Sunday, January 13, 2013

Strat-O-Matic Baseball Board Game Review

I've been a baseball fan all my life but after the strike in 1994 I started to lose interest and combine that with life pulling me this way and that way baseball moved to the back burner in my life. This fall I happened to turn on the World Series and that was all it took for the game to pull me back in.

After my back surgery this summer I was able to play a bit of baseball including the day after hurricane Sandy hit but it started to get to cold to play so turned to video games and while I enjoyed that I wanted a different experience than just mashing buttons. Then I remembered a game my dad played when I was a kid called Strat-O-Matic. My dad always said I was too young to play and by the time I was old enough he wasn't playing anymore and I forgot about the game.

I read a couple of reviews online and it sounded pretty good so I placed an order. The game was shipped out very fast and arrived way quicker than I thought it would so I was very happy about that. I ordered the Hall Of Fame set which contains the rules, game tokens, dice, game board and all the current players that have been elected into the Hall Of Fame (it looks like they won't have to add any new player until next year).

The game is very easy to play but you can add rules to make a more in depth game. You pick two teams to play and set the lineups. Each player's card has a chart on it. The hitter's card has three rows on it labeled 1, 2 and 3 and the pitcher's card has three rows on it labeled 4, 5 and 6. For each at bat you roll three dice, one red die and two white dice. The red die tells you what card to use, a roll of 1, 2 or 3 and you use the hitter's card and a roll of 4, 5 or 6 you use the pitcher's card. You add the two white dice and consult the chart on the card to find the results of that at bat, With the basic rules each card has one set of numbers. In the advanced rules each card has a left side and a right side. I play the advanced rules so I will explain how to use the cards using the left and right sides.

Here is a picture I took of Babe Ruth hitting against Walter Johnson. Say I rolled a red 1 and a white 2 and another white 2. The red die is a 1, 2 or a 3 so you go to Babe Ruth's card, Walter Johnson is a right handed pitcher so you go to the 1 column on the right side, then you add the two with dice together (2+2=4) and see that 4 is a home run.

If I rolled a red 4 and a white 5 and a white 5 you go to Walter Johnson's card, left side because Babe Ruth is a left handed batter and add the two white dice together (5+5=10) so you see that would be a strikeout. The game play is very simple but I have a lot of fun playing.

The rulebook explains how do anything that can happen in real life like hit and runs, stealing bases, tagging up on a fly. Most of the rules that are used the most are listed on charts that come with the game and it makes it much easier than flipping through the rulebook although the rulebook only has 18 pages of rules. After reading them through once I had to check a rule once or twice but now I do not even need the rulebook.

I can play a complete game in about a half hour using the advanced rules. You can play the game against a friend or by yourself which is great for me since it can be hard to get in a game with someone. I've been able to play about 10 games against a human and around 50 by myself.

I play using the cards and dice but there is also a very available to play on your computer. I like sitting down with the cards to play but I have to admit that playing on the computer would make some aspects of the game a lot easier. First off the computer will keep track of all the stats for you which is great. Also if you are playing one team through a season the computer can simulate all the games that do not involve your team. When the 2012 season comes out next month I plan to get the cards and the PC version and I'll do a review of it when I get it.


I think that you enjoy baseball and board games you will enjoy this game. If you've never played a game like this but enjoy baseball and have an open mind I think you may like it. The game probably wouldn't be much fun if you do not know the rules of baseball. Strat also makes games based on American football, basketball and hockey if you like those sports more than baseball. I haven't played those but if their half as good as the baseball version then they are probably good games. Strat also has a computer version of the game that keeps detailed stats of each game you play as well as eliminate a lot of the work while playing the game. I like checking charts and what not but if it's not your thing and are interested you can read my review of that version here. I give this game a 10 out of 10!

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