Pros: Very in-depth and realistic game play and tons of players,
Cons: None that I can think of.
Strat-O-Matic is a board game company that has been around since 1961. They revolve around sports games (which of course are why I know them so well) and I have been playing their games since before I was a teenager. They make board games from baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and more. Of course, as the years advanced, so did they and now make computer versions of their board games. You can still purchase season after season for both the board game and computer versions. What has kept them around for so many years is their unbelievable realism for just being a board game. The thought that has gone into these games is very impressive and the sheer amount of things you can do while playing the game, that represent what you see while watching the sport on TV, is quite impressive. I am also a huge stat freak and I won’t play sport games, whether board or consol games, that don’t keep realistic stats. It is rather amazing how this game in pretty damn good at keeping realistic stats for all of the different players even though it’s just a board game. Another intriguing factor about these games is the speed in which you can play a game. I can't even begin to count how many seasons I have played with my brother or even a lone when I was younger, because you can play these games so fast and keep your own stats. I have actually played in leagues where a group of players got together once a week and played games against each other. There are a lot of leagues, even today, that you can look up on line.
This review is for the 2007 version of the board game. This year the Boston Redsox won the World Series and the incredible Colorado Rockies winning 21 out of their last 22 games to make the playoffs. Any players on a team’s roster, whether they were part time players or full time, are in this game (27 players per team). There are a total of 837 player cards and 189 additional players available. Some of the highlighted players of that year are; Alber Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki, Tim Lincecum rookie year, Alex Gonzalez break out season, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, David Wright 30-30 season, C.C. Sabathia, John Lackey, Brad Penny, and many others. The game comes with playing cards that represent each and every player. The game also comes with quite a lot of parts and charts for the more advanced versions. For example, there fielding charts, strategy charts, even charts that represent the different ballparks around the league that comes into play at times. There are basic and advanced versions to these charts depending on how you want to play. You can purchase an endless amount of seasons, old-timers teams, and even some all-star sets if you wish as well. Still, this is for 2007 season that I am reviewing.
How You Play:
When you first sit down to play it may look a little overwhelming but, it really isn’t. I will explain the basic version here in this paragraph. Once you pick your team, each player on that roster has a player card. You set your lineup in the order you want, position your players where you want them to play, and you’re ready. The game comes with a lot of scoring sheets already and you can just make copies when you need more. Each player card has the positions they played that year, how many games, and a number that represents how good they are at that position. You will role 3 six-side die. One die is smaller in size (and white) than the other two for dice (red). Once you roll the 3 dice the smaller one represents whether the result of the play will be determined from the batters card or the pitchers card. The numbers 1-3 represent the batter and 4-6 for pitchers. Each player card has 3 columns of action. Batter has columns 1-3 while the pitcher has 4-6. That number rolled on the small die not only represents what player card will be used but, also what column to use on that card. The other 2 dice are added together and determines what number in the column to look at for the action. For example, let’s say you roll all three dice and the small die reads 2 and the other two dice equal 8. You will then look on the batters card, column 2, number 8 and you will get the results of the play. Of course every batter and pitcher cards are different depending on the player himself. If a hitter hits for good average he will have more hits on his card and in more common numbers. This is the same for power numbers of a player or a pitcher who gets a lot of strikeouts or groundouts. All of the action determined on the cards is amazingly accurate to what the players do in real life. This even includes whether a player hits more fly-outs than groundballs, walks a lot, or strikes out often. The same for how a pitcher pitches.
The advanced versions are basically played the same as the basic game but, with some nice add-ons. Instead of the player cards having 3 columns they each have 6 columns. The columns are numbers the same, 1-3 (batters) and 4-6 (pitchers) but, which of the 3 columns you look at depends on what hand the pitcher is throwing with or what handed the batter is. This adds a lot to the depth as most hitters and pitchers are better at facing a certain handed player. So, if a left hander struggles against left handed pitching the 3 columns that represent facing a left hander’s will much worse than if he was facing a right hander. There are also symbols on the cards that if you roll that number with symbol is rolled, you will have to take out the appropriate chart to determine the results of the play. These charts represent the inner-workings and strategy of baseball. Such as hit-and-runs, bunts, fielding plays, and rare plays that may occur. A lot of these plays are determined by cards that the game has that are numbered 1-20 (or you can use a 20 sided die). Certain factors are put into play to determine what the result of the play will be. These charts will take a little time to get used to but, makes the game much more realistic and in-depth.
There are also factors that game does not forget about. There is a fatigue factor for pitchers, clutch hitting for players, speed of every player determines not only stolen bases but running the bases as well, and fielder ratings determine if they can save a hit or turn a much needed double play. These plays are quickly determined as well and don’t make the game take any longer to finish. For examples, if a pitcher averaged going 6 innings in his starts, that is his rating. If he goes over that, he is considered tired and a couple of numbers have a symbol next to them indicating this. If a number is rolled with this symbol, and he is fatigued, the out would turn into a single. Hitters that are good in clutch situations will also have a couple of numbers with this symbol indicating the out would be a single. However, if he not a good clutch hitter, a couple of hits on his card would turn into outs. These are just a couple more examples of how in-depth the game play actually is. This is the basic outline on how the game works and I hope that I explained it well enough that you get the general idea. For a board game, the game is incredibly in-depth but, not really that hard to learn.
The game may look pretty expensive when you first see the price at a little less than $50.00. This includes the entire 2007 roster of players, all of the basic and advanced charts, game board, dice, and more. After you make the original purchase, you can buy individual seasons (around $10) or even teams (under $2) to play with ranging from early 1900’s to now. These individual teams and seasons are much cheaper, of course, because you don’t have the buy the full game again. The overall price is not really bad considering everything you get and well worth it if you enjoy the game of baseball and board games. The game is also made well using stiff cardboard for the board and the cards are made of thicker paper so they don’t bend too easy. The price and durability of this board game is really not bad at all.
If you, or your kids, like board games and baseball you have to give this company a try. I have tried my share of board games (sports) from different companies and none of them even can hold a candle to these guys. Even being older now, I can still sit down with someone and play a few games of this in a short period of time. Even though this game is rather complex for a board game, it is thought out very well. It does come with a basic version or advanced but, I don’t see anyone having at least some knowledge of baseball not understanding the advanced version. The game age range is recommended at 11 years old and up. If you are interesting in learning more, they have their own very detailed website you can check out, strat-o-matic.com. Just make sure you add the – symbol between words. I give this board game 5 stars all the way and recommend this to kids and adult alike.
Thank you for reading.