Jump to content
Blue Purple Red Orange Gold Green Teal Chocolate Charcoal
Blue Purple Red Orange Gold Green Teal Chocolate Charcoal
tinpanalley

Dice-based games and their PC counterparts

Recommended Posts

While I'm not as young as most video gamers today, I am completely unaware of this type of game and I'm also completely shocked because with my limited knowledge, I was convinced that OOTP was the quintessential simulation 'replay of a season' type game. And so I couldn't understand why you needed to do so much franchise managing which I really can't stand. I play simulation/action baseball games (MVP, High Heat, 2K) and only do single seasons with every single managerial function turned off. I want a mathematical reproduction of a season game by game. I would have thought that outside of OOTP, no text based sim could do that and for some reason in my head thinking of Strat and others as "dice-based", I figured it must involve very detailed stat-keeping, sure, and accurate rosters, but with rolls of the dice randomly selecting outcomes of players rather than in any way being statistically accurate. I'm doing some reading and finding that Strat-o-matic and others like it and, in fact, not OOTP are more stats-rich, if you will.
Is it possible for someone to explain to me how a game like Stratomatic works, then? Just to get an idea of how a few at bats work? In the text based/dice based world, I'm much more interested in something that is what people call "season replays without progression" because that's how I play all my sports video games anyway.

Thanks, guys.

Edited by tinpanalley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the days before computers and satellite television my friends and I would play a dice-based baseball for years and it was called Sports Illustrated Superstar Baseball. A company called Avalon Hill made it and it still can be found on eBay.

 

We never played Strat-o-matic because we were so consumed with this game. We kept our own stats, traded reluctantly with the other team owners and played full seasons. One guy even made a schedule and just altered it a little before each season. It was involving and demanding and I can recall laying in bed at night thinking of who I am going to play against Walter Johnson or Bob Feller.

 

Check it out here.

 

Sports Illustrated/Superstar Baseball

 

In 1971 David S Neft authored Sports Illustrated Baseball for Time, Inc. SIBB included player ratings for the 1970 MLB season on colorful charts. The format of those charts changed from tri-fold to letter size with one team on each double-sidedSports Illustrated Baseball Game page through the 1972 season.

 

sibb.jpg

 

SIBB used three special d6 that yielded a 2-digit result from 10-39. Dice were first rolled for the pitcher’s chart. If there was a red box with an F for fly-ball or G for groundball, the play ended there with runner advancement looked up on charts that were on the game board. Strikeouts were in blue. If no result was found (a green blank space) on the chart for the pitcher, it was on to a second roll for the batter. For each batter, hits were in green, outs in red, strikeouts in blue and walks in yellow. Results (like HR, 1, 2, 3, BB, K, F, G, DP) were in the squares.

 

SIBB was the first table-top baseball game to utilize batters being rated separately for their ability against right-handed and left-handed pitchers. There was no such distinction for pitchers ratings other than whether they were righties or lefties. Pitchers could exert control only by denying the hitter the chance to connect. All pitchers had a green square with a ‘D’ (for defense) on result #’s 10-15.

 

All fielders received a fielding rating. The sum of the ratings for the team in the field were added together to produce “automatic out” result numbers that corresponded to the 10-15 chart results. An “automatic out” registered as a ground-out. If not, then on to the batter and a new die roll.

 

In 1973, the format of SIBB changed when the game rated each MLB franchise for their All-Time All-Stars (ATAS). The ATAS set on individual cards proved to be popular and was picked up by Avalon Hill as Superstar Baseball when Time, Inc. sold their sports games. AH reduced the number of All-Stars to 96, 48 each for the American and National Leagues. The AH Superstar Baseball game was effectively ended in the mid-80’s when MLBPA demanded royalty payments for using player names.

 

Used copies of SIBB and SuperStar Baseball are still selling for a premium on eBay. Fans started creating their own charts and/or cards, the two most notable being Randy Cox’s Ultimate All-Time All Star color charts (UATAS) that were used at the World Boardgame Championships and Phil Graham’s Superstar Baseball ATAS card set that was updated for careers through 2006. In Phil’s set (look up PAG and Superstar Baseball on eBay for his listings), the die numbers appear on the card making the need for a game-board superfluous.

 

SIBB/Superstar Baseball is a low complexity beginner game that shines for tournament play, as in determining which MLB franchise had the ‘best’ team. The game as originally published is flawed in many ways but is fun to play.

 

A devoted fan, Richard Dombrovski, programmed a computer version of SIBB called Dombrov Baseball. Dombrov utilized many of Randy Cox’s improvements from UATAS (better controls on walks and strikeouts, HRs allowed by pitchers, ballpark charts, pitcher endurance, error location). Dombrov Baseball is now a free download at http://www.dombrov.com/index.html and includes many seasons as well as ATAS sets.

 

sibaseball.jpg

 

Important: If someone buys this game now the box won't look like this. This is the way the game looked when it first came out.

 

The text that I have highlighted in bold is a website that still exists. This guy actually made a computer version of SI Baseball. I don't own it yet but there are more players and seasons for it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, thanks so much for the thorough breakdown. I really appreciate it. Probably wouldn't have know about the games you've mentioned without you explaining about them.
I have OOTP19, I wonder if it can ever be stripped down completely to the point that it becomes like an Action PC or Strat. I have a feeling it really wants to create a "fantasy" experience over a purely stats one. But I'm not sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have OOTP but I am waiting for the new Dombrov. If it is based on Superstar like they said and is good enough then I am going to try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Dad and I have a completely probability based game we've played for years, using 2 dice, baseball cards and a field. Because it's not based on stats, it makes for some strange occurrences and matchups, but has allowed us to write our own history. Negro leaguers, college teams, guys with a cup of coffee, even ourselves have made appearances in our game. Each game takes about 30 minutes, and we've managed to play at least one World Series every year since 1997. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, bctrackboi11 said:

My Dad and I have a completely probability based game we've played for years, using 2 dice, baseball cards and a field. Because it's not based on stats, it makes for some strange occurrences and matchups, but has allowed us to write our own history. Negro leaguers, college teams, guys with a cup of coffee, even ourselves have made appearances in our game. Each game takes about 30 minutes, and we've managed to play at least one World Series every year since 1997. 

That's very cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tinpanalley said:

That's very cool.


Indeed.

Care to give us an explanation of how it works? Not that I have anybody to play with, but this thread made me curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a set of rules, first drawn up when my Dad was 8 years old. You've got two teams of up to 40 men each. Each roll of the dice means something different, but they aren't added together. Every roll with a 2 in it is a hit. So a 2 and a 4 for instance, is a home run. Everything else is a variation of outs. Certain outs have extra rolls so we can determine double plays and such. This is where it gets interesting.

 

A 1-1 is a "special occurrence" roll requiring a few extra rolls. This is where your errors, balks, wild pitches, etc. happen, but most importantly, your hit by pitches. Any combination of 3 hit by pitches leads to a "fight" and the ejection of both pitcher and hitter.

 

You wouldn't think pitching matters, but like in Vegas, a player on a roll can fall into a rhythm and rally a few hits in a row. The ONLY way to slow it down is  for the pitching team to make a pitching change, requiring a 1-2 minute break in the action as we mark it down. 

 

There are only two stat based rules in our game, one is speed related. Baserunners have a speed rating that makes it easier or harder to steal a base. The other is pitchers. They go by a second subset of hitting rules that makes it harder to get on base.

 

It can be played with 2 players, or 1, but it's more fun with 2 because there is a lot more strategy and different managerial styles coming in to play. My Dad likes to bunt and steal, I like to slug away and keep a roster stacked with relievers.

 

As for our history, we've got a whole suspension of belief thing going on, like any other game. Hank Aaron and Willie Mays? Historically awful. Satchel Paige? Near unhittable. My greatest moment as a manager? When St. Louis Browns midget pinch hitter Eddie Gaedel hit a walk off home run off of Roger Clemens, pitching for my Dad's Biloxi Blues. Yeah it's nerdy and a little cheesy, but that's what makes it fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not nerdy and cheesy in the least. That required a lot of imagination to begin with. I can imagine all the fun you and your dad have had through the years. Keep it going for as long as you can. Can't put into words how much I miss my dad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. There is nothing wrong with that. Sounds like a great game. And more importantly, a great tradition and memory.

The thing that has struck me the most since I've spent the past few weeks researching and trying to understand these card and dice games that had their prime before I became aware of them, is the element of it connecting people to each other. The same can't always be said of video games. And the deeper I dig into the stats and math of these games (because, well, my brain is wired that way and I like to learn WHY things work not just HOW), the more stories come up about variations to the games or house rules shared by siblings, lots of fathers and sons, and longtime friends. It reminds me of the kinds of rules we make here in Canada for our street or driveway hockey tournaments when we're kids or the rules surrounding a button football game I used to play on a table with buttons as players, nets, and a tiny football. These games force us, like board games, to interact. And to my mind, it seems the more video games try to do that, the worse they are and I think it's because the engine of the game, engineered to work in a human vs cpu environment falls apart a little when you add too many people. So, I thought, how is it that I had so much fun playing sports video games with my brother and a close friend that is like a cousin? And I remembered that it was because we shared the controller on one team. One inning you, one inning me, one half period you, one half period me, maybe one of us was better in the clutch with runners in scoring position so he'd take over, maybe somebody else was better as saving penalties, so he'd take over. But there's an interesting story in there somewhere, perhaps because I'm a writer, about the search for logic and mathematical accuracy leading me unwittingly down a path of personal stories and memories that often rise above the thing that created them.

Edited by tinpanalley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...