Conquering Europe — and Sports Games on Facebook? — with Galacticos Football

Galacticos Football, from Fantasy Moguls, might appear to have a lot in common with a long string of struggling sports gaming apps, but some of its features — and its traffic — suggest it is on a winning path.

What is beautiful about Galacticos Football is its simplicity. Early on, players wonder “what do I do next in this game?” because compared to other fantasy sports Facebook apps there is significantly less to actually do. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as most sports titles we’ve come across have not fared very well. They all have users managing a team of players; adjusting stats, playing matches, fixing salaries, and so on. But is this level of micromanagement what the average Facebook user really wants? Fantasy Moguls seems to think not.

In this app, players start out with only one key decision – to select a defensive roster or offensive roster. Immediately afterwards, they are prompted to play a match, with 11 random players chosen from the previously chosen roster of 18. Taking only a few seconds, users watch as the game plays out, highlighting which players are scoring and determining who wins based on various factors (to be mentioned later).

This is the core of game play, and a limited number of matches, dubbed “fixtures,” can be played each day. As this pool is used up, players have the opportunity to earn match spots back by playing a limited number of training matches with their Facebook friends to recharge them. As an added social element, friends that play Galacticos Football with you add to the number of friendly fixtures you can play — you pit your star team against theirs.

Obviously, all of these different matches must have a more enduring point, and that is funds and reputation. For each match won, players will not only level (as with just about every Facebook game), but also earn both “Funds” and “Reputation Points.” Funds are fairly self explanatory but they allow the user to pay for the addition of new players for their roster, while reputation attracts them. What new players, you ask?

This is where one of the cooler elements of this soccer app comes into play. The players on one’s roster aren’t Facebook friends, but goalkeepers, defensemen, midfielders, and forwards from four of Europe’s football leagues including Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, and the English Premier League. Reputation attracts these players, so the more you play, and the more you win, the better players from these leagues will appear and want to join your team.

In order to progress, players are tasked with dropping their older, and generally weaker, players for these stronger ones. In fact, this is one of the key elements that plays into how the game determines which team wins a match. Granted, it’s not as social as having your friends play for you, but as a fantasy soccer game, it is a bit more gratifying.

Socially, however, friends do still play a role in how often a user wins. Not only can you show off to them what trophies you’ve won from digital version of European tournaments (i.e. The Bayer Cup from Germany), but they also can provide “fan support” that looks to be based on how many people play the game with you. This is combined with the quality of players, whether or not your match is dubbed a home game, how you set up your team’s formation (i.e. four forwards, three midfielders, and three defenders), and a little bit of randomness to formulate the previously mentioned factors that determine the victor in any match-up.

Despite how simple Galacticos Football seems at the surface, there certainly is a great deal going on behind the scenes. It doesn’t have the level of management that other fantasy manager sports games have had in the past, but considering that they have never really taken off, some new approaches are probably warranted. That said, this game certainly takes the more fantastic approach of emulating the, well, fantasy of coaching “real” soccer stars and playing them in “real” European tournaments. The app is shy of 200,000 monthly active users, but its quality — and its steady growth rate — suggest that we’ll see higher numbers soon.

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