Dungeons, Dragons, Talent Scouts: Epic Manager

I’m a very fortunate person, in that I enjoy foot-to-ball and can therefore immerse myself in Football Manager every year. It’s an intricate simulation, tracking thousands of characters and their actions within a believable world. But that complex world of emergent narratives is only simulated when football is happening. How annoying it must be to read about that depth of simulation if you don’t enjoy a spot of ball-bothering, net-bulging sports management.

Epic Manager may be a solution of sorts. Currently on Kickstarter, it doesn’t look like it’ll be as complex as Football Manager, but it’s a management game, with scouts, rosters and a ‘living world’, and it’s about parties of adventurers doffing up goblins.

Just as there are games that can be described as Minecraftbutinspace or other variations thereof, I wish there were a sudden influx of ‘Football Manager but…’ games. Not Football Manager Butt, you understand, although there’s surely a niche audience for a Visual Novel dating sim featuring attempts to woo Sam Allardyce using nothing more than wit, charm, a six pack of Tennent’s Super Lager and an oversized Scotch Egg.

Epic Manager is a step toward Football Manager but D&D. That’s a good thing and the campaign page is rich with information about classes, systems and quests. I particularly like this, about the living world:

The kingdom of Astraeus is a living world that waits for no one. Being at the right place at the right time will sometimes be the only way to open up a side-quest or find out about a legendary adventurer.

Time flows as you commit actions and some events will happen wether you prepared for them or not. Conflicts unfold, assassinations take place and Gods know what else… Just make sure you’re ready because in Epic Manager you’ll react to the world as much as it will react to you!

The team are a fresh-faced trio based in Montreal and they’re seeking CAD$30,000. While the pitch might be for a game that leans toward management and strategy far more than simulation, it’s an intriguing proposition.

14 Comments

  1. DrollRemark says:

    The description makes it sound a bit like FFXII – which in a way, I guess was basically a FootballManagerBut Final Fantasy.

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      Neurotic says:

      I was thinking more ‘My Crystal Magic FF Kingdom’ or whatever it was called, on the Wii. Or that other one I like, on Android, the one that kept heating up my phone and draining the battery like mad.

      • RedViv says:

        Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King

        It is one of my favourite games on the Wii, and one of my favourites of everything ever in the world of all time.

  2. Hensler says:

    I know it’s not that original of an idea… but this is the same type of game I’m developing for my senior thesis that is due in December. And it kind of knocks the wind out of my sails to see that their Kickstarter project already looks way better than mine. It does look close enough that I hope nobody on my review board sees this game :) .

    • Hex says:

      Hopefully your review board will be smart enough to understand you couldn’t steal all of their ideas and implement them in the short time since they’ve announced this game’s features.

    • valrus says:

      In case they bring it up, maybe actually collect a portfolio of the other similar games and game proposals, just so you can say “My game isn’t a copy, it’s one game among a genre. A small genre, but a genre.”

  3. MrLoque says:

    It looks a bit too childish for me. It’s like watching Farmville on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I hope it will be cool and all but… Graphics and art direction … ugh. Easter egg: the spinning wheel was surely inspired from Heartstone.

  4. crowleyhammer says:

    “although there’s surely a niche audience for a Visual Novel dating sim featuring attempts to woo Sam Allardyce using nothing more than wit, charm, a six pack of Tennent’s Super Lager and an oversized Scotch Egg.”

    bitter man city fan alert!

  5. skyturnedred says:

    There is a Finnish fantasy gladiator management game series called Areena that I have played since I was a kid. Sadly the first five versions are only available in Finnish, and the two newer browser versions have many of the best features stripped out. Areena 4 and 5 are the best ones if you ask me.

    Basically, you manage a team of gladiators, which you use to fight in arenas (turn-based, rather simple combat). Between matches you buy new equipment, train stats/spells and hire new gladiators (six can enter arena, roster is about 10). All gladiators retire at the age of 35, so you constantly need to hire and train new gladiators. Suffering a devastating blow can leave your fighters injured for a few matches, requiring substitutes. All the basic fantasy races/classes are represented.

    All in all it is a very simple game at first glance with some hidden complexity, but as there pretty much aren’t any alternatives, I still fire it up now and then. Areena 7 (possibly called Arena 7 now that it is also in English) is the newest version if you’re interested, but be warned that it is far from what the series used to be, with most of the more complex features gone.

  6. draglikepull says:

    Weird coincidence. I just started designing something like this on paper a couple of days ago. Although my design is much more heavily focused on the management side, like the franchise modes in sports games, and wasn’t very narrative-focused.

    • Hex says:

      I for one have wanted to play a game in this vein for a good long while. There’s pretty much infinite room for different gameplay focus variations.

      These guys hit a few of the high-notes for what I want to see, so I’ll probably need to back them, but the way I see it, this genre would really shine (to someone like me) if the game were essentially a snazzied up resource-management sim where the player has a lot of adventuring goals — and presumably a plot/ancient evil to forward/foil — and the trick would be trying to balance profitability while recruiting enough manpower to accomplish what needs doing, and assigning specialist-classes to appropriate tasks.

      Oh no, there’s rumors of dragons terrorizing 3 villages. Dragon-hunters are rare and expensive to hire. You have only 1 on hand, so you can send him off with a support party. Do you dig deep and try to hire another one? The profitability for a successful dragon-hunt is great, but the funds are gone if the mission fails. Can you afford the risk? Who do you send with the dragon-hunter you have? Cannon fodder or highly-skilled adventurers?

      And what about all these goblin raids going on? The people will love you for helping with them, but goblins aren’t profitable, and you could be sending some of your goons off to explore those dungeons to the south that are rumored to be chock full of treasure.

      Etc, etc.

  7. Jubaal says:

    How has a decent Blood Bowl type Management Game like football manager never been released? Whhhhhhhy?

    • Scurra says:

      The Blood Bowl Team Manager card game is genuinely awesome. I am surprised there hasn’t been a computer implementation of it yet, but Fantasy Flight don’t seem to have figured out a policy yet.

  8. Abeon says:

    Awesome GUI! Can’t wait for this to be released, it looks great and the team seem to know what they’re doing :)