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HomeBoard GameDesigner Diary: Eleven | BoardGameGeek News

Designer Diary: Eleven | BoardGameGeek News

Board Game: Eleven: Football Manager Board Game

Hi! My identify is Thomas Jansen, designer of Eleven. Together with Ignacy Trzewiczek and his growth crew at Portal Games, we’ve got labored on Eleven for a really very long time. We hope you’ll take pleasure in it as a lot as we did designing it.

How It All Started

Back in 2016, I made a decision to design a soccer supervisor board recreation. I used to be on a vacation. I sat down on the desk with this empty paper in entrance of me and began writing and drawing my first concepts.

The most vital factor was the theme. It needed to be an actual expertise, with plenty of occasions and decision-making to offer the participant the sensation of being an actual membership supervisor. I had loved so many soccer supervisor video games on my PC. If you ever performed one, you understand how addictive it may be. I used to play for hours and hours till 3 o’clock within the morning. I keep in mind calling the police one evening after observing a housebreaking try at my neighbors — not good, though my chosen membership went for promotion that evening. Life’s stuffed with ups and downs.

I wished the participant of my recreation to have that very same feeling. After many months of growth and playtests, Club Stories was born. Only 200 copies had been made for my Elven Ear Games. Players had been very constructive in regards to the recreation, and shortly there weren’t any copies. I nonetheless obtain emails from folks asking me whether or not I’ve a replica left.

I went to the Dutch conference Spellenspektakel to demo Club Stories. Kurt van Hoeyveld (a.okay.a., The Vitrivian Gamer) was demoing for Portal Games. He favored Club Stories very a lot and promised to ship a replica to Ignacy Trewiczek, proprietor of Portal Games.

I knew Ignacy is a soccer fan. He as soon as did a YouTube video about soccer video games he loved. After some time, I obtained a brief message from him: “I actually take pleasure in your recreation. I wish to publish it worldwide.”


That’s how it began. I went to SPIEL the place I met the blokes from Portal Games. I ate numerous their Polish cookies and went again residence to begin a brand new section for Club Stories.

Club Stories is a solo recreation, and we needed to change it right into a 1-4 participant recreation. Quite a bit needed to be achieved. Ignacy, his growth crew, and I went to work.

We by no means met in actual life throughout the technique of growth. We stay ten hours aside. We did many video calls; despatched hundreds of emails, WhatsApp messages, gameplay movies, and so on. Some of the adjustments we launched, I’ll talk about beneath.

First the identify modified: Club Stories grew to become Eleven.

Club Stories has a press-your-luck cube system. This system works very nicely in a solo recreation as it’s extremely thematic and provides to your story, your journey. Of course, you will not succeed at getting Messi to your membership each time you attempt.

But we quickly discovered this method is not excellent when taking part in multiplayer competitively. It will be fairly irritating when you do not succeed at an vital motion and your opponent does simply due to the results of a die roll.

This is why Ignacy launched an enormous change.

Club Stories has 4 tracks. The funds monitor produces money, whereas the opposite tracks (health, morale, followers) do not. Instead, they’re used throughout sure checks: low health means an elevated probability of accidents, low morale will trigger suspensions, and so on.

Ignacy saved the concept of the cash-producing funds monitor. He launched the identical system to the opposite tracks. Now, each monitor produces its personal assets, which you’ll pay to do sure actions. You want health tokens to activate your gamers, followers to refill the stands, operations (beforehand morale) to offer you further actions.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

This strategy reduces the vital dice-rolling moments to a minimal. You nonetheless roll cube on the board assembly and match penalties, however you’re allowed to re-roll as many occasions you need when you’ve got sufficient fan assets to do it.

But nonetheless, generally…you’re simply unfortunate. It occurs. A suspension, a two-week-long harm. That’s soccer.

Another factor that modified was the match system. PC soccer supervisor gamers know that is solely a small a part of supervisor recreation, however we put in so many hours to get it proper.

I’ll begin by telling you the historical past of the match system.

When I designed Club Stories, I wished to make a soccer supervisor recreation, impressed by the nice supervisor video games on the PC. I didn’t wish to make a soccer recreation. Don’t get me flawed; I used to be an enormous fan of the Fifa collection. I even managed to turn into a nationwide prime 50 participant on the PC about ten years in the past, however I wished this board recreation to be about operating a soccer membership.

That doesn’t suggest matches aren’t vital, however I needed to discover a fast system for the match-resolution half that did not take an excessive amount of time and was attention-grabbing sufficient, so I got here up with a system that labored nicely. There are three zones on the pitch: ahead, midfield, and protection. There is room for 4 gamers in every row. You can place participant playing cards there, or use the power 1 participant already there. You choose your gamers by placing cubes on them. You should give a participant one out of two attainable duties: attempt to rating (ball) or press (defend). You assign these duties just by putting the participant card onto a ball or defend area. The ahead part has 3 balls and 1 defend to select from, the midfield has 2 balls versus 2 shields, and protection has 3 shields and 1 ball. Each zone is in comparison with the alternative zone of your opponent. For instance, your protection zone is in comparison with the ahead zone. Your gamers who attempt to rating (ball) are in comparison with the gamers who’re urgent (defend), and so on. You select which gamers meet. The scoring try of a participant is profitable if his power is greater than the urgent participant. For full particulars, try a Club Stories playthrough on YouTube.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

Club Stories was profitable and in addition the match system was favored by the gamers. It suits the kind of recreation Club Stories is.

So that is the place Eleven took off. Ignacy and his crew rapidly got here up with the jersey tokens. You can flip the tokens to vary the duties of the gamers. You are additionally in a position to put extra gamers in a bit. I used 9 sections, as a substitute of three, for sooner resolving. It additionally gave extra choices for the flanks. How cool would it not be to have these jersey tokens in your pitch and be capable to transfer them wherever you need like an actual supervisor proper earlier than this match on his whiteboard? We additionally wished to make it tougher for a defender to attain a objective, and we had another concepts.

These new concepts made it a lot cooler. Instead of simply going for the fastened Club Stories system that already labored nicely, we began a way more open and free concept that gave many choices and decisions for the gamers — however due to this freedom, the possibility of the system being “hacked”, i.e., discovering a strategy to all the time win, will increase as nicely.

We had so many cool concepts, and we additionally received numerous ideas from you guys, however each single good concept wanted to be examined totally. We did not need it to be hacked! We had a number of playtesters (often Munchkin gamers, in line with Ignacy) who broke a brand new concept. They let their groups play in methods that soccer followers like us by no means considered. Remember, we might have had a system prepared earlier than the Gamefound web page went stay, however we did not wish to. We simply wished the right system, the right expertise.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

There was no goalkeeper in Club Stories, however proper after the beginning of the Eleven marketing campaign, lots of people had been asking for one. Some had been referring to the secret. How might we’ve got solely ten gamers on the pitch and name the sport Eleven?! Can’t argue with that, after all.

So we have added goalkeepers. Keepers could make saves. The higher they’re, the extra and higher makes an attempt they’ll cease. They could even develop into the best gamers on the pitch, in my view. Thanks to your requests.

The match system was the toughest half to develop. It took numerous time, however we wished to do it nicely. If we made a PC soccer supervisor, we might have launched the sport and despatched you a great deal of patches afterward that fastened issues, however we’re making a board recreation. And apart from that, we simply wish to carry you a really, very nice soccer supervisor expertise.

For a extra detailed clarification, examine the handbook right here on BGG.

Eleven is greater than a dry soccer supervisor. It’s an expertise. After a recreation of Eleven, it is possible for you to to inform the story of your season as if it occurred for actual, so let’s provide you with an summary of per week (spherical) on the membership.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

What’s Eleven about?

Eleven is a aggressive technique recreation for 1 to 4 gamers set on this planet of soccer. In the solo mode, you play in opposition to completely different eventualities.

Your activity is to handle and develop your personal soccer membership over the course of a season and outperform different groups. It’s all the time good to finish up greater within the league than your opponents, however remember there’s extra to it. Don’t overlook you aren’t taking part in Fifa 23. You’re a supervisor; there are completely different methods to turn into the very best one, so do not be shocked when your mates’ membership results in mid-table and wins the sport, when you took the title.

When you’ve got arrange your first recreation of Eleven, it feels a bit like your first day as a supervisor on the membership, so let me provide you with a tour:

From gallery of ThomasJansen

Every participant has three boards in entrance of them that characterize the stadium, the boardroom, and the pitch.


This is the place the magic occurs. What a view, proper? Here’s the place you set your followers. If you could have sufficient of them, you could promote out the stadium. You can use sponsor playing cards to refill the advert boards for additional revenue, or make them turn into your equipment sponsor. There’s additionally room to increase the stadium. If you suppose your membership is means too huge in your stadium, why do not you increase it with a few stands? More followers will carry you more cash every spherical, or construct new coaching grounds for higher efficiency and crew health. Just a few examples.

From gallery of ThomasJansen


Welcome to the boardroom. See these empty chairs? There is room for 3 administrators. They will make vital selections in your membership. Yes, they do, not you — though there are methods to affect them. Below it are 4 tracks the place you monitor your recognition, operations, health, and funds.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

Pitch Board

Let’s go outdoors. Mmm, rain. On the pitch board, you create your line-up with the jersey tokens. Move them throughout the board till you’re glad. I can inform you, you’ll really feel like an actual coach when transferring these items.

There can be room for the present opponent card. You are working at knowledgeable membership. Scouts give you details about the upcoming opponent. Based on this, you’ll be able to choose techniques and select a line-up. On this board, you additionally discover the match rating and the match penalties desk, which you employ after a match. It’s mainly used to see how the gamers received by means of the match. Injuries could occur, stats could change.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

Transfer Area

In the center of the desk is the switch space, out there to all gamers. Here you’ll be able to rent employees, purchase gamers, contract new sponsors, and study new techniques.

League Table

On a smaller board you retain monitor of the league desk. There are eight AI golf equipment within the recreation. You play in opposition to them, however they play their very own matches, too. Some are prime golf equipment, some common, and a few are combating in opposition to relegation. Don’t be fooled as they’ve a number of methods to play and should select a special line-up subsequent time you play in opposition to them.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

In a four-player recreation there aren’t any fewer than 13 boards on the desk!

Every spherical is named per week. From Monday to Thursday, occasions could occur and actions will be taken. On the weekends a match is performed.

Are you settled? Let’s begin working then.


First factor within the morning, you get your useful resource tokens for the week. You examine your 4 tracks and acquire that quantity, so in case your funds monitor is at 2, you acquire 2 money. If your morale monitor is at 4, you acquire 4 morale.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

You can spend these tokens in several conditions later throughout the week. For instance, use your fan tokens to refill the stadium, or use your health tokens to make gamers carry out particular actions on the pitch.

Then, you head off to the board room for a board assembly. A membership has three administrators, they usually all have completely different opinions. For instance, some see the membership primarily as a enterprise. Most of all, they wish to make cash. I will not name out any actual golf equipment right here, however you most likely know one or two that match the outline. Some administrators suppose the membership belongs to the followers; some will do something to have the very best crew. Got one in thoughts? All these completely different opinions affect the choices they take, so you need to be cautious which administrators to placed on these chairs.

Every participant takes a board assembly card that can affect their very own membership. There all the time is a dilemma to be mentioned with three completely different attainable outcomes, for instance, “Shall we increase ticket costs?” You can think about it brings in cash, however will not make you standard with the followers. The board will determine, however you could wish to be part of the dialogue and attempt to affect them.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

From Tuesday to Thursday you could carry out actions. You can rent gamers who vary in high quality from 1-4, however observe a few of them have particular skills which might be simply as highly effective as a high-quality participant. Besides, gamers will be educated.

You can contract a sponsor. They will carry you cash and lift your stats on the 4 tracks. You can prepare techniques to make your crew higher. You can spend money on infrastructure. You can rent employees. They provide you with many extra attainable actions. For instance, when you’ve got a primary coach, you could prepare your gamers, which makes them higher — at the very least, generally. Or rent a physician to do away with accidents. There is a lot to do throughout the week.

From gallery of ThomasJansen

In the meantime, you examine your goals card once more. They provide you with additional victory factors. Or go for the right achievement for double the factors. For instance, you’ll have to win the match in opposition to your native rivals as a result of they beat you final season. Can’t occur once more, after all.


You most likely are used to a free weekend. Forget about that. As a supervisor, you’re all the time on. You want to check your opponent. It will be very useful. Learn their system, uncover their qualities and weaknesses.

Then you choose your gamers and select techniques. All tokens are gamers with customary high quality of 1, however you even have participant playing cards. These characterize the token with the identical equipment quantity. They typically are higher or have particular skills. Then the match is resolved. If you could have sufficient health assets, you could possibly choose sufficient gamers and make use of participant skills as nicely. Don’t count on to win your first recreation as you are simply beginning your profession.

Now let’s have a look at what the opposite gamers did, to not point out the 8 AI groups. After you regulate the rating monitor, you roll for the match penalties. Injuries could occur, followers could have had sufficient and depart, crew morale could change, and so on.

Now you could get some sleep. There is one other board assembly tomorrow you could wish to attend. Time flies.

Further Development

As quickly as the bottom mechanisms of the sport had been completed, we continued engaged on creating content material: designing extra playing cards, eventualities, and so on. We additionally targeted on the expansions. During this section, I labored along with recreation developer Janek Maurycy quite a bit. He is a really gifted designer who introduced in lots of inventive concepts.

Board Game: Eleven: Solo Campaign

One of the expansions that modified quite a bit in comparison with the unique concept that was described on the Gamefound web page is the Solo Campaign enlargement. I can not wait to listen to of your experiences with it.

I all the time began with a decrease league English crew whereas taking part in on my PC, then tried to work my means up. I additionally favored to maneuver to a different membership and proceed my journey there. Buying gamers, promoting gamers, discovering new abilities, increasing the stadium, all the time, all the time out of funds after two or three seasons… Season after season glided by, beginning a brand new marketing campaign solely when the present yr received too “science fiction” for me.

But that is precisely what I adored: the marketing campaign. The story of a profession you created your self. It was like RPG recreation. I guess numerous soccer supervisor freaks love video games like Skyrim as nicely. I do know I do.

That’s why the solo campaigns are excellent to provide the identical sensation. The base recreation already has an excellent solo mode, however the enlargement takes the subsequent step. It has eight eventualities — fourteen should you depend the backs as nicely — which might be linked in a novel strategy to make an excellent story. You begin at a decrease league membership. After taking part in a season, you could have completely different choices relying on how nicely you probably did. You can keep on the membership: You flip the situation card and go for one more season. If you probably did nicely, different golf equipment may be excited about you. You could wish to proceed your profession at one other membership. This system lets you roam the league pyramid. This can provide you an actual sandbox really feel. You can play the sport for a lot of seasons, identical to you probably did in your PC again within the day. Your selections actually matter and impact the subsequent situation.

Your final objective is to succeed in the massive prime league, so get able to construct your self an excellent profession.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

A particular solo deck of 36 playing cards was created for this enlargement. They have an effect on gameplay and your progress within the marketing campaign. There are 14 new playing cards for the multiplayer mode together with new goal, director, and board assembly playing cards, rising the general variability within the base recreation.

Of course, the solo marketing campaign will not be required to play Eleven solo, but it surely enhances solo gameplay from the bottom recreation making it extra strategic.

I believe you’ll be able to’t get nearer to that PC soccer supervisor feeling than this. I’m actually wanting ahead to the discharge of Eleven and hope you take pleasure in it as a lot as I do. Thanks!

Thomas Jansen



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