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Welcome to the user manual for Franchise Hockey Manager 4!
Franchise Hockey Manager 4 ("FHM4") is a hockey management game from the developers of Out of the Park Baseball, long-recognized as the most sophisticated and best-selling baseball simulation game on the planet. In 2013 we published our first hockey management game, and we continue to build the series with FHM4, the next step in hockey management.
FHM4 has many options designed to allow you to create your ideal hockey simulation, and this manual will illustrate and explain exactly how to go about doing that.
You can navigate sequentially through the manual by using the "Next Page" and "Previous Page" links at the bottom of the page. If you enjoy reading manuals, the manual is designed to gradually build your understanding of the game in a naturally flowing order. You can also click on the headings along the left if you wish to jump to a particular section of the manual.
You can use also the search function in the top right to search by keyword.
We hope you enjoy FHM4 as much as we enjoyed making it for you!
-The OOTP Developments FHM4 team
What's New in FHM4
Commissioner mode is once again available in all types of game. Path to Glory-type restrictions, if desired, can be enabled by choosing to start the game in "Challenge Mode" (there's a popup window during setup).
The database is switched to a 2017-18 start, with leagues updated to reflect new teams, formats, etc.; NHL jerseys updated to the new adidas versions
If you start a current game as the new Vegas NHL team, you have the option of re-drafting from the players who were actually made available in the expansion draft (with some logical omissions, e.g. UFA's that Vegas wasn't able to reach agreements with prior to the draft - i.e., no stealing Shattenkirk)
new playable leagues: Austrian EBEL, Denmark, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, SPHL, and LNAH. EPIHL is gone, as it is in real life. A few abstractions were necessary to make some leagues work in the game (e.g. dropping the U20 teams that play in some of those leagues), but we can now do things like split-season formats where the second half of the schedule is generated and the teams are split into different groups depending on the standings after the first stage
European Champions League added
Flexible league structures and playoff systems in Custom Leagues - in addition to the pre-set structures, you can now choose (with some limitations) the number of conferences/divisions in your league, its schedule length, and number of teams.
Historical play extended back to 1917-18, including the other major leagues in the west in addition to the NHL. While they're active, the Stanley Cup is decided by an inter-league series at the end of the year. Roster/lineup sizes are bigger than they were historically; there are limitations to how far we can go without breaking the match engine and AI. No era-specific rules like PCHA rovers or different penalty systems/lengths, but possible at some point in the future.
New Historical Challenge mode that lets you start a historical game with a specific "victory condition" (and accompanying achievement) that requires meeting/exceeding a historical accomplishment, e.g. winning 5 cups in a row with the 1950's Canadiens. Right now, there's one challenge per NHL franchise (minus Vegas).
Farm teams for historical play have been added - each playable historical team will have a farm club that changes names and location to reflect the actual affiliation in place for each season (so there are some oddities where e.g. two teams shared a farm team - you'll see two versions of that team in the game, one for each parent.) These teams are not playable. Stats will be generated in the same way they are for nonplayable teams in the modern game.
Several new international tournaments have been added - U17, Hlinka, the Euro Hockey Tour tournaments, etc.
NHL players now barred from the Olympics.
New system for handling uniform numbers. Players may ask for particular numbers and become unhappy if they don't get them. AI will assign them a little more intelligently. Numbers can be either retired or honoured (non-permanently retired); teams will begin the game with their currently-retired numbers and may add more via an automatic process. Team history now includes a list of who's worn what number for that team (not showing the full history prior to game start yet, working on getting that data.)
There's now a "shop player" feature that allows you to solicit all teams in your league for trade offers on one of your players. Responses will be sent via PM.
A new Hall of Fame system allows the user a vote in the Hall's annual nomination and selection process. You'll see this in June; you're assumed to have a seat on the HoF selection committee and work through the stages of the real nomination/voting/runoff procedures.
A Chemistry system is implemented. It allows chemistry to develop (or exist at the start of the game) between specific players, improving their on-ice performance when they're together. So, there's more incentive to build team chemistry by keeping your lines and lineup together.
All-Star games now include the announcement of the results of a skills competition the day before the game.
Players can now gain new nationalities if they spend an extended amount of time in a foreign country, and can switch their national team allegiance once they meet the qualifications for representing a new country in international play.
A new record-keeping system that adds tracking of single-game records at both the team and league level, as well as expanded single-season and career records.
New awards, including postseason all-star teams, have been added, as well as a longer award announcement process that releases the names of nominees first, then announces the winners later in the offseason.
Rookies are now properly-defined instead of using age/career GP approximations; they're marked with a * on the lineup screen.
Alumni lists have been added to the team history, allowing easy "Where are they now?" tracking of all current players that have played for the club.
"Replace With" option on the player right-click menu allows players who are currently dressed to be replaced everyhwere in the lineup (i.e. on all lines they're on) with another player on the active roster, to allow for easier substitution for things like injuries, particularly short-term ones.
Many enhancements at all stages of the in-game experience (pregame, during, and postgame). Rink is replaced by a record of on-ice events (but still shown as a popup during highlights), there are new pre- and post-game notes screens that provide extra information, and the display options have brought back some FHM2 feautures like highlights mode.
Storyline feature from Out of the Park Baseball implemented, allowing off-ice events to influence players and teams in unusual ways (prospects retiring to play another sport, crazy off-ice injuries and incidents, etc.)
A new "Do not disturb" option in the manager options will turn off all interruptions, including critical PM's and news, for the user if he just wants to sim full/multiple seasons at a time
News subscription interface rebuilt, allows filtering at team/league/tournament (i.e. international) levels; categorization of news stories also improved
New team data page lists things like retired numbers, arena details, available draft picks, farm and parent teams, etc. in one location; new league data page does the same for leagues (showing divisions, conferences, teams, drafts, awards, etc.)
User-managed teams now have no roster size restrictions during the preseason, and can send players to/from their farm teams without morale penalties during this time
And many more smaller features and additions!
Next page: FHM 2