Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Ball Park Baseball» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Hidden Gem Among Baseball Sims! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Erik Scherpf
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mb
This game is actually still being published by its creator, Charles Sidman, in Gainesville, FL. Mr. Sidman currently allows you to purchase any team (and the corresponding ballpark chart) from any season 1901-present (plus 1894) a la carte; in other words, you can buy as many or as few teams as you like without having to purchase an entire season set.

The game has undergone some improvements over its long history, which dates back to the late 1950's, so it's not clear to which game some of the user comments on this site are referring. In particular, there have been some important changes made since the game was distributed more widely by a larger publishing company. In fact, according to the game's creator, baseball numbers guru, Bill James, who played the game in Lawrence, KS, provided some feedback that led to some of these enhancements.

I think this game is quite a "hidden gem" among baseball simulation board games. The interaction of fielding skill and ballpark effect is unique, as is the baserunning system. Park effects matter not only for home runs but also chance plays on the infield and in the outfield that can result in singles, doubles, triples and errors. Thus, the value of an excellent range fielder in center field will be greater in, say, the spacious outfield of Coors Field or the Metrodome than in one of the smaller parks.

The baserunning system yields a myriad interesting and detailed outcomes for an array of different types of hits. For instance, a single can result from a regular single, a long single (which could be stretched into a double), a sharp single, a Texas Leaguer, and an infield hit, each with different consquences for runner advancement. Chance plays include a tapper, a smash, a hard (or difficult) chance, a short fly, a drive and a long fly ball. Batters can hit a pop out to the outfield, the aforementioned short fly, a medium fly, a long fly, a (line) drive that is caught, and a deep fly. Again, each result has different consequences for runner advancement after the catch.

The pitcher and batter cards have distinct results for vs. left and vs. right situations, as well as for runner(s) on and bases empty situations. These four split columns on each player's card, along with the extensive chance plays that are possible, allow Ball Park to achieve a fine degree of accuracy that one might not expect from a game that uses a 1-50 chance mechanism.

Ball Park also has another important feature that allows it to overcome an inherent shortcoming of other games that employ the 50/50 system. Players with extreme statistics that cannot be reflected on their card alone will be able to 'control' outcomes on the opposing pitcher's/hitter's card. This would apply, for example, to pitchers who yield an unusually low walk or HR total, or hitters that hit very few (or no) HRs in a given year.

The game requires perhaps a little more practice to master than most other games but it is well worth it, in my opinion. The game has such varied results and nuance in design that it has become my game of choice, despite it not having all the 'bells and whistles' of some of the games put out by the larger game companies. However, I should note that the quality of the game components is quite good in Ball Park, with card printed on card stock that is as heavy, or heavier, than other games, and each team has its own card stock color.

Ball Park has me playing baseball well into the off-season, which is something I've never done.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom M
Canada
Pitt Meadows
British Columbia
flag msg tools
mb
A well written and very informative review, Erik.

Ball Park Baseball has captured my attention unlike any other. I cannot stop playing it. It has quickly become my favorite. Now, if I could only find a local league in my area, to experience some head to head play, I'd finally be in true bliss.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Gray
United States
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I wish Mr. Sidman would reveal where he has gotten his data for the vast number of old seasons he has produced.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Priester
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Ball Park Baseball is, indeed, a wonderful recreation of the real sport of baseball. Everything that can be done as a strategy on the real life field of play can also be done with Ball Park Baseball! This includes strategies such as "no doubles defense" as well as keeping a runner close at second by moving one of the middle infielders near the bag (short stop or second baseman). This game seems to have solved the problem that befalls other 50/50 type baseball games (where a play result either will come off the hitters card or the pitchers card): it has controls that limit statistical abnormalities like a hitter that rarely strikes out or a pitcher that walks very few.

The game includes ball park effects and the cards are thick and sturdy and easy to read. Because there are so many strategy options, this game has a relatively steep learning curve when you first try it out but the game is a must for a baseball fan that craves a high strategy game.

The game produces all major league seasons from 1894 to the present and, statistically, it is as accurate as any other table top game I have ever played (been playing a variety of baseball games since the mid 1960's).

I don't know what data is cited in the making of the cards but I do know that the stats are realistic.

The game has a nice emphasis on defense as all players are rated for range and error frequency (with catchers and outfielders are rated for throwing). The individual ball park effects take into effect individual players defensive tendencies which is a nice feature.

Rare plays occur in this game but are imbedded in the charts. Hidden ball trick, runners getting trapped off, inside the park home runs, batters stretching for an extra base, it is all in this game (with the right level of occurrence).

In conclusion, this is the gold standard of baseball cards and dice baseball simulations!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.