Welcome to Football Manager™ 2018! We’ve created a beginner’s guide to walk newcomers to the series through getting to grips with the various aspects of management, and to hopefully answer any questions that might come up along the way.
Your first step will be to create your managerial profile and begin a new Career. Follow the steps provided on-screen, choose a team to manage, and hit ‘Quick Start’ to get started. Please refer to specific sections of this manual for in-depth explanations of these areas should you require them.
Football Manager™ is, as the name suggests, a football management simulation in which time advances upon clicking the ‘Continue’ button found in the top corner of the screen. Although time exists as a fundamental concept, whenever the game returns from processing time forward, the ‘clock’ effectively stops for you to go about your business in as much (or as little) depth is required to action the items of the day. ‘Continue’ will move through your calendar incrementally; days become weeks, weeks become months, months become years, and so on.
Your Inbox, Your Home
Your ‘Inbox’ is the central point around which your experience is built. Communication crucial to the management of your chosen team will be delivered to you in a prompt and timely fashion – the game will bring you back from processing whenever your input is required – and the majority of your key decisions and actions will be taken in response to content arriving here.
Look at things that interest you
Whenever you move the mouse cursor around the screen, it will highlight people, clubs, and other entities you can click on and interact with by underlining them. Take some time to do this to familiarise yourself with the layout of various screens and with the scope of what you, as manager, are able to do, and what the consequences – both positive and negative – are.
Become familiar with the look and feel
The sidebar on the left of the screen is the primary navigational tool providing you with quick access to all key areas of your team. Each screen also has a horizontal bar containing tab menus sitting below the ‘menu bar’ at the top of the screen, which features a contextual menu as well as a free text search box for swift navigation around your game world. Please refer to the User Interface section of the manual for a more detailed breakdown.
After reading through the first few items in your Inbox, it makes sense to devise a tactic and pick your first team. Use the Create New Tactic option to assist you in setting up your team, then begin to select your team by selecting your desired players, per position, by clicking on each ‘Pick Player’ button. If you’d rather your Assistant Manager pick the team for you to begin with, the ‘Quick Pick’ button will select an appropriate team for the upcoming match based on player availability and fitness, as well as their suitability to each position and role.
Taking the time to explore each section of the sidebar, and the many sub-options therein on each screen, will help you become far more acquainted with Football Manager™ and, in turn, increase your enjoyment of playing. There is help at hand in almost every area by clicking on the ‘?’ icon underneath the ‘Continue’ button, as well as more integrated assistance in the form of delegation/automation to and from your capable backroom staff team.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
The ‘Responsibilities’ tab on the ‘Staff’ section of the sidebar will allow you to delegate any number of tasks to your responsible and reliable backroom team. It can be advisable to do this in the short-term whilst getting to grips with the scale of your managerial task, before taking back some of the responsibility when you feel more attuned to handling them.
The more you explore and the more you play, the more comfortable you’ll become with some of the more complicated areas of management, and hopefully your enjoyment will continue to increase!
Keep your players happy
A happy team is a winning team, and very little is more important to your chances of success than ensuring that your players remain happy. Pay close attention to each individual (and therefore the squad’s collective) morale and personality, and be aware of their short- and long-term happiness, details of which can be found on their ‘Information’ screens. They will often come to you directly with their concerns, and how successfully you deal with them will go a long way to determining whether you succeed in your job.
Clichés become clichés for a reason – there is inherent wisdom in there somewhere – and Rome really wasn’t built in a day. Be ambitious, but remain realistic at the same time, and understand that there is a learning curve involved here. You can enjoy Football Manager™ as a complete novice by heeding some of the advice in this guide, as well as the myriad of helping hands provided in-game, and you can in turn use the experiences you encounter in your fledgling days as a manager to sharpen your skills as you become more knowledgeable and comfortable in your surroundings.