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Subject: Double-Play Baseball Review - Simple, but still fun rss

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Jeremy Wilhm
United States
Norman
Oklahoma
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Double Play Baseball
By Lakeside Games

I have fond memories of playing this game with my Dad when I was a kid, and forgot I still had it until I unearthed it a couple of years ago. Now that I have children of my own, I play it with them every now and then and we have some fun with it. But this game is really only for children, families, and casual baseball fans. Any die-hard baseball fan will turn their nose up at this game, and go for games that offer much more in the way of strategy, statistics, and items with names of actual baseball players attached.

Components:
The 10 dice used throughout the game are very good quality. The graphics are printed on, and not stickers that you have to affix yourself before playing. The two dice rolling cups are red and blue, and while they are made from decent material, they are too small. There are just too few components overall to make the rolling cups this size, and should have been made much larger. The dice are normal size, not like tiny backgammon dice, and there is just no room for them to roll around in the cup. It’s easier to use your hands to roll, and just ignore the rolling cups all together.

There is a small playing mat that is used as the baseball diamond/scoreboard, where both players can roll their dice, position dice on the bases when they get a hit, and keep track of the score, innings, and outs. There is also a legend to help identify what each possible die symbol means, but it you know any type of baseball at all, they symbols are self-explanatory. The playing mat is simple cardboard, and there are plastic pegs used for all scoreboard information. Overall, the components are average for a game of this type. Nothing special here.

Gameplay:
It’s a dicefest. The player who is on offense (batting), sets up the 9 batting dice in whatever order he chooses. It’s a good idea to write it down on a slip of paper, because the other player may choose a different batting order. Each time you change sides, the batting order is changed back to what you picked. It’s hard enough to remember which of your batting dice made your last out each inning, the overall order should be written down at the beginning of the game.

Once the batting order is set, the game begins. The pitcher rolls his die to determine if it’s a good pitch, or if it’s a ball. The pitching d6 has 4 good pitch sides and 2 ball sides. So there’s a 66% chance it will be good, and 33% chance it will be a ball. If it’s a good pitch, then the batting player rolls his batter die and the outcome is determined. If it’s a hit, the batting die is moved to the appropriate base. If it’s a strike or a foul, the strike is marked on the scoreboard, and a new pitch is rolled. If it’s an out, the die is returned to the batting order and the next batting die is selected for a new pitch. If the pitch is a ball, it is marked on the scoreboard and a new pitch is rolled. Just like in real baseball, 4 balls equals a walk and the batter gets to 1st base. Keep rolling pitches and batters until 3 outs are made, and then the pitching player gets to bat. Play 9 full innings, and the player with the most runs wins.

Batting Dice:
The 9 batting dice you use for your lineup are broken into three different groups: 1 Heavy Hitter (estimated batting average is .667), 5 good players (estimated batting average is .500), and 3 not-so-good players (estimated batting average is .166). You can arrange the dice in any order you want, but must keep that order each time you bat. There are no substitutions and you cannot switch batters.

Dice Details
Heavy Hitter – The 6 sides of the die show the following: 2 sides are Home Runs, 1 side is a Triple, 1 side is a Single, 1 side is a single out, and the last side is a Triple Play (it only costs three outs if there are two runners on base. If there is only one runner on base, then it’s considered a Double Play and both dice are returned to the bench.)

Good players – All 5 of these dice have the same 6 sides on them: 1 side is a Single, 1 side is a Double, 2 sides are single outs, 1 side is a strike (swing and a miss), and 1 side is a foul ball.

Not-so-good players – All 3 of these dice have the same 6 sides on them: 1 side is a Single, 2 sides are strikes (swing and a miss), 1 side is a foul ball, 1 side is a single out, and 1 side is a Double Play (It only costs two outs if there is a runner on base. If there are multiple runners, than only the lead runner is considered out. Both that and the batting die are returned to the lineup.)

Strategy vs. Luck:
Any deeper elements of baseball have been removed from the game. There are no relief pitchers, no pinch batters or pinch runners, no bunts, no stolen bases, no sacrifice flies, no squeeze plays, no intentional walks, nothing else but the very basics. And since everything is left up to die rolling, the whole game is luck based. However, if you are in the mood for such a game, then it can be a lot of fun. It’s basic and very easy to learn; my son was only 4 when he played his first game of it and he had a lot of fun. Not a lot of thought is required here, but it can be entertaining for the right people.

Additions/House Rules:
Without completely overhauling the game by adding additional dice, making stolen base rules, etc. We did have a few house rules that we used to make the game a little more real:
1)Rolling Strike rule – In some cases to help keep the game moving quickly, the batting player will start his rolling motions with the pitcher and roll immediately after. Now, you’re supposed to wait until the pitching die stops to roll the batting die, but sometimes you would just get anxious and roll when the pitch was a ball. Our house rule deemed that this is the equivalent of swinging and missing at a ball too high, or too far outside the strike zone, and you were charged a strike for being just a little too impatient with your roll.
2)Stolen Base rule – This one was aggravating to a lot of people and ended up being abandoned, but I liked it. If you had a player on first base and wanted to steal second, you could do so by yelling “Stolen Base” between the time the pitching die starts rolling and the time it stops. If timed right, the pitching die determined the outcome of the steal. A good pitch roll meant the runner was safe. A ball roll, and the runner was caught and out. There were some other provisions though. If a player yelled “Stolen Base” too early, and the pitcher stopped before the die hit the table, then the runner jumped too early as well, and the runner is out on a pick-off play. If the die stops rolling while the player is saying “Stolen Base”, then the runner jumped too late and was thrown out at second base. It brought tension to the game in certain situations, and provided something more than rolling again and again. We didn’t allow runners to steal third base or home because those acts are so rare in real baseball that we just skipped it.
3)Sacrifice Fly rule – If you had a runner on third base and the current batting die rolled an out (not a strike out), and it was not the third out of the inning, it was considered a sacrifice fly, and the runner on third scores by tagging up. Later the rule was adapted so the outfield had a chance to throw out the runner at home by rolling the pitching die – Good Pitch, the runner was safe at home; Ball, the runner was thrown out at home.

The game would certainly benefit with some additional dice of varying sizes (d8, d10, d12, etc) to allow some variation for batters, and to bring in substititions. I also think some additional pitching dice would help. When the starting pitcher has thrown three innings (at the beginning of the 4th inning), he must alternate pitches between the normal die, and a blue pitching die that has three good pitches and three balls on it. After 6 innings, he only uses the blue pitching die. After 7 innings, he must alternate between the blue die and a red pitching die that only has 2 good pitch sides on it. After 8 innings, only the red pitching die can be used.

A player can bring in a relief pitcher any time he wants to, but can only use the normal pitching die for one inning. If he pitches a second inning, he uses the blue die. If he pitches a third or more innings, he uses the red die. Also, a player can only make two pitching substitutions during a game. I think this would simulate how a normal pitcher loses control as the game goes on and fatigue sets in.

Overall, I think the game is good for children and casual baseball fans. Anyone who only loves strategy and tactics will want to steer clear of this game.
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Eric Nivala
United States
Massachusetts
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Yep I remeber this one. A simple yet fun game. Good for family outings like camping and picnics!(does anybody still go on family picnics or is that Leave it to Beaverish?!)
 
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