A little more than a month ago, we had covered a wealth of soccer games for mobile devices, ranging from titles for hardcore management gamers, to titles for those who want a more casual experience. Square Enix’s Championship Manager 17 is definitely more for the former group of players. For those who aren’t familiar with the series, this is the management game that started it all, way back in the ‘90s when it was still being developed by Eidos for PC. Now, it’s available for mobile courtesy of Square Enix, and this year’s version comes with over 450 clubs across 15 countries and 25 leagues. All the major European football leagues are here, all with real-life players whom you can train and develop, as you choose your formations and lineups, and come up with your own general training goals.
All told, this is a title with a much, much steeper learning curve than your typical casual soccer game for mobile, where it’s common for all playable characters to play the same way. In here, every player and every team is unique, and all are modeled based on their real-life counterparts. So let’s cut to the chase as we now bring you our complete and comprehensive Championship Manager 17 strategy guide. For this first part, we shall deal with the absolute basics of the game, meaning the process of choosing teams, lineups, and formations.
1. Which Team Should You Choose?
The very first thing you’ll be asked to do in this game is to choose your manager name. It could be anything you fancy, may it be your own name, a real-life manager’s name, or something goofy and off-beat. But the real decisions will start once you’re asked to choose your league, then choose your team. We would suggest choosing leagues which you’re familiar with, but in case you don’t know much about association football at the moment, the choice is all up to you; you can go with your home country’s league, if applicable, as things should at least be vaguely familiar to you.
At first, you’ll only be able to select lower-tier clubs; higher-prestige clubs (e.g. Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, etc.) will only be available to you once you’ve earned a coaching badge. This badge can be earned if you’re able to lead your lower-tier club to success, or you can buy one in the in-app store with real-life cash. If you’re a Champ Man newbie, it’s recommendable that you choose teams that have just gotten demoted from the top league to the second division (e.g. Newcastle, which got demoted from Premier to Championship). But if you want a challenge, regardless of your experience with the game in any of its iterations, go for the poorer teams. You’ll know a team’s strength by checking their overall rating in the team selection menu.
2. Keep Your Board’s Objectives In Mind
Once you’ve chosen a team, that club’s board will be giving you a list of objectives, both short-term and long-term. It’s the short-term objectives you want to keep in mind at all times, though you should also go back to check your long-term objectives, so as to jog your memory. Generally, you want to maintain a winning record and perform as well as possible in league competition, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Always remember your objectives, because if you accomplish them, the board will give you more money, which you can use to sign more talented players.
3. It’s More Than Just The Performance Ratings
Before setting your starting lineups, take a look at your players by going to the Team tab and viewing each player’s ability, which can range up to a maximum 100 for the best players. They also have a current performance rating, which is on the scale of 1 to 10. But you should look beyond those two ratings, and also check other data when choosing those lineups. You can view their fitness level by checking the green bar underneath the player’s name; generally, you want to keep tired or unfit players on the bench until their fitness bar is sufficiently replenished.
Aside from fitness, it’s also important that you take morale into account. Typically, players who expect to be on the first team will see their morale drop the longer they remain left out. That could mean having to rotate your lineup from time to time instead of sticking to a fixed lineup of eleven, though that doesn’t mean you should start an average player over a great one just because his morale is dropping.
4. You Can Choose One Player For Multiple Roles
You will have to choose a player to perform one of the four roles, which include captain, free kicker, penalty taker, and corner kick taker. All players have specific ratings for each role, but if you’ve got a player who tops multiple roles in terms of rating, you can have him play more than one role. In fact, one player can play all four roles theoretically, if you come to think of it. And when training players to improve their ratings, you’ll want to focus on two players and try maxing out their ratings for all four roles. Remember that injuries can be an unexpected spanner in the works, and it’s always good to have someone who can serve as set-piece taker if the player assigned to any given role is out with injury.
5. Which Formation Is The Best?
It would all depend on how you like your soccer/football, and it may also depend on the makeup of your team. But it’s always a good idea to test as many team formations as possible, and to experiment against weaker teams. You also want to consider the preparedness of your team for each formation, or how well-drilled they are for a 4-4-2, a 3-5-2, or whatever formation you’re thinking of using.
While there is no strict rule of thumb on the best formation to use, you should always ensure that everyone in your lineup is playing their best position. Tap on the Auto Pick button and if you see anyone whose name is highlighted in red or yellow, swap them out for somebody who is indeed best at that position. A yellow highlight means that the player is not assigned to his preferred position, while red means that he’s playing a position that’s absolutely unsuited to him, say, if you’ve got a striker lining up as a defender or vice versa.