Ab Initio Games & Software Simulations

Interactive Sports, Historical & Sci-Fi Games

Over Thirty Years of Online & Postal Play - since 1986

Soccer Strategy

A simulation of football management, coaching, tactics and strategy.

Soccer Strategy is a simulation of football management, coaching, strategy and tactics. The game concentrates on decisions concerned with playing the game, dealing with team selections, coaching and tactics, rather than managing a football club.

In Soccer Strategy we try to make the game work the same way as in real life. The decisions you have to make are a mixture of the decisions made by the manager, the coach and the chairman. Sometimes you will have to balance the decisions of one against another (deciding, for example, whether to spend money on new players now, or ground development to make more money so as to have more money to spend in the future).

A major feature of Soccer Strategy is that no dice or random numbers are used in deciding the results of games (there are a few random numbers in other parts of the game, but actual results are determined entirely by the abilities of your players and your choice of formations and tactics).

The best team in Soccer Strategy will not always win if the opposing manager chooses better tactics, and the best manager will not always win if the opposing team has better players. The best tactics against one team will not necessarily be the best tactics against the next. Sometimes the best tactics will be something unexpected; if your team is too predictable then opponents will soon learn how to beat you.

How it works

Your squad

Each Game

The Game Report

Long Term Options

Games and Turnfees

Soccer Strategy in Australia

How to Join

How it works

The league format is two divisions per league and eight teams per division. The league season is fourteen games (all play all, home and away) with a cup competition of four rounds (straight knockout, but over two legs). Promotion and relegation are two up and two down at the end of each season.

Teams are restricted to real life Premier League teams (on startup, but once a team is up and running it doesn’t matter what happens to the team in real life) and player names are restricted to real life players (with their real life teams).

Your Squad

Your squad consists of up to twenty-two players. You may have any mix of player types, but you’ll need to keep a reasonable balance.

Fitness and fatigue rules mean that you’ll need to have reserves for every position, and differnet tactics will often require a different mix of players.

There are nine player types (goalkeepers, defenders, utility players, midfielders, midfield destroyers, midfield playmakers, wingers, attacking playmakers and strikers). 

The abilities of players are expressed in terms of defence, midfield and attack  “levels” (plus fitness, fatigue, hardness, pace, sided – left or right footed). The different levels have different meanings according to the player types, the position in which he is selected, and the tactics being used.

Each Game

For each game you select eleven players to start, along with two subs. There are eleven formations (541, 532, 523, 352, 424, 4312, 451, 4321, 433, 422, 4231). 

Five man defences automatically play with a sweeper, but your “sweeper” may be ordered to play level with the central defenders or sweep either behind or in front of the defence. Several formations place one or more midfielders to sweep in front of the defence. 

Full back and wingers may also be ordered to play deep, tuck into midfield, or push forward into attack.

Team strengths are assessed in several ways, across the functional and physical areas of the pitch (central defence, defensive flanks, central midfield, attack and both wings). The contribution of each player depends on his effectiveness in an individual match-up against his immediate opponent(s).

The game is divided into three phases. The first phase takes up the first half, and the second takes up most of the second half. The third phase is played at the end of the second half if the second phase changes the result from half time (so that a team with an early lead can sit back and defend, and still get to counter attack if necessary).

Each team selects nine strategies for each game. The first two choices apply for the first half. One of three choices replaces your first strategy during phase two (according to whether you’re winning, losing or level) and one of the four remaining choices replaces it during phase three (according to how you’re doing  now, and how were doing at half time). Your second strategy (the second choice in the first half) remains unchanged in the second and third phases.

The strategies (playing styles) currently available are “Build” (build from the back), “Dead Ball” (defensive), “counter” (attack on the break), “Early Ball” (cross early, from deep), “Front Runners” (long to space behind the defence), “Holdup” (long to feet in front of defence), “Midfield Runners” (short to runner behind the defence), “Overlap” (full backs down the flanks), “Pressure” (press and harass the opposition into mistakes), “Route One” (kick and chase), “Short” (pass and go) “Triangles” (pass and drop), “Wings” (attack down the flanks and cross from the goal line).

Each strategy choice includes an “attack percentage” and an option for one player to “play up” (increasing his effectiveness, but also his fatigue at the end of the game). Strategy choices in the second half include substitutions and formation changes.

At the end of each game all players suffer one fatigue level, and there are additional losses on each side of one playing level, one fitness level, and one extra fatigue level (these are allocated at random). Each game you work out your own team bonus for the game and which players from your opposition your players will key on (your players that will play better and your opponents players you will reduce effectiveness of). You must also work out team training for the game both attacking and defensive training (playing styles/strategy your team has been working to improve for match day).

The Game Report

Game reports (four pages each week) include a brief narrative of each game (these will probably be expanded in the future) along with the strategies played and layouts of the team selections and formations used.

A player rating is shown for each player, along with a man of the match for each team. These ratings show the effectiveness of the player in the game.

A full squad listing is provided every week, and includes a repeat of your actions and instructions. The league report (two pages) shows the league table, news, transfer and free agent list, and so forth.

Long Term Options

Finance rules are included, and cash is needed to sign new players from the free agent list or transfers. Rules for “losing points” are also included (so called, because you get more losing points if you lose). Losing points are used for coaching, which allows you to increase the playing levels of players already signed.

Game balance is maintained in the long term since the most successful teams will normally make more money and be able to sign the best players, but the less successful teams will be able to coach lesser players to catch up.

At the end of each season younger players convert potential to increased fitness, while older players lose fitness (so they gradually become less effective as they get older).

Games and Turnfees

There are a number of games of Soccer Strategy already running in the UK. All run with two week deadlines (so you've fourteen days between turns). We have positions available in most of these games that will allow you to start play immediately (as in real-life, you take over a team and try to turn their fortunes around).

Turnfees in Soccer Strategy are £2.50 for one, £12 for five, £22 for ten or £40 for twenty. There are further discounts available if you play in more than one game. Click here for more details of turnfees.

We welcome players from outside the UK. Click here for more details of overseas players.

Game reports

Each turn you’ll receive half a dozen pages of reports: a full roster listing with current scoring details for all of your players and full financial details for your teams. You’ll also receive game reports, showing the scorers in every game in the league, league tables, details of free agent signings, trades, holdouts and unsigned players who you may wish to consider making a bid for. 

Normally reports are sent to you by email, so you'll have your result within minutes of the game being played, but players can receive their results by post if they wish. For more details on play-by-email click here.

Sending Orders/Play by Email

Your instructions are normally sent through our active website, but can also be sent by post or fax if required. Click here for more details on play by email

How to join

To join Soccer Strategy you'll need to send £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games) along with your name and address, which covers the cost of your rulebook(s), team setup and first two turns. When you send in your application please give a number of team preferences (real-life Premiership teams, the more choices you give the sooner we can start you playing).

To join the game immediately just click here to pay your startup fee by credit card via our secure server website. When you send us your payment please also email Danny McConnell with your team preferences (the more the better, real life Premiership teams) then we'll be able to get you started in a game even more quickly. If you'd rather submit your application by post, please print off the form below and include payment when you send it to us.

Please print, complete and return the details below:

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YES, I’d like to join a game of Soccer Strategy

I’ve enclosed a cheque/postal order for £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games).

Team Preferences:

Name: 

Address: 

Email Address if you're happy to be contacted this way:

Where did you first hear about Soccer Strategy?: 

For more information please contact: Danny McConnell, 82 Scotts Lane, Bromley, Kent, BR2 0LX, United Kingdom. Email: danny@pbmsports.com

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