“League Championship” – Board Game Review

In what is likely to be a short series Mirko Bolesan brings you a review of a football related board game. We start with “League Championship”, a shrewd purchase in the local Oxfam shop at a bargain £7.99.

World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks adorns the cover of the box and it’s his endorsement that covers all four edges of the box. Gordon Banks certainly promoted rather more wholesome products than his World Cup counterpart Pele.

Gordon wouldn’t lie, would he?

The game features a circular board similar to family favourite Trivial Pursuit, and features line after line of numbers one set featuring the number of points each player has, the other the number of matches each player has played. It looks complicated – and probably is – I haven’t convinced the wife to play a game as yet.

The similarities between this board and the Round Table at Winchester Castle are astounding.

Like any self-respecting board game a set of figurines are included to move the player on the board. It has to be said that the pieces are relatively disappointing. They are all white. Either it’s a tribute to Peter Shilton’s all white goalkeeping kit from the late 70s or the creators of the game expected you to paint them yourselves at home. The thing is, any self-respecting child of that era is unlikely to have paints that come in the royal blue of Everton or the claret of Aston Villa. Instead they are only going to possess leftover Humbrol paints such as the Sea Grey of a chinook or a khaki green of a Messerschmitt Bf 108, leading to some quite odd kit combinations unlikely to have been used in reality until at least the early 90s (most probably on a groundbreaking Bolton Wanderers away kit).

Paint your own!

The game also comes with a set of cards that are similar to those of the “Chance” set in Monopoly, although these are obviously football related and do not include Beauty Contests or Bank Errors in your favour. My favourites include “Go away for special training. Add 2 goals to your score” and “Recent Cup commitments in Europe weaken team. Lose one goal in this match” showing that managers in the 1970s also had these sorts of squad rotation problems with regards to burgeoning European competition

I am unsure as to whether there is a “Work out the corner kick after they’ve used it against you once” card or not.

The crowning glory of the game is the League Championship trophy that is included. You are instructed in the rules of the game that the cup must be placed in the centre of the board on the plinth* provided. * – black bit of plastic. It all sounds very grand, but it’s not easy balancing the cup on the crease of the board. It should be added here that the cup isn’t actually as good as the one you get in Subbuteo, it’s clearly lower grade plastic and not as big, however it’s very nice to actually play for something.

I had to wait for my wife to go to bed before setting this out on the living room floor.
It may sound rather sad, but I think the best moment of the game is reserved for putting it away. The back of the box is beautiful, you realise just why it’s a circular board.

Overall it’s a deeply unimpressive game, based more on luck than on judgement. Random throws of the dice and the drawing of particular cards appear to be what defines the winner or loser. Very much like football you might say (if you were an idiot).

League Championship – (4/10)