Cheaters never prosper, but what about scouts?

For years, gamers have been making external software for Football Manager that allows you to see the full extent of your saved games. Using software like Football Manager Scout Editor 18 (FMSE 18) gives you the ability to search the database of your playthrough and see all the hidden statistics.

Why do they get used?

If you are trying to find that perfect player that fits your team, then sometimes your scouting network is just not up to the task. This is especially true if you are in the lower leagues; here, you have less scouts – and the ones you do have couldn’t tell the difference between Messi and a pub league goalkeeper.

By searching on your chosen scouting software, you can look for the best bargains that are on offer. You can search by reputation, so you aren’t looking at players who wouldn’t drop to your level, and you can see if they have any hidden injury proneness or consistency issues that may not be picked up by your limited scouting network.

Essentially, you are using this piece of software to make sure you separate the wheat from the chaff. You don’t want to end up with any duds on your payroll.

Does using scouting software ruin the game?

FMSE 18 and its counterparts are very good at what they do. Their ability to render your in-game database at any given time is extremely useful. I have used FSME during my latest playthrough where I started as a inexperienced non-league manager, and it was a great asset. I was able to make sure I didn’t chalk up for any big signings just for them to be injured most of the season. However, I did feel a bit tainted by the experience.

Personally, I relish the challenge of Football Manager; forging a story of ups and downs and living with your mistakes is all part of the experience. Using scouting software is a completely different approach. It allows you to stop mistakes before they happen, and limits the need to adapt to issues you face in-game. Whether or not it "ruins" the game really depends on how you like to play.

Is it for me?

Scouting software is definitely worth a try. It's fascinating to see see what you can achieve when blessed with this wondrous ability of foresight. Being able to spot that wonderkid before he is snatched up; or finding that free agent that has just been released – they're some of the greatest experiences you can have in Football Manager. Using something like FMSE allows you to make that a regular thing.

If you're a purist though, you'll probably feel like using this kind of software is a bit like cheating. It's definitely making the game easier for yourself, by ironing out potential mistakes before they even happen. It doesn’t make the game a total walk-over, though; being able to scout players and hiring them are two different kettles of fish. FSME just offers a slight edge – it's still up to you to build a successful team.