Most baseball tabletop games on the market are tied to recreating players, teams and seasons from the past. They try to replicate the real-life abilities of those players and bring them to life for the gamer.
Xtra Innings takes a different strategy by focusing on just that, the strategy of the sport of baseball in a one-on-one format within the context of a card game.
As a teaching tool, Xtra Innings is phenomenal. It will teach youngsters and adults alike not just the strategies of the game but the terminology as well. Gamers will have increased enjoyment from watching the sport unfold as a spectator after playing the game only a few times.
As an instrument of gaming for baseball fans who already know the game, it is a challenging exercise of both tactics and patience. Since Xtra Innings is a pitch-by-pitch simulation, it can often, especially for the new player, last nearly as long as a real game. My first contest was six innings and took just over 90 minutes.
The game is really about guessing what pitch is coming and picking the correct card to make contact with that pitch. Each player has two hands of cards. One is all about the pitcher making pitches and the hitter taking swings. The other cards are about getting a hit when contact was made (for the batter) and the defense trying to take a hit away and convert it into an out.
It is around that confrontation that Xtra Innings is based. Just about every card that can be played by either side has a counter the other side will have in their deck, but will they have it in their hand? Each team has an identical deck of cards so the game is about having the right cards in hand at the proper time and minimizing the damage when you don’t.