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Subject: First Impressions: Bottom of the 9th rss

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Craig McRoberts
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Full disclosure: I am an employee of Greater Than Games, the publisher of Bottom of the 9th. I am, however, a gamer first and foremost, and I have not been involved in the development of this project.

I'll be the first to admit it: baseball isn't really my thing. I've always kept an eye on it, though, as I come from a baseball-loving family. I'm also directly related to the late great Rogers Hornsby, so I have to do him proud. Because of all this, I've had more than a passing interest in Bottom of the 9th for some time. When I had the chance to play with designer Darrell Louder while he was in our office, I jumped for it, and was not disappointed.

The game takes place in the titular bottom of the 9th inning. One player is the pitcher, while the other bats. The pitcher is attempting to get three outs, and the batter is after a run. Every pitch begins with a "stare-down," where the batter wants to match the pitch: high or low, away or inside. A match earns the batter special abilities, while a miss earns the pitcher the same. A roll of the die determines the type and difficulty of the pitch: ball, strike, or corner. The batter then needs to roll to see if they achieve a hit. Both of these rolls can be affected by earned special abilities. Depending on the outcome, just like baseball, every pitch ends with a ball, foul, strike, or a hit. There are also times when the pitcher and batter end up in a frenzied die-rolling match to determine whether a runner is safe or out. The rest of the rules follow baseball very closely in regards to scoring or not.

The end result of this is an incredibly thematic experience. The stare-down is a bit of a roshambo bluffing game, but that's only one part of this mix of mechanics. The special abilities earned (or lost) during the stare-down are useful but not game-breaking. It's a blast getting inside your opponent's head as the batter, and burning a pitch right past the batter is very rewarding. The mad scramble to get your runner safe on base is a perfect match for the feeling of someone sliding into home just ahead of or behind the ball.

I ended the game wanting more, definitely. The tension had wrapped up nicely and organically. The game was quick (maybe 10 minutes), so I can definitely see playing a series of games with your partner without it wearing out its welcome. The entire feel of the game is comfortable, like a well-worn baseball glove. I really can't wait to have this on my own table.
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Matthew Eklund
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I like how the game concentrates on a single half of a single inning.

Other than high/low inside/outside, what decisions are made?
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Craig McRoberts
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Picking the right pitcher/batter at the right time seems very important, as well as when and how to use their special abilities. Do I throw everything at trying to crush a pitch out of the park, or do I play it a little safe. Keep in mind I only played from the batting side, so I wasn't entirely privy to the decisions the pitcher was making regarding lineup.

Bluffing and risk management are definitely the two biggest skill sets here, based on my play.
 
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Donald Acker
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Very excited, but one question: What is the initial score? Is the game tied or are the batters behind?

Asking because I wonder if more than one run matters. Like if you're down by 3, then something spectacular like a grand slam would matter. Of course, if you're down by 3, you're kind of screwed, especially if the defense still has enough options up their sleeve to make for a fun game.

On the other hand, if it's tied, then it would really reward small ball tactics.

So how does winning work?
 
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Craig McRoberts
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pigasuspig wrote:
Very excited, but one question: What is the initial score? Is the game tied or are the batters behind?

Asking because I wonder if more than one run matters. Like if you're down by 3, then something spectacular like a grand slam would matter. Of course, if you're down by 3, you're kind of screwed, especially if the defense still has enough options up their sleeve to make for a fun game.

On the other hand, if it's tied, then it would really reward small ball tactics.

So how does winning work?


Winning is based solely on whether the batter gets a runner in or the pitcher gets three outs. I can only imagine that one of the teams is playing for extra innings.
 
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Darrell Louder
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pigasuspig wrote:
Very excited, but one question: What is the initial score? Is the game tied or are the batters behind?

Asking because I wonder if more than one run matters. Like if you're down by 3, then something spectacular like a grand slam would matter. Of course, if you're down by 3, you're kind of screwed, especially if the defense still has enough options up their sleeve to make for a fun game.

On the other hand, if it's tied, then it would really reward small ball tactics.

So how does winning work?


The story of Bottom of the 9th is this, the Home Team is the disgrace of the league. They hold the records in the most loses, the most struck out, the lowest attendance, etc. However, through all of that they have managed to tie the greatest/strongest team in the league.

It all comes down to this last inning. Their bullpen is exhausted the chance of a win rests on the shoulders of their line-up. If they can score 1 run they will beat the 'evil empire' and help restore some faith and heroism to their home town.

The visitors have their best pitcher on the mound, and can't afford to be even challenged by these jokes of the league. The best of their line-up is on deck, should they go into extra innings. So it's 1 run for a sure home town win, or 3 outs to another statistical loss.

The game is won by the home team (batter) if they score 1 run, on the other hand the game is won by the visitors (pitcher) if they score 3 outs.
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Travis Hill
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getlouder wrote:

The story of Bottom of the 9th is this, the Home Team is the disgrace of the league. They hold the records in the most loses, the most struck out, the lowest attendance, etc. However, through all of that they have managed to tie the greatest/strongest team in the league.

It all comes down to this last inning. Their bullpen is exhausted the chance of a win rests on the shoulders of their line-up. If they can score 1 run they will beat the 'evil empire' and help restore some faith and heroism to their home town.

The visitors have their best pitcher on the mound, and can't afford to be even challenged by these jokes of the league. The best of their line-up is on deck, should they go into extra innings. So it's 1 run for a sure home town win, or 3 outs to another statistical loss.

The game is won by the home team (batter) if they score 1 run, on the other hand the game is won by the visitors (pitcher) if they score 3 outs.



I'm almost drooling. Such a great idea!
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Richard Herrera
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I'm backing and I am hoping to unlock that Sentinels bonus expansion! That is a great story though and gives some heft to the gravity of the situation.
 
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Craig McRoberts
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eggroll20xd6 wrote:
I'm backing and I am hoping to unlock that Sentinels bonus expansion! That is a great story though and gives some heft to the gravity of the situation.


I'll tell you that Christopher was involved in the Sentinels expansion. He doesn't do these things halfway, so you'd better believe there's story behind why those characters are playing in this game.
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Matthew Gabbert
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travisdhill wrote:
getlouder wrote:

The story of Bottom of the 9th is this, the Home Team is the disgrace of the league. They hold the records in the most loses, the most struck out, the lowest attendance, etc. However, through all of that they have managed to tie the greatest/strongest team in the league.

It all comes down to this last inning. Their bullpen is exhausted the chance of a win rests on the shoulders of their line-up. If they can score 1 run they will beat the 'evil empire' and help restore some faith and heroism to their home town.

The visitors have their best pitcher on the mound, and can't afford to be even challenged by these jokes of the league. The best of their line-up is on deck, should they go into extra innings. So it's 1 run for a sure home town win, or 3 outs to another statistical loss.

The game is won by the home team (batter) if they score 1 run, on the other hand the game is won by the visitors (pitcher) if they score 3 outs.



I'm almost drooling. Such a great idea!


It's a neat story, but it doesn't really go with the artwork, as the players all seem to be from different teams. So I guess it's an All-Star Game of some kind?
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Jared
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mgabbert wrote:
travisdhill wrote:
getlouder wrote:

The story of Bottom of the 9th is this, the Home Team is the disgrace of the league. They hold the records in the most loses, the most struck out, the lowest attendance, etc. However, through all of that they have managed to tie the greatest/strongest team in the league.

It all comes down to this last inning. Their bullpen is exhausted the chance of a win rests on the shoulders of their line-up. If they can score 1 run they will beat the 'evil empire' and help restore some faith and heroism to their home town.

The visitors have their best pitcher on the mound, and can't afford to be even challenged by these jokes of the league. The best of their line-up is on deck, should they go into extra innings. So it's 1 run for a sure home town win, or 3 outs to another statistical loss.

The game is won by the home team (batter) if they score 1 run, on the other hand the game is won by the visitors (pitcher) if they score 3 outs.



I'm almost drooling. Such a great idea!


It's a neat story, but it doesn't really go with the artwork, as the players all seem to be from different teams. So I guess it's an All-Star Game of some kind?


Good point, but everyone in the same uniform would be boring to look at and make it harder to distinguish the players quickly. Maybe these baseball cards aren't current, they're old, from previous years when these players were on different teams. Through trades and free agency, these players are all now on the same team.
 
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Justin Dowd
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Any chance a prototype will be available at the GTG booth this weekend? I'd love to give it a try!
 
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Darrell Louder
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dowdah wrote:
Any chance a prototype will be available at the GTG booth this weekend? I'd love to give it a try!

It will indeed!
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Lex Major
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I pledged almost out of instinct... love the idea, love the format, love the playing time, love that it plays solo.

I can't wait to get this in the mail. I can also see this being the start of a pretty cool series... "Two-minutes warning and 10 yards to go", "Overtime in the 7th game for the Cup" and so many more.

Throw in rules for player improvement and league play, and you have the make of something special...
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