RALLYBIRD BASEBALL. A 1-hour board game of baseball choices.
Let’s Play Baseball! – “The Thinking Person’s Sport”
RALLYBIRD BASEBALL is a baseball board game designed to emphasize meaningful decisions for both offensive and defense, as well as playability.
It’s designed for quick play (about 1 hour) and rules that are easy to master and teach. Instead of referring to the booklet over and over, you’ll be immersed in the thwack & ploompf of baseball’s bats and gloves. You’ll be thinking about your next gambit.
With clear graphics, poker-sized At Bat cards, chunky 2-inch tiles, and large wooden meeples to run the bases on the 18-inch board, this game is designed for play. This family-friendly, pub-natural board game benefits from thoughtful measurement of the field situation and the beautiful bell curve of possibility that two six-sided dice provide. Basic knowledge of baseball helps. You may like to add some good-natured trash talk.
Find the Gap to Bang-Up the No-No for a Walk-Off Rally
RALLYBIRD BASEBALL – Here’s how it works. The score is 0-0 as the 7th Inning begins. Offense decides how to handle each At Bat. In anticipation, Defense decides where to balance the fielder’s strengths and weakness. One roll of two standard dice, and the result is clear. Move the runners, take an OUT token if needed, a RUN token if earned. It’s not easy to score, but you will, sooner or later. Right, Offensive coach? Meanwhile, the Defensive coach worries, How to get that 3rd out? Are the fielders losing their mojo? How to escape this inning? Whether offense or defense, you as coach make a meaningful decision each At Bat.
Decisions Each At Bat, Not Each Pitch & Swing
RALLYBIRD BASEBALL is not a baseball simulation that replicates the statistics of individual historic players, nor does it simulate each pitch and each swing. It focuses on the basic tactical options for offense and defense each At Bat, and lets fate and probability them in one dramatic roll of the dice. The rules are easy, but the decisions can be tough. For a play session that lasts up to one hour, play the 7th thru 9th inning. The game includes everything you need to play a full 9-inning contest if you wish.
Shade the Hot Corner or Hang a Crooked Number
RALLYBIRD BASEBALL – Example of play… Score is 1-0. It’s the bottom of the 7th inning, with one out, runner on third base. The offensive coach selects an At Bat card (perhaps a shot Up the Middle) and places it face down. Then the defensive coach places the six Glove tiles on the board zones (perhaps emphasizing strength in the deep outfield). In this example, there’s a Glove strength 3 and 4 (a sum of 7) covering the two zones responsible for defending against Up the Middle. Offense rolls the two dice–the sum is also a 7. Offense’s At Bat card shows that when the die result exactly equals the Glove sum, the result is a single. Any runners on base advance only if forced. The runner on 3B holds. No change in score, not yet anyway…
If the dice sum had been an 8, the hit would have been a single, but runners on base would have advanced one base without needing a force, resulting in a score that tied the game.
Because offense succeeded in advancing a runner (the batter), Defense must react by flipping one of the two black Glove tiles that failed to stop the offense. Defense flips the black 4 glove, revealing a red 5. (If Defense must flip a red numbered glove, he/she must remove it for the rest of the half-inning.)
Now the Defensive coach slides the Gloves from the board temporarily, and waits for Offense to select another At Bat card… Surely they’ll go deep this time… then again, maybe small ball is the choice. And 2B is empty… they wouldn’t dare to try to steal it, would they? Why is the coach taking such trouble to hide a smile?
Give the Sign for the Green Light
RALLYBIRD BASEBALL – What’s in the box? …an 18-inch square board of the playing field, a 24 2-inch GLOVE and RUN tiles made out of chipboard, a concise illustrated rules booklet, 2 dice, 8 large wooden player tokens, 16 poker-sized AT BAT cards, 2 yellow OUT chips, all in a box with a colorful cover.
Note: The rules explain how to play on 1 page! But the booklet also includes a page that explains the game equipment, and another page for an example of play.
I started years ago searching for a baseball board game I wanted to play, and play it with friends, not alone. I found many that I liked but took too long to play, forcing solitaire. I found many that did not offer decisions for both offense and defense, or even any decisions at all other than that determined by a die roll. I realized that I needed both–a 1 hour play time, and meaningful decisions for offense and defense. How to achieve all this? With my goals as my guide, I began to construct my game and play test it. My decision to use two 6-sided dice add further structure, allowing me to think about defensive zones and At Bats. I was also aware of a 3-round limit early in my process. In modern board gaming, there is a correlation between concise play and enjoyment.
In modern baseball, I’ve often felt that the 7th inning represents the peak of the game’s story, the climax. Do you remember from English class the graph of the novel’s plot with rising action? Framing this board game on those last 3 innings (with a possible extra inning) emphasizes the peak of the ballpark struggle.
It’s often the 7th inning starts with the starting pitcher out of gas. What follows is the coach’s choices of relievers, sometimes tailoring the type of reliever to the batter and the baserunner situation. Pitchers who enduce ground balls and pop outs. The modern shift of fielders leaves vast area of grass undefended. Have you ever heard the old baseball adage “Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t”? While some baseball boardgames focus on players, this game focus on zones. With zones and 3 innings, and a single decision required each At Bat for both players, I aimed to create a satisfying and original 1-hour boardgame that felt like baseball.
–Peter Gelman. March, 2018