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Once and for all - What does "tempo" actually do? (FM 14)


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As in the title, there still does not seem to be any consent about what the former "tempo" slider and now in FM 14 the team instruction settings actually do.

As for the description in the team instruction settings, a high tempo seems to move the ball around quickly trying to destabilize the opponent (Barca / Spanish style), while a slow tempo makes players wait more before passing the ball (regardless if short or long) and therefore waiting patiently for a hole in the defence (Italian style). Both ways are similar as they use possession and use holes in the defence as soon as they appear, with the difference that the quick tempo actively tries to create these holes while the slower tempo is more patient.

So far so good, but "tempo" in FM as I heard seems to mean something quite different. It seems to define how much "attacking" the passes are, how much "forward". So a quick tempo would mean that passes are much more directed towards the opponent's goal, while slow tempo includes many backwards passes and horizontal passing.

So to create a possession based, one touch, defence-stabilizing, quick tempo, short passing game (Barca or Arsenal e.g.), would I need to set the tempo to "high" or "slow"?

I don't want them to head directly for the opponent's backline and make too many forward passes, I want them to do horizontal passes and even backward passes BUT in a highish tempo with the purpose to create more holes in the defence and tire the opponent.

Could someone please explain the actual effect of "tempo"?

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but "tempo" in FM as I heard seems to mean something quite different. It seems to define how much "attacking" the passes are, how much "forward". So a quick tempo would mean that passes are much more directed towards the opponent's goal, while slow tempo includes many backwards passes and horizontal passing.

I don't think that's the case at all. You had it right with the first definition with Barca and Italian style.

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Yeah, think of it as how quickly the ball gets moved from the back/defence to the front/strikers.

Yeah I don't think that's right. Tempo is how quickly the ball is moved rather than where it gets moved to.

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Neil have you ever considered creating an something like an 'Official Guide to Football Manager' to explain in detail what each tactical instruction does amongst other things in the game?

When I used to buy older FM games it came with a huge manual that explained everything but now things are digital the game doesn't come with anything so it seems it's up to the players themselves to figure things out and misconceptions get created that are often carried around for a long time without being dispelled such as the definition of tempo above.

I think it would really help players.

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Neil have you ever considered creating an something like an 'Official Guide to Football Manager' to explain in detail what each tactical instruction does amongst other things in the game?

When I used to buy older FM games it came with a huge manual that explained everything but now things are digital the game doesn't come with anything so it seems it's up to the players themselves to figure things out and misconceptions get created that are often carried around for a long time without being dispelled such as the definition of tempo above.

I think it would really help players.

Well, the tooltips are useful. I think some of them could use a bit more clarity, and some people don't seem aware they exist, but they do describe what each of the instructions are supposed to do.

And in any case, no matter how detailed the descriptions are, people will still need to try them out in-game to see how they are applied, what works with their team and their players, and how multiple instructions mesh.

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I don't think that's the case at all. You had it right with the first definition with Barca and Italian style.

Really? I would consider the Possesion based Barca-style a really slow tempo style. Furthermore the "retain possesion"-shout creates a notably slower-tempoed tactic in the game, while the "get ball forward" ups the tempo from the default.

Anyone remember Spain from the European Championships in 2012? Can't get slower than that.

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The problem is the definition, which you have correct, and how that translates to the match engine are different. Arsene has a high tempo because his teams generally transition to counter quickly where Guardiola's is low because his teams counter less, and play more of a methodical possession game.

It doesn't mean you can't play short passing with high tempo, my main tactic in fm13 did, but you also have to allow enough freedom that they can make a direct pass if the opportunity is there so that your side transitions at a high tempo as well.

Many tried to replicate the barca style in fm13, in my experience it is not a high tempo that dictates one touch passing, it's limiting players run with ball so they make more probing passes rather than stringing together 4 forward short passes every possession - which works but looks nothing like barca when it's given away quickly and often because they're trying to quickly transition using only short passes.

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I suppose Neil knows how his own game is working, so I trust him on that, even though there has always been a lot of talk like that in this thread saying tempo means transition speed, that's why I wanted to finally close this subject once and for all by asking the creators of the game.

This is not about argueing if Spain or Barca or Arsenal play high tempo or slow tempo or a mixture. Let's keep this purely on the game mechanics.

The simple question is just if a higher tempo means 1. players take less time before choosing a pass (and therefore the pure speed of circaltion is increased) OR 2. the passes are more attacking and forward (and therefore the speed of transition is increased).

As far as I understood Neil it is option no. 1. I suppose the transition speed is therefore influenced by mentality settings.

However I am quite confused by tempo attributes set for the above mentioend managers. I honestly don't remember Barca's players or Spain's players holding the ball for like 5 seconds before passing it on (or anyway waiting much longer before passing in comparison to Wenger's players), so Del Bosque's Tempo set to 3 speaks against Neils words

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Furthermore the "retain possesion"-shout creates a notably slower-tempoed tactic in the game, while the "get ball forward" ups the tempo from the default.

The classic TC shout adjusted two Settings, tempo AND passing, though. "Retain Possession" encouraged more simple possession based passes and to slow play down equally, vice versa for the "get the ball forward" shout. That's two distinctive settings (increased/decreased pasing sliders), and a slower tempo game is the result of intent if you applied "retain possession" (lowered tempo slider).

This is kind of like "time wasting", there is an interesting thread in the tactics subforums about ist implications. Whilst the discussion was interesting, there were some rather esotheric theories going around, and upon request I got confirmed that it never influenced anything else but what is says on the tin, and that similarily to tempo it wouldn't influence anything else but what your gut feeling first tells you it would, that is until you start overcomplicating (in the Events.cfg you will notice multiple lines of commentary all linking to time wasting events therein, and ones such as "Player x dawdles on the ball to waste time" has led to a lot of theories). Time wasting and tempo are pretty accurately described in the online manual and print manual in that sense.

I had hoped the days of community theories about such basic means of tactical input would be over, though...

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Well, the "Higher Tempo" and "Shorter Passes" instructions are not contradictory - maybe try using both of those if that's what you're after?

Agreed, with this you would be playing a fast short passing game, which is what I try to play

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Agreed, with this you would be playing a fast short passing game, which is what I try to play

I haven't tried it on fm14 yet, but in fm13 I found it caused my teams to play less probing passes and instead string together 4 or 5 vertical short passes quickly. It resulted in more chances, but also a lot of loss of possession. Set to control with retain possession, either of these seemed to take precedent over tempo, just as setting to attacking results in more direct passes even with short passing selected, maybe it gave more creative freedom.

Fm14 so far control and possession based tactics seem more viable than they did in fm13, so maybe using them along with a more high tempo, to compensate for the lowered tempo from retain possession, will work better.

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I suppose Neil knows how his own game is working, so I trust him on that, even though there has always been a lot of talk like that in this thread saying tempo means transition speed, that's why I wanted to finally close this subject once and for all by asking the creators of the game.

This is not about argueing if Spain or Barca or Arsenal play high tempo or slow tempo or a mixture. Let's keep this purely on the game mechanics.

The simple question is just if a higher tempo means 1. players take less time before choosing a pass (and therefore the pure speed of circaltion is increased) OR 2. the passes are more attacking and forward (and therefore the speed of transition is increased).

As far as I understood Neil it is option no. 1. I suppose the transition speed is therefore influenced by mentality settings.

However I am quite confused by tempo attributes set for the above mentioend managers. I honestly don't remember Barca's players or Spain's players holding the ball for like 5 seconds before passing it on (or anyway waiting much longer before passing in comparison to Wenger's players), so Del Bosque's Tempo set to 3 speaks against Neils words

No one was arguing about how arsenal or barca play, rather pointing out that by the definition barca would be high tempo but everything in game (player and staff attributes) as well as any barca tactic theorycrafting, which is based on the match engine, barca is by these definitions slow tempo.

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From what I observed, the tempo setting will determine how fast your team moves the ball around. You will have to complement that with 'retain possession' or 'get ball forward' to influence how adventurous your team plays.

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  • 1 month later...

Higher tempo: Your players attacking play with be more urgent. They will move the ball around quicker.

If you like to play "Attacking Football" And with "Higher Tempo" and you have a good midfield of players with high passing rating and high decision rating, then you really do some damage - and would'nt hurt to have the midfielders have some creativity and first touch to make some lethal through passes onto fast forwards with high off the ball rating.

In 14.1.4 those passes simply destroy opposition defence.

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Don't forget Time Wasting

I tend to find that players hang on to the ball more when Time Wasting is set more toward Often & move the ball on more quickly when it's set more toward Rarely

That is because "player xy dwells on the ball to waste time" is a time wasting event which can be triggered. It is one amongst a couple though, such as players taking ages on set pieces or players running towards the corner flag with the ball, and players are only encouraged to dwell on the ball when not under pressure (thus more likely to happen in your own half and deeper where there is no pressure), so don't confuse time wasting with general tempo of play. Consequently, and as this caused confusion anyways, it's probably good that the only modifier you have now for time wasting yourself is attached to the contain (and I think defend) mentalities/strategies in the game.

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