The Championship Manager series is a football (or soccer) management simulation game. Players can manage a variety of soccer teams, make soccer transfers, select team formations and team strategies for games. Dating back to the early 1990s, the franchise continues today and so is one of the top PC game series.
It was in 1992 that the first CM game came out for the PC DOS platform. This was very limited compared to more recent game titles of the series. Overall, it included four English leagues, but lacked any detailed graphics or sound.
However, the sequel to the original Championship Manager really saw the takeoff for Championship Manager games. With it, the game included photography of the grounds, as well as in-game commentary. In addition to this, further expansions of the sequel also included European leagues for the first time.
As such, the series has had numerous sequels since including CM 3, 4 and 5 along with seasonal updates. While these sequels have all added new features and effects, the basis of the game lies in the player stats that are included for each. Players are given ratings in a number of areas such as tacking, passing, shooting, fitness, pace, speed, crossing, dribbling, strength, technique, off-ball movement, marking, etc. The higher numerical rating a player has the more proficient they are in that particular attribute.
The game includes real footballers in the various leagues within its player database. With input from top soccer coaches, the series has accurate and realistic player stats and ratings for the players.
In addition, the series also includes various match engines for soccer games played. The earlier versions of Championship Manager had text-based match engines, which included text commentary alongside various match and player statistics. In each game, players are given a form rating out of 10 which then is included for an average seasonal average for all games played. Later additions to the series also include various match and player statistics, but with modified match-engines, as found in Championship Manager 4, that display player positions and movements.
As a soccer management game, the transfer market has a variety of options for purchasing and selling players. Footballers have various values that can go up or down in accordance with how they play in the games, and their overall player ratings. They can be purchased either directly, indirectly or via free transfers such as the Bosman ruling. Various contract options are also available for potential new players.
Championship Manager includes a variety of standard team formations such as 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-5-1, 3-4-3, 4-3-3 and their variations. In addition, these formations can be modified with additional player instructions for passing, tackling, shooting etc. There are also addition tactics which can be used such as off-side trap, pressing counter-attack, etc.
With such diversity of options, the Championship Manager series is regarded as one of the best and most accurate soccer management games. It is a great game for soccer fans, and the closest most will get to soccer team management.