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The publisher of this series claims that these are "the first, and only, interactive sports books in the world." This is not exactly true; there have been sports gamebooks ever since 1977's Action Football. However, these do seem to be the first gamebooks to apply the graphical, multiplayer format of series like the Lost Worlds Fantasy Combat Books to team sports.
As with Lost Worlds, each book consists mostly of illustrations, and gameplay consists of two players examining these pictures, choosing from several available options, calling out their choices nearly simultaneously, and then cross-referencing tables to see what happens. Each player controls an eleven-person team; the books prevent this from becoming confusing by always focusing on the player with the ball. Each illustrated page depicts the player with the ball or the nearest defending player(s) along with a diagram showing the ball's position on the playing field and icons for six possible actions such as running, tackling, passing, blocking or diving. Actions are chosen from a larger pool of possibilities and the particular actions presented vary from page to page depending on positioning and other circumstances.
The rules offer a lot of options so that players can enjoy the game exactly the way they want to. The end of a match can be determined by reaching a set number of goals or by playing for a set period of time. For more complex play, there is an advanced game in which certain players are not allowed to make certain moves even when they are presented on the page; this adds more strategy and makes the differences between players and teams more clear than in the basic game, where all presented moves may always be chosen. For solitaire play, a random letter table is included which can be used to automatically pick actions for an unpredictable opponent. This works with either the basic or advanced rules. Further game variants, such as tournament guidelines, can be found on the series' official website.
Although these books are more about gameplay and graphics than text, they do have a stronger textual element than most visual gamebooks thanks to the inclusion of ten pages of fictional team histories and biographies following each volume's rules.
Wizard ran out of funding before the series could be completed meaning Derwent Town and Tame Wanderers were never released.
Gamebooks1. Trent Albion 4-3-3
2. Tyne Athletic 4-3-3
3. Mersey City 4-4-2
4. Thames United 4-4-2
5. Medway United 4-5-1
6. Bridgewater 5-3-2
7. Clyde Rovers 4-4-1-1
8. Avon United Diamond
9. Derwent Town 4-5-1
10. Tame Wanderers 5-3-2
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