Sunday, March 28, 2010

Review -- PIZZA BOX BASEBALL

PIZZA BOX BASEBALL

Shhhh! If you stand real quiet, and listen real hard right now, you can hear the crack of the bat as it hits a baseball.
It’s spring training in the majors, and locally there is that wishful thinking talk at coffee among some about the return of Western Major Baseball League action.
So, for those needing a baseball fix until the leagues really start to roll, might I suggest Pizza Box Baseball.
Released in 2008, the game is a sister product to Pizza Box Football which came out three years earlier. The football game proved popular, so it was a pretty straight forward development to adapt the game style to another sport.
Both games were designed by Erik and Scott Smith, and are published by On The Line Game Company.
The game gets its name from the box it comes in, which yes looks like a pizza box. Inside is a heavy game board, cards, pegs, rules and scoresheets, all the good stuff to serve up nine innings of fun.
Like any other baseball boardgame I have played, Pizza Box Baseball sets up so the players are pitted against one another, one acting as batter, the other as hitter, with the roles of course reversing throughout the game.
As in the real game on the field, the pitcher has to figure out the best way to approach the hitter to get them out.
The hitter must decide whether to take pitches, go for a hit, or swing for the fences.
In that respect it is something of a cerebral battle, trying to out think the opponent, which of course mimics what the pitcher and batter do on an actual field.
Players utilize one card per at-bat. A result card reveals the action, and play continues.
The game board allows players to track what is happening in the game, or they can use the score pads.
Pizza Box Baseball has a nice scalability factor too. There are four strategy levels allowing players to add game elements such as stealing, bunting, pitchouts, different hitter strengths, pitchers that get tired, and other real game factors.
The different levels accomplish two things. To start with, it allows one to adjust the game to the time available. Only have a half-hour, go basic and you can likely whiz through a game.
It also allows casual fans to keep things basic, while letting true baseball nuts add in all the details to bring the game closer to the feel of a real game.
The head-to-head nature of the pitcher/batter confrontation is captured well here, and baseball fans will enjoy the detail.
An excellent baseball sim’ for boardgamers to enjoy.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Mar 24, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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