Price: Â£10 per team or 3 for Â£25
Private Leagues: Yes
* It has private leagues
* Decent prize money for individual players, mini-leagues and league chairmen
* You get an 18 man squad
* No Man of the Match award points
* Unlike the Telegraph’s basic game, there is no password required to make transfers
* It’s as pricey as Fantasy League Premiership Classic, with an inferior scoring system and less options
* Unlimited substitutions within a gameweek creates a divide between casual and hands-on managers in your private league
* “Star Player” scoring system makes this divide even worse
* FA Cup Games are included in scoring
* Bizarrely, players score and lose points in FA Cup penalty shoot-outs
* No assists awarded for penalties or own goals
* Only UK residents are eligible to play
The TFFO Squad game allows you to pick a squad of 18 players from an £80 million budget. You can alter your lineup prior to each kickoff in a gameweek, either manually, or using the games’ “Timed Transfer” facility. You also get a total of 15 transfers (12 at the start and an additional 3 in December) with which to tweak your squad and you’re limited to 5 transfers per month.
In the Squad game you can assign a “Star Player” who earns you double points. Elsewhere, players score 2 points for appearing in the starting 11 and 1 point for appearing as sub. A goal is awarded with 5 points while assists score 3 points. Clean sheets for Defenders and Keepers are awarded with 4 points for players starting the match and 2 points for a sub. Each goal conceded deducts 1 point from Defenders and Keepers. Bookings deduct 2 points from your players while 5 points are deducted for Red Cards.
To complicate things a little, 2 points are deducted from players who miss a penalty, while keepers that save a penalty gain 4 points. This also applies to FA Cup penalty shootouts.
Unlike the Telegraph’s basic game, no points are awarded for man of the match awards.
In many ways, the Telegraph’s Squad game goes head to head with the Fantasy League’s suite of games. Along with the Premier League game, these are the only ones to offer managers a squad from which to choose a team each week. Sadly for the Telegraph, the comparison with the Fantasy League is unfortunate. True enough, the game offers a large squad of players from which to choose your team, allows unlimited substitutions for each kickoff and has a Private League facility. However, while the price is pitched similar to Fantasy League’s Premiership Classic game – the scoring system and lack of additional competitions make the Fantasy League game a better option.
One of the key drawbacks to the Telegraph game is its scoring system. While you score points in the Fantasy League for FA Cup games, in that game they contribute to a mini FA Cup competition. In the Telegraph points gained from FA Cup matches are integrated with points gained from the Premiership. While I can live with that, it’s the fact that players gain and lose points in FA Cup penalty shoot-outs, that really bugs me. Effectively you could end up losing a private league because a few of your rivals team were taken to penalties in the cup final – that just seems plain unfair.
A strange tweak of the scoring system for the 2007/08 season has seen the Telegraph move away from the Key Contribution system they used which allowed more than one player to gain an assist points for a goal. This season this has been changed to a more familiar “Assist” system with points awarded to just one player for each goal, based on OPTA stats. However, this system does not allow assists to be awarded for players brought down for penalties or having shots deflected for own goals. To my knowledge this is the only game that has this scoring rule. Again, it’s a strange one which does this game no favours.
On the transfer front, you’re limited to 15 per season with 12 handed out on registration and another 3 awarded at Christmas. Managers can make up to 5 transfers per month and the good news is, unlike the Telegraph’s basic game, you don’t need to buy the Telegraph on Wednesday in order to get a password to make transfers. Nice of ’em eh?
Substitutions are another key problem however. Like the Fantasy League Classic game, substitutions are unlimited within a gameweek which means that hands-on managers can log and make alterations for every set of kickoffs over the weekend. This is very demanding and, in a private league situation, this can quickly create a divide between hands-on and casual managers. The factor that makes this situation worse in this game however, is the Star Player feature. Managers earn double points from their star player so this, coupled with unlimited transfers, this means that a hands-on manager can have a player earning double points for each set of kickoffs over the gameweek. The games “Timed Transfer” system attempts to get around this by allowing managers to set up their substitutions in advance of the gameweek fixtures, but inevitably, those managers who can tweak on the fly over the weekend will always have a big advantage. As a result you’ll feel pressured to spend a great deal of time tweaking your team over the weekend for fear of losing ground. It makes the Telegraph Squad Game seem a little overwhelming.
Unlimited substitutions won’t be an issue of course if all your managers are committed and hands-on. However, if they are, then you are far better off spending a bit more cash per team and playing either the Fantasy League Premiership Pro or Auction games. They offer more features, a player auction and more online tools for your league.
For the solo game, like the basic telegraph game, this still has potential. There is a £20,000 top prize and the squad system introduces too many variables for many multiple-entrant managers, so there’s certainly an opportunity for the solo manager to compete. However the attention required to maintain a winning team could well prove too much, even for a hardened Fantasy Football manager with weekends spare.
Finally, just a word about eligibility. Not something I normally have to touch upon when reviewing these games however the Telegraph have made a very bold move this season. This game, along with the TFF game is now restricted registration to UK residents only. Only those with postcodes based in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are able to play the game. It’s an odd one which will dent the Telegraph’s popularity somewhat and obviously something that rules this game out of the reckoning if you’re not UK based.