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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Strat-O-Matic and APBA Keep On Ticking 29

Posted by Soulskill
from the wait-let-me-look-that-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "USA Today has a great story about the classic baseball games Strat-O-Matic and APBA, enduring in the modern age amid all of the Xbox glitz. Quoting: 'While there are numerous other statistics-based games (such as Diamond Mind, whose creator now works for the Boston Red Sox,) APBA and Strat-O-Matic are by far the oldest and most recognized. And there is something amazing about how these two games have survived for so long. APBA estimates it has sold over 600,000 units of its board game; Strat-O-Matic, over 1 million. Both companies describe their customers as getting older — age 35 and up, a sign of how the electronic era is pushing kids away from board games. In the 1960s and '70s, teenagers were a big part of the customer base. "We have a niche group," says Hal Richman, the 72-year-old founder of Strat-O-Matic, based in Glen Head, NY. "We cannot compete with the Xboxes and the John Maddens and EA Sports and all their graphics. We do it another way. We want the ballplayer to be realistic."'"
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Strat-O-Matic and APBA Keep On Ticking

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  • I think my dad has played those games... I'm a lifelong gamer thanks to dad, but this article might qualify for smallest number of comments in 2009, if that a category.

    Anonymous reader, you are a winner!

  • by AntiRush (1175479)
    And I played a lot with him when I was younger. Strat-O-Matic is a blast. It's really evolved with the advent of the internet - they do have a computer version of the game but even more importantly leagues have formed using messageboards and the like. These leagues weren't possible in 1961 and they have some genuinely interesting outcomes for a baseball stat addict.
  • OK, I am a geek. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bohnanza (523456) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:38AM (#28291305)
    As a complete geek, I must admit that I played Strat-0-Matic baseball just the other day. And I liked it, damn it! Really prefer Replay Baseball, though.
  • by Scratch-O-Matic (245992) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @06:44AM (#28291349)
    Oh wait...
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @07:01AM (#28291443) Homepage

    It's just that most board games are pretty dumbed down. You also cant get the real good board games/ Card games at most stores you have to go to specialty geky places to get them.

    Car Wars, is an awesome board game. settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Munchkin (Yes it's a board game now) etc....

    I have personally corrupted many a youth with The above games. The thing is, you NEED 4 or more players that will be very vocal for them to be fun. With Settlers I try to encourage collusion and to try to bend the rules trading, Munchkin the same..

    I had my hands on the Xbox360 game FUEL for 2 weeks before it was to be released, My daughters friends were more interested in getting a game going over playing a unreleased game. Also a Game of Apples to Apples always gets them roaring.

    Sorry, Monopoly, Checkers, etc... just dont interest them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      It's just that most board games are pretty dumbed down. You also cant get the real good board games/ Card games at most stores you have to go to specialty geky places to get them.

      Car Wars, is an awesome board game. settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Munchkin (Yes it's a board game now) etc....

      I have personally corrupted many a youth with The above games. The thing is, you NEED 4 or more players that will be very vocal for them to be fun. With Settlers I try to encourage collusion and to try to bend the rules tr

    • by adavies42 (746183)

      With Settlers I try to encourage collusion and to try to bend the rules trading

      i'll trade you a sheep and a rock for a sheep.

  • !ABBA
  • Beware the DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @08:22AM (#28292339) Homepage Journal

    My dad has spent thousands of dollars on both the Strat-O-Matic cards and in the last few years, the electronic versions of the cards. We sold some of his classic stat cards to fund him buying the electronic versions. However, he's had tons of problems with them. Whenever you buy cards, you have to authorize them with your Strat-O-Matic software. Each card can only be authorized to one machine at a time. If your computer unexpectedly crashes (which his seems to do often), you have to call Strat-O-Matic up and ask them to de-authorize so you can authorize them again to the exact same machine.

    It's pretty evil DRM that has made it more difficult for my dad to enjoy his hobbies.

  • I hope I'm not the only one who, at first glance, misread the article title as being "Strat-O-Matic and ABBA Keep On Ticking"

  • Used to play APBA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mango Fett (1457557) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @09:25AM (#28293469)

    I played APBA back in the 80's, as a kid (now 35). It was a very fun game, and I've spent the past couple of years searching for an electronic version or replacement. I even stooped so low as to buy MLB Front Office Manager, which did nothing to fill that void.

    OOTP has promise, as does Baseball Mogul, but neither really hit the sweet spot. Back in the late 90's there was Ernie Harwell's Baseball Blast, which was an APBA game, and was pretty good. Sadly, nothing new since.

    The opportunity is there, and there chance for microtransactions and DLC is great. I'm surprised there has been nothing. Perhaps the 2k Sports exclusivity is getting in the way? Perhaps the powers that be don't see a market.

    Why don't I just go tabletop? Well, I don't have anyone to play against. While my comic book store has a great big tabletop section where cats can sit and play all day long, there are sadly no APBA leagues, nor interest (an exploratory flyer didn't get a single response).

    • by mwbeatty (1401881)
      Baseball for Windows still exists. http://apba.stores.yahoo.net/basforwin.html [yahoo.net] The most recent version is 5.5 and they keep promising an upgrade but it hasn't happened yet.
      • Thanks for the link. I can see why it isn't an XBLA/PSN/Steam download, they really know how to tack on the fees. $25 for a season, $10 for a ballpark, $10 for a schedule - that would never fly on those distribution channels.

        Still, an all in cost of $150 for a few historically great seasons, a couple ballparks and the game itself isn't a bad deal if you're into this kind of thing.

        • by mwbeatty (1401881)
          There's a huge fanbase that creates their own seasons and stadiums and then makes them available for free download. In the Ernie Harwell version of the game, you were able to import season information from the Bill James Encyclopedia cd-rom to make your own ad-hoc seasons. I picked up the encyclopedia disc for about $5 on eBay and probably replayed a good 10 seasons from it.
  • Strat is a fun game. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhotoJim (813785) <jim@photo[ ].ca ['jim' in gap]> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @10:24AM (#28294383) Homepage

    I was in a keeper league for ten years ('92-'01). It was a lot of fun. We played a 128-game season - 40 man rosters (25 active until "Declaration Day" which was around Game 100, equivalent to September 1 in the MLB schedule) after which you could use any of the 40 players. Of course, since we didn't have minor leagues a lot of the extra 15 players were prospects or players who had had bad seasons that we were keeping for the future.

    I was the worst team in our league in the first season. I got into the playoffs for the first time in the fifth season and was in them every season afterwards. I won one league championship and lost in game seven of two other championships. We had ten teams at first, twelve for some of the years so I think I did respectably.

    I still talk to some of the league members so the friendships built are real.

    Lots of memories... probably the best was in game four of the World Series that I won. I was up two games to one but was losing by three in the ninth. With two out and two on, my centre fielder Ken Griffey Jr. hammered one over the wall to tie the game. I gave up a run in the twelfth and Griffey bailed me out again with a one-out solo shot. In the fourteenth with the score still tied, Griffey hit his third of the game, a walk-off solo shot for the win. Yes, this game is cards and dice, but that game was incredibly intense.

    In 1,280 regular season games I had only one no-hitter. Ironically it was pitched by Roger Clemens, who never pitched one in real life. Our league never saw a perfect game and only saw about half a dozen no-hitters.

    I had Mark McGwire the year he hit 70 home runs in real life and he hit 60 in 128 games and another ten in two playoff rounds for me to finish at 70 in 141 games.

    Great fun. The social element can not be understated. I think Strat is more fun than playing any graphical alternative short of actual real physical baseball.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As a long time player of Strat-O-Matic and other baseball simulation games, the best one out there for the digital age is Out Of The Park Baseball (http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/ootp10/). It's amazing the hours you can lose in one of these games. I thought my Strat-O-Matic obsession was bad...this is a whole new level.

    I don't think the xbox and other console baseball games are going to take away from the simulation crowd. They are 2 different breeds of people. There's the one side that likes to try an

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