“Emlyn Hughes Teamtactix” – Board Game Review

As I mentioned in the last board game review this is likely to be a very short series, and so it has proved with this being the second and probably last (for now) board game review.

This game is endorsed by Emlyn Hughes, a man who was one of the first players to forge a career outside of football, chiefly as team captain on Question of Sport opposite England rugby legend Bill Beaumont. He was also one of the first footballers to give their name to a very popular video game, in his case: Emlyn Hughes International Soccer: http://www.ehis64.net/. Less famously he was also the face for the board game: Emlyn Hughes TeamTactix.

The face that launched a thousand board games.

I picked this game up from the same Oxfam shop in Bracknell that I found “Football League” that I reviewed previously. However, this one came at a bargain 99p – eight times cheaper than its non-footballer endorsed counterpart. I can only assume that doddery Dora was a little dismissive when she priced up this marvellous piece of football history. The aim of the game isn’t to win football matches, or even to climb up the league ladders, instead it’s to assemble the most expensive/best squad available. If the game were made today it would almost certainly be endorsed by wheeler-dealing football manager Harry Redknapp.

Amaze your friends and confound your enemies by pretending to be Graham Taylor.

The game features twenty five British football clubs. The best twenty-one in England (including Southampton, Watford and Norwich City) as well as the top four Scottish clubs. The game includes hundreds of football cards depicting the players from these clubs, you collect these cards as you travel around the board. The cards are probably the best thing about the game, the description of Pat Nevin “a right winger with left wing ideals” and Wayne Fereday “could have picked up Bronze had he competed in the 1980 Olympics” being my favourites.

The game’s equivalent of third place in a beauty contest.

It’s very difficult to not adore a game that has a card that involves the Littlewoods Cup, however the game rules are very strict indeed, insisting that each game lasts a marathon (for a board game) hour and a half:

The object of the game is to compile a full team (1-11) of top class players within 90 minutes of playing time.

It’s an obvious attempt to mirror the length of a football game, although assembling a team of 11 within 90 minutes is the sort of thing Barry Fry did at Barnet in the early 90s.  If that restriction wasn’t bad enough the following rule should surely strike  fear into anyone thinking of playing the game:

“Time out” periods do not exceed two minutes and are added to the playing time.

I can’t see any real reason for breaks not to last longer than two minutes, kids have to go and have their tea at some point don’t they? I guess these days there’s an EU directive that insists on breaks of fifteen minutes during board games like TeamTactix. It’s probably at this point I should mention that throughout all the paraphernalia of the board game the word TeamTactix is marked with the two letters TM, lest any other mischievous manufacturers attempt to steal the idea. Ian St. John TeamTactix anyone?

Hottest thing to come out of the Channel Islands since Bergerac.

It’s a truly fantastic game for anyone who is between the ages of about 30-40, wheeling and dealing players they remember so well from their youth. The cards I’ve shown in this small review are only a fraction of what’s included in the game – card after card depicting Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich and Abderdeen players with small snippets (or FACTIX – TM) such as “refuses to learn to drive” – John McClelland (Watford) or  “enjoys greyhound racing” – Glenn Roeder (Newcastle United) – it’s quite beautiful and should take pride of place in anyone’s 80s footballing reliquary.

Emlyn Hughes TeamTactix TM – (8/10)

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