Top 5 Tips For Playing Baseball Board Games

Top 5 Tips For Playing Baseball Board Games

Avid tabletop baseball board game players seem to always come up with very smart, intuitive enhancements to the baseball games they play.  Here are 5 tips to help you no matter which baseball board games you play.  Enjoy!

Baseball Classics Tip with Calculator

5.  Put Your Play Charts In Your Phone

No need to bring your play charts with you, simply take pictures of your charts and such then access them from your phone when you need them.  With the ability to zoom in and scan from top to bottom, side to side on any pictures it’s a convenient way to forgo the need to have those game parts with you when you have a tight squeeze for playing space or are on the go.  A perfect way to make your game parts a travel companion when on flights or road trips (when someone else is driving!).  I have the Baseball Classics Play Chart and Fielding Grid on my iPhone in an Album.  It is easy to do, easy to access, easy to read, and another benefit is you can save them to disk.  This way they are accessible from other devices if you store them in the Cloud or copy them over and backed up.

4.  Use Scotch Tape to Protect Your Player Cards

A clever, inexpensive way to protect your player cards is using Scotch tape, in other words laminating them.  Use it for your favorite player cards to protect them and if you are up for laminating beyond those, then do it for those special teams you want to ensure aren’t ruined from an occasional drip from a beverage.

Try it on the front only or if you want full protection wrap each strip around one row at a time.  Either way, measure how much tape it will take to wrap around your player card and add 1/8” of an inch, then cut that length of tape.

With your player card face up gently place one end of the strip of Scotch tape just past the edge of your player card.  Use scissors to trim the remaining edges of tape.

3.  Use a Calculator Instead of Dice

Dice rolls are all about generating random numbers.  Many calculators, including those on your phone today include a Rand key that generates a random number.  I love this tip, it’s one I’ve used since I was a kid playing baseball board games and still works like a charm today.  It’s quick, quiet, and portable.

Rand TableHere’s how to use it for Baseball Classics, but you can apply the same method for any other type of baseball board games.  Check out this table, you can use it to play Baseball Classics.

Press the Rand button and say .001 through .500 is a roll on the pitcher card; otherwise it’s a roll on the batter card.

Press the Rand button again and use this table to determine the Roll based on the Rand number that comes up.  Notice the first Rand number in the table is .0046, the next is .0185, and so forth all the way to 1.000.

Here’s how to use this dice roll probability table; it’s simple.  Starting at the top row, any Rand result between .0001 up to .0046 is a roll of 3.  Looking ahead a Rand result between .5001 up to .6250 is a roll of 11.  Using this kind of table and a calculator with a Rand button you can really speed up the play of your baseball board games.

Here’s an example:  A Rand result of .7122 equates to the dice roll of 12.  That’s because a Roll of 12 on the table is any Rand result between .6251 up to .7407.

Check out this link, you can create a table that suits your baseball board game and the number of six-sided dice it uses.  http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~leif/FRP/probability.html

2.  Keep Score on 4” X 6” Index Cards

When I want to keep track of my games, especially including the stats I get a stack of 4” X 6” index cards.  It’s a perfect vehicle for writing the lineup on one side and flipping it over to put the other team’s lineup on.  It leaves plenty of room to keep track of your pitchers too after the lineup, including adding columns to enter the IP, H, BB, SO, R, and ER of each pitcher.

I place the game number in the upper right hand corner and using the technique I shared in Blog post How to Play Your Baseball Board Games Faster (section – Keeping Score Faster) it’s an easy and fast way to play your game faster while having it on these handy sized cards.

1.  Make Your Game Transportable

When you have the urge to play away from home, I find it best practice to pack up a “travel” version of your baseball board game.  Just like packing a suitcase for travel, I use the same principle here.  First decide what parts of your baseball game are essential to bring and then figure out what type of “suitcase” to protect it.

Naturally bringing your individual team player cards or team sheets is a must.  If your baseball game uses team sheets, consider making a photocopy of them to bring instead of the original.  Consider making photocopies of your charts, etc. too.  Typically when traveling with your game since you’re out of your usual playing element things happen like drinks spilling, food splatters, etc. and you don’t want to take that chance if you don’t have to.

The next best thing is to pick a “suitcase” for your game.  And like an actual suitcase something that is light, yet protective, and just the right size.  I’ve used anything from a quart size zip-lock bag for Baseball Classics (folding a copy of the Game Play Chart, Fielding Grid, dice, and holds a good number of teams), a tidy plastic container, a small box, and worst case a pocket in my brief case, suitcase, or travel bag.

Of course there’s re-creating your baseball game parts so they can then be accessed by your phone, tablet, or iPad.  This is the inspiration behind the Baseball Classics Scorefield Web App, so you have access to them anytime you have internet access.  A reminder, you can go to www.playbaseballclassics.com/mobile to play Baseball Classics anytime you have your player cards and an internet connection.

In order to avoid the “My mom threw out my baseball cards” experience, make sure you always keep your game tucked away in a safe place when not playing it.  Otherwise one day when you are in the mood to play it (and we all know that mood will strike you sooner or later), it will be waiting for you.  Then again, the reason I designed and created Baseball Classics baseball game was because my Mom did throw out all my baseball board games…so perhaps if that happens to you, you may be the next Baseball board game creator!

Share your favorite baseball board game tips below for all to see and even Tweet.  Don’t be shy, no tip is too small, they all add up!

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Design

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Design

Every Spring when the Major League Baseball season arrives, I make it to one of the first games.  In sports from my view, there is nothing like the sight when coming through the tunnel and being greeting by plush outfield grass and a pristine manicured infield with the great backdrop of the surrounding stadium.

Major League Baseball Opening Day

My eyes will never grow tired of this sight, it always provides that wonderful combination of peace and excitement all wrapped into one.  The calm of the fresh green grassy atmosphere with the anticipation of an exciting game to be played by professionals in a craft that is unmatched by more than 99% of the world’s population.

Baseball Classics was designed from the ground up for the iPad platform to come as close as possible to provide this same experience for our users.  Thus designing Baseball Classics All-Time Greats iPad app was a labor of love to bring that warm and exhilarating experience to our fans.

The foundation was already in place with our graphically color-coded player cards, loaded with plenty of stats just the way baseball fans appreciate and thrive on.  The Baseball Classics Scorefield was another natural extension to bring forward from our board game, featuring the picture perfect setting to keep track of the score, outs, innings, and base runners.

Baseball Classics ScorefieldI went back to our graphic artist and asked to extend the size of the outfield in the Scorefield so the player cards could be prominently displayed at the top of the field of play.  Positioning the visitor team cards versus the home team cards close enough so in one glance with a roll of the dice the outcome was easy to see.  A simple tap on the Scorefield launched the dice into animation until landing from their spinning roll.  The familiar opaque blue chip markers to track the score, innings, outs, and base runners are present and intuitive to use.

There are two essential new areas design enhancements added to the Scorefield game board in the Baseball Classics iPad app.  The first design factored in automating play and navigation, it’s the heartbeat of the Scorefield game board named the Scorefield Game Cube.   The second are Base Tabs, they keep track of which player is on which base.  The Base Tabs became one of the more complex tasks for our developers to implement and surely worth the effort to represent the rating and reminder of who is on base.

Baseball Classics Scorefield Game Cube and Base Tabs

Baseball Classics Scorefield Game Cube and Base Tabs

The next major new design area focused on the team rosters, what we call Team Pages in the app.  Initially we thought to mirror the same experience as a Baseball Classics baseball board game has today.  That is to simply have a layout of all the cards available on a screen and placing them in order across the top 1 through 9 for the batting order and other cards below were on “the bench”.  Then using a similar approach for the pitcher cards.

Baseball Classics iPad Pitchers Teams PageHowever I scrapped that approach early in the design phase and came up with a roster layout that displays the player names leveraging drag-and-drop to adjust your batting order while also incorporating your choice of single card view or a grid view, divided by the Batting order and Bench for position players.

The Team Page also has a design flaring out the positions available of each player and the ability to select any of their positions available in the starting lineup.  It is complete with traffic-highlighting as you would expect matching their fielding ratings per position listed on their cards.

The Team Page allows for switching back and forth from the Batting Order (plus Bench) and Pitcher player cards available.  The current pitcher for the team has a baseball icon next to his name, thus making a switch is a snap.

There are plenty of other important, though smaller design considerations such as icons, buttons, menus, etc.  As much as possible, I prefer to use transparent popup menus to keep the interface of your game play with a minimal screen invasion.  The developers have taken great care to ensure they have “floated” menus and charts above the Scorefield and made it quick to tuck them back away.

Our much anticipated release is getting closer and plans are to launch in May.  As stated in a previous post here, I already have plans for the next several releases.  As of this writing, there is no other iPad app baseball game on the market that will match Baseball Classics iPad App!  Let us know what you think, we always love hearing from you and surely take all feedback into serious consideration to ensure we deliver the game that Baseball Classics customers will enjoy for hours on end!

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Flow

Making of the Baseball Classics iPad App: Game Flow

Look no further than studies like one from Canalys which projects global shipments of notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and feature phones are poised to reach 2.6 billion units by 2016 as one reason we are developing the Baseball Classics iPad app for our customers.

 Baseball Classics Scorefield

With a 30-year background in computer software, I’ve leveraged technology from the inception to develop and maintain Baseball Classics baseball game.  It’s the key reason Baseball Classics can scale to offer any Major League Baseball team or season from 1901 to the present now for over 25 years.

The making of the Baseball Classics iPad App has been a fascinating learning experience in all aspects.  Thousands of baseball fans have come to play Baseball Classics tabletop baseball board game throughout the years.  We will be serving the Baseball Classics community with an optimum game play mobile experience offered through an iPad with the same familiar look and feel they are accustomed to that offers fast and easy play with accuracy and authentic baseball game play.  We have chosen the All-Time Greats edition for the first release.

When you look at familiar board games like Scrabble, Monopoly and many others on the iPad today, they have the same recognizable look and feel.  Baseball Classics will do that as well.  As the BC Community knows, it all starts with our player cards; they are the heartbeat of our board game design.  When playing the Baseball Classics iPad app, the same colorful, traffic-highlighting player cards chalk full with statistics will be featured too.

The first step in the development of the Baseball Classics iPad app was creating the process for game flow.  Besides our flagship player cards, in order to keep the game flow consistent from the current tabletop board game we offer today, the Scorefield game board and Play Charts are inherited by the BC iPad app too.

With those well established the focus for game flow turns to the following categories:

  1. Navigation
  2.  Setup
  3. Game Play

Navigation

Baseball Classics iPad App Main ScreenGame flow navigation is all about making the game play experience as smooth as possible.  This is a very detailed part of the game flow since it takes into account every step from launching the BC app to baseball game play to exiting the BC app.  It begins with which screens will be offered when, where, and how to arrive at them.

Sometimes a screen will need to seamlessly lead to another for the user and other times offer options on how to move within the Baseball Classics iPad app.  Examples of moving the user seamlessly from one screen to another are going from the “splash” screen to the next screen.  A splash screen is the opening screen the user sees when first starting the app.  Seamless moves between screens are far few and between compared times when a user makes a choice that calls for another screen such as when selecting a menu option.  An example in the BC app is when choosing New Game from the main screen.

Naturally the more screens in an app, the more considerations of how to provide the best experience for the user to maneuver between them.  There are a variety of ways to offer this through menus, icons, etc.  The Baseball Classics app uses popup menus where possible.  The reason I like them is because they are tucked away until the user needs to access them and when they do, they provide options that coincide with the current situation in the game.

Setup

When it comes to game setup, in Baseball Classics we are referring to choosing your teams, batting orders, and starting pitchers.  There’s a screen to choose the Visitor and Home teams then another to set your batting order, and one more to choose the starting pitcher.

card view example

A close up look at setting the batting order begins with the team name on top then a menu bar that is multi-purpose switching between the batting order and available pitchers as well as two views within that screen: single card view and grid view.  The left side column contains a drag-and-drop pick list of the players with “flyouts” of their fielding positions and traffic-highlighting fielding ratings available.  A split-popup menu is available anytime to save your lineup (batting order and starting pitcher) or choose from other relevant options. Grid view also provides a drag-and-drop of the batting order as another way to shape it up with a bird’s eye look at the strength and weakness revealed through our traffic-highlighting from top to bottom.

Game Play

Scorefield Game CubeNow the most critical part of the game flow, the Baseball Classics gaming experience.  It’s important to feature our player cards prominently since they are involved in every play.  The game dice are conveniently positioned on the Scorefield game board to clearly view both the player cards and Play Charts simultaneously to keep the action moving.

Though the Scorefield game board is manually updated like it’s board game predecessor, when it comes to the base paths the Scorefield Game Cube automates placement of base runners.  For example, with a runner on 1st Base and the batter hits a Double, instead of tapping on the bases to move the base running chip markers, one simple tap in the Scorefield Game Cube will place the markers where you want them.  It’s the central control system for the Scorefield game play including usage for player substitutions, etc.

 

Game flow has been a valuable cornerstone for Baseball Classics game play.  We look forward to your comments and suggestions based on this article.  Coming up next in our next article, I turn to Game Design.  If you are considering purchasing the Baseball Classics iPad app and/or launching your own iPad app one day, you won’t want to miss this.  Stay tuned at our website for an announcement on the opening day launch of the Baseball Classics iPad app.