To All The Teams I Managed Before

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I’ve been playing Football Manager 2019 a lot recently, because I love a game that’s basically a spreadsheet and databases!

I’ve been playing this sort of game for over 20 years now, all the way back to the Championship Manager 3 days, and I remember quite a lot of the teams I played as! I’d often do random choice and let the game decide where I go and what I do, and curiously this led to me following the IRL versions of the teams too, to see if they replicate the success (or failures!) that I had when in the hot seat!

So with that in mind, here’s some of the teams I’ve managed before:

Rochdale (England, currently League One)

Back in the Champ Man 3 days, this was the first team I took control of. A friend and I were doing a 2 player game, and they picked Torquay, while I picked a random Third Division team so I could be in the same league as them, which ended up being Rochdale (though looking up the 98/99 season, it could have potentially been Brighton or Cardiff, present day Premier League teams!). I was 13 at the time, and my statistical know-how and tactical mind was not fully developed, and we both ended up getting our respective teams relegated. Huzzah!

Also horrified to learn that because of a sponsorship deal, the Rochdale stadium Spotland is not named Spotland anymore, but the Crown Oil Arena. Yuck!

Arsenal (England, currently Premier League)

LMA Manager was the first console-based football manager game I played, back on the PS One, and I wanted to take control of a team that was already a powerhouse because I was a glory-seeking arsehole. In a topsy-turvy simulated world, one of the seasons I finished top, but Manchester United, often my biggest rival, ended up finishing 16th, because all their good players just got poached by me, Liverpool and (weirdly) QPR.

Odense Boldklub (Denmark, currently Superliga)

This one I played on Football Manager Handheld on the PSP, and again was a consequence of the random selection feature. Odense were the perennial mid table team, in a league dominated by FC Copenhagen, and Brøndby IF. In the 14 seasons I played as them, we won 13 league titles in a row, the Danish Cup 11 times, and never progressed beyond the Champions League group stages. Also FCK and BIF started to become mid table teams themselves, as Odense, Nordsjælland and Midtjylland vied for superiority!

I do like to check up on them every so often, because of my success as them in the game, and I’m always pleased to see them keep on keeping on. especially when I see this:

SUCK IT, MIDTJYLLAND.

Newcastle Jets (Australia, currently A-League)

Did you know that Australia, despite being in the continent of Oceania, do not play continental football with other Oceanic leagues, but in the Asian leagues? This is because the Australian Football Association grew frustrated with FIFA’s reluctance to give Oceania an automatic qualifier spot for the World Cup (the winner of the Oceanic World Cup qualifiers win A CHANCE TO QUALIFY for the World Cup by playing one of the lower placed teams from a different continent) which damages their qualification hopes, so they applied to join the Asian Confederation, as that was geographically close by, and had at least 4 automatic qualifying spots (technically they have 4.5, with the .5 being a possibility from the aforementioned intercontinental match between lower placed teams; North America, South America and Oceania also have x.5 qualifying spots, but Oceania has 0.5 meaning it’s the only football-playing continent that could theoretically not have a representative at the World Cup Finals), and the other Oceanic teams welcomed this as it gave more of them a chance to qualify for the World Cup themselves, because Australia were too dominant down there.

Anyway, a random selection picked the Newcastle Jets for me one time, and I did fairly well as them. Won 1 title, got absolutely smashed in the Asian Champions League by the Japanese and South Korean teams, faded into mid-table obscurity.

FC St Pauli (Germany, currently Bundesliga 2)

Now this one was not a random pick. I first learned about FC St. Pauli a few years ago, when a football magazine I read (Four Four Two) did a feature on them and their fanbase. It’s a club that is very specifically associated with left wing politics, and both club and fans are staunchly anti homophobia, anti fascist, anti-racist. They’re more well known and supported around the world than even most Bundesliga teams!

At the time of the rise of decidedly right-wing hooliganism among Hamburger SV fans in the 70’s and 80’s, left-wingers from the city (including former HSV fans!) flocked to St. Pauli (the other Hamburg-based team) to oppose them. St Pauli was the part of Hamburg that had a large proportion of punk residents, it had the country’s largest red light district, it was where the entertainment was found, and soon the area and the football club became so interconnected that you can’t really separate the two!

They are of course not the only left-wing football club, but they are probably the most famous of all of them.


Anyway they’re my most recent game in FM19, and we’ve won 10 in a row so we’re doing pretty well.

Salisbury City FC (England, currently A DIFFERENT TEAM!)

Before I moved to Cardiff, Salisbury, home of a nice cathedral and also Novichok, was my local team. They were also riding quite high in the football ladder, sitting in the then Vanarama Premier. Unpaid debts then led to their expulsion from the National League, but they reformed the following season as Salisbury FC (dropping City from the name), and they now play in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division South, which is a heck of a mouthful.

Anyway, when I took control of them, we made it all the way to the Championship, where I kept getting cockblocked in my attempts to reach the Premier League every season in the playoffs by the two Welsh teams, who spent the majority of their time alternating between getting promoted then relegated each season, and thusly kept beating me in the playoffs EVERY DAMN SEASON.

Fuck you Cardiff and Swansea.

Bolton Wanderers (England, currently League One)

Yeah we got relegated again in real life.

Do you know why I support Bolton Wanderers, despite hailing from Wiltshire and never having been to Bolton? It’s because I’m a dick. You see, years ago I went to school. as did most children, and one of my friends was a Blackburn Rovers fan. He mentioned that he considered Bolton to be their main rivals, and so I, as a Junior Troll Dickhead In Training, decided that I would support them out of (friendly!) spite. Possibly the earliest form of “MAD BANTZ!” I’ve ever participated in.

Anyway, that banter support ended up turning into genuine support as even when I moved away to Cornwall, I was still interested in how Bolton were doing, and I would cheer for them without it being in spite of someone else, and that’s how I accidentally became a football fan.

I mean I liked football before that anyway, but I just liked the spectacle of it all, I had never supported a specific team up until that point.

In FM19 Bolton news though, I am doing very well, though we have just dipped into the red financially, so maybe Fake Bolton will share the same fate as Real Bolton? Fuckin’ hope not!

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ALTER MANN

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Last month I turned 33, which in gay years means I’m basically this old:

You sort of hit that the moment you turn 20 though (seriously at the age of 21, way back when, I was asked “don’t you think you’re too old to go gay clubbing now?” by a friend and honestly I’ve never felt more offended), and every year adds a new wrinkle. 33 has brought with it the concern that I will throw my back out every time I sneeze (which I have done twice in the last week and am currently suffering from today. Hayfever was an annoyance in my youth; today flowers are liable to kill me) and grey hairs that I have finally LOCATED and will be DYEING to COVER them UP at the earliest CONVENIENCE.

I’m also trying to convince the boyfriend that when he picks up his glasses from Asda Opticians, he should ask for “my new spectacles” and put the stress on a different syllable every time he says it.

specTAcles!

But this blog isn’t about me griping (actually it can be, it’s my blog and I can write whatever I like), it’s about VIDEO GAMES and let me tell you I have played some VIDEO GAMES recently.

World of Warcraft!

  • Officially ahead of the curve! Bring it on Azshara, you tentacle witch!
  • Speaking of tentacles, Fuhai still has the gift of N’Zoth, because he is our master and he will bring deliverance to all.
  • YRR N’LYETH, SHUUL ANAGG!
  • *clears throat*
  • Honestly I’ve been logging in for raids and little else recently. I still love the game, but I’ve been dipping my toe into other games too recently, like…

Disgaea 5 Complete!

I’ve owned it for two weeks and I’ve sunk so much time into it. I had it on the PS4, traded it in after I finished the story and some of the postgame, and really regretted it because I missed out on SO much stuff. It’s a wonderful game because you can take characters that have stats like this at the start of the game:

And through the use of levelling, stat boosts, subclass mastering and whatnot, give them stats that look more like this:

Yes, those stats are in the TENS OF MILLIONS, and I’m not even halfway to the stat cap (99,999,999 for everything bar HP which can go to 99,999,999,999! NINETY NINE BILLION!). Disgaea takes grinding as a concept and dials it up to 11. You level up characters, you level up your items, you get stronger and stronger and stronger until you overcome the ultimate challenge, Baal (who is the ultimate challenge in like every Disgaea game so this is not a spoiler).

Disgaea 5, of course, turns the Baal fight up to 11 too by not just pitting you against a single Baal, but MULTIPLE of him. It’s ridiculous and I love it. It’s a far cry from Disgaea 1 where he was “just” level 4000 and there was “just” one of him.

Football Manager 2019!

Bolton Wanderers in real life have had a disastrous season, given that they had to forfeit their last game because their playing staff went on strike due to going unpaid for months, the administrators have been called in, the ownership saga is full of messy drama, and they start next season in League One with -12 points. Fantastic!

Bolton Wanderers in Football Manager 2019, as managed by me, are top of the Championship, are in good financial health, and our next game is in the Carabao Cup vs Chelsea, which I will totally not save scum until I get a victory, honest.

Oops my fingers slipped and pressed ALT+F4, sorry about that.

Gosh, these last two games have basically been spreadsheets in colourful formats haven’t they? But what can I say, I love number-crunching games!

Tweedle-Doo North, Tweedle-Doo South

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What did the pumpkin say out his halloween mouth?

Druids: Turns out they’re not so shite

So hey, I’m playing World of Warcraft, and as you know it’s patch 8.1.5 and that brought with it some trolls or whatever, but also CHUNKY BOYS.

And in strange news, all it took for me to like druids was for me to not have to be an elf or go through the Gilneas start zone, who knew? Also it needed a chunky boy who, in the wise words of one of my guildies, “looks like they rushed out of a European sex dungeon” which did make me laugh.

So yes. Still playing the hunter, still stubbornly marksman spec, even in the face of a fight like Rastakhan where there’s so many big balls running around the place that the movement would be REALLY helpful. Typical I go from an immobile turret to a class that’s the exact opposite, but then pick the spec that still needs to stand still all the time.

(not my image, it’s from https://www.instagram.com/p/BtJ3NJ8BOFB/) (I was just showing you the MAD BALLS OF DEATH)

But the druid? Actually rather fun. Feral, to me, plays like an assassination rogue, with the combo points and the bleeds and the building and finishing, whereas balance (where I’ve spent most of my time as I can glyph it so my fabulous transmog is visible to the world) plays like a cross between shadow priest/affliction warlock (maintain dots!) and, idk, mage or something (throw out magic stuffs!). I’ve not played as guardian or restoration because I value my sanity and calm, tranquil moods. Seriously, for all the reputation healers have as kind, loving, nurturing types, I don’t half feel ABSOLUTE BURNING RAGE when I play one and people keep messing around.

GET OUT OF THE FUCKING FIRE, GODDAMN

In non WoW-related stuff, I’m curious about the announcement that Dwarf Fortress is coming to Steam, and I’m contemplating playing the original (with a graphics set that makes it pleasing to my eyes) a little bit in the meantime, to see if I can get to grips with it. I hear it’s very imposing to learn, which seems like a laugh. Also that you’re basically doomed to fail from the get go, and it’s just an exercise to see how long you can put off your glorious (or shameful!) failure. Sounds like my kinda jam!

mmm, impenetrable

Anyway, it’s back to the level grind. I’m level 67, I need to get a wiggle on.

We cannot wait for the day we get to make our transmog be only a pair of pants

I Still Like Civ 6

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The title should not come as a surprise to those of you who follow me on the Twitters, where I seem to be constantly posting me doing Civ 6 stuff, or the insane amount of hours I have played this game for, or my GDRs and suchlike, but I cannot stress just HOW MUCH I like this game in an adequate manner.

For the record it’s this many

The new expansion, Gathering Storm, released 11 days ago, and I don’t think a day has gone by since where I haven’t sunk a good amount of time into it. I’m literally doing Love Rocket runs in WoW then jumping immediately into Civ. The new features are amazing, the new era is mysterious and exciting, the diplomatic victory is something I am glad has made a return.

And of course the Giant Death Robot is back!

So in celebration of Civilization 6: Gathering Storm, I am going to rank the new leaders in order of how much I like them so far.

  1. Mansa Musa (Mali): Dude’s fucking MINTED. Need an army? BUY IT. Founded a new city and need to set up buildings and districts? Move Reyna there and BUY IT. He can throw money at every problem and still have more than enough to get by.
  2. Eleanor of Aquitaine (England/France): Domination victory without ever declaring war. Girl is BROKEN and I fucking love it.
  3. Kristina (Sweden): Awesome bookish girl who also happens to not take any shit from people. Brazil hates her for generating so many Great People and that’s fine because Brazil sucks MAJOR ass. Fuck you, Pedro.
  4. Pachacuti (Inca): MOUNTAIN TUNNELS. WORKABLE MOUNTAIN TILES.
  5. Matthias Corvinus (Hungary): Hey, remember that thing you can do? Leveraging a city state’s armies? Remember how you never do it because why the fuck would you? HEEEEEEERE’S MATTHIAS to show you that you are missing OUT.
  6. Wilfrid Laurier (Canada): Hockey and mounties and generally nice guy and WAIT CANADA DECLARED WAR ON ME?! How did I piss THEM off?!
  7. Suleiman (Ottomans): Hat.
  8. Dido (Phoenecia): Hates me because I settle coastal cities a lot. It’s not my fault I like a sea view!
  9. Kupe (Maori): STOP DECLARING WAR ON ME. Every goddamn time!
hat

A WARCRAFT NEWS

Hey did you know my Hunter is my main now? As Marksman? Yeah, that’s a thing.

I put on my bow and hunter hat

A List: Ten Things I Like About WoW Right Now

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There’s a lot of negativity flying around at the moment, a lot of it justified of course, but it’s not all doom and gloom in the world (of Warcraft), surely? So I’ve decided to be cheerful and positive about this game, and list a few things I really enjoy right now.

  1. Survival Hunter: there’s something weird about playing a melee spec when you’re used to ranged, and even more odd when that class is usually ranged as well, but there’s an odd satisfaction to playing as a bomb-slingin’, poison arrow shootin’, polearm swingin’ panda that just wants to harpoon you, reel you in and turn you into burgers.
  2. Warlock: I mean of course. It’s the best class. Throw those demons!
  3. The New Raid: Battle for Dazar’alor is a fantastic raid, and while the first boss is a bit boring (first bosses usually are), the other bosses are magnificent, especially Opulence and Mekkatorque. We haven’t attempted Jaina yet, but we cleared through to her last night, so Monday beckons.
  4. Mining: Sometimes, I like to fire up the ol’ WoWs, find a neat playlist on Spotify, then run around and mine. Just diggin’ all those ores, turning them into gems, then selling that shit on the auction house. It’s my chillout activity of the moment.
  5. Pandaren: I mean of course. It’s the best race. Throw those bears!
  6. Transmog Hunting: Like, 99% of the reason to play is to make my characters look fabulous. Dress them up, pose them, take pictures. Digital Barbies! Which incidentally, is what my mother refers to The Sims as, which is 100% accurate. Check out her dream house (except it’s the size of a studio flat and has the cheapest wallpaper/carpet available)!
  7. Sethrak/Vulpera: Like seriously if the Sethrak and Vulpera don’t become allied races like YESTERDAY then I will… well I’ll get over it relatively quickly but it’ll still be a wasted opportunity. Also give me Jinyu, while I’m at it. I want to make a fishboy! I want to make a snake! They will be best of friends and fight crime!
  8. Spine of Deathwing: He’s about to roll left! He’s about to roll right! He’s about to roll left! He’s about to roll right!
  9. N’zoth: I mean of course. It’s the best old god. Throw those tentacles!
  10. Story Direction: Seriously though, the further we go, the more… tentacular things seem to be getting, and I am very very excited to see where it leads. I’m hoping we get to see Ny’alotha at some point. Maybe witness the rise of the Black Empire! I mean they were only defeated back then by the titans, and they’re somewhat occupied at the moment…

So yes, plenty for me to be excited about!

THE MIGHTY YOPAAT

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I AM PANDA, HEAR ME ROAR

Actually no, please leave.

Yopaat is the storm personified. Yopaat is power and strength, Yopaat is the fire that burns in the centre of the world and the winds that rage around it. When Yopaat calls on the elements, they OBEY. Except for the times they don’t, but let’s not focus too much on that okay? That was a really tough time for me and I would appreciate you not bringing it up.

YOPAAT.

I AM THE ROAR OF THUNDER
I AM THE CRACKLE OF FLAME
I AM THE TREMBLING OF THE EARTH BENEATH YOUR FEET no not because I’m fat, how very dare you

THE MIGHTY YOPAAT needs not such petty things as “humility” or “depth perception” or “an indoor voice” for I am the master of the elements! (except I totally took the Storm Elemental talent)

EAT MY TOTEM, YOU ABSOLUTE END-PIECE.

Blast From the Past: Disgaea

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What were you doing in 2003? Back then, I was either finishing my first year of college (studying AS Accounts, IT, Maths and Business Studies) or starting my second (where I dropped both IT and Maths, and picked up Sociology, my favourite of the -logies). I was 17, I already knew I was a flagrant homosexual and was keen to explore more aspects of my self and my being. Apparently, 2003 was the year I discovered I like SRPGs, and this game was the catalyst.

What Even Is A Disgaea Anyway?

Nobody really knows for sure as the makers have never specified, at least not to my knowledge. Most common speculation is that dis means bad or not and the gaea part means earth or world, giving you Not Earth or Bad World. Makes sense as the game is set in the Netherworld, the evil counterpart to the good-aligned Celestia and the, I guess, neutral Earth. The Disgaea games are a series of SRPGs developed by Nippon Ichi, set in Netherworlds populated by demons and prinnies (the souls of the sinful dead, reincarnated into the form of explosive penguins and made to work off their crimes) with the thinnest of thin sheets separating them and the fourth wall. Characters know they’re in a game and will comment on various mechanics and tropes and even try and exploit them (the main character of Disgaea 3, Mao, stole another character’s title of hero from their in-game status screen for instance, and Laharl from the first game, when seeing the bonus boss, exclaims in horror “LEVEL 4000?!” as that was the highest level boss in the game).

“who the hell is this guy?!”

Battles are played in typical SRPG fashion; the battlefield is a grid, characters can move x amount of tiles and perform attacks that affect y number of tiles. You move and take action, then you end your turn and the enemy takes their action. The usual stuff. Disgaea has a few other mechanics up its sleeve though; humanoid characters can lift and throw other units (monsters cannot, but they still have a throw range, because if you throw a unit at them, they bounce off in the direction the monster unit is facing!) to add another element of strategy, and in later games monster units can be used as mounts, fuse together to make giant monsters, or turn into weapons and equip to a humanoid unit for a limited amount of time. There are also Geo Panels, tiles that are specially coloured, and the prescence of a Geo Block in a coloured tile gives a special effect to ALL tiles of that colour, be it extra XP, invincibility, bonus stats, etc.

There are green and red Geo Panels in this picture for instance

Also your level can go up to 9999, your stats can hit the hundreds of millions, and damage can reach BILLIONS if you grind hard enough. Yes, this game has a lot of grinding, and honestly? It’s one of the things I love most about it. The game is absolutely unashamed of its grindy nature, and even leans into it, giving you the occasional stage that has the PERFECT setup for level/money/mana/etc grinding.

I was not kidding about that damage by the way

Then you need to consider that every item you can use and every item you can equip has an item world inside it, and the further you go into the item world of an item, the more it levels up and the stronger it (and the character that equips it) becomes! They say World of Warcraft is a game that really begins at max level (debatable but there you go) but this is a game where you hit max level, reincarnate to reset your level to 1, then RELEVEL TO 9999 with increased stats and weapon masteries, gaining bonus stats for how many levels you’ve gained on that character, up to a maximum of 186000 levels.

THE GRIND.

But What’s The Story?

Demon Prince Laharl awakens from a 2 year slumber (an extreme length of time, yes, but it’s later discovered it was due to NEFARIOUS REASONS) to discover his father, Overlord King Krichevskoy, has tragically died. Laharl therefore sets out to become the undisputed overlord of the Netherworld and along the way learns the meaning of love.

I mean, kind of. He IS an evil demon. Though I think it’s important to stress that the vast majority of demons are evil in a sort of nominal way. There’s no eating babies or rampant murder, but…

Like, silly evil. The overarching message of the game is that there is good in everything and everyone. Except Vulcanus. Fuck that guy.

Characters

  • Laharl, wannabe overlord, voiced by Rita Repulsa.
  • Etna, vassal of the wannabe overlord, voiced by Crimson Viper.
  • Flonne, love freak, voiced by Sailor Chibi Moon.
  • CAPTAIN GORDON, DEFENDER OF EARTH!, voiced by Deathwing.
  • Jennifer, sidekick of CAPTAIN GORDON, DEFENDER OF EARTH!, voiced by Jihl Nabaat.
  • Thursday, robot sidekick of CAPTAIN GORDON, DEFENDER OF EARTH!, voiced by Zhang Fei.
  • Kurtis, mad scientist cyborg dude with a Tragic Past, voiced by Baine Bloodhoof.
  • Dark Adonis Vyers Mid Boss, likes peppering French into his speech, voiced by Kilik.
  • Seraph Lamington, a seraph but not a lamington, voiced by JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION.
  • Archangel Vulcanus, an asshole who just LOOKS evil, voiced by General Nazgrim.

Why I Does Love It

I do love a good grind, but there’s more than just that. The story is hilarious, but also capable of ripping your heart out and crushing it (watch out for the Red Moon chapter, and the scene before the final boss, they will break even the hardest of hearts). The characters are wonderfully thought out and develop as the story goes on. The gameplay has a lot of tactical nuance to it, unless you deliberately overlevel and stomp everything, which is entirely your choice! The game encourages you to take the path you want.

I’m a sucker for a class-based combat system and my GOD are there classes here. 37 unique classes, each with 6 progressively stronger tiers, with unique stat growths, favoured weapon types, appearances and abilities. Spoilt. For. Choice.

I think I’ll close this post with my top 3 attacks from the Disgaea series as a whole, because there are some delightfully OTT ones and you know me, I live for OTT.

3) Asagi: Dead Hurdles

2) Zetta: One-Inch Zetta Beam

1) Gig: Murder Play