At the start of each half season, you buy a Season Ticket to particpate in the league using either cash or your previous seasons in-game credits. If you use cash the season ticket will provide you with your Club Budget (in-game credits) that can be used to manage your team by buying players.
It costs just £10 for a Season Ticket to join in the fun and this includes credits to buy your squad at the start of season and perform a few pot bids. If you want to spend more to improve your squad further during the season, top-ups are available to increase your clubs funds so you can do more wheeling and dealing.
Instead of everyone having the same players, you bid against other managers in your division for your players like Kane, Salah, Vardy, etc. in a pre-season online auction. You win based on how much you are prepared to pay of your club's budget.
If you're desperate for a particular player, it's simply down to how much of your available funds you're prepared to pay. If another manager bids 21m, but you bid 22m – you win and he's yours for the season unless you decide to drop him or sell/swap him with a rival manager later on.
So, if you buy Salah, when he scores, he scores for you and your team only. Throughout the season, you own the players in your team and you get to celebrate their performances, and enjoy the failings of other manager's big-money signings!
As in any auction you won't win all the players you bid for, so you need to think carefully about your bidding strategy. Do you go big on a few major transfer targets, or do you spread your funds to pick up less popular signings. Half the fun is trying to decide what to do and second guess the competition.
As well as all the big Premiership stars, you can also buy and own players from the Championship teams to increase your player choice and test your footballing knowledge. Of course Premiership players score more points for their goals to increase their game value, just like real life.
Instead of playing in a ladder based system based purely on the total number of points accumulated, you get to play fixtures against your fellow managers. You will play 2 games (home and away) each weekend and your accumulated team's points from that set of fixtures will be compared against your opponents to determine if you win, draw or lose. The usual football league point scoring system (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and nothing for losing) will then apply to determine your teams league points.
Maybe home advantage will swing a fixture in your favour to move you clear at the top.
There are a pyramid of public leagues with 15 teams in each division leading to the possibility of promotion and relegation at the end of each season. Can you climb to the very top to become Top Dog?
Since you can have a squad of players, you get to manage your team, decide who plays for a set of fixtures, choose the formation you will play, decide who you will trade with another manager or who is not performing and will be discarded to make way for a new signing, etc...
You decide who will be in your starting 11 for each set of fixtures and what formation (5-4-1, 3-4-3, etc.) you will play. This includes naming 3 subs to replace your starting 11 if some players do not play or if a real match is postponed for any reason.
Each week a set of sealed bids are done to enable people to buy players from the unassigned pot of players. However since you can only have 17 players in your squad this will usually involve the difficult decision of who to discard (let go) back into the pot.
This can lead to some interesting decisions during the season as do you hold on to that big money signing as his form will improve or do you cut him loose and buy a new up and rising star. Do you buy a new cheap defender as they have an easy fixture this weekend or are your attackers playing away with easy fixtures?
In addition to buying unassigned players, you can contact other managers in your division and propose an inter-team transfer between your teams. Will this be a straight swap or be a player plus money deal, do they want the old players that you are looking to offload? This opportuntity gives your inner "Arthur Daley" the opportunity to come out!
At the end of the season, the fun continues as your finishing league position will determine your league prize money that will give your club additional funds for the following season. You can put this towards a new season ticket or buy additional players. Also, if you are part of the public leagues, you might win promotion or get relegated to another level of the league pyramid - just like real football teams do.
I have been playing The DOGS' Fantasy Football League for over 20 years...