Want to know what all the fuss is about with FantasyChampMan? CM_Hints takes you through the game, tips, resources and how you can still enter a team…

FantasyChampMan

The Game

Often in life things are created from scratch to fill a void.  This was the case with @FantasyChampMan.  Without any live professional football during these unprecedented times, @SimpleGull_FPL, @FPL_Tactician and @Jameslapren came up with a unique idea of essentially creating a fantasy football game based on a simulation of Championship Manager 01/02 (CM01/02).  In effect, it’s a game within a game.  For those not familiar with CM01/02, it is highly acclaimed among football management aficionados and has a cult following to this day.

The fact that the creators of FantasyChampMan were able to devise a game from it with FPL scoring, chips and transfer system all on short notice and for free is nothing short of remarkable.  Personally speaking it’s merged two of my coveted football interests ; FPL and Championship Manager, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the bulk of FantasyChampMan managers are of a certain age.  Just to see “GOAL VAN NISTELROOY” flash up on Twitter is good just for the nostalgia value alone.  All of this is possible through sophisticated spreadsheets and algorithms.  Many FPL managers have signed up to the game which has already started with approximately two Gameweeks every seven days.

Tips & Resources

Despite being an avid gamer of the Championship Manager franchise, I actually hadn’t played CM01/02 for 16 years, until last week.  My first save involved buying an assortment of wonderkids such as Cherno Samba, Mark Kerr and Tonton Zola Moukoko but the less said about that the better.  The fact of the matter is that even though FantasyChampMan mimics aspects of FPL the simulation and the in-game managerial decisions don’t add up to how football is played in the Premier League today.  To navigate the game, we essentially need to understand how CM01/02 works.  This is only possible by running your own simulations to best guess what certain outcomes may be.  For instance penalty takers are more unpredictable in CM01/02 than in real life.  But based on running multiple simulations on your own accord, as carried out by FPL Punter and Rory, you can almost identify who the penalty takers might be.  That’s not to say they will score despite their pedigree, as I discovered with Ian Harte in Gameweek 1.

Apart from penalty takers, one of the more trickier things to predict are the line-ups.  In short there is a lot of randomness associated to them by the in-game automated managers.  For this reason alone it makes sense to have a squad of 15 that are likely starters with no ‘dud sub’ players, whereas in FPL you could get away with 1-2 subs with questionable starting statuses.  One example of this occurred with my own team in Gameweek 1.  I expected Paulo Di Canio to start and yet to my surprise he wasn’t even in the squad despite being fully fit.  Thankfully my first sub was Steve Staunton who delivered from the bench with a clean sheet and assist.  Generally speaking, the indispensable players do tend to start and if they aren’t involved in a European campaign the risk of rotation diminishes further.  Another thing worth noting is that designated captains will hardly ever be outside of the first XI, barring injury and suspension.  It was for this reason that I signed John Collins; reasonably priced and a safe fourth midfielder option.

Despite being a fledgling community, FantasyChampMan isn’t short of useful resources.  For instance there’s d1sable who is well experienced in playing CM01/02 and has already begun putting up videos on team selection.  There’s also whitebeard_fpl and his treasure trove of ChampManFPL collated data, with filters for good measure.  Even Ben Crellin has gone out of his way to create a new Twitter handle just for this new game. In addition to them and many others offering advice, there’s also a dedicated tool for the game that also offers extra hints.  You could also play CM01/02 yourself (see download instructions) and run some sims for scouting purposes to give you an indication on how footballers perform.  If you want to take it to another level, you could diligently scan match reports from the 01/02 season or watch highlights of actual matches to truly gauge the talent on offer.  But that may also be futile as sims reign supreme. If you want to do your own research it makes sense to do your own CM01/02 sims to identify patterns among players.

My FantasyChampMan Team

As mentioned, the ChampManFPL season has already kicked off.  We’re three Gameweeks into it and I think I’ve had a reasonable start so far.  I’ve tried to create a balanced team as possible.  Due to the unpredictability of team selections, this game is in some ways harder than FPL.  But in each Gameweek so far, I’ve been lucky.  Firstly, with Staunton’s 12 auto-sub points, followed by Zola’s double digit haul and then Beckham’s 19 points.  Of course, there’s still a long way to go and it’s been interesting navigating the early blank Gameweeks so far.  My focus has been on mainstays and nailed on starters, so differentials are off the table.  Having an established attacking core was essential.  I may have overdone it, but for now I’m content in having Giggs, Beckham and Van Nistelrooy.  I might get rid of Di Canio in the foreseeable future if he doesn’t start scoring but Zola seems like a bargain.  I’ve tried building a fairly settled squad and it remains to be seen how it will pan out. In fact, with 1,000+ managers starting from Gameweek 1, it will be fascinating to see how engaged everyone will be for the long haul and what the impact will be to ChampManFPL once FPL returns.

 

More Information

If you want to get involved you still can – the creators of ChampManFPL plan on opening up entries for new managers.  Even if you don’t want to create your own team, feel free to follow their Twitter account just for the retro score updates.

Finally, unrelated to ChampManFPL, the creator of LiveFPL (Ragbolly) is due to launch his own virtual FPL game.  Gameweek 1 kicks off this weekend and you can sign up here to take part.

 

Stay tuned for more posts!

 

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