Baseball Highlights 2045

Personal ranking (2015): #3

Time to play (in my experience): For the full “Best of 3” then “Best of 7 World Series” it takes 45 minutes to an hour.

Age Level: Well, if a kid knows and loves baseball, then probably about 8 or 9 is as young as I would go. 

Difficulty Level: 2  (5-10 minutes to teach, 90 minutes or less to play). This is presuming a basic knowledge of baseball.

Type of Game: Deck-Building/Hand Management. Deck-building means that you start out with your own deck of cards (in this case, 15) that are very basic and not very good. From there, you obtain cards from a central pool that go into your deck. Over the course of the game your deck gets better and you can do more things and obtain even better cards. Hand management means that managing hand of cards that you are dealt is a key element. In this game, the order that you play your cards is critical.

Game Setting: Baseball in the year 2045. Baseball has changed in many fantastical ways, most notably that robot players and cyborgs have been introduced into the game. I

Brief overview of how to play: This game is played over a series of mini-games. You start off the game with a basic team of 15 cards, each card representing a different baseball player. In each mini-game, players each play 6 cards, back and forth. Each card has offense and/or defense, and possibly a special power. After each mini-game, there is a “buy round” where you are able to draft new players from a central pool. These players are added to the top of your deck while other players are sent to the minors (to make room on your roster of 15 players). You draw six more cards from your deck (reshuffling your discard pile if necessary), and play another mini game. Normally you play 3 mini games as a start, then you play a best of 7 series (with a buy round in-between each game). However, there are variations on this you could play if you are short on time.

How many players does it play?: 2-4.

Ideal number?: 2. Or 4 with a little “round robin” play. The rule book says there are rules for 3 people, but… come on… this is baseball!

Why do I love/recommend this game?

1) I love baseball and this is so fun: So, if you don’t like baseball, I don’t recommend this game. I’ve heard that you don’t have to like baseball to like this game, but this is really made for baseball lovers. It’s not a simulation of a baseball game. The designer says it’s like watching the “highlight reel” of a baseball game. You only play six cards each mini-game, but it really feels like the strategy of baseball. How am I going to get that guy from first base to home to scratch by one more run? Do I have enough defense to stop his strong offense? Somehow the designer has captured the spirit of baseball in a relatively simple card game. It’s brilliant.

 

The different players have running speeds that are represented by red, white, and blue tokens. Red guys are fast runners, blue guys are average, and white guys are slow (of course!)

2) Quick back and forth card play: I play a card, you play a card. Your card might cancel what I was trying to do. You might pick off a runner, you might cancel a hit. I normally don’t like what’s called “take that” mechanics, but in this game it works so well!

3) Mini-games go by quick: It’s only six cards in each game that you get to play, so each game goes very quickly.

4) Tough decisions of how to play your cards: In this game, the order you play your cards is crucial, and it depends on what your opponent throws at you. You might have to play a card earlier than you wanted, because your opponent just threatened to hit a triple and a double.

5) Drafting of new players: Oh how I love this part! You get to build your team in whatever way you want. Do you want more defense? Offense? Better pitching? Do you want players that bring in money for future purchases? And then which player or players will you send down to the minor leagues to make room for these great new players? It’s awesome.

6) The Robots, Cyborgs, and Naturals system is brilliant: It seems silly at first to have robots and cyborgs playing baseball. However, it makes for an easy way to look at new cards to draft. Robots tend to be the best hitters. Cyborgs tend to be the best pitchers. Naturals tend to be the best defenders. When looking at the draft pool, you can quickly assess who you might want to draft. Also some players have effects for certain types of players. 

 

Here's a few of the robot and cyborg players that you can buy/draft

7) Great names for the players: One of the premises of the games is that the naturals and cyborgs have taken names from great players from the past. So, for a baseball fan, it’s fun to see the different names combined together.

 

Here's a few examples of the players you can buy/draft. Look at all those fun names!

8) Adaptable time to play: If you are limited on time to play, you could cut out the first three games, do three buy rounds, and then move to the World Series. Or you could simply play the first three games. Or you could play a best of five. Or you could play a best of 25… whatever!

Is there anything offensive in this game? Anything at all? Well, I suppose baseball purists might not like that there are some female players in the game, but come on… this is 2045! And there are cyborgs! 

Final Word: This is a brilliant fast-playing card game for 2 or 4 baseball fans. If I have just one other player on a game night, and he or she likes baseball, this is the game I want to play.

 

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