Last updated 01.11.22

How pre-set teams work.

All squads contain 16 players (2 identical cards for each player = 32 cards in a squad).

Every player has a 1 to 5 star rating. To see what level of squad you have, total these stars. Note: A players star rating is only counted once so Bobby Moore, a 5 star player, counts as 5 not 10.

  • Pro Squads = up to 26 Stars (“Debut” 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s all contain 26 stars).
  • Elite Squads = up to 32 Stars (“Rivals” England ’66 vs Germany ’90 and “Nucleus” Italy, Spurs, and Nottingham Forest all contain 32 stars).

Pre-set squads showcase certain combinations and are finely balanced to give a competitive game against other pre-set squads from the same tier. However, it’s also easy to play a Pro squad (Debut) against an Elite squad (Rivals/ Nucleus).

You have two options:

  1. Go pro

From your squad of 16 players you pick a “team” of  11 players (2 identical cards for each player = 22 cards). To play a Pro squad against and Elite squad – both “teams” (Not squads) may only contain 21 stars at any point during a match.

TIP: Bosses of Elite Squads will have to play closer attention when making substitutions to ensure their team never exceeds 21 stars.

  1. Hit the “Transfer Centre” / Customise your team

Upgrade your “Pro” team to “Elite” status by drafting in and out players from the rest of your collection or target the final piece of your jigsaw though the “Transfer Centre” to build a bespoke squad that does not exceed 32 stars.

Note:  When customising your own teams from scratch “Rivals” and “Debut” cards are designed to be mixed and played together so you can evolve your own playing style and combo’s. See “Player Drafts > Elite Squad” below this article.


Want to crank up the stakes and add a little “ducking and diving” to your squad selection before Kick Off? Select your preferred way of squad building from the below:

Each Boss (that’s you!) selects a different pre set 16 player squad. All cards are placed face up in a pool on the table then…

Playground pick

The Boss with the worst record or voted the worst Boss (live with it!) selects the first player to join their squad. The second worst goes next, then the third etc… Bosses continue to take turns until all players have been selected.

Bosses are permitted to lobby for being the worst or best Boss prior to the start of the pick.

Accrington Stanley scramble

Each Boss has £100 to spend. The eldest Boss (for they are wise) nominates a player from the pool. Bosses then write, in secret, what they bid for that player (all bids must be in round £1’s). The highest bid signs that player to their squad and their £100 is reduced by the appropriate amount for the next round. The second eldest then selects a player etc…  and the scramble continues until all the players have been selected or the Bosses budgets have been blown.

Bosses may only sign a maximum of 16 players. Once this limit is reached then, regardless of any budget remaining,  that Boss may no longer bid on players.

If no bids are made for a player they go into a “Free Transfer” pool. If all Bosses blow their budgets before bids have been made on all the players, the remaining players also join the “Free Transfer” pool.

Once biding has concluded, the Boss who has not reached their squad limit (16 players) and has the fewest stars in their squad selects the first Free Transfer to join their squad. The Boss with the second fewest stars goes second etc… until all players are signed and each Boss has a squad of 16 players.

Elite Squad

The ultimate way to build your squad and pit your wits against your challengers, and is ultimately what the Time Vault Soccer Table top Card Game is designed to do, ‘nuff said! Bosses pre-select their own squad from all the player cards they own. How you blend your squad together, your playing style and your strategy is up to you. Elite squads must have:

  • 16 players (in pairs, 32 cards).
  • Only one version of any player e.g must not contain both the ’77 and ’82 versions of Claudio Gentile.
  • No more than 32 Stars (Each pair of cards is only counted once i.e Bobby Moore counts as 5 stars NOT 10.).

32 Stars may be distributed as the Boss wishes. You are free to select 16 x 2 Star Players OR any other 32 Star combination. You decide… but it’s your fault when it all turns to custard… which it will, because it’s football.

Killer Cup (For 4 + Bosses – the more the better)

Knock out competition. Draw lots for who plays who. Winners progress to the next round until only one Boss remains undefeated and takes a knee slide… the others may sulk at will. In case of a draw, go straight to a penalty shoot out.

League (For 3+ Bosses – the more the better)

Become the undisputed Champion with full gloating rights. Every Boss plays every other Boss twice, once at home and once away. The designated home team receives a pool of 5 “Home Advantage Points”  to strategically add to any of their players over the course of the whole match. Home Advantage points may be played in attack and/or defence and must be declared at the same time the card is played (coins make good markers). These points are not subject to any other in game bonus e.g  Goalkeepers doubling effect.

  • Win = 3 points
  • Draw = 1 point each
  • Loss = 0 points.

The Boss with the most points is declared Champion. In case of a tie, the Boss with the best goal difference over all the games wins. If still tied then a sudden death match is played, moving to penalties if still tied at full time… Drama!

Season (For 4 + Bosses – the more the better)

Do the double! Play both Killer Cup and League.

NOTE: When playing with 5 or more Bosses the “Elite Squad” player draft format of selecting squads is recommended (see Player drafts).

Feel the need to throw caution to the wind and lob on that extra attacker to get you that squeaky goal in stoppage time? You may make up to three substitutions during a match. To use subs place up to 5 players on your subs bench (off to the side of playing area) before Kick Off.


At the start of your turn, before you play, you may replace a player from your hand (Player off) with one from your bench (Player on). This does not count as your turn but you cannot use the player coming on this turn. Continue play as normal.

If a substitution is made whilst the second “Player off” card remains in your Match Deck, replace it as it is drawn into your hand. 

You may sub a player from your hand that is already in play, however only one substitute card can be claimed for the copy in your hand, the copy already in play is discarded with no replacement.

You may make multiple substitutions at the same time.

NOTE: Bosses may not make substitutions in response to shots… that would just be odd!

Or why you need a squad of 16 players… Doh! Your players may pick up yellow and red cards during a match e.g when the second  copy of a players card is used whilst the first is still in play (yellow card), when Alberto Tarantini decides to “lamp” a more adept opponent (yellow card) or when Jose Santamaria goes “Double Teaming”  (yellow card) etc…

In addition to the basic rule that if a player receives two yellows or one straight red during a match, they are “sent off” and all copies of that player are immediately removed from your Match Deck. When playing relevant multi game formats ( Cup, League or Season) that player is also suspended for the next game and may not be used (even as a sub).

Also, when a player accumulates 3 yellow cards, over the course of a number of games,  they are suspended for the next game. Their yellow card total is then reset to zero… so keep track of cardage and work that squad!

Tip: Keep track of cardage by playing with card protectors (recommended) with a slip of paper inserted in the relevant players protector.

Coming soon as part of the “Incident Deck” expansion – Currently under review. Sign up for your Boss’s Notes or check back here regularly for updates.

Coming soon as part of the “Incident Deck” expansion – Currently under review. Sign up for your Boss’s Notes or check back here regularly for updates.