Football Drama is out now.
You're the new manager of a struggling football team - they're all fictional, thankfully - and must survive the season. Not the team (although winning matches obviously helps), but you. Part of that means guiding the team to victory, and part of it means navigating the politics and interpersonal drama your influential position attracts.
It's pretty weird. I sorta like it.
Matches are sandwiched between talky bits in which you respond to lines from the press, or the shady new (and crooked) money club owner. It's all about the mythology and grubby personalities of football, so being timid and noncommittal is a gamble in itself. You have to impress the right people, and play the game a bit. That might mean indulging in corruption or encouraging your team to play a bit dirty. Or having an affair.
The matches are turn based. You choose one training option - endurance, say, or positioning, or shrugging off training to go down the pub. Then you pick a handful of cards, but the cardphobic need not fear. They're just one-off abilities that you can use at any time to yell instructions at your team (and hope they listen) - a more aggressive formation, perhaps, or "provoke the opposition's supporters". Mostly it's a case of choosing to be reckless or cautious, with the former also knackering the players out. Commentators exchange odd, slightly parodic quips throughout, and that's really all there is to it.
In its own bizarre way it's more realistic than the exhaustingly detailed statto simulators, by stripping the play by play down to "bide your time" vs "go for it" so that you're playing more than number crunching. It might be the football management game that I always wanted. One with character and decisions and features that won't upset FIFA. A story, not a spreadsheet, y'know?
Football Drama is now available on Steam, with a 15% launch discount reducing it to £7.89 / €8.49 / $10.19 until the 25th.