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Subject: My All-Star Baseball Review rss

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Darin Stephenson
United States
Holland
Michigan
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I do not run and hide... I strategically maneuver.
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This is a review of the game All-Star Baseball, originally published in 1941 by Cadaco. The game was invented by Ethan Allen, a major league outfielder who played in the 1920s and 30s. The edition that I have was published in the 1980s. This game is a highly simplified baseball simulation which especially playable with or by children or teenagers who have an interest in baseball. Apparently, Ethan Allen continued to improve upon and expand the game after its 1941 publication, but Cadaco chose to stick with the simple rules from the original edition until the company ceased annual publication of the game in the mid-1990s.

Components: The game comes with a sturdy cardboard inlay that fits in the game box. On the inlay is a photo of a baseball field, and there are holes cut at the bases for pegs to represent runners. Two spinners are mounted on the inlay, with plastic slots to allow the player card disks (described below) to fit under the spinners. A cardboard chart fits into the inlay, and stands vertically to represent the outfield fence and scoreboard. All “special play” charts needed during the game (runner advancement, stealing, bunting, etc.) are included on this scoreboard.

The heart of the game is the set of 60 player disks that come with the game. Each disk has a real major league baseball player’s name and position in the center, and the disks are color coded by position (outfielders – red background, infielders – grey background, and pitchers/catchers – white background). The perimeter of each disk is divided into 14 sections, numbered 1 through 14. Each section determines an outcome when the spinner lands in it, and the sizes of the ranges are based on each batter’s personal lifetime hitting statistics. Most of the players included were starts of the day (Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, etc.), but a few Hall of Famers are also included (e.g. Babe Ruth). There is also a “Strategy Disk” for using the spinner to resolve special plays. Player disks from other editions of the game can still be purchased from some sports memorabilia dealers or game collectors.

Players and Time: The game is a head-to-head baseball game for two players, although more players could participate through tournaments or leagues. A game can be completed in 30 to 45 minutes once players are familiar with the rules.

Rules: The rules are very simple for anyone familiar with the standard rules of baseball. After teams are drafted, each player chooses a starting lineup consisting of 9 players (a pitcher, a catcher, 4 infielders, and 3 outfielders). All nine of the disks in a player’s starting lineup are placed into the spinner, and the game begins. The 14 possible outcomes of a spin are: Home Run, Ground Ball (on 3 sections), Fly Ball (on 4 sections), Triple, Double, Single (on 2 sections), Strike Out, and Walk. Each spin also determines a letter from K to O, and these letters are used to determine runner advancement. Once a batter’s at bat is resolved, his disk is removed from the spinner (or placed at the back of the lineup stack), and the next batter is up to bat. When a player wants to put on a special play, he announces it, and uses the Strategy Disk in place of the batter disk. Once three outs are made, it becomes the other team’s turn to bat. Score is kept, and the player who is ahead after 9 innings is the winner.

Overall Impression: This is a decidedly simple baseball simulation, especially in the fact that it uses neither pitching statistics nor fielding ratings. So, when you put a player in the field, it doesn’t matter how good of a fielder or pitcher he is – all that matters are his batting statistics. This keeps All-Star Baseball quite far below other statistical baseball simulations in terms of realism and strategy. There are never any real decisions to be made in terms of pitching changes or pinch hitting. (In other words, it is sort of like American League baseball. devil )

However, what All-Star Baseball lacks in realism, it makes up for in charm and ease of play. The game can be a lot of fun, and it is easy enough for young baseball fans to learn and play right away. Overall, it is a game I’m glad I own, and I certainly see myself occasionally playing it with my kids. In terms of personal preference, I’ll lean toward a more sophisticated simulation when I want a baseball game to play or want to start a draft league.
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David Bohnenberger
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I'm not sure what the designer's future developments were, but I once found an excel program on the net which could spit out hitter OR pitcher disks as pie graphs. The pitcher's disks were to be spun first, with half the spaces being results and the other half being "spin hitter's disk". Basically a simple Strat-o-matic type system.
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Darren Edwards
United Kingdom
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Dweeb wrote:
I'm not sure what the designer's future developments were, but I once found an excel program on the net which could spit out hitter OR pitcher disks as pie graphs. The pitcher's disks were to be spun first, with half the spaces being results and the other half being "spin hitter's disk". Basically a simple Strat-o-matic type system.


Where did you find this Excel program? Would love to know :-)

There's also a very active Yahoo! group related to this game at

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/CadacoAllStarBaseballGam...

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John Reinschmidt
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Here is the Excel stuff...
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