Review – Premier Fantasy Manager
Private Leagues: Yes
* Free to play â€œAmateurâ€ Game
* Easy private league setup
* Monthly and season-long prizes
* Professional and Amateur teams combined for overall competition
* Purchasable transfer kits creates divide for â€œAmateurâ€ teams
* Scoring system creates too great a bias towards goalscoring players and those from top clubs
* No cap on players from individual clubs creates unrealistic and “block” teams
* Initial Formation choice set for entire season
* Relatively meagre prize money
* Clunky player search and player lists
Select your formation, 11 players and a manager. Your chosen formation is set in stone for the entire season. You can then make 1 transfer per month with your amateur team or buy 2 extra transfers for Â£1.50 each month. Alternatively you can upgrade your team to â€œProfessionalâ€ for Â£8 to earn 5 transfers per month.
The scoring system is complicated by rules that reward managers points based on their players’ clubs performance. So any player (who plays) or real-life manager who acheives victory with their club in a gameweek, scores you 3 points, with 1 point awarded if they draw. You also get 2 points for any player completing 90 minutes and 1 point for a player coming off or on before 90 minutes.
Elsewhere, there are no points awarded for assists and points for goals scored depends on player position. Keepers get 7 points should they score, defenders 5, midfielders 4 and forward 3 points. Points are deducted from Keepers and Defenders for goals conceded, although strangely 2 points are deducted from Keepers for each goal and only 1 from Defenders. On the flipside Keepers get 2 points if they keep a clean sheet and
Defenders only 1 point. This game also has the biggers penalties for ill-discipline, with 3 points deducted for bookings and 10 points for red cards.
Fantasy Manager is a relative newcomer to the Fantasy Football scene. However, it’s already proven popular with those looking to setup a mini-league that combines both casual and hardcore managers, mainly because it incorporates game types that suit both groups. However, the free “Amateur” option offered by this game has issues which are only partially cured by coughing up Â£8 for an upgrade to the “Professional” version of the game. It’s clear that this newcomer still has plenty of work to to do before it can challenge the top fantasy games.
Managers can register an â€œAmateurâ€ team for free. This entitles you to choose your team formation and pick your 11 players to fill it. This formation is fixed, so you need to ensure you choose this wisely so as not to restrict you transfer options throughout the season. PFM is one of several games that also asks you to pick a real-life manager who scores you points, along with your players, each gameweek.
Amateur teams can then make one transfer per month or choose to buy a pack of additional transfers, giving you 2 more transfers, for the sum of Â£1.50. These kits can only be purchased once per month. This rather unique system does create some issues. While the standard Amateur setup lends itself perfectly to mini-leagues made up of both hardcore and casual players, the option to buy additional transfers creates a clear divide – giving those willing to invest extra time and money in their team, an advantage over those who don’t.
The other option presented to you at registration and throughout the season, is to upgrade your team to a â€œProfessionalâ€ team. This costs Â£8 and entitles you to 4 more transfers per month giving you 5 in total. Again this can cause big headaches in private leagues if some managers choose to upgrade, thus leaving the more casual managers behind.
The game encourages managers to upgrade by combining professional and amateur teams in one pool when it comes to the overall game, thus emphasing the divide and putting pressure on amateur managers that are fairing well. It would be far better if Amateur and Professional teams were split (like the Times Fantasy Football) and a lesser prize offered to the Amateur teams. While this might hit the profits of the organisers initially, it would certainly create a fairer experience which would perhaps result in a greater number of registrations next season.
Elsewhere, the scoring system is not without it’s problems. The overall balance is upset by the fact that all players get points for their real-life teams victories and draws. This combined with the lack of a cap on the number of players you can select from each club, creates a lot of block teams – teams made up of 6 or 7 players from one club. It also means that Darren Fletcher is a decent buy, which just doesn’t seem right.
The lack of assists and the rather meagre rewards for clean sheets, also creates a bias towards goalscoring players and away from creative players and defenders. The designers have attempted to balance this by making top forwards and midfielders ridiculously expensive. Choose Henry in this game and suddenly Lee Carsley becomes an essential midfield purchase.
The problem here is that casual players will want to pick recognisable names which guarantee points, but then find themselves having to trawl the clunky notepad style player list to find cheap players to fill the gaps around them. With only 1 transfer per month to replace non-playing team members, this often results in teams made up of a couple of high scoring players surrounded by a bunch of cheap bench-warmers.
The initial team selection is vital for teams playing in a private league of amateur teams. Casual players who choose their initial lineup quickly in hope they can make changes once things get underway, can get left behind early on. This can result in one or two teams running away with things after just a few months which in turn results in early dropouts. Sadly, this hardly makes for a satisfying Fantasy Football experience if you’re looking to set up a private league with some mates. For solo players meanwhile, these issues plus the lack of a significant prize money, means that you can easily find a more satisfying, and financially rewarding experience elsewhere.