If you are looking for a long-term save that does not necessarily tie you down to a single club, but will instead have you often switching clubs trying to find one that offers you the best chance at silverware, then the Pentagon Challenge might be what you are looking for.
The aim of the Pentagon Challenge is straightforward, to win the Champions League title of each of the five playable continents available in football manager.
The challenge seems pretty easy at first, but once you realize you have to start unemployed with Sunday League experience, that is where proper planning comes in to give you the best route in an attempt to win it all in the shortest time possible.
Starting in Europe for instance will have you pointlessly managing in the lower leagues without getting any closer to your goals, as the best clubs here have big reputations and will find it hard to employ a manager with little to no experience to lead them.
Therefore, it is advisable to either start looking for jobs in Asia or Africa, get some accomplishments under your belt, and possibly the Champions League titles in the two continents before thinking of moving to Europe, South America, or North America.
However, it will still take quite a while before your reputation grows enough for clubs capable of challenging for the Champions League title in their respective continents to start taking notice of you.
This in turn demands patience from you, especially at the beginning years of the save, where everything is a slogfest of you having domestic success with little progress made towards winning the continental titles that matter.
The Pentagon Challenge by nature will demand the loading of more leagues than in a conventional save game, which you can find a guide for here.
If your PC is starting to show its age and struggles with too many leagues being loaded, I have guides for recommended graphics cards(GPU) and processors(CPU) at different price points so that you can pick the ones that best suits your needs and wallet.
How To Set Up The Pentagon Challenge In Football Manager
Since Africa has only one playable country in football manager, South Africa, you can download a custom database from the Steam Workshop that adds other playable leagues in the continent for more immersion.
There are databases specifically created around the Pentagon Challenge, just search around for a comprehensive one with good reviews that does not bug out after a few years in the game, and you will be fine.
Once you have the custom database downloaded, it is not advisable to load all the leagues at the beginning of the save, even when you have a high-end PC. Loading all the leagues at once will only slow the processing times yet add little benefit to what you are doing.
Instead, if you are starting in Asia for instance, with plans to move to Africa once you win the Asians Champions League (AFC). Load the leagues in these two continents first, leaving Europe and the Americas untouched.
Once you complete Asia and have secured a club to manage in Africa, drop the leagues you had loaded in the Asian continent, then load the leagues available in the next continent you want to manage in after completing Africa.
Leagues that you have not loaded will still be active, however, only to a lesser extent. You can check the differences between active and view-only leagues here.
Therefore, despite not loading Europe at the beginning of the save, transfers, relegations, etc will still take place to a realistic level only without being too detailed. The likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Manchester City, will still dominate unless a freak occurrence takes place which leads to one of them tumbling down the pecking order.
Loading and dropping the leagues in different continents as needed ensures your PC processes the game fast, even in later seasons when regens start coming through and more processing power is needed.
The Pentagon Challenge Rules And Instructions
To help keep you true to the Pentagon Challenge, here are the rules you should play by. Failure to keep one of them voids the challenge, and you should start over.
- Start your save with no experience. You must start the challenge with the lowest playing experience possible, which is a Sunday League footballer with no coaching badges to your name. Then carefully work your way to the top while earning your coaching badges on the way to help you get jobs at bigger clubs.
- All continental cups must be won. In order to complete the challenge, all 5 continental cups must be won in a single save game. The lower-tier continental cups like the Europa League and its equivalent in the other continents do not count towards this achievement.
- Getting fired is not the end. Unlike some challenges, getting fired does not mark the end of your journey. Pick yourself up, and move on to the next club that will take a punt on you.
- National team management. You can manage a national team should you fancy it, as it does not give you an unfair advantage. However, keep in mind that it adds hours to your challenge, which is already a long one.
- Attribute masking should be on. Playing with attribute masking off for this challenge reduces the difficulty, as your scouting endeavours become much easier. Keeping the attribute masking on also makes it more satisfying, unearthing a wonderkid gem in Western Africa who might just be the key to beating the likes of Orlando Pirates to the African Champions League.
- Disable the in-game editor. The use of the in-game editor is also not allowed as it gives you an unfair advantage when it comes to making transfers, scouting, and finances.
Tips For The Pentagon Challenge In Football Manager
Here are a few pointers to help you get going in what is likely to be a long and challenging journey;
- Start in low reputation regions. As already mentioned, starting in Europe where clubs have big reputations will have you wallowing in the depths of lower league football while trying to increase your reputation. Instead, start in Africa or Asia, where it is easier to get a job despite having a low reputation at the start.
- Do not get attached to a single club. The challenge is to win the cup, not with a specific club, but at all costs. If you are managing Real Sociedad and Manchester City come calling, pack up and leave, as the riches available at Man City will only bring you closer to Champions League success much faster.
- Pay attention to league registration rules. Managing in different regions and various leagues will have you juggling rules that might be new to you. Therefore, keep track of the rules in the league you are managing in to prevent situations such as not being able to register your star striker because there is a limit to the number of foreign players you can register in a single season.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is having fun while playing the game. Therefore, should the rules feel too restricting, you can always tweak them so that they suit what you are trying to do.
There is also the San Marino challenge which you can take a look at here that brings a difficult challenge from another angle