At first glance the I Was A Goblin series seems out of place on TMFD. Certainly when I was small, and played D&D, not many of my fellow enthusiasts were what you might call sportsmen. The gangly types were occasionally required to make ungainly stumbles round the track on sports day, and there was never the kind of institutionalised jocks/nerds hostility you seem to get in American high school, but these were still two cultures. I don’t even think any of the people I gamed with were fans of sport, or not with any passion.

Which is odd, because football and D&D are very similar. Think about it:

Play in “Football” (Box Set available from TSR) is based around groups of people who have to work as a team to achieve their objectives. These groups are a balance of four basic classes of player, though some players can ‘multi-class’ effectively and variant classes abound. On their adventures the team, or ‘party’ has a set ‘marching order’ designed for the greatest tactical effectiveness. Roles within the party vary: saving the party from damage, sneaking around to try and ambush the opposition, and so on. Some players employ a repertoire of magical effects and tricks, which can be very effective, though often leave them physically more vulnerable.

The adventures themselves consist of a series of brutal – and oddly repetitive – conflicts, often set in ancient locations which require lengthy travel to reach. Some of these encounters are randomly generated, and contentious outcomes are decided by the intervention of a referee.

Game objectives are threefold:

– quests for specific and valuable artefacts, which usually require a lengthy campaign to acquire.
– searches for ludicrous amounts of cash well beyond any player’s ability to spend.
– improvement in player abilities. If a player improves enough they may move ‘up a level’. A particularly successful campaign can result in an entire party moving up a level at the same time!

In between campaigns players tend to visit taverns and generally debauch themselves, though higher level ones often prefer to spend time in their castles.


This all maybe explains why I found it easier than I thought to start liking football. It almost certainly explains why I’ve translated this vague liking of football more into an appreciation of the Football Manager series of games than into actually getting out and watching any.