Do want to play a cavernously deep simulation of a world of viciously competing factions? Do you dream of leading your people to glory and dominating all comers? Do you relish bending complex systems of law to your advantage? Do you savour the idea of surveying the world for the sharpest operators and spying on your rivals’ smallest decisions?
Forget Crusader Kings 2. Its network of aristocratic machinations is a kid’s toy next to Football Manager. And nothing in Football Manager is quite as vast and encompassing as the transfer market, in which hundreds of thousands of players, scouts, agents, and managers live out digital careers in an international scene of countries and leagues. 25 years in the making, Football Manager’s transfer system is a blend of artificial intelligence, maths and hard data, and it’s designed to simulate the real business of football, behaving credibly into an infinite future of football. “We haven’t perfected it,” director Miles Jacobson tells me. “But we’re pretty close.”