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Subject: Bottom of the 9th Review by IggyGames rss

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Brian Lemieux
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Coopersville
Michigan
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Game Setup

Batter (Home Team)
1.) Select 6 batter cards (have a little batter on the back of the card) of different field positions. Set the lineup in the order you would like them to be At-Bat
2.) Take the 3 Ball tokens, 2 Strike tokens, the stick of gum, 1 large High/Low token, 1 large Inside/Outside token, 4 baserunners, and the red swing die.
3.) Place all the tokens off to the side of the board.

Pitcher (Away Team)
1.) Pick 2 pitchers from the deck to be your starting and relief pitchers. (If the card says starting pitcher, they can not be used for a relief)
2.) Take the 3 out tokens, the 2 remaining Large tokens, the smaller High/Low and Inside/Outside tokens, and the two pitcher's dice.
3.) Look at the back of the starting pitcher's card, the red background on the table is the Ace Pitch. Take the small pitch tokens and place them to match the Ace Pitch on the top (or 0) of the Fatigue track on the board.


Basic Game Play
There are 5 phases to the game
1.) Stare-Down
2.) The Pitch
3.) The Swing
4.) RUN!
5.) Clean Up

1.) Stare-Down
Both players pick the Location (High or Low) and the Direction (Inside or Outside) of the pitch secretly, then display them to each other simultaneously.

If the batter picks one or both of the pitcher's tokens correctly, they place the correctly guessed token on the batter's card, and the pitcher places the incorrectly guessed ones on the pitcher's card. This signifies what modifications or special abilities the batter or pitcher may have this round. If the pitcher threw their Ace Pitch, the ability can only be canceled by the batter guessing both correctly.

Whenever a pitcher throws any part of the Ace Pitch, the tokens matching that part of the pitch move down 1 on the Fatigue track. If either one of those tokens reaches the bottom of the track, the pitcher can no longer pick that option in the Stare-Down.

2.) The Pitch
The pitching player now rolls both white dice simultaneously, then uses any abilities they may have along with any penalties they may have. If any ability modifies the die, rotate the die now to represent the new value. Players can not modify a die to be more than 6 or less than 1.

3.) The Swing
The pitch die has three values, B = Ball, S = Strike, C = corner of the plate.

The pitcher also rolled a die with a 1-6 on it matching what the batter will now roll. Depending on if the pitch is a Strike, Ball, or Corner depends on what the batter needs to roll. There are cheat sheets included with the game with these values.

* Ball - If the batter gets a ball, add a ball token to the other side of the 'stick of gum'. If they get 4, the player advances their meeple to the first base. If there is already a meeple there, advance that one to second base.
* Strike - Place a Strike Token on the gum, if the player gains 3 strikes, they are out and a new batter comes into play. The pitcher will then add a token to signify how many outs there are.
* Foul - Give the batter a strike, unless it would be their 3rd, then ignore the swing and move on.

If the batter rolls an unmodified 6, they crush the ball. Roll again, if they get another unmodified 6, they get a home run, 5 is a double, 3-4 is an automatic single (don't do the run phase), a 1-2 is a normal hit.

If the batter gets a home run, the pitcher then rolls their die for a Fielding check. If they get a 6, the outfielder scales the wall and catches it for an out.

4.) RUN!
If the die results in contact, both players then pick up their numbered die and roll. You continue to roll until one of you rolls a 5 or 6. If the batter achieves it first, they yell SAFE, and place a meeple on first base, advancing any meeple there to the next base. If the pitcher gets it first, they yell OUT and place an out token on the board. All base running ties go to the runner.

5.) Clean Up
This phase is only between batters. Once a new batter enters the game, this phase takes effect.

The pitcher counts the number of empty plates (not including home) and gains that many fatigue points. If all the bases are empty, they can move the tokens on the fatigue up 3 spots total, not each.

6.) Winning
While not part of the phases of the game, it is important to know how you win! The pitcher wins if they get 3 outs. The batter wins if they get 1 run.


Review
First, I'm not a baseball fan. Haven't been since I was a kid, before the strikes.

Bottom of the 9th does a good job of re-creating Baseball in a board game and does it in a way that keeps the game from getting too long. If you are so inclined, you can play a full game of baseball by taking turns with pitching/batting.

The base rules come with a single player variant where you play multiple games (add up the MVP points for winning), a few other ways to play by adding support characters, base-paths, condition cards, extra innings, player drafts, and rules for longer games.

The cards and graphics remind you of the good-old-days of collecting Baseball cards. This is probably one of the main things I love about Bottom of the 9th. They did a wonderful job with these.

In the single player mode for Bottom of the 9th, you replace the fatigue track and pitcher with cards. The cards tell you what kind of game you are playing and how to set up for it (what the score is, how many outs, etc…). You as the batter then select the Location and Direction of the pitch and flip over the top card. This will tell you what the pitcher selected. Then you roll the dice for the pitcher, modifying them like the pitcher would. The back of the ‘Home Opener’ card tells you how to modify the die for the pitcher. Then you roll the die for the batter and continue on. Roll for both for the run phase. It is fun to play by yourself.

Playing with another person is still better. In the single player mode, you can start to guess what may come up during the Stare-Down phase of the game, while playing 2 players is a bit more of a challenge, while at the same time not being with knowing where they are on the fatigue track.

The overall box itself is a bit small. Everything JUST fits in it, and I will probably have to use a rubber band for the two small expansions to keep the lid shut on it. The board also with how high of quality and thick it does not lay flat. I have to bend it slightly the other way to get the tokens and meeples to sit on it without them sliding off.

I love how they have female players in the game, I knew someone that was in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League playing left and right field for the Grand Rapids Chicks in 1954. Sadly she passed on 1/3/2017 after I got this game, and I’m sure she would have loved to have seen they included women in the game.


Pros/Cons
Pros
+ Easy to learn
+ Multiple ways to play
+ Graphics
+ Female Players
+ Solo variant
+ Theme

Cons
- Board does not lay flat
- Box is too small
- Have noticed people that are not fans of baseball don't 'get' the game

Original Review
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Wayne Walker
United States
Chuluota
Florida
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This game has a lot going for it. However, I found solo play to be a struggle. I was not really sure if I ever got it right. Ricky Royal's video seemed straightforward, but I couldn't get it to work for me.

Looking forward to the app.
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Brian Lemieux
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The only real issue I've ever had with the solo play was the stupid effect cards. They really annoyed me. It did take me a while to figure out the cheat sheet on what the pitcher should modify when, and I can only assume I'm playing it correctly as I did it in a way that I would have if I was the pitcher.

The app will be nice, but I'm more excited about the expansion. Can't wait for the playmat and bigger box.
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Austin Slade
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Gilbert
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This is one of my all time favorite games. Disclaimer: I am a fan of baseball. I think that Bot9 really gives you the feel of the pitcher/batter duel (the guessing and second guessing). And I love putting together different batting line-ups.

I can't wait for the Clubhouse Expansion!
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