Private Leagues: Yes
* The original Fantasy Football Game
* Automated online player auction
* Clean and simple scoring rules
* Private league option (5-16 managers required)
* Lots of web based tools to manage your league
* Join as a solo manager and play in a random league with strangers
* Fewer competitions than the Pro game
* Fewer options than the Pro game
* Not as much fun if you’re playing in a league with strangers
The “Auction” version of the game is very similar to the Pro game available at Fantasy League ltd except it’s designed for those managers who want to include an online player auction and the traditional rules where one player can only be owned by one team, but perhaps don’t have a full quota of managers to fill their league.
Each manager must select a squad of 16 from a budget of £75 million using the online player auction tool. Once the season is underway, managers can make up to 25 transfers per season using an additional £25 million. Managers are limited to 5 per transfer window. There are 12 windows available throughout the season and the dates of these are set by the league chairman. Transfers are conducted using the Fantasy Leagues “Sealed Bids Engine”.
Substitutions are unlimited and can be made right up until each kickoff in a gameweek. Alternatively, managers can use the Fantasy League “Supersub” system to program their transfers to be automated before kickoffs, days in advance.
The scoring system for all the offered game modes is the same and the purest of all Fantasy Football games. Players earn 3 points for a goal and 2 for an assist. Goalkeepers and Defenders (split into full-backs and centre-backs) earn a point for appearing on the pitch for 45 minutes, 2 additional points are earned for a clean sheet (provided they play at least 75 minutes) and one point is lost for every goal conceded. It’s clean and simple and still the best in my opinion.
Fantasy League’s Auction game is very similar to the Premiership Pro version with just one or two key differences. Like the Pro game, this is geared towards those who have gathered a group of managers looking to set up their own private league. The major difference from the Pro game however, is that the Chairman’s role in setting up the league is far less complicated. The Chairman does not have the same vast array of options open to them, for example the budget is set at £75 million for each team and there is no facility for specifying “local” rules for the league such as restrictions on formations. While this means you’ll have fewer options to tweak, it does take the pressure off the chairman – handy if you don’t have an obvious candidate amongst the league to take up the role.
Not surprisingly, given the name of the game, the player auction option present in the Pro game remains intact so, once again, players are bought from the pool and can only play for one team in the league. Unlike the Pro game, there is no option for a live, “traditional” auction. Instead players are allocated according to the automated online auction service. As I mention in my review of the Pro game, this is an excellent facility that allows for a series of secret, closed bids to be made until all the squads in the league are complete.
Once the season is underway, the substitution and transfer policy is again similar to the Pro game, although there are some subtle differences. Managers have unlimited substitutions and access to the Fantasy League “Supersub” system that allows managers to set substitutions for each set of kickoffs in a gameweek, days in advance. This means the Chairman cannot prevent managers from making changes prior to Sunday and Monday games after they’ve made their selection for Saturdays matches. This obviously allows the more committed managers to get an edge in the league overall.
When it comes to transfers, managers are given a further £25 million after they have spent their Â£75 million budget, to spend on up to 25 transfers throughout the season. As with the Pro game a series of transfer windows can be decided by the Chairman (up to 12 can be specified throughout the season) and the excellent “Sealed Bids Engine” – allowing managers to make sealed bids for players that only activate once a window has been reached, is available.
The key difference with the Auction game that may appeal to some, is that you don’t necessarily need a group of managers to play. Like the Pro game you do need a group of 5-16 managers to set up your own private league. However, if you want to play solo and enjoy the process of the player auction, then you can register a team and be placed in a random league with 9 other registered managers in the same situation. Of course, initially this may not be as much fun as playing with mates but it’s nonetheless an excellent option for the Fantasy Football Manager who prefers the purest approach of the Pro game auction but can’t convince his mates to join in the fun.
One drawback with the Auction game, compared to the Pro version is the lack of additional competitions. While the Pro game literally throws knockout cups at managers throughout the season, in the Auction game you have your league, FA Cup (where players score points from real-life FA Cup ties) and manager of the month to compete for. In fact the cheaper, Classic game from Fantasy League, offers more competitions with your registration.
Weighing things up then, the Auction game seems to cater for a minority and suffers as a result. If you can get 5 managers together you only need to shell out another £6 to play the standard package Pro game (although I’d recommend paying £32 to get the interactive package). The additional competitions and flexibility you get with the Pro game warrant this extra outlay. If however, you’re looking play solo, then the Classic game seems a better option. It’s cheaper and you have the option to register and invite some mates into a league at a later date and if not, you’re placed into a Premier League of 20 random managers to compete over the season regardless. As the name suggests, with the Auction game you’re paying extra cash for the player auction feature alone, a feature which really only comes into its own when playing with mates.