by John-Paul Treen
No. of players: 2-4 Play Time: 20+ mins Age: 14+
Next England Captain is a light game based around the career of a Footballer, from being in the best team to having a car crash personality. I know what you are probably thinking, “I don’t like football.” That’s ok I don’t like football either, but I remain open-minded about Next England Captain. Each player has five career moves in which to try to get the most points possible, by adding up the points or doing the calculation of the top card in each stack. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Each player has a player mat, five career tokens and is dealt four cards, the remainder of the deck is put in the middle of the play area. Then each player takes it in turns to either play or discard. To play a card/cards you must put one of your career tokens on any available spot on your player mat. Then you can play as many cards as you like:
- Providing the restrictions on the card allows you to play it.
- You haven’t played the same colour of card already, unless specified otherwise.
Cards always go at the top of the stack of each of the categories. Once you have played your cards you then draw back up to having 4 cards in your hand.
To discard you can discard as many cards as you like, but you incur a penalty which means you take the top card off the deck and you must play it if able to. So even if you have a really good card on the top of a particular stack and the card you draw is worth fewer points, you still have to play it if able. You then draw back up to 4 cards. There are two spots on the career path that allow you to do specific things, that when used at the right time can really benefit the player. As soon as one player finishes their career by using all their career tokens, everyone else has one last go before the game ends. I think as a game reviewer it is always important to be unbiased and have variety in the games that I review. Just because I don’t like football doesn’t mean others don’t. I’m always willing to try something different, after all you might just end up liking it. I originally saw the Kickstarter for Next England Captain and Immediately thought of my other half, who adores football. The fact she’s a gamer too, I just had to send her a link to check it out. With in minutes I got a phone call begging me to get in touch with the ever so wonderful JP to arrange a demo on behalf of breacher18.com. Not only did I want to make my fiancée happy, I thought it would be a good test for me to see how objective I could be in my review, over something that initially I had no interest in. To coin a phrase “never judge a book by its cover” I’d like to say in this case “never judge a game by its theme”. The bottom line is, Next England Captain is a fun game to play whether you like football or not. The game mechanics come through strong making the theme secondary. I loved the fact to discard you had to draw and then play that card. It gave the game a push your luck feel, where you may end up getting a low numbered card that could potentially replace a high card, on top of one of your stacks. This happened to me a few times, painful to experience, but great to witness when it happens to the other players. I also liked the element of the career tokens and moves, this allowed you to control the speed of the game, to some extent, putting pressure on other players to discard and draw up to try to get that high score quickly before someone ends the game. Whilst they are running the risk that a low card could be drawn, this is the ultimate pay off. The two unique career moves, give the game a dash of strategy, knowing when to use them can really help bump up your score and puts you closer to that glorious GOAL! All though I played a prototype of Next England Captain, having spoken to JP about what card finish and over all quality he is going for, I have no reason to think there will be any negatives to its finishing, It’s a shame the same can’t be said for Wayne Rooney. Sure, if you like football or have football knowledge there are things about Next England Captain that you are going to be able to appreciate more, but don’t let this put you off backing it, as you’d be missing a really fun game.