German classic soccer manager game that despite its simplicity was one of the icons of the genre in 1990s.
Bundesliga Manager was one of the games that reshaped the genre in the early 1990s - while most of the titles at this point were just text games Bundesliga Manager was introducing fancy interface and quite impressive animations to describe match events. Behind the facade it was still a quite simple game, but the facade was impressive enough to make this game an icon.
Original game simulated all of the German competitions - Bundesliga (plus lower divisions), DFB Pokal (domestic cup) and international cups. In available divisions you can choose any team but no matte what you will start in the lowest division.
Only German league was available and foreign teams were only part of international cups. Also only your own club was fully simulated, rest of them were used only as collective values for the matches (there was no option to review their squads).
Player skills were described using only three parameters: skill (called Technik), stamina (called Kondition) and form (would you believe, called Form). Those three parameters (value between 1 and 100) were compiled to give one number that shown current value of the player for his team. Apart from position player plays (goal, defence, midfield, attack) there were only two parameters describing player: his age and which leg is his dominating.
There was one more details, which was not exactly a separate parameter, but each player had indicator if his skills (form) is increasing, decreasing or are stable.
Each player had assign wages and contract in number of seasons, which meant that you had to extend them in order to keep player in your team. Apart from training, contracts and transfers there were no other options to manage your players.
Training had settings that indicated how intensive the training should be and which field (shooting, stamina, tactics, match), also how hard should the team formations work. Also there was option to send players on training camp, which was boosting their performance, but was costly.
There were no direct transfers (you could not just open player list of a team and approach player), there was only short transfer list available. You could place offers for players on the list or put your own players on that list. The interesting bit was that you could also loan players, as long as they were interested.
No tactics options were available - team formation was the only way to influence team performance plus there was a commitment indicator that changed the team attitude in the match.
There were no match reports as such. Apart from watching the match live there was general description of the match in a magazine at the end of the round. Each goal chance during match was displayed in a form of short, but sometimes complicated animation, most of which had more than one ending. Match statistics were limited to cards, injuries and goal chances, but under the match description in the magazine there were rating of your own players (although they were not stored in the game).
The match engine itself was not very sophisticated since there were no tactics setting nor player orders, but animations made it seem much better than it was.
Team management options were quite extensive for its era - apart from typical options you had chance to sing sponsorship deals (no only for the shirts sponsors, but also for the ads around the stadium). During the season there was also option (if you could afford it) to send the team for training camp, which would improve their current form - there was selection of locations you can send them, each with different characteristics.
There were also options to take bank loan.
Stadium improvements were quite extensive for the 1990s - apart from setting ticket prices you could also install new seats (or standing places), floodlights, scoreboard, roof over stands, improve standard of the pitch or repair it.
There were no options to hire or fire club staff.
Local multiplayer option made it possible for four players to take part in the game on the same computer - in turn they were given chance to make changes to their teams.
With limited space available (whole game took 3 disks) there were not many goal chance animations available, which meant after a while they were repetitive and lost its initial appeal, but at the same time they were far superior to what the competition of Bundesliga Manager had to offer.
Nice looking interface and animated match events were front for not very sophisticated match engine, but wide range of options made this title one of the best of the genre for a while. No, it was not the greatest game ever made, but for its time it was a very good game that had a lot to offer, even though the basics (like tactics and player parameters) were just bare minimum. In fact it was enough for the creators to turn Bundesliga Manager into English version (called The Manager), which simulated the Premiership.
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