GGIAS’ Totally Random Review of the Week: The Old Ball Game
Gamer Guy (In a Suit) here starting up a NEW series on the ol site where I do some totally random reviews. They may be games, books, video games, just whatever I happen to stumble across that particular week. As some of you know, I am an avid gaming fan in general, not just video games. So I thought a great place to start a series like this would be a blend between my love for tabletop gaming, baseball AND Indie projects! Come see what awesome little gem I happened to find:
Yes!! A tabletop baseball game for two! It is one that is actually pretty easily accessible for a newcomers to baseball and/or any type of tabletop gaming. The rules are actually fairly simple, while being able to maintain both a pacing I like for a baseball game (longer) and a great sense of strategy overall. This isn’t just some random card flips or dice rolls to move things along, there is thought you must put into each and every situation…just like real baseball!
A few key parts I really enjoyed: The pitching mechanics in this game are really a lot of fun.There are great elements built into the gameplay that mirror real life pitching. For example, as your pitcher gets deeper into a game, they eventually “lose” a pitch. Taking a pitch out of their “repertoire” by eliminating it as a choice for the pitcher, as if the pitch itself has simply gone “flat” due to fatigue. Another great aspect of this in play is the overall matchup, where the batter knows what the pitcher throws…just not when and where! Over the course of the At-Bat, these choice are slowly eliminated by the hitter being selective and having a good “eye” and knowing their pitcher. In-game scouting of your opponent, like a game of poker. This is something that makes each and every At-Bat a ton of fun to play out.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the pacing of the game overall. A good baseball game simply cannot be decided in a 10-15 minute session. Arguably the best table-top simulation of baseball from previous generations is Strat-O-Matic, in part because it truly captures the strategy that goes into every single play. This takes a longer time to play out then most games, but for a very good reason. It is almost like a wargame in that sense, too short means it really was not in-depth enough to get the feel of really playing the game. The Old Ball Game really captures the essence of a well thought out game by having this depth. By making each pitch and each At-Bat so full of thought and decision, you don’t even realize how much time has flown by over the course of a game at all. You really get the feel of being able to experience a full game, which is really incredible to me. At the same time, were you limited for time, you are in no way required to play out a full 9-inning game. The game is designed in a way that even just playing 3-4 innings can be incredibly fun and intense for those who can’t really set aside a couple of hours for a tabletop game.
The only thing missing from the game, in my opinion, is the individuality of different batters/pitchers, etc throughout the course of the game. The players are merely representation of your coaching style and strategy (and ability to count cards at times). There aren’t any actual statistical values or differences, the game relies a lot more on overall planning, strategy and execution. Maybe a touch of luck. Just like the real game of baseball.
Overall, I would highly recommend checking this game out. They have a Kickstarter that is nearing it’s end and is driving for that stretch goal (which looks AWESOME!). It is definitely one that is accessible, easy to pick up and play with a friend (no hardcore baseball knowledge needed) and a lot of good fun.
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