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We got the idea to a draw a baseball field on a grid, effectively dividing it into squares. The idea is that the ball is hit to a particular square, and how far the nearest fielder has to move to field the ball determines if it’s a hit or an out and how good a hit it is. The results are determined by a deck of 100 cards containing 5600 results. The cards have six hitter categories: .300s, .200s, and .100s each with left handed and right handed hitters. There are also seven different pitches: Fast Ball, Curve Ball, Knuckle Ball, Screw Ball, Offspeed, Splitter, and Slider. Every type of hitter can hit a ball to every square on the board, but the results are weighted, depending on the hitter and the pitch thrown. For example, a right-handed batter can hit the ball anywhere, but is more likely to hit the ball to left-field. A .100 hitter can hit a home run or drive one to the wall, but is less likely to do so than a .300 hitter. The pitches are also weighted, with advantages and disadvantages to each pitch. For instance, throwing a fast ball will induce more line-drives, but also more strikes. Also, pitchers are stronger when they first enter the game but they can lose their extra powers as the game progresses.

The player whose team is in the field places the player pieces on the diamond according to the type of hitter at the plate. Also, Result Changers on the backs of the cards can effect the outcome of the card before it. A GREAT PLAY can take a hit away, and there are cards for Errors, Wind, Hot Grounders, balls lost in the Sun, and many more.

Just like in real baseball, anything can happen! We played a game recently where my Harbordale Gladiators came from behind to beat the Hollywood Beaches by executing a daring squeeze bunt in the bottom of the tenth inning, which was nearly a double-play except for the great baserunning of Harbordale shortstop Bob Restlessky. A “Runner Great Play” Result Changer was the difference in the game.

Here is a sample of what a typical card looks like.

Players make decisions throughout the game just like in a real game, from when to substitute a player to whether to swing, take, or bunt and whether to apply the hit-and-run or try to steal a base. Great Play! is filled with the strategy and possibilities of real baseball. Just like in a real game, anything can happen and often does! Great Play! is as close to the essence of baseball as a board game can be!

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