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Subject: That Just Ain't Cricket rss

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Sime Mardesic
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Bacchus Marsh
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The following is a session report from a game of Pocket Cricket played between Doug Adams and myself today over lunch:

It was a blustery morning at the G. The forecast predicted we were due for a cloudy day with an expected top of 25, but the cool breeze seemed to promise cooler conditions. The wicket looked firm with a hint of green on it. Plenty in it for the fast and swing bowlers. The spin bowlers would have to make their own luck, though they'd tell you that was always the case. The crowd was good, thirty thousand, all knowledgeable cricket lovers. They were here to see the young upstarts take on a team of legends in preparation for the upcoming series. The excitement was palpable.

The legends side strolled on to the pitch, Langer and Hayden, Langer fidgety, Hayden imposing. In their hey day they were like Torville and Dean, Pies and Sauce, Schappelle Corby and excuses. A perfect match.

Langer took strike, a bouncer, he hooked it for three. The chin music was expected. In fact he would have been disappointed had the day not started that way. Hayden looked down the wicket, a metre out of his crease, the bowler ran in, Hayden strode forward and drove in the one action. FOUR! The crowd erupted.

Siddle, the workhorse, not born with any physical gifts like height, and speed. Thankfully he had been blessed with a double dose of Fair Dinkum, and he drew on it as he steamed in towards Hayden. The ball pitched on off stump, deviated of the seam, through the gate and BOWLED! The wickets spread like Kathy Freeman's smile. This current Australian team wasn't going to be intimidated by anyone.

Boon strode out agitated. His ranking as the greatest Tasmanian export had been chipped away by the spectacular career of Ricky Ponting. Today he seemed determined to remind everyone why it was his name the crowd seemed to find so easy to chant.

His first delivery was short of a length, and he slapped it away to the boundary. Much to his consternation it pulled up short of the boundary and Langer pushed him to run three. His breath was short and ragged at the non strikers end. He'd never been nimble across the 22 yards and years out of the game unsurprisingly had not improved the matter. Boon all of a sudden felt tired.

Langer hooked a no ball, FOUR! The next delivery drift towards his pads and he flicked it for three runs. Boon took the strike. The delivery came in fast, Boon leaned forward into a cover drive FOUR! Langer and Boon punched fists in the middle of the pitch.

The umpires weren't tracking overs or ends all that accurately as Pattinson, ran in, stopped, propped and leg spun a ball towards Boon. Boon slapped at it, Ponting fumbled in the field, Langer called the single, Ponting gathered again, Boon sent Langer back and tried to recover the crease, the throw was too straight, too good RUN OUT! Ponting tipped his baggy green to Boon. Boon gave a wry smile, Ponting was good.

Darren Lehman sidled into the middle. A South Australian at the G didn't phase the crowd because they knew he had bled green and gold. He took guard and as the ball came swinging in he leaned back and hooked it for FOUR! A powerful stroke, clean out of the middle of the bat.

Lyon skipped past the umpire, spun the ball, it drift, Lehman slashed at it, inside edge, off his pad and onto the stumps BOWLED! Lyon was ecstatic. He wasn't known for wicket, or even really known. Lehman was nonplussed.

As Border took guard he realised that the team was bleeding wickets somewhat. This was the role he relished, shoring up the spine of the Australian middle order. The first delivery swung in, he hit a cover drive, two runs, good sensible batting. Next delivery he edged it, no ball, one run past third slip. Langer finally on strike again also dabbed at a delivery for a single, rotating the strike.

The next ball was too fast for Borders old eyes. He heard the wickets spread like room temperature butter before he even saw the ball leave the bowlers hand. BOWLED! Border out for three.

Gilchrist jogged out to the wicket. Go hard or go home. Yorker, BOWLED! A golden fowl.

Bevan, the closer, Mr Finish, he knew how to see out an innings with the tail like no other. He wasn't a known hitter, more regarded for his ability to find gaps in any field. He found more gaps than a bank CEO did in the legal system. The first ball was short, of course it was he thought, he hooked hard, SIX! Tales of his weakness against the short stuff had been greatly exaggerated. Next ball was hit for two, he was quick between the wickets, it was never in doubt.

A quickly run three put Langer back on strike. Langer played nicely along the ground, two runs. Then a quick single. Bevan eyed the clouds. Short again, FOUR! Bevan had raced to fifteen. The next ball hit a slight crack, moved sharply of the seam, Bevan positioned to leave it then realising late that his off stump was in trouble, stumbled back to cut. To late, BOWLED!

Warnie! Waaaarrrnnniiie!! The chant was inspirational. Warne felt his off field woes wash away from him. This he understood. When he was playing cricket it all made sense. He was calm. He batted the way he loved to smacking a FOUR! into the fence. He then top edged, it fell safe, they ran three. Fortune favoured the brave. Langer, hoping to keep the innings together hit near the boundary for three also. Warnie went big again, edge, the keeper dropped it, they scurried for a single. The next delivery whistled down the pitch, it swung, Langer played away from his body, inside edge, BOWLED!

McGrath had elevated himself up the order. He had felt he was close to all rounder status towards the end of his career. The first delivery was a yorker, his middle stump fell like a bag of faeces, BOWLED!

Warne shaped to face the next over. He raised his right arm and pointed to over the onside fence. The bowler raced in, he danced, BOWLED! Warne saluted the crowd. He thanked himself that he was still Warnie.

Gillespie and in a strange selection Cummins, almost as though the team selector didn't want to spell Kasprowicz's surname, were left in the middle. Gillespie pulled rank, he had a test century to his name, this was his over.

The bowler steamed in, at the last minute rolling his fingers down the seam, a slower ball, Gillespie pushed at it early, it popped up, CAUGHT and BOWLED!

The innings was over. It had been entertaining stuff, but would it be enough? Nine extras in all. The fielding coach lamented allowing Mitchell Johnson in the change rooms before the game to pep talk the other bowlers. Still all out for 59, they were in with a chance, they just needed a good start.

Langer b 17
Hayden b 4
Boon run out 7
Lehmann b 4
Border b 3
Gilchrist† b 0
Bevan b 15
Warne b 8
McGrath b 0
Gillespie c&b 0
Cummins not out 0

Extras  (b 0, lb 0, w 0, nb 9)  9

Total 59

Warner, the new darling of Australian cricket walked out confidently. He had batted for his country at least twice before this game having been plucked from the obscurity of his backyard cricket team. Hughes looked tired. The last few months has he had been found out. After dominating the first class cricket scene as a young opener, he had been exposed on the big stage, and before walking out he had prayed to Shane Warne the he didn't go out caught in the slips.

Warner took strike, McGrath ran in, brushed the umpire with his right sleeve, had he got any closer he may have impregnated him, the ball was line and length and BOWLED! Ooh ah the crowd exclaimed.

Khawaja too looked nervous. This wasn't a new situation for him as playing first drop in this current team had meant he was effectively an opener, at least they had seen of one ball. He was confident in his technique, all of Australia was, it just wasn't clear whether he could make any runs.

McGrath stared at this lamb to the slaughter. For a brief moment he almost felt sorry for the young man about to face him. Almost. BOWLED! McGrath sent the youngster on his way with a bit of a spray. This was no place for children heckled Hayden from the slip cordon. Hayden was right. A child on the pitch would mean that a pitch invasion had occurred and the local security were not known for treating pitch invaders delicately. Unfortunately for Khawaja Hayden didn't mean his sledge as sensible advice for parents at the ground.

Ponting took a deep breath as he organised himself at the crease. This is it, this is it, this is could be my last game, the words flew through his mind. Ponting had had a better eye than almost any batsman that had played, and that along with his good technique and confidence had allowed him to forge a career that measured against the greats. But what if his eyes were failing him? Would he know?

McGrath looked at his old friend. He didn't see the man he had shared many a test match with. He saw a hat trick. Racing in, Ponting stepped back, the ball cannoned in the middle stump, it spun and landed near Gilly. Ponting mouthed to McGrath, I'm glad it was you, and he walked of the field eyes blurry, from tears not old age. McGrath sent him on his way, showed him the nearest path off the pitch. The umpired reminded McGrath they would need the middle stump back. He removed it from his pocket, along with both bails.

Clarke was never one for making runs in the first innings. This was not a situation he enjoyed. He much preferred to slash a classy 60 when the game was already won. This team refused to give him that luxury. The training wheels were off so to speak. Clarky glanced a single. Hughes finally had the strike. He cover drove a ball that was there to be cut, three runs. Hughes was off the mark. Bronx cheers from the crowd.

Clarke gritted his teeth as Gillespie ran at him, he tried to hook, the ball top edged, hit his helmet and Gillespie dove forward, CAUGHT and BOWLED! Oh captain my captain Hughes eyes pleaded with Clarkes back as he slunk off field.

Hussey came out, looked busy setting himself, BOWLED! Good night Mr Cricket. This was a rout.

When Tiddalik laughed, restoring water to the dry lands of Australia, Haddin hadn't blinked, nothing much flustered Haddin. He was who he was and nothing would change that, so Haddin didn't worry himself pretending to care. Old, irresponsible, silly. None of those words stuck to Haddin as he carved the ball beautifully to the boundary for FOUR! Uncomplicated. Strong. The next ball he and Hughes ran two. The third he flicked off his legs for SIX!

The odds were against them, the score still a ways off the target set them. Haddin didn't know odds. FOUR! SIX! Haddin raced to the top score of the day. The next delivery deceived him for pace, he skied it, CAUGHT and BOWLED!

Hughes was kicking himself for crossing. Thankfully he didn't need to kick himself long. BOWLED! Sweet mercy I wasn't caught in slip was all Hughes could think.

Siddle and Pattinson looked at the shamble of an innings the top order had created so far. No one expects us to win from here, he told Pattinson. Lets see if we can't disappoint them Pattinson smiled. Warne was given the ball, he was hungry and nothing satisfied him like tail, and of course Daryll Cullinan. The ball whizzed, drifted and nicked for a single. Siddle was off strike. Warne whizzed another ball in, top spinner, FOUR! Pattinson hadn't picked it by such a degree that he had timed it to perfection. The next delivery he wasn't so lucky, BOWLED!

Starc, barely a pimple on the history of Australian cricket, danced Warne, FOUR! The tail was wagging. That is how Warne liked them. Warne licked his lips, BOWLED! Border motioned to Warne that his over was completed. Warne laughed. Nobody put baby in the corner. He kept bowling.

Lyon was Australia's fortieth attempt at finding a spin bowler post Warne. He had a point to prove to himself. He swept a Warne drifter, three runs. As he got to the non-strikers end he shook his head, he had no idea where that ball had been going. Australia equally had no idea who Lyon was.

Siddle gritted his teeth, dabbed a single. Lyon played another sweep, three. Warne was insulted, ran to the other wicket and bowled at Lyon again before the umpire could stop him, Lyon closed his eyes SIX! The umpire grabbed Warne by is ear and took him back to his mark. Warne grinned impishly.

The next ball was a wrongen, Siddle swung wildly, SIX! They were within ten of the score now. Lyon and Siddle exchanged a nervous glance of hope. Warne saw it. He knew he had them.

The next ball was a bouncer, Siddle tried to duck out of the way of Warnes surprise delivery, it cannoned into his gloves Warne dived to his right, CAUGHT and BOWLED!

Warner b 0
Hughes b 0
Khawaja b 3
Ponting b 0
Clarke c&b 1
Hussey b 0
Haddin† c&b 22
Siddle c&b 8
Pattinson b 4
Starc b 4
Lyon not out 12

Extras  (b 0, lb 0, w 0, nb 1)  1

Total 50

It was over. The legends had beaten the upstarts, Boon was already on his 14th can before he got to Warne to celebrate. The crowd were in raptures. A little boy sitting near the fence cried a single solitary tear. Cricket was the winner today. Cricket was the winner.
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Doug Adams
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Amazing report, and I played in that match. Forget the Demon Spofforth, I have never seen bowling like that!
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Dave Daffin
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Entertaining review.
Also, the current Australia innings very close to real life! devil
Except for Haddin, who's out of form...

As you quite rightly state, cricket is always the winner.
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Hamish Sterling
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Incredible......I'm guessing you liked the game?
 
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Sime Mardesic
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Hi all, thanks for the feedback. I am regretting not selecting Cowan in my line up. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed his traditional test innings. I fear the game would not support his conservative play though.

In terms of this session report, I wasn't really passing judgment on the game. We played it over lunch and I wanted to see if the game was able to create a narrative. It did...kind of, some details had to be shoe horned in. It doesn't set out to perfectly replicate a full test obviously. I mean a one in six chance of being clean bowled, a one in six chance of bowling a no ball, maybe if you are Shaun Tait that is accurate but even then it would have to be a 20/20 game.

The way bowling is handled is perhaps where the biggest issue is, having a player dart in with a little spinner, the next ball it is a bouncer, the next ball is clean bowled killed the ability to assign players to each over.

Batting was a little more thematic. If the player was a slogger you used the slogging dice (two in six chance of going out I think), if not you played it along the ground with a one in six of being referred to the umpire. I am not convinced that the dice are properly weighted. Something felt up with them. Maybe I was just lamenting not seeing a single cut shot played in both innings. I like a good cut shot. Still you could say "Well Gilly wouldn't waste his time getting his eye in...SIX!"

For ten bucks, it is a light bit of fun. As the designer states "VERY LIGHT, LUCK BASE DICE ROLLING CRICKET SIM". You could take it to a wedding you didn't know enough people at and have some fun with a sibling or the bloke next to you who you are apparently destined to love because you both like "sports" and are boys.

I like the idea, I think the design could be improved a tad with very few extra dice by handling the bowling better, again just for that narrative component. One spinner, one pace would be enough. As it is, well your mileage will vary. I wouldn't expect my game group to request this game beyond a first exploratory play. If you love cricket and have mates that want a laugh while having a few brews then you should get some entertainment out of this game. As a kid I would have played it plenty alongside Test Match sessions. I'd love to see something like this handed out as the next VB promotion, that is where it would shine.

Glad some people enjoyed the write up. Slightly unrelated I am really looking forward to the Aussie teams development over the summer now that we appear to have realised that throwing young players to the sword isn't the only solution to replenishing the squad.
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Hamish Sterling
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Thanks for the reply.....I'm the creator btw.

You've summed up what the game is all about....not an accurate cricket sim game, but a light, fast action cricket game.

We purposely chose to have the mixed bowling variety dice (the original version only had 5 dice) as the game is replicating a game in fast forward. Certainly more of a T20 or One Day style game.

We have plans for expansions that will take us into the next few summers....one of which is the separation of bowling styles. A specialized spin / pace dice with line & length....along with a TEST MATCH edition.

Our vision is collectible dice so two people will have their own team of dice they bring to play. A bit like building a deck of dice. Fans in India will have their favourite bowling/batting dice, where someone like yourself would collect the Australian dice.

We are trying to build a brand with the base set and have it recognized as a filler/party game/drinks games..or at a wedding!

I've played hundreds of games...in the play testing phase with and observing people. The dice do vary, and I've seen plenty of cut shots and hat-tricks....I've also seen frustration when a bowling is crying for the CLEAN BOWLED but unable to roll one to win the match.

I'm happy that you enjoyed it. It can and will get better and continue to evolve. We have plans in place for that. As we are self published and still new to the industry, all feedback is happily accepted.

Have you seen the website and joined our members section? You can get you digital baggy green cap and player number! Cheers and I hope you can play it again a few more times!

Hamish
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Sime Mardesic
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Some of those future improvements sound right up my alley. The fuller game with more dice is something I could be suckered into buying without much effort.

I was a bit tongue in cheek regarding the cut shot, I know in the first innings it felt like every second delivery was a no ball, then the second innings we hardly saw them.

I'll be keeping an eye on this project, good luck with it, always good to see a small publishers out there having a go.
 
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Dave Daffin
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Hamigua wrote:
Thanks for the reply.....I'm the creator btw.

You've summed up what the game is all about....not an accurate cricket sim game, but a light, fast action cricket game.

We purposely chose to have the mixed bowling variety dice (the original version only had 5 dice) as the game is replicating a game in fast forward. Certainly more of a T20 or One Day style game.

We have plans for expansions that will take us into the next few summers....one of which is the separation of bowling styles. A specialized spin / pace dice with line & length....along with a TEST MATCH edition.

Our vision is collectible dice so two people will have their own team of dice they bring to play. A bit like building a deck of dice. Fans in India will have their favourite bowling/batting dice, where someone like yourself would collect the Australian dice.

We are trying to build a brand with the base set and have it recognized as a filler/party game/drinks games..or at a wedding!

I've played hundreds of games...in the play testing phase with and observing people. The dice do vary, and I've seen plenty of cut shots and hat-tricks....I've also seen frustration when a bowling is crying for the CLEAN BOWLED but unable to roll one to win the match.

I'm happy that you enjoyed it. It can and will get better and continue to evolve. We have plans in place for that. As we are self published and still new to the industry, all feedback is happily accepted.

Have you seen the website and joined our members section? You can get you digital baggy green cap and player number! Cheers and I hope you can play it again a few more times!

Hamish
Pocket Cricketer


As a cricket fan, I am interested in any cricket game (although preferably one that produces 'realistic' scores). The test match version sounds interesting. Will the games be available in the UK? Also, have you considered dice beyond the regular D6? Using D8, D10, D12, D20 would give you far more opportunity for variety and varying the chances for certain events.

Cheers,
Dave
(Bosbury, Worcesteshire and England fan) whistle
 
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Hamish Sterling
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Dave....we would love to have distributors in the UK. For now though, you can buy through our website.

We're sending a bunch off to the Barmy Army headquarters for them to have a play about with. Hopefully we might be able to co-operate somehow with them.

Regarding other dice options, we're more then open to challenge the boundaries of how the game can be tweaked. At this stage though, it's almost like getting the base set out for recognition, then bringing new elements in as the game advances.

I'd love to see a whole variety of dice, being an indie game costs vs units made determine such decisions.

You should grab yourself a set online......I had spoken to Darren Edwards who is a BGG member and has a replay cricket site about selling through his website in the UK.....I'll follow up again.


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Shane Dallas
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I came across this game at the first day of the Australia vs South Africa Test Match in Brisbane and brought it home to play. Agree it is a fun and light game and easily playable without concentrating too much.

I concur with the earlier opinion on the bowling dice - a 1 in 6 chance of a No Ball or being Bowled is too much for me, so I'm tweaking it a bit. I'm thinking of the only time one can be Clean Bowled is to roll the white dice after obtaining the Clean Bowled result and if the decision comes back as LBW, then it was obviously on the stumps (similar to the Run Out rule). Clean Bowled is the only wicket taking decision not relying on the roll of two dice, so this addresses that situation.

For the No-Ball, I'd take the White Dice again, and if one rolls a Run Out then the No-Ball stands, thus confirming one is on the wrong side of the crease.

If I had the choice of an extra dice, it would be to split the bowlers dice into two - one for pace, and the other for spin - one being more conservative and the other more aggressive (similar to the batting dice).
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Hamish Sterling
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A good suggestion Shane. We'll be looking at a Test Match version and the two bowling dice has always been on the drawing board.

Thanks again for the feedback. I love hearing people's comments about how the game can be improved.
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First of all, this is an outstanding session report! Well done Sime - you've done a fantastic job of capturing the flavour and fun that Pocket Cricket can be!

simem wrote:
I am not convinced that the dice are properly weighted. Something felt up with them.

I wondered the same. The different dice didn't seem to be exactly identical in size or shape, and also the corners didn't seem symmetrical. I do wonder what impact this has on the outcomes, and certainly in our games some results do appear to come up with greater frequency than others. Fortunately it didn't take away from the fun though.

simem wrote:
I like the idea, I think the design could be improved a tad with very few extra dice by handling the bowling better, again just for that narrative component.

Ditto. You and others in this thread have come up with some good suggestions. I think that even with some house rules the game can be improved slightly.

But even despite some minor blemishes, I think that Pocket Cricket does a good job of capturing the tension and narrative of the real thing, and your session report is an excellent example of the kind of story that the game can create. I've just posted a lengthy review of the game here.
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