As we mentioned on our All Hallow's Eve Webcast (10.30.2017), we're excited about a new 5.0 version of HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL that we released 03.02.2018. None of the changes in and of themselves are particularly dramatic, but together they add some new dimensions and extra "chrome" for the game, making for an even more fun experience across many generations of baseball. We've been play-testing these ideas—many of them developed and submitted by HMB gamers—for the past six months or so, with great results. If you already own the game, you won't need to buy a new copy. You can mark these changes in your existing book. Or, we can provide you with an updated game book and rules booklet at our cost, $15 postage-paid. (The rest of the game materials—game boards, ball park sheet, generic players, etc.—are unchanged.) We'll make this option available for existing game owners until the end of the summer, you can access the purchase link here.
Previously-released card sets are also un-changed. ALL existing card sets will play perfectly well with the new version of the game, and all new card sets will work with the previous versions of the game.
Without further ado, here are the changes we're making to the game for version 5.0. We've tried to list them in descending order, from most significant to least significant.
Here's how 4-6-6 will read in HMB 5.0...PITCHER COLUMN: "CONTROL? Pitch read, single to LF/RF."
This change dials in existing pitcher ratings. Up until now, CONTROL pitchers have been getting an approximate 0.3 ERA boost, DB CONTROL 0.6 ERA. This change will make that minor correction. It'll still be beneficial for your pitcher to have CONTROL, but they'll slip up from time to time. NOTE that the DB CONTROL pitcher will give up TWO (consecutive) base hits with this result!
One INFIELD and OUTFIELD drama result will be added to all of the intangibles charts. An INFIELD DRAMA will replace a default ground out, an OUTFIELD DRAMA replaces a default fly out. Here are the specific changes for each mini-chart.
For SCRAPPER batters, we've changed results 3 and 4 on the FENCE Micro Chart; they'll now result in singles rather than doubles.
The following changes will be made on the main chart...
ARGUE WITH UMPIRE: Can be used after any umpire-related result, increases chemistry to HARMONY rest of game; manager tossed on 5 and 6 (same as current).
HIT AND RUN CARD: Changed text to read "advance two bases on base hits, score on doubles." (Clarifies that runners score on doubles.)
This will be a new ADVANCED OPTION, and will be listed in the ADVANCED OPTION section after the base game rules. Whenever a "triples" dice roll results in a double (i.e., 2-2-2, 4-4-4, or 1-1-1 SCRAPPER), the batter has a chance to stretch the double to a triple, no strategy card needed, no decider die roll necessary for "jump!" Just use the "attempt extra base" rules, but don't count it as a strategy card expenditure.
This will also be a new ADVANCED OPTION. On the 2-3-6 FIELDING result, a NON STOIC batter/runner will be able to attempt to steal second (if open) after taking first base, no strategy card play OR decider die roll needed for "jump." Just make a die roll on the "Attempt Steal" strategy card/chart.
We've borrowed from our golf game two qualities that can be used to "dial in" pitching performance to taste: DYNAMIC and GILDED. In HISTORY MAKER GOLF, DYNAMIC golfers perform better than their numbers would indicate, while GILDED golfers are the opposite. It'll work the same way in the baseball game. When a league ERA is around 4.50, all pitchers are considered to have the SEMI-DYNAMIC quality; when around/over 5.00, all pitchers are DYNAMIC. For GILDED, it works the other way. League-wide ERA of around 3.50, all pitchers are SEMI-GILDED; around 3.0, they're GILDED.
While this will help some HMB gamers to adjust performance for a couple of our "outlier" seasons like 1967 NL (SEMI-GILDED) and 1987 AL (SEMI-DYNAMIC), the vast majority of our gamers won't use them with our officially carded seasons. Where they will be particularly useful, though, is when playing home-brewed teams. In the five years since the game came out, we've had a lot of people make a lot of cards and, like different chefs at a chili cook-off, everyone has a somewhat different approach in card-making. Similarly, a lot of leagues have been carded which represent high or low ERA figures. Some of the PCL home-brews come to mind on the high side, and the 1940s women's league cards on the low side. These new situational qualities will help everyone "adjust to taste."
The DYNAMIC and GILDED qualities can be used in other contexts as well. For example, All-Time Franchise or Hall of Fame teams, All-Star Game or other "exhibition" settings can all apply the GILDED (or SEMI-GILDED) quality. Similarly, a game seven or other high-stakes game could be given the DYNAMIC quality.
At the same time, it's important to note that these are OPTIONAL qualities; you don't have to use them at all if you prefer not to.
To implement these qualities, the additional text will be added on these results...
For high-error seasons (like dead-ball), we're offering this as an option; on main chart FIELDING column results 1-2-3, 1-4-5 and 1-4-6, if the lead die "1" is RED, the indicated infielder commits an error. The batter is safe at first, any runners advance one base.
By offering this alternate reading, we'll be able to avoid having to rate fielders with an over-emphasis on IRON. The good fielders from these eras can be given GOLD, the average fielders given no rating, and the error totals will come in at reasonable levels.
Originally, we thought we'd make this an ADVANCED OPTION, but decided to "hard-wire" it into the game rules for those who use the manager strategy cards. Any time the stolen base strategy card or extra base strategy card is played and the die roll is a "1," charge the catcher (stolen base attempt) or outfielder (extra base attempt) with a one base error in addition to the extra/stolen base. Implementing this option will add some unpredictability to the game and create some incentive to use the strategy cards.
While the game's "Freshness by Era" guidelines do a great job of capturing general pitching parameters of a given era, it's easy to add an extra level of individual detail with just a little math. By calculating a pitcher's average innings pitched per appearance, you can highlight those pitchers who demonstrated extra durability, whatever the era. This option works for both starting and relief pitchers. Here are the formulas you'll use to assign the new pitching qualities EX STRONG, STRONG and SEMI-STRONG, and the FRESHness changes for the qualities...
EX STRONG starting pitchers get six innings FRESH, three innings SEMI-FRESH; STRONG starting pitchers get five innings FRESH, three innings SEMI-FRESH; SEMI-STRONG starting pitchers get FOUR innings FRESH, three innings SEMI-FRESH.
EX STRONG relief pitchers get two innings FRESH, two innings SEMI-FRESH; STRONG relief pitchers get two innings FRESH, one inning SEMI-FRESH; SEMI-STRONG relief pitchers get one inning FRESH, two innings SEMI-FRESH.
All other pitchers use the game's standard freshness ratings (3/3 for starters, 1/1 for relievers).
NOTE that this option is intended to be used in lieu of the "Freshness by Era" guidelines, not in conjunction with them.
For HMB 5.0, we'll institute the following minor rules changes...
Questions? Comments? We're always happy to help! The e-mail address is info at plaay dot com!