I saved this article that Nathan (AA manager) wrote awhile ago for new managers. I thought it was a very good introduction. Enjoy!
BEGINNERS GUIDE TO GETTING IT RIGHT AND HAVING FUN IN SAEFL
Now, there are various tactics in SAEFL. They range from the all out attack (WP and pretty much LB), to the total defense (ZD, TS, TC and generally ENF) to the midfield solidity of BC, to an attacking midfield combo (ONE, WH), to the counter attack (CP) and the weakening tactics (MM, SM).
The rules are a great starting point for knowing what tactic to play for each occasion. There are three things to consider:
a) What is your squad like (or what do you want it to become - see below)
b) What is your best tactic and backup tactic (because this is important)
c) What will work best against your opponent (especially important if your opponent is stronger than you - a good example is Week 23 of season 10, when for once, I got it right by picking WP against ZD - ZD makes WP much stronger)
2) Getting the best out of the tactic
It's no good playing 6 defenders and one striker with a WP or LB. It's equally useless picking 5 forwards and 3 defenders in a TC, TS, ENF or ZD. The rules again explain all, but some positions work better with certain tactics (CF, S with WP; DS, CB, FB with TC, TS and ENF; WH, AM with ONE and WH) etc. The style your side plays (All-Out, Total Defence, Midfield Dominance etc) also have an influence on whether your player is offensive or defensive - and thus pick up extra EMP (match performance - or points).
For instance, in a WP, you want your Strikers to be getting as much offensive time as possible, given that they reap something like 30% bonus to NSL for all offensive time. If you play all-out defence, a striker will only generate 5/8 of his performance attacking, with the rest going on his defensive game. Even with a 2-2 stats player with 10 NSL (see below), the figures speak for themselves.
All out defense - 10NSL /8X5 = 6.25 /100X130 = 8.125 + 3.75 = 11.875 EMP.
All Out Attack - 10 NSL /8X8 = 10 /100x130 = 13 EMP.
OK, so it's only just over 1 NSL, but that is without other effects (such as captain rating, home advantage, positive player stats, the effect of the oppositions tactic). The real difference can be more like 2-3 NSL when all in, and when you consider that you may have as many as 10 players gleaning benefit OR potentially suffering from a tactic, with the wrong style, that can inflict major damage on your teams performance (perhaps 10-15 EMP) - enough to lose you a game you should have won.
Oh, by the way, a player can be played out of position (eg a DM as a CM) if it suits your tactic. However, if you decide to do this, the player looses part of his NSL. In my experience, it is rarely worth playing a player out of position.
3) Structuring your roster
Putting your roster together is simple. First of all, take a look at the tactics. What do you want to play? Also, consider where trends are going in SAEFL. Are a lot of teams playing ZD - this may lead to WP becoming more useful. Perhaps they are all playing WP - in which case a CP tactic or even a MM can be good. The most important thing is to find at least 2 tactics (a primary tactic and a back up, which is likely to be a markedly different tactic from your primary - say WP and TS or LB and CP - NOT ENF and TS, or WP and LB).
Now, when you have decided what you want, you need to pick your players. Most players peak NSL occurs between the ages of 25 and 28 (and position DOES have an influence - Wingers age poorly - they need pace, and are best when between the ages of 21 and 24), while CF and DS need guile - they are later (usually around 28). HOWEVER, each player is an individual, and where most wingers are best at 23 or 24, some may peak at 21 or 28. Likewise, I have had DS that peak at 22, and others that peak at 31, when they on average peak at 28).
So, if you want to pick BC as your primary tactic, pick AS, DM, CM (very important with this tactic) and MF that are between the ages of about 22 and 29 - not 18 or 32. However, it is best to give some spread to your squad. Do not pick the best years (22-28) in either midfield, defense or forwards) - if you have no defenders over 8 NSL, and you for whatever reason come up with six 10 NSL CMs when you can only use 4 and cannot trade them, you are unlikely to win many games.
Furthermore, if you want to play a WP, you might want to pick 4 wingers, 5 strikers and 3 CF in your initial roster picks (for instance). However, don't go picking too many players in any of the four categories (including keeper) - again, think about balance.
The keeper - They are VITAL. A good keeper can save or cost you a match. I therefore you pick one keeper in the 22-24 range, one in the 26-29 range, and a youngster (18 or 19). This should hopefully give you one, or maybe two good keepers, with a decent back-up and a keeper that might, with a bit of luck, age well and be your number 1 in 2 or 3 seasons.
Lastly, remember Initial. Surname (for instance, N. Fossey or T. Queen) - otherwise peter will ask you to rename the player.
Oh, and even more lastly, for a bit of fun (optional), you could always name try and relate your players names to the club name (ie - Green Giants = I. Giant or G. Odzilla)
4) EB and Press Bonus
EB can be very useful. I used to be a stickler for getting my orders in by the Early Bird deadline (EB). It nets you £7,500 each week - over a season, well over 150k - or a player). Also, most weeks, the Commy puts up players for sale. if you don't meet the EB deadline, you don't get to bid. These days, with managers wanting player for player trades, it's a good way of using cash to strengthen your side or squad for the short or long-term.
Writing press, although time consuming, can net you a LOT more (400-500k a season with the new rules - I think).
If you want to write press, think about your club as a living, breathing thing - what are your players like / what do they get up to / is the manager mad? Also think about writing post match reports (the week after your last SAEFL game). Perhaps you want to show off your latest signing, or slag off another manager. If you look at the early seasons (c season 3-7), you will see that I used to write an awful lot of press - and it did my bank balance no harm. It's also a good way or integrating and it helps build contacts.
Trading has become more difficult in recent seasons. Managers are clever. They want the best for their squad. Money has been devalued and most gaffers will only trade a player (or two, or three, or more) for another player or 2,3,4 ...
When trading, think about several things:
a) what do you want to do with your squad - are you looking to strengthen it for the long-term, in which case you might want to buy younger, lower NSL players; or do you need a quick hit to boost your first 11 - usually a 9 NSL plus sort.
b) how much is your player worth? A 6 NSL 31 year old in any position is worth nothing. But is a 6 20 NSL CF or a 10 NSL 31 CF worth more? Well, the 10 NSL player is good for the short term, but he will soon run out of gas or retire, while the 6 NSL 20 CF may, with some luck, turn into an excellent player. Obviously, if you have a 10 NSL 22 CF, then he's gold-dust and it worth considerable cash. In short, don't go trading your 5 star players in the 23-26 category for one or two mediocre players - take a look at trading over the years for examples.
Also, look out for stats. Not all 9 NSL players are the same. a 1-1 stats player will perform at something like -10% (a 9 NSL player might EMP 8.1), while a 5-5 stats player might EMP at 10.8 - that's a 2.7 EMP swing without other factors coming into player. These stats are not easy to spot, but, with a calculator or a good eye, you can spot that raw 19 4 NSL player that might become a future star performer - SEE THE RULES PAGE FOR THE SPECIFICS ON PLAYER STATS (but basically they are team ethic and determination).
However, at the end of the day, a 10 NSL player, no matter what his stats, is always useful.
Captains can be very important. a 5 rating captain can add significantly more EMP onto your players. So, if you cannot find that good (or perhaps 2 gooduns) 5 rating caps, and you see that a manager is offering his 5 stats captain up for trade, he might be worth a look.
Finally, hidden within a players make-up his sending off potential. Some players never get booked. Others get sent off every week. Again, scouting is the best way to see if a potential signing has the red mist gene and might miss 10 out of your 26+ games a season!
6) The Draft
At the beginning of every season, depending on your scouts ability (see the rules for more information on scouts, physios and coaches), you get to pick 6 players of varying ages (18-20). Make use of the draft wisely. If you need a really good Winger sharpish, you might look to get in at least 1 20 y/o in a draft. If your CMs look solid, but might age badly in two seasons or so, pick one or two CMs at 18 year old that could replace them in time.
Oh, and when your 18 year old CF or DS turns out to be 2 NSL - DON'T sack him. They do improve (trust me). If they are only 4 NSL by the time they reach 25 years old mind you, it might be time to wield the knife.
7) How does EMP work
EMP is basically the total match performance of your player. This is based on the tactic and style you choose for a game that say, your CF plays in; his stats; your captains rating; whether you are home or away; whether your teams morale is good or bad; your coaches rating; your Club Man Average; and whether you employ a grudge or boost (see below). If your player has poor stats, you don't choose a captain, you play away from home, your coach isn;'t great, and you have poor morale, plus your tactic does not suit a player, do not expect him to set the world alight. This really can make 6 or more EMP difference on a 10 NSL player.
8) Explaining the Roster
The roster is really easy. I won't go into depth, but the key things to look at are Age, NSL, Position, their SP (how healthy they are), and whether they are suspended or injured. The other information relates to games played for your and other clubs, goals scored (season and total), total EMP for the season and stuff like international games.
9) Rotating of players / DP / Injures / SP
Although you might want to play your top 10 NSL AS every week - DON'T. After a while, he may become tired, and is therefore more prone to injury. Unless forced, I never play a player under 20 SP (Strength Points), and, if possible, I rest a player when he gets to 25 or 26 SP.
A player will lose 1 SP for every week he plays. However, if he rests a week, he gains 2 SP back.
If a player gets injured, depending on the roll of the dice, he could lose further SP, be injured and therefore would be unable to play for your club for a while, or, in a worst case scenario, might have to retire.
Similarly, if your player is sent off, he will have to sit out games. Bookings leads to Disciplinary Points (DP), and above 10 DP leads to at least a 1 match suspension. A sending off is an immediate 10 point DP offence and a 1 match ban. Bans can also escalate. One of my players was unable to play for 4 weeks on the trot due to his bookings and sending offs.
BTW - if you try to play a suspended or injured player, you will just get fined. (you also get fined if you miss-spell a players name when compiling your orders)
10) The Match Report
The match report basically breaks down into:
q The score
q The number of chances per team
q Individual performance(EMP)
q Total team performance (EMP) - this is obviously key as, more times than not, the team with the higher EMP will win a game (unless the roll of the dice or a better keeper gets in the way)
Assistants are important as they help the club get new players, perform well or stay healthy.
You are only allowed to spend so much on staff, so choose wisely, but:
*Scouts allow you to get new youth in once a season
*Coaches improve team performance (EMP)
*Physios give players (that you decide) extra SP and so allow you to play them more often.
12) Boosts & GC
As you will see from your roster, you get so many boosts and grudges a year.
Boosts improve your total EMP by giving (randomised) players extra NSL for a one off game
Grudges (even better than Boosts) give your team an extra EMP boost.
Be careful using your boost. If your best side is 80 NSL, and you are likely to come up against a 100+ NSL side, a boost or grudge will not help. And if it is the other way round, why waste one?
However, the careful use of grudges and boosts can be the difference between winning and losing (unless you play the wrong tactic and no captain - in which case you are still scuppered!)
13) How to create a set of orders
The best way to learn how to create a set of orders is to look at the rules page.
However, it basically breaks down into:
AA (your teams name)
TC / ENF / WP etc (tactic)
AD / MD/MC etc (style)
N or Y (grudge)
N or Y (boost)
N or Y1 or Y2 (marking - this, depending on the tactic your opposition plays, the tactic you play and the player you mark with and mark, can hinder your opponents EMP more than yours - and hence help you). If so, you need to put in the player you are marking with and the player you mark (PLEASE SEE THE RULES). Only players in the following positions may be a marker: DS, CB, FB, AS, and DM.
Y5 (subs) - always chose 5 subs, usually 1 keeper, 1 defender, 1 midfielder, 1 forward and another of your choice
GK D. Ropball
DS E. Emper* (the star signifies he is your captain)
DS B. Bloggs
CB M. Mark
CB R. Jones
FB W. Rooney
FB X. Avier
DM T. Roy
MF V. Erity
MF C. Roob
S Q. Jacobs # (the hash indicates he will take any penalties you get)
GK F. Spoon
DS S. Woon
CB N. Aughty
CM P. Lonker
CF B. Rainer
Markers (if chosen)
T.Roy, L. Ongshot (your player, the player he is marking)
W. Rooney, K. Lamp
Cut Players: Ask my advice before cutting any players, but, if you wish to do so, the player or players you wish to cut need to go here
Bids: If a commy player is for trade, you can put in a bid if the EB deadline is met (eg - AA bids £243,546 for MF 6 20 named N. Ochance)
At this point, you can add your press - it's a good way of making money.
NEVER forget to put in your order. The deadlines are clear. Missing a deadline will lead to a hefty fine and can lead to you leaving SAEFL for good. If you do have a good reason for not being able to place your orders, let Peter know in advance - he is a really good bloke and understands that, from time to time, everyone has a valid reason for not being able to do something they want to.
But really, orders only need take 5 minutes a-piece (although a good 20 min look at your players health and general status, and your opponent, can do wonders).
I never go into debt if you can help it. It can be a slippery slope. NEVER go over 50k in debt.
16) The Rules:
I stress for the last time, read the rules - they were a great help to me, and, although they take a little digesting, they help a lot. Some managers do not read them and it is a hindrance to them.
17) The Website generally:
Take a good, long and hard look around the website. The match reports, the player performance tables, the tables, the history of the league. It will all help with your integration and enjoyment.
18) Get involved
Get stuck in with the banter through e-mailing. Create a team that you dislike, or manager you want to moan on about - not in a nasty way, but in a cheesy way. For instance "That Martin Bell, the only thing he is likely to win in SAEFL is the worst manager of all time gong" ;) ;)) By reading others mail, you can see where the boundaries are, and other managers don't mind a bit of ribbing (apart from me ;))
Generally, this also helps you integrate, builds contacts, and aids your enjoyment of the game.
18) Don't forget to ask for help:
Managers are always willing to chip in advice and the odd cheeky comment.
HAVE FUN :):):)