Preparations for the Next RallyBird Baseball Video. Topic: “Sacrifice” At Bats

With the assistance of graphs (see pic) I’m gathering my thoughts for my next RallyBird Baseball video to add to my previous five available on YouTube here.


While I can offer no computer graphics, I do offer my fuzzy, halting, semi-articulate, grainy human self. At least there are no PowerPoint slides, right?

Note to human self: turn on the microphone.

“How to Play” Video: The RallyBird Baseball Board Game

I hope you enjoy this and it makes sense. The rules book requires only 2 pages to teach the basic rules. There’s also a page that explains the components, a page that shows an example of play plus variant rules, and a few more pages of help for beginners plus a F.A.Q section. So while I try to cover all the bases (get it?), I want to repeat that the basic rules require only 2 illustrated pages.

Guess what, this baseball board game is available for purchase! Today, May 8, 2018, you may purchase it here:

Play ball!

What’s in the Box? Unboxing The RallyBird Baseball Board Game

Yes, what I hope is the final prototype arrived. We’re moving along quickly now! In this video I open up a new RallyBird Baseball Board Game and explain its components. Along the way I discuss my purpose with the game and how the pieces fit in, what they do, and where they go on the board. I also discuss the rules booklet and what it offers. Stay tuned–I will soon make a “How To Play” Video. This game will be available for purchase as soon as I can complete proofreading the latest prototype.

As I try to emphasize in the video, I designed the game for what I searched for and could not find in other baseball board games: playability, short game time, and meaningful decisions for both offense and defense. All too many of the easier baseball boardgames seem to imply that defense has no decisions (and that offense’s decision is nothing more than a die roll).

Technical note: I tried to improve the sound on this video compared to my earlier ones. There’s a slight fluttering sound… I’m hoping it will go away as YouTube processes it. This is probably magical thinking. I have a lot to do before opening this game for purchase, and finessing video sound technology is not first on my list. Thanks for your patience.


Video 2: Baseball Has Dynamic Topography


This video describes my theory of the baseball diamond’s dynamic topography. The 4 bases have different altitudes of value in the landscape of imagination where baseball resides. I hope my analysis shares a way of looking at baseball’s structure as a game that increases its appreciation. It’s a way to understand and enjoy each base as bringing its own set of attributes in an offensive-defensive struggle.

***Please overlook my migrating use of “topography” (the shape of the landscape) and “topology” (usually about abstract or geometry shapes, but also can mean the “topographic study of a given place, especially the history of a region as indicated by its topography. ” []). I think either word can work for this discussion but I shouldn’t mix them up as I did accidentally here. *** 

This theory impacts my baseball boardgame, RallyBird Baseball, in small ways but for the most part I think is intrinsic to the basic rules of baseball. My next theory video will be on baseball’s dramatic structure. Play Ball!

Update: The manufacturer has put what I hope is the final prototype in the mail to me.

April 2018 Update on Progress: Rallybird Baseball Board Game

The Rallybird Baseball board game moves forward. In March it was 90% final. Now it’s about 95% final. I resisted the urge to rush it out for Opening Day of MLB last week.

Play testers reported it took about a 1/2 hour to learn the game and play one inning as a way to figure everything out. This seems pretty good to me.

Play test games included innings that faltered at 2nd base, home runs and key suicide squeeze plays. Play testers called out the special “rally bird” rule as extra fun. I’ll ask permission to post some of the photos they sent me.

While the play testers had their copies of the game, I found out that I could reformat the rules booklet to a full sized page. This allowed me to use a bigger font and make some prose revisions.

That gave me a moment to pause and think about rules presentation.

People have different preferences for the way they learn. This applies to board game rules too. I have a friend who, as soon as I teach the first rule in a board game, she immediately interrupts and asks a pointed question how to apply it in strategy. I have learned not to throw up my hands and sigh. To me it doesn’t make sense to think of it that way since I hadn’t explained much yet. There is never an easy answer I can give to her question. But that is the way her strong mind wants to organize the information. So I respect that.

The play test sessions were the first time people learned the game from written rules and the game materials in front of them. I think the rules to the Rallybird Baseball board game are quite easy. When play testing my hand made copies over the course of years, I never bothered to write down the rules. I could teach them in about 5 minutes. But I didn’t consider that baseball tactics intimidate some people. Since we’re also talking about a board game, it might be that we’re also talking about people who find board game decisions intimidating. To them, it might seem like this game requires a sort of baseball occult knowledge. I disagree, but maybe the real issue is that someone has to like making baseball tactical decisions. To me that’s vital.

Aside from learning the rules, my game is easy to play. I designed it as a fun, leisurely 1-hour board game with meaningful decisions for Offense and Defense. It’s not complicated. The dice assure this is not chess. But there is that “meaningful decisions” part. This was a key part of my motivation to create the game. Offense and Defense must each make one calculation of risk and hope for each At Bat. And there is drama. You’re down by one, you have a runner on second base and two Outs. How do you get that run? The person I play this game with most often rocks back and forth with nervous tension.

However, play testers included players who liked baseball but weren’t knowledgable about it or board games. I don’t want anyone who wants to learn to feel intimidated… Nor am I willing to change the rules to remove the decisions that make the game play meaningful. So in response, I added a couple pages to the rule booklet that discusses some ideas about Offense and Defense in game terms. I also added a “FAQ” page to help… I explained a couple of baseball terms and also some rationale for game design.

I ordered a new prototype for myself to test out some nuances with At Bat card revisions. If I don’t make further changes to the graphics–which is plausible–I can use that copy to make a How to Play video. I’m hoping that if I can do this reasonably well, it will help anyone learn the game quickly, and see that it really isn’t complicated.

Who might enjoy Rallybird Baseball board game? People who like baseball and board games, who want to make tactical decisions in a 45-90 minute leisurely, high-spirited game session. Who might not enjoy the game? People who don’t care about baseball, board games, or this kind of decision making. I wish them well! However I suspect that some people who don’t care feel that way because of intimidation. If true, I’m hoping my rules additions and clarifications, and the explanatory video, will encourage some to break through. Then maybe they could see how easy, fun, and dramatic it can be to make these competitive decisions in a casual 1-hour game.

When I make the  a How to Play video, I will be sure to post it on this website.

Thanks for reading! Please know I’m trying to get this out as quick as I can, and get it right.