From the ground up, Baseball Classics baseball game was designed for baseball fans to enjoy a real, yet easy and fast playing experience.  I believed the key to success was centered around the design of our player cards.  The rest of the game design would then flow from the look and feel of our player cards to ensure seamless play throughout.

This post isn’t about comparing Baseball Classics player cards to the many other tabletop baseball board games past and present.  We leave that up to you.  Instead, this article will explain and highlight the design of our player cards in order to provide a next generation, new and fun baseball game play perspective.  It’s like finally seeing your favorite music artist perform in concert after years of listening to their music.  The next time you listen to their music there is a renewed sense of appreciation.  That is our goal with this post for you.

Just like a user interface is valuable to a computer software user, player card design is equally as important to tabletop baseball board game fans.  Consider when the first generation Apple iPhone hit the market.  Not only was Apple not known for producing cell phones, they had no confidence from the industry being able to deliver a great cell phone that would take the world by storm.  Mega computer industry giants like Microsoft and others did not take them seriously at all prior to launch.  However after one glance at the iPhone and user interface, it won over major mind and market share beyond the wildest dreams of the industry in record numbers.  Today, Apple still receives the sincerest form of flattery.  How many other cell phones have you seen since the revolution of the iPhone with that familiar grid of user friendly interface?  It easily replaced the popular flip phone and Blackberry which were dominating at the time and set the standard.

The 5 Second Rule

If there is one thing we all know about any tabletop board game, the easier it is to play, the wider the adoption of play.  Baseball Classics cards are designed so that anyone could tell how to play in 5 seconds or less!  Sure there are sophisticated formulas that make up each card’s results and ratings, yet we wanted each card to be a canvas graphically painting them simply and elegantly as possible.  Baseball is a game for the masses to enjoy due to it’s easy look and feel.  Baseball Classics embraced that very premise.

Naturally the centerpiece of any baseball game player card are the type of possible results and how to achieve them.  I chose common household six-sided dice for our system, this was a key decision.  It was very interesting when testing out the initial design of play with 3 six-sided dice.  Notably how very smart people were a bit challenged in terms of time it took to add up certain combinations.  I liked that, good exercise for the brain.

For a good understanding on the odds to roll a result from our Baseball Classics player cards, check out the graphic to the right leveraging traffic highlighting with red, yellow, and green to reflect the probability of dice rolls using 3 six-sided dice.  25% of the time a roll of 10 or 11 will come up compared to less than 19% of the time any these rolls of 3, 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17, or 18 will come up.  The next time you look at a Baseball Classics player card, note these probabilities when making your line ups.

Next to each dice roll possibility of 3 through 18 on the actual player cards are the results for each roll based on the players actual statistics framed right next door.  In one glance not only could you tell how the player card was able to perform based on our “traffic highlighting”, but if you were more of a numbers person the stats were right there for the taking too.  This is a nice side-by-side vantage point for the Baseball Classics baseball game fan to get a very good feel for what they could expect from a player visually and statistically.

Name, Rank, and File

The next portion of the Baseball Classics player card design I focused on was the top quarter.  Unless you’re familiar with every MLB player, first I decided it was important to put an icon in the upper right hand corner of each card opposite of the name so anyone could quickly see if they had a position player’s batting card or a pitcher’s card.  With so many cards on a team let alone season, sorting through them to organize team cards is easier to do.

I chose a binary die roll of 0 (zero) to the pitcher’s card because it’s the shape of a baseball and 1 (one) for the batter’s card because it’s the shape of a baseball bat with hopes that would make it easier for our fans to remember.

Next was the decision to use traffic-highlighted triangles to indicate the strength or weakness of each players bunting, base stealing, base running, and fielding.  They provide a strong dual indicator with the combination of arrow direction and color representation.

This is important for the Baseball Classics fan when building line-ups and organizing their player bench and pitching staff to save time and easily identify which players they want to play when and where.  Thus being able to spend more time on game play and making managing decisions along the way.

I Was Told There Would Be No Math

What about the formulas to generate the Baseball Classics player cards?  Naturally this is the secret sauce behind generating any baseball game’s player cards.  It ‘s unlikely any tabletop baseball board game uses the same calculations to generate results for their player cards.  Behind each result and rating on our Baseball Classics player cards, there are math algorithms processing the statistics.

Believe it or not, we used to generate the results in a separate file then manually key them into the player card template for print.  This was automated a long time ago.  Today, once we have the statistics gathered from Baseball Almanac it takes only few seconds to generate 24 Baseball Classics MLB full team players cards with results and ratings in full color.

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One of the more popular questions we receive from those new to Baseball Classics is what type of card stock do we use to manufacture the player cards?  We use a high quality 110 pound white card stock.  Each player card team sheet is printed using a color laser printer before being processed to cut, sort, and bind.  Baseball Classics player cards dimensions are @ 3 1/4″ x 2 1/4″.

If you ever want a sample Baseball Classics MLB team PDF file to check out, post to this Blog with your request and we will email it to you.  Choose any Major League Baseball Team from 1901 to present!  Spread the word!