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Replay Baseball Game

Replay Baseball was created by John Brodak and Norm Roth in 1973. Over
that time, the game saw quite a few changes, and the game was a popular alternative
to mainstays Strat-O-Matic and APBA. In 1991 Brodak and Roth left the
game, and it wasnít until 1998 when Pete Ventura obtained the rights to publish
the game that Replay made its triumphant return.


That bit of history brings us to the current incarnation of the game.
Pete Ventura and the Replay community have made many changes to the game
to bring it into the modern era, all the while staying true to the main game
engine. Letís see how the current version stacks up against the competition.

Game Contents and Quality


The basic game comes in a very nice, high-color bookshelf style box.
If you remember the old Statis Pro game boxes, this o≠ne is very similar,
although it isnít quite a sturdy. It is though a huge step up from
the older Replay boxes, as it has a very professional looking high-gloss
finish.


The very latest version of the game comes with a laminated, full-color playing
field, an introductory sheet which gets you up and running quickly, a rule
book, a rare play book, 3 dice, 4 base runner markers, 10 score sheets, zip-lock
team bags, 2 teams (1927 Yankees and 1931 Philadelphia Aís), and a brand
new, laminated, fold-out chart book.


The chart book is worth making extra mention. o≠ne of the things that
have turned off some to Replay in the past has been a constant flipping of
pages in the chart book to get results. Those days are now over with
the new charts. The charts fold out into 3 easy to read sections.
Making things even easier and more appealing to the eye is that the charts
are in glorious full color. Now, it o≠nly takes a glance to determine
a result.


The quality of all of the game components in the current edition is sturdy
and well done. This is quite a breath of fresh air in the current gaming
climate. Replay Publishing sure isnít cutting corners o≠n quality to
keep prices down and profits high.


Also worth mentioning is the quality of the newer team sets. I purchased
one of Peteís first releases of the game in late 1998. The team set
then were printed o≠n what I think is business card stock. The new sets
are the same size, but appear o≠n a high gloss card, that sure feels a bit
thicker. The difference is certainly noticeable, and for the better.

Basic Game Play


The Replay website has a great tutorial o≠n how the game engine works.
Iíll copy a piece of that here for those that have never tried the game.
Keep in mind the sales pitch is Replayís and not mine.


Replay Baseball is a board game played with three 6-sided dice. Most
of the time, the dice are read as 3 digits (in order of red/white/blue);
so the number pictured above would read "3-4-5."

These dice are referred to Replay's ratings cards for pitchers and batters,
and the play results are found in the Replay Chart Book to reproduce all
the action of a big league baseball game. A Replay Game can be played
in just 30 minutes or less, including detailed scorekeeping.

Replay Baseball's most unique feature is that for each play, the offense
and defense ratings are combined to produce the final outcome. This
unique interaction of pitcher and batter (or fielder and batter) o≠n every
play, in a very simple yet effective and realistic manner, is what makes
Replay stand out in the crowd!

Innovations


As I mentioned in the opening, Pete has made several additions to the game
to bring more managerial decisions and more realism to the game. o≠ne
of the most amazing things about the innovations is that they are all truly
optional. For those that have played the game since its inception,
you are still able to play the game almost exactly as you did in the late
70ís. To me at least, thatís mind boggling, as Pete has added some
very radical enhancements to the game.

The first and foremost of the changes would have to be the expanded pitcher
cards. Rather than simply featuring a single line of A and B grades,
the pitcher cards are now a full 6 X 6 grid like the batter cards.
At first glance, that may not seem to be a huge innovation. But, it
really expands the detail of the complete pitcher. Now more than ever,
a pitcher is complete snap shot of his real life counter part. For
my money, this change has greatly improved the overall ďfeelĒ of accuracy
in the game.


Also added in later versions of the game have been expanded error ratings,
better left/right breakdowns, individual pitcher hitting cards, and the latest
innovation, ball park ratings. The latest chart book features full-color
stadium cards which can affect homers as well as base hits. Each park
is also individually rated for lefties and right handed hitters. Each
stadium is also now rated for its foul territory. Again, the ball park
effects are optional, but they do add an element of strategy that was missing
from the game in the past.


One other minor change with the newest yearbook that deserves mention is
that the new cards feature basic stats o≠n the front of the cards. Again,
this may not be earth shattering to some, but it is certainly a welcomed
addition for me. In any baseball game, I like to be able to glance
at the card and know how the player performed in the season Iím replaying.


As you can see, the game has transformed into a much more modern board game,
while staying true to its origins. I know that Pete has suffered some
criticisms for the changes, but they really do add a lot more managerial
decisions to the game.

Final Thoughts and Bottom Line


To borrow a phrase from General Motors, this isnít your fatherís Replay Baseball
game. The game has evolved to match the features of the competition,
all while staying within the original design concept.


The game plays blazing fast with the new fold-out charts. I can easily
complete a full game in the 15-20 minute range. I know that speed isnít
the o≠nly determining factor in a baseball game. However, it does go
a long way in longer replaying projects. Replay Baseball is o≠ne of
the few games that I can actually complete a project without getting discouraged
due to the length of time involved.


From a statistical standpoint, I believe the later versions of Replay are
spot o≠n. The original batter/pitcher interface is still the best thing
going in tabletop baseball. You can really see the difference each
individual player makes. The new ballpark ratings add an element of
strategy to the game that wasnít available in previous versions. Overall,
Iím very happy with the results the game generates. I have yet to find
anything that sticks out as a statistical anomaly.


The cost of the game is quite reasonable. The basic game is o≠nly $15
and offers you a great glimpse of what the game entails. Sure, it o≠nly
features 2 teams. But, for an entry level, not many other games will
let you try the game for a similar price. The latest season yearbook
will set you back $39, which is also a bargain considering you get over 1000
players, plus the full color ball park ratings. I donít think that
anyone can question to cost to value ratio of Replay Baseball.


Overall, Iím very impressed with the game. Iím going to give it our
highest rating of 4 stars. Even if Replay doesnít become your baseball
game of choice, it is a high quality offering with a great batter to pitcher
interface. It plays very quickly and produces extremely believable
results. Itís certainly an outstanding value in todayís baseball market.

You can view more pictures of the game by clicking <A href="http://www.tabletop-sports.com/index.php?module=photoshare&func=view&fid=2">here.</A>


Added:  Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Reviewer:  Jeff Downey
Score:
Related web link:  Official Company Website
hits: 13172
Language: eng

  

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