The rules of Webley

The origins of this version

My in-laws have a board game called Wembley - you can see a newer version of it here - my in-laws' version dates from the 1960s I think. It is played according to a slight re-imagining of the rules - basically most of them are ignored, and the game is enjoyed for its randomness, hilarity and the frequent losses Brighton and Millwall mysteriously encounter on a regular basis. Also we enjoy laughing at the rules & quoting it, with such gems as "Wembley recreates with amazing fidelity the magic and action of the real FA Cup" (might be slightly paraphrased there).

One day my father-in-law suggested I could make a computer game of it. I rejected the idea, but over the coming weeks I kept thinking about it, how I would design it, what features it would have and so on. So when I had some free time, I went ahead and coded it. I hope you enjoy it.

Starting a new game

Welcome to the exciting world of Webley, the web version of the infamous board game Wembley! You have a few options when you start a new game. Firstly you need to decide what format to play. You can play classic mode just like the board game, where 32 teams play each other in a straight knock-out, or you can play some of the longer formats I have devised. To see how they work, click the link provided.

Next is the Classic Mode option. If this is selected and you have chosen to play the classic board game, then all the classic teams will be in there and the leagues will have their old-school names. If you choose a different game style, I'm not entirely sure what the outcome will be, give it a try if you want though.

Now we come to international stars. The original board game has some complicated system whereby you could spend money you had earnt on international stars, which were basically bonus goals for a team of your choice. It was possible to have up to 4 international stars in one team, giving them a 4-goal head start. This seems mildly silly, and you're not supposed to spend your money anyway, such sacrilege! However I liked the idea of having some sort of customability available if wanted. So I have implemented international stars "simple mode" - what this means is that before every round, every player gets to pick one team who will have a 1 goal head start. You cannot give more than 1 to each team. In the last few rounds this ability is removed, else all teams will have a bonus goal which effectively nullifies it. So go on, give that international star to Lincoln and cheer them on to the final!

Finally there are some straightforward options of picking the 6 players, and optionally up to 3 teams to include or exclude. Note that if you pick a team who would not normally be allowed in, then your choice will be ignored. For example, Forest Green of the conference cannot take part in the classic board game version as their league is not included.

Assigning teams & understanding the team lists

When you hit the "Let the magic begin!" button, the website will create your competition and assign your teams (you might have to be a tad patient at this point). Every player will be assigned an even number of teams if possible, any spare teams will go to player 1, then player 2 and so on. The assigning of the teams is completely random - you can end up with loads of top-flight teams or none for example. The teams are listed in order first of what league they are in (highest down to the lowest - colour-coded) and then alphabetically.

On to the match centre!

Ah the match centre, where the magic happens. There are three broad areas of the screen. The first is the table in the top-left which is where the action is happening. Underneath that are details on the various players, what teams they have, their statuses, how much money they have and so on. Finally on the right, you can see all the results so far this round.

What precisely is the format of the competition?

Every team who is still in and hasn't got a bye will be paired off against another. They will then play a match, the winners will go through to the next round and the losers are out. If it's a draw, they will play again, but this time the team who was playing at home will be playing away and vice versa. If this replay is a draw, then, faithful to how the FA Cup used to run, there will be no penalties, but instead infinite replays at neutral venues until one team is declared the winner. Did you know that in real-life, the longest-running match got to 5 replays? Take a bow Alvechurch and Oxford City from November 1971!

How are the results calculated?

With dice! Electronic ones of course. Which dice is used depends on the following things...

If the team has an international star then they will get an extra goal added to their score.

What's this money all about?

The cash amount that is displayed along with the team is their home gate receipts. For games not played on a neutral venue, the gate reciept money is split two-thirds to the home team and a third to the away team. For neutral venues, the total gate receipt ranges from 1,500 to 30,000, and is split two-thirds to the winner and a third to the loser, or split 50-50 if it's a draw. It doesn't really make sense to split gate receipts by who won the match, but I am merely re-creating the magic/madness of the board game :) Here's the netral venue gate receipt list.

What's does GP mean?

GP stands for glory points - an idea I nicked from a later version of the board game. Basically one of the most fun things about the FA Cup in real life, and in Webley, is when lower-ranked teams overcome the odds to beat a team from a higher division. If this happens, then this feat is recognized by the awarding of glory points - 1 point for every league difference between the two teams (League 1/2 counts as the same league for this purpose). So for example, if Championship team Crystal Palace defeat Premier League Arsenal, they will be awarded 1 GP. If non-league Emley defeated Arsenal they would score 4 GP. It's just another measure of your team's performance.

So who wins?

You all win for having enjoyed the experience of playing Webley!

On a slightly more serious note, one of the fun things about Wembley is that you can define the winner in three ways, so often multiple people have claim to some sort of a victory. Being in charge of the team who won the FA Cup is clearly a victory. However if you have the most money, well, your motives may not be as pure as the spirit of the FA Cup, but you have achieved a victory of sorts. Finally, (s)he who has accumulated the most glory points has entertained and suprised the nation in the fine traditions of the FA Cup and their feats will be talked about in pubs and living rooms for years to come. You can also claim success!