Something for Free: Quick-Play Soccer Sim from Crankshaw Sports Stats

[This picture of Seattle Sounders and USMNT captain Clint Dempsey doesn’t have anything to do with anything, except that I’m testing out the new Getty Images “embed” feature for royalty-free images.]

There’s an older lady who works in my office who is fond of saying, “You don’t get nothing for free in life,” and “if it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is.” But I’ll tell you the truth, I believe those old adages less and less as our society has and continues to change in the internet age.

For tabletop-sports gamers, we are living in a golden age of access to games – including many that are free. I’ve been planning for months to publish a list of all the free games in which it is worth investing time.* Over on the delphi forums there is a thread about “the best free games” that is going strong right now. If you have or know of any you’d like to contribute, please let us know in that thread or the comments here.

*Oh – that’s what it costs, doesn’t it? Time. A valuable commodity, to be sure, which gets even more valuable and precious to me as I get older.

One brand-spanking new totally free game that I’m in love with right now is a quick-play Excel-based soccer game from Crankshaw Sports that is based on the old (also free) “Mean Mark’s EPL Challenge 2012” card & dice soccer sim. Because this new free game is Excel-based, it means no software download (assuming you have Excel or a compatible spreadsheet program), and it requires no time at all to learn and/or play.

I mean that literally. It takes no time at all to play. It’s a stat generator, but it generates a whole games’ worth of stats – and a complete game play-by-play! – instantly, with a click of F9.

click on the image to view the Lineups screen at full size.  Actual playing time is considered by the spreadsheet as it chooses ineups automatically.

click on the image to view the Lineups screen at full size. The game chooses lineups & bench based on actual playing time.

The stats are complete and accurate, the play-by-play adds real color to the game, the interface is totally dummy-proof, and there is no setup, installation, or tech stuff to worry about with your computer. It’s a brilliant game.

And it’s free.

The game does lack any kind of management features. Because the computer does everything, you get to do nothing. It’s a lot like spending Saturday with your kids and then reading the day’s recaps in the newspaper Sunday morning. However, for those of us who are taking on full-season replays and don’t exactly want to play every single game on the league’s schedule, this game is a god-send.

This Arsenal-v-West Brom match saw 5 goals.  Crankshaw's game generates a whole game's complete stats with literally one push of a button.

This Arsenal-v-West Brom match saw 5 goals. Crankshaw’s game generates a whole game’s complete stats with literally one push of a button. Click to see at full-size.

The game commentary is the icing on the cake for this little gem. The entire game’s narrative is generated with the game stats, so you can (as I do) go to the commentary sheet before checking the stats and scroll down one line at a time to get the sense of “watching” the game unfold. It’s a layer of detail and chrome that isn’t provided by any other quick-play soccer game I know.

The commentary screen offers the  ability to "follow along" as a match progresses, as you scroll down to read the full narrative.  Click to see at full size.

The commentary screen offers the ability to “follow along” as a match progresses, as you scroll down to read the full narrative. Click to see at full size.

I’d love to see an update to this game in the future that adds some level of managerial control: choosing lineups would be nice. The ability to watch the game unfold one roll at a time would be great. Having full control over substitutions would be brilliant.

In the meantime, there’s an old lady in my office I need to talk to. The world has changed and these days, there are a few things that you can get for free.

As of today, the following league seasons are available FREE:

  • English Premier League 2012-2013
  • Spain La Liga 2012-2013
  • Italy Serie A 2012-2013
  • Germany Bundesliga 2012-2013
  • France Ligue 1 2012-2013
  • USA Major League Soccer 2013
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    3 Comments

    1. I find this to be awesome and of great use as I play the apba soccer game so that I can get through games quickly and play apba on the games I want. However, is there an extra time, overtime 30 minute or penalty kick feature to end games other than a tie??

      • Hi Jac – I wish there were, but there is no way to play those final moments in this game that I’m aware of. I think for knockout round games you’ll have to rely on APBA Soccer (or other game of your choice).

    2. Thanks for the comment Paul. I also wish there was a way to play teams against each other from the other leagues…….Man U. versus Barcelona for example.

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