Imagine yourself managing a weak and rather incompetent soccer (or football, for most people outside the U.S.) team, as you struggle in dead-last place in the lowest-tier league in your country. You’ve just taken over, but you have big plans, and you want to somehow lead your team to promotion. But how about taking that weak and incompetent team to the top-tier league, and winning a championship while playing in that league? New Star Manager gives you a chance to do all this. This new iOS title is the creation of British game developer Simon Read (published by Five Aces), and the game’s description promises that you, as manager, will have “total club control,” managing not only your team and its roster, but also building and upgrading facilities and hiring or firing staff members. And while those features are present in many other soccer management games, this new title stands out with a number of unique (or rare) features, such as the random events that could be good or bad for your team and players, and the cards which you can use to train or motivate your players.
No matter how you look at it, this is quite a deep game with a lot of features, just as you’d expect from titles that focus on managing a soccer team and moving up from league to league. But we’re here to help you get past these challenges, which is why we have the first in a series of New Star Manager strategy guides for you today — a beginner’s guide that goes beyond the already in-depth tutorial, as we look at several aspects of the game that you’ll need to have down pat during your first day of gameplay or so.
1. Learning The Basics Of The Game
The basic premise of New Star Manager is managing a team of marginally talented scrubs (“New Star FC”) from your league’s bottom-most division all the way to the first-tier league, and hopefully a championship win in this topmost league. In fact, you’ll be starting out from the bottom of the bottom, as you’ll start out late in the first season while mired in 20th place out of 20 teams! This applies to most, if not all leagues — the U.S. leagues, for instance, do not have promotion and relegation, and you will be warned about this before you choose to play in such a league. Choosing a league, might we add, is done early on in the tutorial, after entering your manager name — just choose your desired continent and country and you’re good.
While most soccer/association football management games do not require you to do any actual playing on the field and mainly ask you to choose lineups and formations and buy and sell players in the transfer market, etc., the game will require you to do some work on the pitch and actually pass, dribble, head, and kick the ball around, with the occasional tackle from time to time. This is done with a bit of a twist, as you will only be asked to control your players in crucial moments of the match, specifically when you’ve got an opportunity to score — otherwise, the game does everything else for you, handling most of the defensive work in particular. As such, you’ll need to pay close attention to the tutorial part of the game, where developer Simon Read himself will appear to walk you through things as your “assistant manager.”
Aside from setting lineups and formations, hiring coaches, and the like, you will also be tasked to handle the other aspects of managerial work, including, but not limited to building new facilities and upgrading the ones you already have. You will also be playing a few minigames that could help or harm (or at least, fail to help) your team, depending on the outcome, and the cards that you earn or buy could be used in improving your players in more ways than one.
Overall, this is quite an innovative title compared to others, and as you can see, there is quite a bit to learn.
2. It’s All About Stringing Those Moves Together
As you will find out soon enough after playing a few matches in New Star Manager, you will notice post-match comments about your forwards not being “clinical” enough. For those who are unfamiliar with the jargon of association football, this is a term that refers to the smoothness and fluidity of a goalscorer as he attempts — and hopefully makes — his shots at the goal. And as far as this game is concerned, you can’t expect to score a ton of goals if your moves to the box look awkward and choppy. You don’t want to rely too much on your defense, unless you want to upset your fans with narrow losses or 0-0 draws, and you don’t want most of your goals to be flukey own-goals scored by an errant goalkeeper or defender from the other team.
The key to increasing your chances of scoring goals in the game is to make your path to the box as seamless as possible. That’s where stringing moves together comes into play. Remember what you were told in the tutorial about passing in front of the target player, and don’t make the pass if there’s a better chance the opponent will win the ball. Also remember what you were told about drawing paths from a player who doesn’t have the ball — draw the path in such a way that the player with the ball could make a successful pass without an opposing defender gaining possession. And, of course, it goes without saying that you should aim the ball at the right angle! That would actually bring us to our next tip in the game.
3. How To Attempt A Goal Properly
Now the circumstances of each match could change things from situation to situation, but generally speaking, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of scoring goals in New Star Manager.
One thing to keep in mind is to avoid attempting goals if you’re too close to the goalkeeper — those attempts are sure to be saved, thus resulting in a goal kick to reset play.. And you will also need to swipe backward in such a way that you’re aiming at an empty space by the net, and not directly at the goalkeeper. Otherwise, it’s an easy save for your opponent!
Although the game does suggest that scoring goals could be as easy as swiping backwards at the proper angle, then tapping right on the center of the ball once you’re locked in, there’s more to it than that. When it comes to the soccer ball that appears after you’ve attempted a shot, you have to make sure you’re tapping on the center just as it’s passing across the net! Tapping too soon or too late would result in a missed shot almost all of the time.
4. You Can Take Your Time Before Making A Move
Going back to what we discussed in the second tip, one reason why we weren’t too smooth at first when trying to string together our moves was because there seemed to be a time limit in place, as is sometimes the case in mobile soccer games that require you to control the players. However, we’ve observed that the game doesn’t appear to have a time limit for moves, which does make sense since you’re up against AI-controlled teams in league play. Take as much time as you need to make sure you’re controlling the ball in such a way that you won’t lose possession, or to make sure you’re attempting goals that won’t go wide left or right or right into the keeper’s hands and result in that ever-frustrating goal kick. (Of course, a goal kick is better than your opponent scoring, so you can at least have that as some form of consolation!)
5. Use Assistant Pick To Set Your Lineups, But Not That Often
Assistant Pick can be a real timesaver if you’re looking to set your lineup ahead of a new match. By tapping on this button underneath the formation/starters, you can automatically select the best possible combination of players based on the AI’s assessment, but that’s also the thing with AI — sometimes, it might not give you 100 percent accurate results. That’s why we suggest using Assistant Pick, then fine-tuning your lineup by making some manual adjustments. For example, if your top player is benched because he isn’t as fresh as someone else who plays that position, you can move that player right back to the starting lineup. Also, we strongly suggest using all the applicable cards (usually NRG, or energy cards) on your players before hitting Assistant Pick! As you can see in this example, you can restore a player’s energy with those cards, thus making them more likely to be chosen for the starting lineup.
6. Have A Good Idea Of Where Your Team Is At For The Interview Minigames
From time to time, you, as the manager of New Star FC, will be interviewed in between matches, and this is one of the many minigames you will have to play in order to improve your team’s prospects with more rewards. During the tutorial stage, you will see how the interview minigame works, as you will be asked questions about how many goalkeepers, forwards, defenders, or midfielders you currently have available, whether you have certain facilities constructed or not, etc. A correct answer will reward you with some cards, so make sure you’re reviewing details on your team from time to time! You’ll never know when these pop quizzes come up, so be prepared at all times for the interviews.
7. Keeping Your Team Energy Levels High
Compared to many other soccer management games, New Star Manager seems to put quite a premium on energy, and we would say that’s a good thing — athletes get tired, regardless of what sport they play, and when they get tired, they tend to play poorly. But there are ways in which you can boost their energy, and the most common way to do this would be through NRG cards, which are mainly obtained by resting your players in between matches. As your team’s coaches, including your Fitness Coach, all have a cool down period that prevents them from generating new cards after each match, you can choose the Rest Squad option after each match; this is the bottom right option, and you should make it a point to tap on this at all applicable times. This will typically reward you with two NRG cards, and as that isn’t much if you think of all the players you have on your team, we advise you to save these cards for your better players.
It’s also a good idea to make good use of your substitutes, especially if you see someone tiring out or with a particularly bad form, as indicated by their rating. You have a maximum of five substitutions to make per game, so feel free to use them whenever needed! Also, it’s imperative that you make sure everyone in your team is playing their ideal position! Even playing a left forward as a center forward, for instance, could tire them out faster and make them appear lost and ineffective out there on the pitch! Tap on Tactics anytime during a match, then drag a substitute player onto the player you’re planning to replace —easy as that.
8. How To Manage Workrate And Focus
During each game, you will have the option to adjust your Workrate and Focus at any time, though this should be done on a situational basis. Workrate determines how hard your players are pushing themselves on the pitch, and you will sometimes get notifications from Simon telling you that you need to turn up your workrate. Increasing Workrate pushes your players to play with more intensity, though the obvious drawback with high Workrate is that your players will get tired faster. Be careful when adjusting this, and as a bonus tip, you may want to let this slide if you’re being outclassed by a much stronger opponent and are several goals down. (Likewise, you can also reduce Workrate if you’ve got a safe lead with about 10-20 minutes to play.)
Likewise, Simon will also inform you if you need to change your Focus to take advantage of an opponent’s weakness, or to react accordingly to an opponent who’s much stronger in a certain area than you are. Still, you don’t really need to wait until he gives you the heads-up — for example, if you see in the match commentary that the opposing side is getting a lot of shot attempts in, or if you’re actually behind, you can switch to a Counter(-attack) Focus. If you see that your opponent’s defenders’ form is off, take advantage of this by switching from Normal (or whatever your current focus is) to Attack.
9. How To Play The Team Talk Minigame
As we mentioned earlier, energy plays a key role in New Star Manager, and low energy could make your players sluggish and unable to do what they could normally do on the pitch. However, the Team Talk cards that you may earn at several points in the game can be dragged onto your roster during halftime, and once you do that, you’ll be asked to play a short minigame that relies on your ability to remember things.
In this Team Talk minigame, you’ll be shown six statements, four which have a positive impact on your players (in green), two which would have a negative effect (in red). We suggest that you remember the statements in red, as there are fewer of them, then make sure NOT to tap on those statements once you’re asked to choose which ones you wish to tell your players. For each correct answer (meaning the ones that were in green), you will regain 3 percent energy, which means that if you chose all four green statements without any misses, you can regain up to 12 percent, thus giving your team some much-needed boosts that would hopefully turn things around (or give you the win) by reenergizing your players!
10. What To Consider When Choosing A Sponsor
In order for your team to earn money, you’ll need a sponsor, and you will have a chance to choose one once you’re close to completing the tutorial stage. But there’s much more to evaluate than just the amount of Bux (the game’s common currency) you can earn for signing the deal. You’ll also have to consider the win and goal bonuses, as well as the sponsors’ appeal with the fans, as indicated by the number of stars on a scale of 1 to 5. You may want to think twice if your fans’ satisfaction with your team has dropped due to a series of losses and draws, and go with the sponsor that has greater appeal with your fans, even if it’ll pay less Bux upfront or in the form of win and goal bonuses. In the early goings, however, the sponsor that pays more Bux upfront is usually the better one, as you may have a harder time scoring goals at first, and you may even be trading losses and wins for the most part while your team isn’t that rich in talent just yet.
11. Dealing With Dilemmas
We’re not going to touch too much on this topic, but we did say in the game introduction that there are random events that could shake things up, either for the better or for the worse. These include Dilemmas, which will show up in between matches and give you two options to choose from, each with their own sets of advantages or disadvantages. For example, you may be asked to visit a fan at a local hospital to get a Relationship Boost (more on relationships in our next guide) of +5, or improve Player Happiness by +5 by sending the team off to a renowned sports psychologist. When it comes to these situations, the best choice is the one that fills your team’s needs the best, so if you’ve got a lot of players whose morale is shot, you’ll want to choose the latter option in the above example.