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Subject: Baseball gamers -- please help me pick a game! rss

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Justin Case
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I'm looking for a really good baseball game that I would enjoy, and could use some input.

There are some things to show where I am coming from. Primarily, I am fascinated by the game of baseball from the manager's point of view.

I am quite interested in resolving plays on a batter-by-batter basis, and much less interested in pitch-by-pitch resolutions, though I could go that way if it really flows well.

I am passionately fond of MicroLeague Baseball, and can not even begin to tell how many hours I've spent playing that on my Commodore 64 -- in fact, being able to play MicroLeague Baseball, using my old pre-set playoff and World Series matchup floppy disks, is one of the three primary reasons I still keep a Commie around!

I am also very fond of the Sports Illustrated Paydirt and Bowl Bound football games, and have been playing those since the first incarnations of each. I should point out that although I very much like these games, and the game of football from that point of view, I do not have any team(s) that I live or die by, nor do I have any team or athlete whom I track stat by stat in any sport, so I've never felt compelled to get every season's charts for Paydirt (or disks for MicroLeague), just a couple for a little bit of variety. In fact, unless a game partner wants to play their favorite team or what-have-you, I never even play all the teams available in any season, I pretty much zero in on the playoffs and championships.

Even though I don't want to fiddle with every single stat, I do like the idea of playing "real teams" in a stats-based arena, with every team having a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses, and I like the idea of the dice too, since results will vary in a real game. In short, I like the idea of trying to figure out what play to call in a given situation, and then seeing if my guys can execute the play. For these reasons, I've found both Baseball Strategy and Football Strategy to be rather dry and unappealing.

So now to the point at hand and why I am here in this forum. I think that maybe I'm going to want to find the earliest two editions of Sports Illustrated Baseball, and perhaps even just the 1972 edition. But the thing is, I've never played it, never even seen it except in pictures. Nor have I ever seen or played the subsequent versions with cards, so I have no idea how they compare. The thought does occur to me that the cards might be like having the charts in pieces, as it were. I'm also aware that the SI baseball charts might not be anywhere near as convenient to use as the football charts are.

Over to you now.... I took time to tell of some related games that I know I like so you're not working in a vacuum, but I'm open to questions as well. And I'm hoping that some of you folks here will be baseball-game-aholics who are well familiar with other boardgame implementations of this most cerebral of all sports. Do you think I'd do best to find one of those early chart-based versions of SI Baseball? Would one of the card-based versions do, perhaps? Or is there an entirely different baseball game that would be a good fit? The only baseball games I have now are Baseball Strategy, which I mentioned above, and Diceball, which is a lot of fun but pure filler, so I'm willing to entertain any and all suggestions.

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Randy Cox
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Based on what you've said, I think you would really enjoy Sports Illustrated Baseball. The charts are no harder to read than the football--in fact easier as there is no precedence chart of when defense overrides offence and vice versa.

I prefer the charts, as I just love the color and feel, like with Paydirt. People who like to build dream teams prefer the charts.

As to getting your feet wet, I wouldn't necessarily go back to the original games. Just download any of the numerous charts available on the internet (here, at tabletop-sports.com, and on the yahoo group for Sports Illustrated Baseball). Or, you could search for and download Dombrov baseball. It's a computer implementation of the tabletop game, though the nifty part is that you can print the chart of any team from history and then play off-line if you desire.

The flow is painfully simple--even easier than Paydirt. Roll for the pitcher. The result is usually "swing away" (which means, the batter's manager rolls and consults his chart for the result). But other times, the pitcher either walks the batter, hits him with a pitch, strikes him our (or creates an automatic ground of fly out), or has a defensive check. That last option on the pitcher's chart is the only "complicated" part of the game, which requires you to make a special check to see if your defense turned in a tremendous play to rob the batter (who never rolled) of a hit.

At most, you'd roll twice for every at bat--once for the batter and once for the pitcher (well, plus a few for attempting to steal). But in truth, each manager will roll something like 70 times per game. Much quicker than the football game. But still statistically accurate.
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Al Johnson
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Two very good games comes to mind. They are both text games, no fancy graphics here.

Stratomatic baseball (boardgame or pc game). It is a single season game that comes with actual players. Graphics are minimal - stationary stadium no player movement. But accuracy is very good. The basic game comes with a season but after that you must purchase any additional seasons.

Out of the Park Baseball (pc only). Phenomonal in its depth and accuracy. Again minimal graphics but this is as good as it gets. You can customize almost anything and the best thing is it come with ALL teams back to 1900.

In all seriousness I have played Status Pro Baseball, Baseball Strategy, Stratomatic Baseball, and some other baseball game I can't remember. None of them can touch Out of the Park Baseball. Simply amazing in its depth. The rule book is like 150 pages long! Although you don't need to read the whole thing to play. It's fairly cheap to - $30 I think. Just search for it online. They are always improving it too - they are up to OOTP 13!
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Al Johnson
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Ok, I just gotta know from the original poster. Is that your real name?
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Dynasty Baseball. In my opinion, the best there is. I think it'll give you the crunch and realism that you are looking for, and also the tactical play calling challenge.

http://www.designdepot.com/
 
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Justin Case
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Al Johnson wrote:
Ok, I just gotta know from the original poster. Is that your real name?


No, "Gambiteer" is just my online nickname.

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Justin Case
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Shauneroo wrote:
Dynasty Baseball. In my opinion, the best there is. I think it'll give you the crunch and realism that you are looking for, and also the tactical play calling challenge.

http://www.designdepot.com/


Thank you for that suggestion, and I did go look at the website, but I think (only from the very little I know based on other folks' comments) that maybe I'm looking for something that is a little more to the playability side of the equation than this one may be. I do want some realism, and for play calling to have at least a chance of affecting the outcomes (though watching their play calling go for nought is why baseball managers age before their time), but I'm also looking for ease of play and flow -- one thing I've always admired about Paydirt is that you can get someone who likes football but has never played games at all and have them enjoying the game and getting the hang of it in just 10 minutes, even less. But again, I'm only going back to what I recall someone telling me about this game in its early days when it was "Pursue the Pennant", though I didn't make that connection until I went to the website.

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Justin Case
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Al Johnson wrote:
Two very good games comes to mind. They are both text games, no fancy graphics here.

Stratomatic baseball (boardgame or pc game). It is a single season game that comes with actual players. Graphics are minimal - stationary stadium no player movement. But accuracy is very good. The basic game comes with a season but after that you must purchase any additional seasons.

Out of the Park Baseball (pc only). Phenomonal in its depth and accuracy. Again minimal graphics but this is as good as it gets. You can customize almost anything and the best thing is it come with ALL teams back to 1900.

In all seriousness I have played Status Pro Baseball, Baseball Strategy, Stratomatic Baseball, and some other baseball game I can't remember. None of them can touch Out of the Park Baseball. Simply amazing in its depth. The rule book is like 150 pages long! Although you don't need to read the whole thing to play. It's fairly cheap to - $30 I think. Just search for it online. They are always improving it too - they are up to OOTP 13!


Thank you for these ideas.... right now, though, I'm looking for a board game primarily -- I'm yet dead sold on MicroLeague if I want to play computer baseball. As for Strat-o-matic, my impression (and I could be wrong, I haven't played it, only heard/read what others say) is that it is a bit more detail oriented than I am looking for.

meeple
 
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Justin Case
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Randy Cox wrote:
Based on what you've said, I think you would really enjoy Sports Illustrated Baseball. ....you could search for and download Dombrov baseball. It's a computer implementation of the tabletop game, though the nifty part is that you can print the chart of any team from history and then play off-line if you desire.


Now this is interesting -- doubly so because I already found Dombrov baseball last night! But I only did the download because I was at the site, before I forgot about it, and I haven't checked it out at all, partly because this is a Linux system and I need to shoot the file over to one of my peecees to try it. BUT! Am I correct in understanding that I can use this software to print early-style SI Baseball charts and then use those charts to sit at the dining room table with a friend to play baseball? Heck, I'd do that even if I never played the software as a computer game! I grabbed the program because it's based on SI Baseball and I knew I was coming here to engage you fellows and get some ideas, but I really haven't investigated it much at all. But if I can print a couple of charts and test drive the early SI Baseball system, which sounds from your description pretty much as I hoped it might be, this is sounding very promising.

I do have one question though:
Randy Cox wrote:
I prefer the charts, as I just love the color and feel, like with Paydirt. People who like to build dream teams prefer the charts.

Is that a typo that crept in? Would it be that people who want to build dream teams prefer the cards?

That inspires another question too.... using those early-style charts, can you have any difference in pitcher from one game to the next, or is there one generic representative pitcher for the team?

Thank you for your input here!


 
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Justin Case
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Gambiteer wrote:
The only baseball games I have now are Baseball Strategy, which I mentioned above, and Diceball, which is a lot of fun but pure filler, so I'm willing to entertain any and all suggestions.


What an amazing brain cramp I suffered there -- the reason I have table top baseball on my mind in the first place is that I just thrift-rescued an unplayed copy of the very rare Quantum Baseball, and my copy includes the apparently extremely rare "Raymond Dial", which is undocumented in our galleries here (I'll be getting photos online very soon to document that and the extra goodies included in my box).

This game supposedly plays a realistic-feeling baseball game, but with generic cookie cutter teams, or you can play an "advanced" game using real baseball card stats and the "Raymond Dial", but my impression from scanning the rules is that you just about need a degree in accounting to do that, and that it could be pretty tedious. That's what got me to thinking about how easy and fun such stats-based games as Paydirt football or MicroLeague Baseball are, and wondering if there was not a table top implementation for baseball that would be that easy and fun, while still being stats-based and having that bit of realism. And besides, while I have nearly 1000 baseball cards, they're all my cards from my childhood, primarily the 1959 and 1960 seasons, and I sincerely doubt that I have any teams that are complete.



PS: Wouldn't "Raymond Dial" make a terrific pseudonym for a writer of mystery novels?

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Randy Cox
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Gambiteer wrote:
But if I can print a couple of charts and test drive the early SI Baseball system, which sounds from your description pretty much as I hoped it might be, this is sounding very promising.
That is my understanding. Any team from the history of baseball, print the charts, grab the dice, and go play the game on your tabletop.

Quote:
Randy Cox wrote:
I prefer the charts, as I just love the color and feel, like with Paydirt. People who like to build dream teams prefer the charts.
Is that a typo that crept in? Would it be that people who want to build dream teams prefer the cards?
Indeed, that was a typo. Dream teamers love the cards, not the charts.
Quote:
That inspires another question too.... using those early-style charts, can you have any difference in pitcher from one game to the next, or is there one generic representative pitcher for the team?
All four versions of the basic game ('70, '71, '72, and my favorite All-Time All-Star) have specific pitcher charts and batter charts for each player (including batting charts for the pitchers). There are no 'generic' charts.

Well, there may have been something like that in the worst edition--1972 season. That came only in card format and only a very few players per team and I don't know if there was a generic pitcher hitting card for AL pitchers.

Note: if you ever purchase a set of the original color charts (which would be the '70 or '71 season or the ATAS set), know that the first set ('70) were unwieldy. You had to flip around and back for batting vs. LHP or RHP and turn the whole thing over for pitching. The flat sheet charts ('71 and ATAS) were much more manageable.
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Justin Case
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Randy Cox wrote:
All four versions of the basic game ('70, '71, '72, and my favorite All-Time All-Star) have specific pitcher charts and batter charts for each player (including batting charts for the pitchers). There are no 'generic' charts.

Well, there may have been something like that in the worst edition--1972 season. That came only in card format and only a very few players per team and I don't know if there was a generic pitcher hitting card for AL pitchers.

Note: if you ever purchase a set of the original color charts (which would be the '70 or '71 season or the ATAS set), know that the first set ('70) were unwieldy. You had to flip around and back for batting vs. LHP or RHP and turn the whole thing over for pitching. The flat sheet charts ('71 and ATAS) were much more manageable.


Ah-HA! This is all sounding better and better. It seems to me that I need to start questing for that 1972 version so I have those charts along with the rules and a box, and possibly the ATAS set as well (though wouldn't that be aimed more at a dream-teamer?), and I definitely need to network the Dombrov software over to a windoze machine to run it and see if it will print the flat sheet charts that look to be the most practical and desirable.

Thank you for your assistance and informed explanations, I feel like this is not such a shot in the dark anymore.


 
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Randy Cox
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I don't think I'd bother with getting '72 for the rules. All the old sets cost too much money (that's why I sold mine).

Instead, print out any charts (either the ones in the file section here) or from Dombrov and start playing. You have the dice (from Paydirt). And rules (for a beefed-up version, but still good enough to teach you the basics) are available in the Ultimate ATAS download I put out here (which is a bunch of all-time all-star charts, too).

The rules are really simple. Roll for pitcher. Check result. Roll for batter if he got to swing. The rest is just learning what the chart results mean, and they're pretty easy to learn.

As to the ATAS being for dream-teamers, not really. Since they are charts, you can't mix and match. Only Tigers will play on the ATAS Tiger team (unless you cut the charts apart). So, Cobb won't play on the same team with Ruth.
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Justin Case
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Randy Cox wrote:
I don't think I'd bother with getting '72 for the rules. All the old sets cost too much money (that's why I sold mine).

Instead, print out any charts (either the ones in the file section here) or from Dombrov and start playing. You have the dice (from Paydirt). And rules (for a beefed-up version, but still good enough to teach you the basics) are available in the Ultimate ATAS download I put out here (which is a bunch of all-time all-star charts, too).

The rules are really simple. Roll for pitcher. Check result. Roll for batter if he got to swing. The rest is just learning what the chart results mean, and they're pretty easy to learn.

As to the ATAS being for dream-teamers, not really. Since they are charts, you can't mix and match. Only Tigers will play on the ATAS Tiger team (unless you cut the charts apart). So, Cobb won't play on the same team with Ruth.


Ah-ha redux! So the All Stars are integrated into their teams only, I was wondering a bit about that. I shall indeed go have a look at the download file, now that I know more about it, and since that will give me some rules and chart interpretation to look at. Btw, is that you selling the "handmade" updated ATAS stuff on eBay?

None of the exact versions that I think would interest me are on eBay now anyway, so I'll make do at least for a time with download and Dombrov charts. They might just be all I want or need anyway.

I do have the dice from Paydirt.... and Bowl Bound.... and Track Meet.... and Go For The Green.... laugh
 
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Randy Cox
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Nope, I'm not the feller hawking a version on eBay. There are a few people who make new (or retro) charts and I don't know which one he is.

If you download the Ultimate All-Time All-Star zip file, just ignore the new rules, most notably the (HR) pitcher rating and the tire/2nd wind for pitchers. Both are incredibly easy to integrate, but they are the main chart changes.

Well, there is also the letter grade for defense. The original game just gave each player a numerical score for defense (e.g. 2B+10). The sum of all 9 players' defensive ratings tallied up to a number which granted a few extra outs on the pitcher's chart. That's still in my charts, but I also have a surehandedness rating for each fielder (a letter from A [good] to Z). So, I added a rule to make an extra roll when an error is made to see if the fielder overcame the error. You can ignore that, thought there would then be a tiny bit more errors per game--about like playing in the 1950s, rather than the 1990s.
 
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Randy Cox wrote:
...As to the ATAS being for dream-teamers, not really. Since they are charts, you can't mix and match. Only Tigers will play on the ATAS Tiger team (unless you cut the charts apart). So, Cobb won't play on the same team with Ruth.
... unless you use the super-awesome card version of the UATAS charts!
Also available here in the Download section.


 
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Strat o Matic IMHO is the best of them all.

Check that out as well while you are looking into them. It's updated every year with players and A LOT of them as well even low AB/IP guys get cards.
 
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Odious Cornblossom

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We always had a great time with APBA, Sports Illustrated, and Statis Pro. All of which move along at a good clip. And it's easy to house rule innings pitched for short seasons, or add "pitching around", "guarding the line", or other small adjustments to give you a few more managerial decisions if so desired. Also, since APBA and Statis Pro have cards for each player it allows for some wheeling and dealing or fantasy drafts.
 
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