Happy Tuesday! And welcome to a very late edition of Tabletop Sports
I have a good explanation for the tardiness of this mailing. I'm currently
in the process of purchasing a home in southern Indiana, and it kept me away
over the weekend and yesterday. We were looking at homes two weeks ago,
when my car decided to break down, and now, I think we have found the right
place. Getting all of the details ironed out though is killer.
On the tabletop front, I haven't really been able to do much of anything.
When you couple my normal activities with my job keeping me away now for
three days, my time for gaming has been cut substantially. But, like
everything, it will die down soon. Most of the layoffs at work are now
finished, and our new product line is in the testing phases, so that part of
my life should ease up.
I did acquire some neat things this past week though, and I have looked them
over. Ric Spry was kind enough to send me Good Ole' Boys racing. It's a
pretty neat concept for a racing game. But, where I think the game falls
down is in the final segment, which is a lap by lap affair. This game would
have been pure enjoyment for me a few years ago. But, now that I've played
the *free* NASCAR Grandstand, Good Ole' Boys just pales in comparison.
Dave Arlington, (my buddy, that I often leave hanging due to my schedule)
sent me a fantastic package loaded with Hoopmania. While I haven't played
the game yet, it does look very interesting. There appears to be 3
different versions of the game. The later version with the individual cards
looks the most promising to me. Although, the college game, with team cards
looks like it could be a lot of fun too.
Wayne Poniwaz also contributed to my Christmas in May by passing along Big
League Manager Basketball, and a completely different version of Hoopmania.
BLM basketball looks to be a bear to play. But, the Hoopmania he sent also
looks to be pretty fun.
Finally, I purchased PTG Basketball and Negamco Baseball from Dave Parsons.
Again, I haven't been able to play either game. But, both were curiosities
of mine, and I had always wanted to know what they were all about. After
reading the rules, I'm now wondering why...LOL. I'm not sure I'll ever
understand PTG basketball and its 3 line rulebook. And Negamco baseball
sure seems like a lot of work when compared to other baseball games. I
think I'll give it a shot though, as it does have an interesting rule book.
After getting these 2 games in particular though, and already owning BLM
Baseball, Negamco Basketball, and Pennant Drive, I have to wonder why Big
League Games was so popular. Granted, All Sports Digest was a fantastic
publication. And granted, their ad copy was second to none in my book.
However, seems to me that almost all of their games are pretty weak when
compared to ANY other company. I know that price is surely a factor.
However, I don't really understand that argument either. Negamco Baseball
sold for 11.95 when I was a kid. If you lived anywhere near a Kaybee toys
you could buy Strat-o-matic for $9.95 for the scaled down set and $19.95 for
the full game. Granted, the full game was usually a year or two behind the
current season. But the price difference wasn't that much different. I
just don't understand the popularity of the Negamco and BLM lines, I guess.
Ah, I did get to play a tabletop game this week. But, it was certainly by
accident. While I was taking my travel bag into the hotel, I spotted an
impulse purchase of some time ago in my trunk. I had picked up APBA
Football's Pro Bowl game at a gameshop someplace, and had never taken the
thing out of the trunk. Well, when I spotted it, I decided that now was as
good of a time as any to play with it. Besides, there isn't much else to do
in Omaha Nebraska! ;) (Sorry, for anyone that lives there.).
I must admit that I'm really surprised and happy with the game. I know that
it's on the basic side for true, hardcore, football game players. But, for
me, it's great! I played a couple of real barn-burners with Warner and
Manning dueling in an air assault shootout. The Pro Bowl version has
certainly made me want the full version of the game. I can't believe that I
had never tried APBA football before. For me, it's an ideal fit.
That's all for me this week. We'll try to do this again next MONDAY! ;)
>From David Yamada:
I hope it's not too late to submit a "First Game(s)" story!
I was a little behind my friends in discovering sports and tabletop sports
games, but after seeing how much fun they were having with the RGI line of
games, I decided that I, too, wanted to get into sports gaming. So I
combed the pages of Street & Smith's baseball annual and found a tiny
display ad for "Willie Mays Baseball Game," less than $2 if I remember
correctly. I sent away for it. After an interminably long wait, it
arrived, and lo and behold, it turned out to be a sort of ripped-off
version of "Gil Hodges Pennant Fever," but about 1/4 as fun to play.
Realizing I made a mistake, I went back to the S&S ads, collected info on
a bunch of games, and struggled with those decisions that bedeviled all of
us on a limited allowance budget. I, too, read over that glorious APBA
brochure over and again. But ultimately I plunked down my money on a
little known game that promised to provide the formula for rating your own
players, Extra Innings. I would prove to be a faithful EI customer
through its years of affiliation with the Camecraft Company.
Soon after that, the floodgates opened. Lawn mowing job money was used
for table sports games. I bought most of the Negamco games and had a
small Negamco baseball league with one of my friends. I enjoyed RGI's
Vince Lombardi's Game. I thought that BLM pro football would be the
ultimate gaming experience, but after wrestling with it I gave up.
Strangely, I for the most part stayed away from the biggies like APBA and
SOM -- I was into "alternative" stuff even as a kid!
>From Kent Rodway:
Great topic from last week. Since nobody brought it up in the previous
posts, my first strategy baseball game was "Charlie Brown's All-Stars," for
my 8th Christmas in 1974. The mechanism of the game was that the pitcher
would secretly select a "ball" or "strike" and then the batter would respond
with "swing" or "hold up". Balls, strikes and hit ball were the 3 possible
results, with a hit ball referring to charts. I don't know how in-depth the
accuracy of the game was (probably not much) but the mind games that ensued
in this brand of gaming theory are still greatly remembered. I enjoyed many
games against my uncle and many friends. The best moments occurred when you
would strike out the side on 9 pitches by psyching out your increasingly
This then led me to playing practically every basketball and baseball game
that was available.
>From Dave Heim:
RE: Worst Sports Game
I suppose the easy answer to this question would be APBA Basketball, but
that's too easy, and I actually had some fun looking at the cards for that
game, and a few enjoyable experiences with the short game so I won't go that
My choice would be the Avalon Hill/SI Tennis game that came out around 1983.
It wasn't much fun, and there didn't seem to be much of an attempt made to
accurately reflect the players. Each player seemed to have the same
abilities charging the net, etc.. As I later learned the cards were graded
I think I played a few sets and then hung it up. I imagine it found the
trash heap somewhere, but I can't even remember when I chucked it.
>From Glen Hirshberg:
First of all, thanks for doing this. I'm completely enjoying reading through
the old SGDs, taking advantage of the downloads, watching the forums, etc.
I've been playing tabletop sports games with varying degrees of commitment,
either on my own or--when I can find good partners--with others all my life,
and your newsletters have really rekindled my enthusiasm.
I had something I thought might be useful or interesting to talk about in
newsletter (or not--use all or part in whatever way you see fit). And please
forgive me if I'm sending this to the wrong place. I'm not completely clear
about where I'm supposed to send email for general consumption.
Arguably the thing I love most about sports gaming--and very probably the
reason I often love the games more than the actual sports--is the creativity
they inspire in people. I love the various solitaire systems, the rule
tweaking, the league-creating, the team renaming, all the ways people have
connect dice and charts and scraps of paper to real and imaginary people and
longed-for or invented places.
So. I would love to read some posts about homegrown systems other gamers
developed to play "out-of-town" games during league campaigns (that is, if
what you really want to do is play the 1984 Detroit Tigers season on Strat,
what is your preferred method for quick-playing the remaining games?). I
that a few board games (Replay Baseball comes immediately to mind, and
Lambourne's new quick-result game that can work as a sort of companion to
Time) and many of the computer games now have built-in techniques for this,
and Pat Premo's very clever quick-result games can also be a big help. But I
also know many people (including me) have generated their own systems, and
love to hear about them, no matter what the sport.
I'd be delighted to share if you (and/or anyone else) is interested in
chatting about this. I have a passable college football system that has
quite a bit of pleasure (for me, anyway) to playing out my beloved Buckeye
seasons on various games, for example.
But questions arise when one does this, some unique to the individual sport,
some not. For example, in baseball, getting a score from out of town is one
thing. But does each new team that comes up on the schedule to play your
start a series at full strength? How to account for how many innings any
reliever may have pitched in previous games? Do players get hurt only in
played out manually?
This e-mail is absurdly long already, and it's late, and my little son and
daughter are still refusing to go to sleep (although everyone reading this
probably nodding comfortably off by now), so I'll pause.
Is it even clear what I'm blathering about? Hope so. Let me know what you
And again--thanks, Jeff. I really look forward to each Monday's new edition.
(END of TSW)