It isn’t difficult to create a tabletop baseball game. That’s why there’s so many of them available.
Baseball offers a myriad of statistics that can be used to formulate a game that recreates the sport. But baseball, more than any other sport, represents a marathon of games in a season, roughly twice what any other sport plays.
That makes creating a game that plays quickly enough to encourage gamers to make season replays possible is much more difficult while doing more than just providing scores.
The best combination of feel for the game, speed of play and individual stats is easily MVP Baseball, created by Matt Crawford. It is affordable and offers every Major League season. Each game one or two players from each team have their stats tracked for at bats, hits, home runs and runs batted in. Each starting pitcher can be tracked for innings pitched, earned runs and strikeouts.
“I'd say there were two different things, which were hard for different reasons,” said Crawford of the challenge in creating the game. “The first is that I wanted a quick-play game that would be more fun to roll the dice than to make a spreadsheet to play the game for you. I had the brainstorm of using a system where you roll dice for scoring runs, and if you score a run, you get to keep rolling. That seemed more interesting than rolling some dice and checking a chart to see how many runs the team scored, and would be much harder to make a spreadsheet for it. The other hard part was getting the pitching ratings right. That part was more computationally hard -- I had to come up with a reasonable way to include the team's bullpen into the starting pitcher's ratings, to keep the overall structure of the game simple. Working out the formulas was difficult.”
But the result was worth the work as fans who have purchased the game can attest.
“ Fan reaction has been much better than I ever thought it would be. I had no intention of distributing the game at all in the beginning, until some people on the Delphi Forums suggested it would be marketable.”
It was the fans who motivated him to add the pitchers. They weren't available when the game was first released. “Honestly it was because so many people asked for it. I would not have had the motivation to do it myself. I knew it would be cool to have a game that provided "Triple Crown" stats for pitchers as well as hitters.”
Some people use the game as a supplement to another baseball simulation. They play one team’s games in a batter-by-batter format and use MVP for the other games. But some use MVP by itself.
“Originally I had conceived the game as being primarily used in conjunction with another full play-by-play game,” said Crawford.”But it turned out that most people ended up playing the game by itself, running quick single-team replays. I'm glad for that, because it meant the game ended up being fun by itself, as a quick way to play out a season for a change-of-pace from a regular full game.”
A single game with player stats can be played in five minutes, which means for the investment of not much more than a hour each day, a gamer could replay an entire season in both leagues. That’s quite an accomplishment. Hopefully this will be a game that will be available for a long time and will continue to be updated each year with the recently completed season.
For more information go to the game’s website at: http://sixpoints.slosoft.com/pages/mvp-baseball. A complete game with all of the game charts and one season can be purchased for $13. Additional seasons are just $4 apiece and even lower when purchased in groups. The game and seasons are sent in PDF form to be printed out by the gamer.