Sports Simulation Board Games

Sticky Situations: Tackling Tough PLAAY Gamer Questions!

(By Keith Avallone, PLAAY Games)

It's probably no surprise that we get a lot of e-mails asking about rules clarifications and interpretations for our games. We're always happy to help, and usually our answers are based on our over-arching "when in doubt, use common sense and if that fails, roll a decider die" philosophy!

Sometimes, though, we are presented with head-scratchers! Here are two examples of difficult rules questions we've dealt with recently...

The first comes from Walt Powell (yes, Walt hits the newsletter Daily Double, having also provided material on golf qualifying for the Autumn 2019 edition!), a question dealing with SECOND SEASON football's fumble chart. In Walt's words...

"There's 1:45 left on the clock in the third quarter at The Empire Superdome. The hometown Metropolis Marauders, led by a VERY hot QB in Gary Zamberlin (23-for-24 for a TD and 261 yards, the only blemish being an INT), are threatening to put away the Heartland Devastators; up 31-14. Crispo Carrera has just missed a 42-yard field goal attempt for the Devastators that would have made it a two-score game."

"It's Marauder ball, 2nd and 5 at the 50-yard line. Zamberlin audibles to an outside run against a SAFE defense. RB Kevin Selwood takes the handoff, UNUSUAL RESULT, XR(!) fumble symbol (GAIN)". I refer to the XR chart. Selwood finds a huge hole and accelerates through it for 22 yards--but coughs up the ball when he's hit from both sides simultaneously! (He doesn't have the (!) symbol, so the pigskin IS on the carpet). We go to the fumble chart. "If E is a run/2, player E recovers the ball and returns it on the 'long fumble return' chart on page 66". Well the player in box "E" (Devastator OLB Antonio O'Brien) is a "0/1+". The line-of-scrimmage was AT the 50 (not beyond it) when the play started. HOWEVER, if I read the progression of the play correctly, is he not then a 2 when the fumble occurs (22 yards downfield and well INSIDE the 50)? In other words, does his rating actually improve DURING the play? If O'Brien is now a 2, he picks up the loose rock, finds speed from his college days and returns it 68 yards before being gang-tackled at the Metropolis 4 yard-line. It would be your classic "game changer!" If not, though, Selwood recovers his own fumble and the Marauders are in a position to put this game away!"

"I'm holding off on playing this out until I hear your response!"

I have to say, this was one of the most challenging questions I've gotten over the years! In the end, though, I would fall back on the principle that the + or - ratings apply based on where the play ORIGINATED from--in this case, that would be the 50 yard-line. My rationale would be, suppose we were talking about a possible "Y" result if the defender is a "2", where the play originated from the 50. The pass would have been intercepted in "plus" territory, but we don't adjust for it in this case. For consistency's sake, the same should hold true on fumble results. So O'Brien would be a "1" rated defender, not a "2" and Selwood would hold onto the ball.

Another tough one popped up recently on the PLAAY Games Community Facebook Page, regarding a base running result in HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL. (Thank goodness for social media, sharing the burden of difficult rules interpretations!) Larry Merithew got the thread started...

"Game riding on this one. Tie score, bases loaded, no outs, bottom of the 9th. Defense playing the infield in. Pitcher FLASH? Yes! But wait--batter has a GOOD EYE, turns it into grounder to short. Lead die is a "1." So, does the runner score from 3rd to win it, or is it a 6-2-3 double-play?"

The challenge here was that the GOOD EYE symbol note on page 5 for the main chart says the "GOOD EYE batter avoids strikeout; ground out, runners advance one base." Larry suggested that with a lead die of "1," and the infield playing "in," it would be a double play. But, as several PLAAY Gamers articulated, an alternate interpretation would be that the GOOD EYE text implies that it's a lead die "4," "5" or "6" type ground out, NOT a lead die "1" ground out. And, with the infield playing in, a 4-5-6 ground out would be a base hit. So--which interpretation is correct?

Actually, neither! The GOOD EYE result in question doesn't need/use the lead die--the runner advancement is already stipulated, "runners advance one base." If it had just said "ground out," then you WOULD have used the lead die. So, it's a ground out and the runner on third scores. To be honest, I didn't consider what would happen here if the infield were playing in. If this situation had come up on my game table, I probably would have stayed close to the actual reading: ground out, runners advance one base. I would have had the play made (out) at first base. I get that it could make sense that, with the infield playing "in," this would be a single, based on the 4-5-6 ground out rules for that situation. Technically, though, this isn't a 4-5-6 ground out. It's a "ground out, runners advance one base" result, no lead die is needed.

Finally, here's another HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL base-running question submitted by Ray Price for our September 12, 2019 "PLAAY Q&A" installment of the Thursday Night PLAAY Space LIVE. "Let's say Ron LeFlore (who is DB ACTIVE) gets the 5-5-6 double and stolen base result. Does that mean that he steals third AND home? Or do you roll a decider die to see if he gets home?" Ray's talking about the 1980 card for Ron LeFlore, he stole 97 bases for Montreal.

To answer this, let's start with some math. If a DB ACTIVE runner gets four plate appearances per game for 162 games, that's 650 PA, which would translate into rolling the 5-5-6 result about 7 times over the course of the season. One of those, on average, will be taken away by an ACE pitcher. So, would a DB ACTIVE runner who played EVERY game for his team steal home six times in a season? Or, better question, how many times would a DB ACTIVE base runner steal home?

To answer that, let's look at some historical data...

So the short answer is—complicated...

Got a tough PLAAY Games question? Throw it at us! We're always happy to help...