Strat v. ABPA
In comments to this post about Strat-O-Matic, reader arrScott throws down the APBA v. Strat gauntlet, which I can't really pick up. I never played ABPA, but neither was I a Strat diehard, even though I did play it for a time. Part of the reason I never joined sides in that war was that I owned and played nearly EVERY baseball board game that existed, including the following:
(1) Strat-O-Matic -- Bought this around 1975 from "Two Guys". Came with the 75 Giants and 75 Brewers (Hank Aaron!). This was the first time I met Von Joshua and Sixto Lezcano. Later I would buy all the teams, and my friend would try to always play the Phils and always pitch Steve Carlton, and only keep track of his strikeouts. This was 1979 or so. Our version of interleague play was picking two teams at random from the Acme bag that held my set, and play them. The big reason I did not become devoted to Strat was that I wanted to rate players myself, and Strat didn't let you do this.
(2) SherCo Baseball-- this was my favorite, because it used a board that was a 28 x 28 grid, and you could position fielders everywhere, and use real ballpark layouts, and plot where the ball was hit. You could also rate players yourself (one team took about 30 minutes to do, with just a calculator and baseball encyclopedia), though the stat engine was quite rough (all players with batting average -- yes, batting average -- betwen .250 and .299 had the same chance of getting a hit). It also had a neat rare plays chart, including a player being injured in home stove fire.
(3) Bill Rigney's Baseball Challenge-- This was very fancy, with a different kind of field grid for a board, similar to today's fielding zones for zone ratings. The thing about this game was it had a pitch-by-pitch mode! It took about 6 hours to play a game pitch-by-pitch, which dampened the excitement a bit.
(4) All-Star Baseball -- The classic, with spinner and discs, and pitchers were only rated for their hitting. We divided the cards into four teams and played several leagues with my friends.
(5) Statis-Pro Baseball -- Avalon Hill's stat based baseball game, that also let you rate players, though it was more cumbersome because it was more accurate. During the 1981 strike, Avalon Hill sent registered owners of the game some Japanese team sets. Riveting.
(6) Superstar Baseball -- Successor to Sports Illustrated baseball, this was one of the first games I had. Came with all-time great player cards, and is where I learned about players like Frankie Frisch.
(7) Baseball Strategy -- Another Avalon Hill game, but no stats here, though you could adapt the basic Topps card to the game. No dice either, the play was determined by the player ratings and the pitch choice by the defensive player and the batting choice by the offensive player.
(8) Thinking Man's Baseball -- I barely remember this one; only that the board was covered in clear plastic that you would write the score on with a grease pencil.
(9) George Brett Baseball -- This one was freaky. You rolled dice and stuff, but you didn't play baseball, you did baseball things and accumulated points. Really, really dumb idea -- I won this game at a carnival.
(10) Pennant Race -- Another game by Avalon Hill. It was a season replay game, where you picked lineups, made a few rolls of the dice, and the final score was determined. Not really that much fun.
(11) Charlie Brown's Baseball -- This one was pretty cool and a lot of fun when I was 6 or 7. It was like real baseball, just with Peanuts characters and a simple 3-dice chart for different plays. The stats seemed to come out about right.
(12) Baseball -- I had several variations of this game, which was pretty generic and got boring pretty quickly, but relatives kept buying it for me as a gift.
(13) Calculator Baseball -- This one was purchased from an advertisement in the back of Baseball Digest for about $5.00. It basically told you how to generate random numbers with an ordinary caculator, and gave you generic cards that you could use with basic batter and pitcher stats from real teams. Reggie Jackson hit a game winning homerun in the first game I ever played with this, which gave it some staying power.