I keep coming back to this game. I've researched a LOT of baseball games looking for a good one (the 'pefect one' of course) and this one keeps standing out to me. Not only is it just plain very clever, it's different from any other baseball game I've seen. It also makes good use of the outfield, where it actually matters where the fielders are placed. The package seems to be put together very efficiently however. Nothing wasted, no useless chrome.
But it also seems capable of being 'pimped' out if I wanted to. And I do.
On the negative side, there doesn't seem to be any point in having shortstops. I'd like the infield to be as detailed and varies as the outfield myself. Are there shortstops in this game? There are players marked Short Stop, but none of the Pitch illustrations seems to have a place for them. Okay, the Infield Hit section (thank you for the heading!) mentions the Short Stop, but it looks like its the 3rd baseman who doesn't really have any use in the game. What am I missing?
It's also a little pricey (remember, I can make cards at ArtsCow for about $8), and since I need a separate deck of 'Pitching' cards I could go ahead and use a normal deck of cards and add a LOT more different pitching variations (see Card Baseball). And the artwork....well, it's better than I could do, but it would be neat if it resembled old baseball cards.
But the pitching rules are very interesting. Unlike anything I've ever seen before and quite clever. Now it seems that you can ONLY put your bat horizontally, but it doesn't explciity say. I'm wondering why not allow verticall placement? Would it unbalnace the game somehow?
It says that you do not HAVE to place the entire bat on the grid, but does that mean you'll hit the ball if the pitcher has the ball go off the grid? Are Fly Balls the result? If this is not the case then why *wouldnt* you place the entire bat on the grid?
I'm also not sure about the difference between a strike that occurs because the batter "swung the ball but missed" and "left the ball but it ended up in the 3x3 grid". Does #1 just refer to the pitcher moving the ball off the grid?
It also seems like there is plenty of room to add more pitching cards as well. Probably not needed, but would be interesting to see.
Something that's not clear in the rules, is whether or not the cards are all 'public knowledge'? Does the batter know what the pitchers best pitches are? Does the pitcher know what the batter's weakest pitches are? I assume so, but I don't think it's explicitly pointed out.
I also have mixed feelings about the player statistics. It's concise, but what if I wanted to use baseball card statistics or mirror a specific team?
Maybe batting everages could explain the Batting Power ratings? That way you could convert you're favorite players? (aka Big League; Under .200 = 0, .200-.239 = 1, .240-.259 = 2, .260-.299 = 3, .300 + = 4).
On the other hand it's kind of nice to have player 'stats' that WON'T make me get into an argument with some sports fanatic! I kind of like the idea of players strategizing based on these specific players rather than just grabbing a name superstar. Like an alternate world. "Always play Monkey on 2nd base!"
Are the teams balanced? Exactly the same on both sides? Panthers, Sharks & Lightning? Are there three teams? That would require further research.
You know, now that I think of it, there doesn't seem to be any reason that teams couldn't be completely customized.
Sharks: Honda (3), Yuki (3), Nickolai (2), Howie (2), Digger (4), Bossman (4), Masahiro (1), Sharpie (1), Slick Joe (3), Babyface (4), Monkey (4), Bob (3) – 34 points
Lightning: Hiro (3), Eric (3), Bricktop (2), Kento (2), Ryuji (4), Lanky (1), Dancer (4), Ken (3), Lurch (3), Keisuki (1), Ryu (4), Cyril (4) – 34 points
Panthers: Spotty (2), Chunk (4), Masa (4), Steve (4), Peach (2), Nicky (3), Spud (3), Willie (1), Zinger (1), Slogger (3), Bomber (3), Oddball (4) – 34 points
VERY nice! This brings up a WORLD of possibilities!
Seems like catching and fielding are almost automatic in most cases. I suppose this is appropriate for professional baseball players. Does it remove some of the suspense though? I don't know. But I do think it could be 'generalized' into easier to remember rules. Like a "catching" roll or "fielding" roll or something like that.
Should 'stealing a base' be something that only a few players can do? I don't know. I don't necessarily mind, but I don't know if it can be used 'tactically' as it is.
Same with automatic catching. Can I 'use' these particular players in particular places to win a game? I'm not sure. The use of the outfield is very cool, but I'm not sure that it matters which catcher is in which outfield.
I'm wondering if playing out every single at bat makes the game too long, but I can't tell from just reading.
I'm wondering if the basic pitching/at-bat mechanism can be replaced with dice? This might make it a little faster.
I'm also wanting Ground balls and Fly balls. Maybe after a successful 'Hit' you need to roll under your Batting Power on 1d6 (or 1d4) or else it's an error/flyball/groundball?
The need for a d4 (Hitting the Ball, page 6) seems to come out of left field (so to speak). Why not find a way to use a six-sided dice when a six-sided dice is already needed?
There are also some things that don't seem to be accounted for; errors, foul balls, etc. I'm not a purest, but the more things that can be used tactically, I think the better the game.
Why is stealing an automatic Ball or Strike? Can't you steal a base even if the batter hits a single? It seems like ANYONE should be able to steal? Maybe by giving a +1 to the stealing roll? And why can't you steal 3rd base from second?
Same with Catching roll? Maybe instead of automatically never dropping a ball, a +1 to the catching roll?
Hmmm...maybe some kind of cost or experience point system would be cool to add...or maybe better yet, some kind of 'hero points', 'coaching points' rule. Every team gets 3 points per game (+1 point for each victory in a season).
Each point can be used for:
1. Stealing a base attempt
2. Automatic catch
3. Reroll any one dice. 2nd roll must be kept.
4. +1 to batting distance
Maybe, like MLB Sports Clix, you can earn 'Hot Streak' points during the game by great performance. Or lose them by poor performance.
But I've gotta say, the sheer uniqueness of this game makes $17 look more doable the more I look at it. It's definitely a game that screams 'play me and find out'.
The name 'Baseball Heroes' seems awful though!
Just a suggestion, but headings would make the rules easier to reach: Batting Order, Bullpen, Pitch, etc.
It seems like the scoreboard could also use a set of Inning circles.
Is a ground ball a roll of 1 or less? It's written 'less than 2' but I wanted to double check if this is what was intended. It also says "...then it is fielded by an infielder who can attempt to run out the batter...". What does this attempt consist of? One of the other fielding rolls?
Since Ground balls exist, are there also Fly Balls?
Fastball and Change-Up wording is confusing. It says "the batter must announce "Fastball" or "Change-Up" if they place the green spot on the bat as the ball it pitched." but I think it's the pitcher that places the green spot isn't it? Or maybe not. I *think* this means that if ball doesn't move, then the batter needs to guess which one (fastball or change-up) before the pitcher reveals the truth? Yeah, anyway wording is confusing here.
I'm looking at the example on page 6 and I'm a little confused. The pitcher throws a Cutter which seems to end up in the left-most square in the middle row of the catcher's card. How is this possible? Does this mean that the Pitcher put the poker chip down *outside* the boundaries of the 3x3 grid and then Monkey 'guessed' that it would appear there on the card? I'm still confused about how this works on the table.
BASEBALL HERO ROLLS
1d4 Swing Timing Roll
1 +1 to distance
2 +2 to distance
3 +3 to distance
4 +0 to distance
1d6 Outfield Catching Roll *
1 Ball is dropped (all runners move 2 bases)
2-6 Ball Caught (all runners move 1 base)
* Catchers have +1 to this roll (automatically catch)
1d6 Shortstop Fielding ***
1-2 Batter makes it to first base
3-6 Batter is out at 1st base
1st Base Fielder
If ball was hit to Right Field
• Batter is automatically out.
The 1st base fielder then throws to teh 2nd base fielder.
1d6 1st Base Fielder Double-Play Roll ***
1-2 2nd base runner is safe
3-6 2nd base runner is out
2nd Base Fielder
If the ball was hit to Center Field
• Batter moving to 2nd base is automatically out.
The 2nd base fielder throws to the 1st base.
1d6 2nd Base Feilder Double-Play Roll ***
1-2 Batter running to first base is safe.
3-6 Batter running to first base is out.
If ball was hit to Left Field then the Short Stop will try to throw the ball to 2nd base, who will then try to throw to 1st base.
1d6 Short Stop **
1-2 Batters running to 1st and 2nd base are safe
3 Batter running to 2nd base is out.
4-6 Both batters running to 1st and 2nd base are out
** If any fielders involved have a glove on their player card then add +1 to their dice roll
1d6 Bunt Roll (1B, 2B, SS, 3B) ****
1-2 Batter running to first base is safe.
3-6 Batter running to first base is out.
Catcher trhows the ball to 2nd base ***
1d6 Stealing Roll (if not Change-Up.
1-2 Batter on 1st steals to 2nd base
3-6 Batter on 1st is out
If Change-Up is used, batter can automatically make it from 1st to 2nd base.
*** MLB Dice can be used (4 in 6)
PS: I'm writing this on vacation – one which has a lot of bus rides, so it's not meant to be particularly coherent. Just stuff I'm thinking about this game.
Thanks for all of your thoughts on the game! As with all of my games, I love feedback and evolution of rules, ideas and such like.
I'm updating the files and everything will be made free to download on BoardGameGeek.
Cool! Sorry it's so rambling but you can only 'ooh' and 'aaah' at some much Ireland countryside!
I'm looking at Baseball Mania because of the pieces (and they way it may use them) and Championship Baseball because it's the only board that has seperatey marked spaces for both the infield and outfield.
But I'm definitely keeping an eye on this one!