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Harry's Grand Slam Baseball Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Harry's World Series" rss

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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Harry's Grand Slam Baseball is an excellent filler card game. Simple rules, a breeze to learn and play, and a 9-inning game that is wrapped up in 15 minutes.

However, one of the complaints that some serious gamers have about the game is that there is too much luck in the deal of the hands and not nearly enough decision-making. If all a person plays is a single game, that is probably true. But a game is finished so quickly, that a World Series contest of seven games could be wrapped up in a couple hours. And over seven games, the luck should even out and competent players (anyone who has played the game more than two or three times) should experience a fairly even match. But that might not be a satisfying experience if you hope for the law of averages to even out your games.

How might more decision-making be added to the game without changing the rules of the game?

What if... What if, instead, points were awarded to players that win a ball game? And that the points were awarded to the winning player of a ball game based upon how closely the game were won, rather than by how wide a margin? And the total points over a series of such games (say, seven) determined the winner? That might be a more interesting contest. Because now players aren't simply trying to win (playing the most favorable cards available in their hand, which is pretty obvious), but to win by close margins (playing cards that help their opponent bring up their score a bit so that they will be awarded more points for a close game that they win.)

The next time you play Harry's Grand Slam Baseball, try these meta-rules for a World Series match:

1. Both players agree to play seven games of Harry's Grand Slam Baseball-- A World Series Contest.

2. Players will play each game in the Series according to the rules given in the game.

3. Players agree to record points for each game they play and that the total of these points will determine the winner of the contest, rather than the raw win-loss record of each team over the Series.

4. The winner of each game will be awarded points for the match as follows:

A win by 1 run: 3 points
A win by 2-3 runs: 2 points
A win by 4 or more runs: 1 point
For each extra inning played: +1 point to the winner
For a win with a score under 5 runs: + 2 points to the winner
For a win with a score under 10 runs: + 1 point to the winner

Example: Harry wins a game in the Series over Barry, 8 runs to 7 in an 11-inning game. Harry scores 6 points. 3 for winning the game by 1 run, plus 1 for winning with a score under 10 runs, plus 2 more for winning a game with 2 extra innings.

5. At the end of seven games, compute the total number of points for each player. The player with the higher total wins.

NOTE: It is possible that a player's team lost the Series based on the raw win-loss record, but that the player won the match because is point total is higher than his opponent's! For example, Harry wins 2 games by 1 run and 1 game by 2 runs for a total of 8 points (3+3+2=8). Barry, however, won the remaining games of the series with 2 games by 3 runs and 2 games by 4 runs for a total of 6 points. (2+2+1+1=6). Harry is the winner of the match with Barry because his point total-- not his win-loss record-- is greater.

"Well, that sounds counter-intuitive. Why award points this way?"

Because now players of the card game are faced with a greater range of choices in their hand of three cards. Points are earned not simply by winning, but winning by a narrow margin. (A bit like taking the number of tricks bid (no more or less) in a game like Oh, Hell!) But more than that, they score extra points for winning close, low-scoring games that go into extra innings.

Players can decide to simply win by as wide a margin as they can and the net result in points and win-loss records should reflect a typical ball game contest. But the decisions being made are strictly to the benfit of each player's team. There is little finesse in play. By deciding to help your opponent's team score runs while you are ahead and so narrow the winning margin stands to earn you more points--if you win. But, of course, those points are awarded to your opponent if he turns the tables in the last inning of play. (On the other hand, if you are losing in a game, you may want to help your opponent to win big so that his points earned for the win are low!)

So, do you want to play to win big but earn few points? Or do you want to play to win small (preferaby over extra innings) and earn more points?

You have seven games to decide. The choice is yours!




 
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Eric Brosius
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Tell it to the 1960 Yankees.
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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LOL! I thought you might ask me to tell it to the 1919 White Sox!
 
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