot to consider, so it's no wonder my first role as manager didn't go so well today.
I love the artwork in this game, I love the mechanics and I always love a TON of choices to consider which this game absolutely has. Here's a quick run down of a week in this game:
Monday - Collect resources & attend your weekly board meeting
Tues-Wed-Thur - These three days are where you perform your actions (which range from hiring staff, improving your stadium, signing or selling players etc). Each day, you get 1-action to perform. Tough choices here as you manage your club.
Weekends - Match Day
Match Day's have their own entire process from the scouting report of your opponent, to choosing your tactics to which players you're putting on the pitch.... It's wild!
The game (or season) is 6-weeks long (i.e. 6-rounds). At the end, you collect your VPs based on various things you've done during the season. 😎
I was quite proud of my stadium today I must say. I had "Mister Movie) as my shirt sponsor, Frank's Fruit on some of our adboards and I ended with an additional improvement to the stadium than you see here. Not bad. Not good either, but not bad. I'll also add that my 3-stands were sold out every game after week 1. Also proud of that fact!
One final thought after my playthrough is the replayability factor. Not only are there plenty of player, staff and sponsor cards to keep variety high each play, but the solo game creates a ton as well. The "main solo game" we'll say, is trying to earn VPs to rank the quality of your management. For example, finishing below 40VPs puts you in the "amateur manager" category. I finished with so few VPs, I put myself in the "mini-field volunteer coach" category. 🤣 On top of the regular solo plays however, the game comes with 6-different scenarios with you can play with to create different focuses for your club and management team. Awesome!!!!!!!
Can't wait to play this again soon! Here's hoping my other pre-order (Distilled) will arrive soon as well, because it may take some special spirits in my belly to get my first win with this one. 😂