LLaMa Ethos/Guideline FAQ's


Keith @ lowerleaguemanager forum

LLM subforum @SiGames forums (defunct)

FM-Britain (defunct)

Unfortunately i'm unable to credit the correct individuals as this is an accumulation of guidelines I started collecting when first setting out on my own LLM journey in the late 90's/early 2000's. The first of which I copied to a floppy disk in my local library as I was unable to afford the internet at home at the time. I distinctly remember printing out the guidelines and storing them in a ring-binder to refer back to. Heady times indeed. If anyone wants anything removed or credited just let me know.

Making this site has been a labour of lockdown love and has kept me busy so hopefully I haven't put any noses out of joint with the hosting of the rules here.

LLM In Football Manager - Why?

Why indeed. Considering a single FM season can run into days, not including the fact that the majority of us have jobs or school and you wonder why with serious intent.

The lowest league of football is not a kind place. It is a place of part time footballers whose hobbies include getting heavily drunk and kicking people. These are journeymen in their Mecca; plumbers, policemen etc all coming together to play the game they love for a pittance in the vain hope of achieving some kind of glory at the end.

People like Theo Walcott, C. Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney will never play at this level; they will never experience the purity of normal people going for a kick about because these boys have never been normal. And in the same way I feel that in order to appreciate the purity of Football Manager you have to learn to obey its rules, learn it the right way and ultimately learn to be a decent manager.

Sure we can all take Chelsea to the top, we can all take Wigan to the top, and we can all take Darlington to the top, even Cambridge United. But can you do it under the strict rules with which LLMers abide to as if they were the two stone slabs placed in your hands by God himself? Short answer: no.

“Why?” you protest, confused at how you, the man who bathed in the glory of the Swansea fans, celebrating your fourth consecutive Champions League© title in a row, could ever be dismissed as a poor manager. Well for starters every single player you used was either signed via looking through a list of filtered players, tailored to meet your needs, or God forbid acquired using cheat devices. Then there’s to take into account the resetting after losses, and don’t give me the I didn’t do that crap, no one wins four back to back Champions League© titles in a row unless they cheat, period.

You see the ultimate satisfaction when playing the LLM way is the sense of self achievement, the sense that you are part of an elite club who can genuinely say they understand how to be a good manager.

LLM is about the details, it is about trial and improvement and most of all it is about a journey. Because that’s what it will be. Don’t even be so narcissistic as to believe it will be six seasons between bottom tier and top tier glory. In most cases it will be anything from 10 seasons (if you’re blessed with the luck of the Irish) to never ( the luck of the Scottish).

I know it sounds daunting, and it is, but surely yet another round of “quest for glory” with a team you know all about, with all the player knowledge you have and other general prior knowledge, surely that gets boring. I know people love to win, but I’d say you’re continually cheating yourself and quite a sad person if you repeatedly play as Chelsea or other teams when you know that in five seasons you’ll be bored and start again, or not play anymore.

Personally I like to challenge myself, I like the sense of achievement I get from completing a strenuous task. The age old adage that you have to experience the lows in order to fully appreciate the highs is nothing short of apt in the world of LLM.

I suppose it comes down to how determined you are to go the distance. I’m not going to lie, at times it will become nothing more than a tiresome task, trying to escape divisions and stave off the hungry administrators, but you have to look beyond those moments of despair never give up. You could treat it as a project, whereby you set aside a certain amount each day to Just Do It©. It does get easier as time goes on, but only if you dedicate yourself.

For me the best part of an LLM career is looking at your snapshot screen after twenty seasons and just admiring how colourful your career has been. Famous cup runs, goals scored, best players (nostalgia is never better in LLM) these things you never really appreciate in normal play because you know they’ll happen.

LLM is about dealing with the scum of football and working your way towards the rarefied level of success every person in football longs to be involved with. You may never get there, you may find that in actual fact you really aren’t good enough, I hate to say it but LLM isn’t about lying, in fact if you had to describe LLM in one word, other than “hard”, you’d probably agree if I said “honest”.

So I implore you, perturbed reader, at the very least give it a go. As you can imagine, it is not for everyone, but it opens up a whole new world that increases the longevity of your experience and gives you more to talk about, experience and achieve.

The camaraderie, the passion and the wealth of learning you do will undoubtedly fill you with a sense of satisfaction that one can only achieve by playing the game “The Right Way© (me 2006). Good luck, because if anything, you most certainly will need it.

Credit - iajafer

Q: I've heard some say that you cannot be a part-time LLaMa. Does this mean I cannot play a LLM game if I manage Chelsea (for example) in another save?

A: Strictly speaking this is indeed the case - do real managers start at the top? While there are exceptions to this in real-life /(e.g. Chris Coleman), it is usually the case that the manager in question was already a top-class professional before being offered a managerial post.

Unknowns start at the bottom and thus, so do LLMers. Also, knowledge gained from managing a higher level team can be used to 'cheat' when playing a LLM game and is therefore frowned upon. However, this is a game, and is meant to be fun. Therefore if you feel like trying out the LLM style of play, then feel free to do so.

Who knows, you may come to the conclusion, as many of us have, that this style of playing is the ONLY way to play.

Q: I can use the internet to look for out of contract players, as can real-life managers. Why can't I use the player search function to simulate this?

A: Real life managers use their scouting network.

While the scouting system, at present, is not ideal, it is the closest we can get in the game to how it is done in real life. Therefore, in LLM games, this is how we find players.

No internet search gives the kind of detail given in the player search, and it is easily open to abuse, therefore LLMs do not use it.

Q: It's impossible not to know about players in real-life from the media and such. How can we pretend not to know about them in the game?

A: Role play. In the game your manager doesn't know anything about the real world - all his information comes from the gameworld's media. It's perfectly acceptable for your manager to take an interest in a player mentioned by the in-game media.

It will be a matter for your conscience if you decide to go for a player you know to be good in real-life that your scouts don't like the look of (plus there is no guarantee that the player will actually be any good in the game). If you truly embrace the LLM way of playing, the choice will be easy

Q: I have a third-party update which just contains the latest transfers. Can I use this for my lower league save?

A: Unfortunately, no. There is no way to check if the author didn't up the PA, for example, of a player in his favourite/local team, just to give one example. Because of this only official updates are allowed.

Q: I find these restrictions really stupid. Who's going to know if I don't actually follow the rules in my game?

A: Sometimes people will be able to tell, most times they won't. It doesn't really matter at the end of the day - it's your game. You don't have to play this way, but if you wish to play the LLM way, then you'll WANT to abide by these guidelines and rules. In fact, if you 'get it' you won't need anyone else telling you what the rules are, you'll just naturally play that way.

Further, you won't find any LLMs giving you more than a mild pat on the back for getting promotion 3 successive seasons running and winning the FA CUP with Workington (if not outright ridicule for obviously cheating your little ass off).

In fact you're more likely to get higher praise for getting knocked out in the first round of every cup you enter and being relegated two seasons running and being sacked. Such is LLM.

Q: I've played six seasons with my (crap LLM team) and have had an offer from Everton/England/other to manage them. Can I?

A: If you feel it's realistic to do so. If you've had phenomenal success (relatively) with your team, then certainly. LLM isn't about solely managing lower-league teams, it's just a starting point and an ethos. Success, if deserved, is perfectly acceptable.

Obviously, if you've barely staved off relegation for the third successive season, then it would be unrealistic to get these offers, so you should bite the bullet and turn them down. Remember, in the final analysis, you are the ultimate arbiter of what is fair and right in your game.

Part of the LLM ethos is that you will not exploit quirks of the game engine, silly things the game throws up which would be unrealistic or other loopholes to gain an unfair advantage. You play LLM because you want as realistic a game experience as the game will allow and it is entirely down to you to maintain the integrity of your own game.

Many newbies to LLM often complain that the LLM rules are too strict, when they are actually referring to the guidelines. The guidelines are exactly that; a broad outline of what types of things are considered acceptable in an LLM game and used as a reference point for one's own game.

Some of the guidelines are so integral to LLM however, that they should be considered 'rules', such as those on cheating, for example.

Other frequently asked questions can be found in the "stupid questions thread" at the LLM forum.

Q: I have my own LLM questions, where can I ask?

Feel free to ask any questions on the "stupid questions thread" at the LLM forum. Despite the name no question is stupid and even seasoned LLM players often find themselves in the thread.

FAQ's From The Old LLM SiGames SubForum

Q: Why can't I be a part-time LLMer?

A: LLM is an ethos - a way of playing. It's not just about managing a lower league team. It's about making the game as realistic as the game will allow. In addition, LLM was created around the ideals of doing it all yourself, without the need for tipping, cheating or bragging. To this end, the guidelines have been hammered out over years of play and debate in order to find common ground within which like-minded people can play and share their experiences.

LLM's don't visit tactical or good player forums, because that would violate the LLM ethos. You can't turn a switch in your brain which in your Chelsea save allows you to know what the effect of every slider and tactical change is because you've read all the articles by our nice friends in the tactical forums, but not to know that stuff when you play as Workington. All those fab young players available for virtually nothing you've been drooling over would jump out of your scout's reports and if your scout said he had no future, could you honestly say you'd listen to the blind old bugger? I would, as a LLaMa, because (a ) that's how we do things - it's the scout's job - if he's rubbish, then realistically, it's my tough luck; and (b ) I wouldn't know any different because I won't have read anywhere that he's supposed to be the next best thing... real life doesn't count, before you ask.

There's nothing stopping you playing with the LLM guidelines or playing as a lower league side, but if you decide that LLM might be for you, in order to truly play in the spirit of LLM, you would have to forego all that help and advice and do it all yourself. When we say it's mutually exclusive to be LLM and read advice forums, it's not because we're horrible and mean. It's just how it is - that's what being a LLaMa means. LLM isn't for everyone; people want different things from their games, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, if you think this way of playing might be for you, then stick around.

Q: I like to play as a lower league team, and I do follow some of your guidelines, but not all of them as I like to talk tactics with my mates on the tactical forum. I'm almost LLM though, right?

A: No, that's not how it works. You're Pepsi. LLM is an ethos, a unique brand if you will. Pepsi is cola, and tastes a bit like Coke but... it's not the Real Thing!

Q: I'm not a LLMer yet, but might want to be/I'm not a LLMer and don't really want to be one. Can I still post here?

A: To both types of people, yes. With certain restrictions. We would ask non-LLMs to refrain from posting comments in LLaMa updates, other than simple KUTGW type messages, or talking about their own games (except in the newbie thread). LLaMas don't want non-LLMs commenting on their games in case they say something helpful. This could genuinely spoil a LLaMa's game, which they may have been playing for 20 seasons or more. It goes without saying that this is not considered to be very nice at all. Additionally, without being offensive, most LLaMas will have no interest in any game not played the LLM way.

Therefore, non-LLM's will not be allowed to start updates in the main forum, but will be allowed to post in the newbie challenge thread, provided they agree to abide by the guidelines as described in that thread.

Other than that, as long as a poster conforms to the spirit of the forum and obeys the rules, they will be welcomed.

Q: What is the best/most challenging/whatever team to play?

A: Why don't you ask Frank? Frank is wise. Frank is all-knowing. If he gives you a sleeping giant, or the worst team in the world, he has his reasons... Ours is not to question, but to play.*

*Sadly Frank is retired now but you can of course ask one of the three llamas that make up the LLMPicker. They aren't as wise as Frank but they know a thing or two about picking you a lower league team.

Q: Are (LL team of your choice) a challenge?

A: Why don't you play as them and tell us? There are some LL teams which are easier than others, but if you ask Frank, then you shouldn't go far wrong.

Q: I have no scouts and can't get any. How am I supposed to get players in?

A: If you have no scouts, you can always trial in a player and ask your coaches for their opinion on said player. There are ways to find players, even without scouts, without resorting to the player search screen (media reports being just one). Granted, you will undoubtedly find less, and may not find the kinds of players you need, but the lack of ability to find players without a scout accurately reflects the difficulty you'd have in real life. We have heard every justification for using the search screen and the issue has been debated to death amongst LLaMas. Currently there is no in-game mechanism which accurately reflects current 'transfer lists', so until SI implement a realistic system we are stuck with scouting, media messages, playing against teams and other such methods to find potential players. Frustrating as this may be, it does highlight the importance that scouts play in our games, which, we feel, is realistic.

Q: Is <whatever> cheating?

A: "If you have to ask if you're cheating, then you very probably are." (Ancient LLaMa proverb)

Q: Why not turn off the "real players" feature and go entirely with computer-generated ones? Doesn't this entirely extinguish the problem of player tipping?

A: It wouldn't negate the problem of player tipping, because if a newbie saw the name of a made up player, they wouldn't know it wasn't a real one and may feel they could name theirs. Floodgate scenario. There's no real reason to name players, so it's best to have a blanket ban.

There are a number of other reasons why this isn't a good idea:

  • Realism; obviously using cg players is not as realistic as using real players.

  • Randomisation of attributes - real players are researched and therefore have a reasonably 'realistic' spread of attributes. With cg players you could have a lot of players with very low or very high attributes. Again, this is unrealistic.

  • Randomisation of nationalities - this can be a problem if you play in a league where, for example, only 3 non-EU players are allowed.

  • Randomisation of player positions - Most clubs will have the main positions covered with a regular database, but this wouldn't necessarily be the case with random players.

Q: How can I talk about my player's exploits without naming them?

A: Naming players is just not necessary. You can describe your adventures perfectly without mentioning them, and if you want to explain what happened to certain players, there are means and ways to do so. Some examples:

The fat goalie (describes almost any goalie in the lower leagues)

The llama striker (your best forward who gets banned occasionally for spitting)

The lazy ba****d (mostly players with lots of "feels jaded" occurrences)

and whatever you deem appropriate. Continuity is the key.


Q: A lot of the LLaMas seem to know each other really well and use each other's real names. I find this intimidating.

A: Some do this, some don't. The LLM community has been around a long time and some LLaMas do know each other well. Others are newer to the community. For some people (especially some of us oldies who feel a bit silly using made-up names) it makes them feel comfortable talking to a 'real' person rather than a user-name. It's all a matter of preference. Don't feel intimidated - just jump in and post. Use the intro thread to see who's who if you'd like.

Q: deze forums r rly meen an u use werdz i done no.

A: English isn't always the first language of people on these forums, so it is considered a matter of respect to type in clear, understandable English. People may think that you are being rude by not doing so. If there are words you don't understand, ask here or use an online dictionary.

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