The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Rick's Rec Room

June 17, 2011

MVP Baseball among elite simulations

Makes season replays possible, enjoyable

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.”

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