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Football Manager 15: The most fun you'll ever have with a spreadsheet

Can you lead the LA Galaxy to victory in Football Manager 15? Or do you prefer to find some obscure Danish squad to turn into a European juggernaut?

Football Manager 15 Game Engine
Football Manager 15 Game Engine
Sega Games

This is my second year playing Football Manager, the most fun a soccer fan can have with an interactive database. The two iterations of FM I've played, last years and this years, are quite similar with slight modifications to make FM15 worth purchasing. I still don't like the simulation engine, I play with the barest of highlights, but those who don't play on a five year old mac laptop might.

What has been most attractive to me about FM is that it includes MLS as one of the few licensed leagues, and painstakingly tries to recreate the experience of managing in this country with mixed results. Like EA Sports' FIFA the game has the new MLS logo and even the new Columbus Crew logo.

When I started my career as the new LA Galaxy manager, I was excited to see players already on loan to LA Galaxy II, but one place the game falls short for me is managing the Galaxy soccer pyramid. Loaning players out to LAGII isn't an option, while there's still a redundant Reserve Team to manage.

FM15 Homescreen

The home screen looks similar to last year's now with a sidebar for easier navigation. All the relative team controlled squads are listed, as are staff, scouting and the like. The English Championship is one of the licensed leagues, as is the Scottish top flight, which provide similar challenges to roster building as MLS.

FM15 has the Designated Player rule, and the salary budget which can be increased using allocation funds.

One of the challenges I've faced is trying to change the style of play and finding the personnel to do so. I've switched the Galaxy to a 4-1-4-1 which plays like a 4-3-3 offensively with Landon Donovan as a winger and Gyasi Zardes as an inside forward. Going back defensively its two attacking midfielders outside with central midfielders in Marcelo Sarvas and Baggio Husidic with Juninho as the DM.

While this was essentially the same Starting XI, I came to realize I needed central midfield subs. Scouting players good enough for MLS but still cheap enough was difficult, and the players within MLS required transfer fees for some reason.

Tactics FM15

My 4-1-4-1 came organically, just by shifting players until they could play the role I wanted them in. In the tactics screen you can move players into a handful of different positions on the field, formation limited only by the imagination. The star with the circle shows a players' aptitude for their position. Making Donovan and Zardes into attacking wide midfielders essentially limited their sub to Stefan Ishizaki and nothing else.

All in all I've had fun with it. Anyone here a FM fan?