Online version of one of the early classics, Anstoss, kept in the similar style and level of complexity, which is not a compliment over 20 years since premiere.
In early 1990s German football manager game Anstoss was one of the raising stars of the genre - while Championship Manager was going for the details and simulating the whole world withing gameplay Anstoss went in completely different direction. Like many other German football manager games the player parameters were simplified to just few, there were not much team details available, but the game was standing out in the crowd due to animated scenes that described the goal chances. In 1999 the online version of the game became available, called Anstoss Online, that was instant hit in German-speaking part of Europe. On surface it was a perfect match - simplicity of the parameters and competition against other players. Unfortunately with time the things did not went as great as could have.
Anstoss Online does simulate divisions in several countries, local and international cups are simulated, however it does not use any existing clubs or division names.
You can run your club in any of over 100 countries available (apart from obvious ones like Germany, England, Holland, Italy, there are also smaller countries like Albania or San Marino), in each country there are normal size (18 teams) divisions. It sounds great, but I have to put an asterisk to that statement - although there are over 100 countries in the game world they do not contain any of real teams or players, rather misspelled club names for copyright reasons (f.e. ADU Den Haag instead of ADO Den Haag). You have access to all of the simulated clubs at any time to browse through their squads.
While original Anstoss games had very limited player parameters the Anstoss Online has a bit improved version of the data - 5 technical parameters (value between 1 and 20) describe his skills (f.e. reflex, shot stopping, high passes, ball control and rushing out for goalkeeper). Apart from technical parameters there are also few additional values: fitness, stamina, motivation.
For the team selection and transfer purposes the skills are combined to provide a single value of the player (between 1.1 and 9.9) that also includes influence of fitness and motivation. Additional special parameters describe player, f.e. good in set pieces, great acceleration.
Player management options are limited to just contract negotiations (although player contracts could be complicated in details), changing transfer status and releasing the player.
For each player you can assign separate training program, although there are no clear training reports to notice the progress.
Transfers between clubs are made in form of direct offers (through transfer list or browsing through other squads) and auctions. Transfers also include the contract negotiations with the player.
Anstoss Online offers few options to define your team tactics (concentrating on wings or middle, tempo of the game), but minimalistic data you receive from match report make it hard to determine how those parameters influence the performance of particular players.
Match report provides text description of the situations and basic player data, however they are rather sketchy and sometimes it is hard to spot what influence the player skills and team tactics have on the match flow.
Similar to previous Anstoss games the team management options are rather limited - you will negotiate deals with the sponsors, there are options to improve and invest in youth team and reserve team (you can’t control them, just promote players through them).
Basic stadium options are available - capacity increment and ticket price setting.
There are no options to hire particular staff member.
Anstoss Online is massive multiplayer-only game.
Anstoss was a perfect product for Internet - simple player parameters (limited to skill level, morale and current form) together with multiplayer option was also well received by the players. All the basic options were available (training, transfers, team selection, contracts, sponsorship), which led to long waiting lists of people trying to get in and play - in case of Anstoss Online waiting list was literally waiting list, you had to wait sometimes months to join the game.
While the game provided the same atmosphere of the game (made up club and player names, detailed contract options), with time not many upgrades were introduced to the game itself and today it is only a shadow of past fame - still the same options are available, player skills gained some depth, but Anstoss Online is no longer as popular as once was, and to be honest, not without a reason. While top games of the genre, like Hattrick, were trying to gain more users and make money to invest it in gameplay, Anstoss Online seems to be just a low-budget museum project still advertised as online version of Anstoss 3, game that was published in 2002.
Overall it is still fully functional game, but messy interface and lack of depth in the club management makes me feel like it does a disservice to classic series of football manager games.
Rating: 3 based on 1 votes