The Talk Show – June, 2011

Host: Glenn Guzzo
You can submit your question or insight on any Strat-O-Matic game to When you do, kindly include your name and town. Other gamers like to see that. And the display format below works better that way.
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
USFL Good for a Laugh
            I see that Strat plans to release certain teams of ’84 USFL cards this summer.  That news made me chuckle a bit, since it seems to me Hal’s stance on this was always a definite NO.  What changed?  Thoughts of the USFL take me back to 1983.  I was in 8th grade.  My geography teacher’s nephew was Michigan Panther starting safety David Greenwood.  This meant a bevy of Panther memorabilia adorned the classroom walls.  If not for Mr. Greenwood’s class, I would have never had any interest in this renegade league.

Ted Kietlinski
            Time changes many things. When STRAT FAN, the magazine I published, debuted in 1991, Hal Richman permitted us to print cards that he felt would not interfere with Strat-O-Matic’s future offerings. That included American Football League teams, Original Six hockey seasons, reprints of 1970s and ‘80s baseball teams, great NFL teams of the past and more. STRAT FAN helped determine the demand for such products. As explained in my book, Strat-O-Matic Fanatics, the game company also evolved as its customer base aged and it needed to offer more unique products to compete with the likes of Electronic Arts. So Strat-O-Matic began producing classic seasons of the NFL, NHL and NBA. The game company has advanced so far in that area that there are many fewer of those classic seasons left to offer. That creates room for diversification that was unnecessary decades ago, including the USFL, the American Basketball Association and the World Hockey Association.
            In addition, a spirited group of gamers rose to the occasion to help the company produce niche products that the small Strat-O-Matic staff may never have found the time to do. Among many others, those gamers include Fred Bobberts (football) and Tim Comely (hockey), who began making their card-creating contributions in the STRAT FAN days. Others who were not in the STRAT FAN mix but are huge contributors today include the baseball-history group headed by Len Durant and Bill Daughtry (basketball).
Rotation Trouble
            I find it very tedious in the Update Computer Manager function to assign pitchers to games one at a time. It seems to me that it would not be difficult to add the capability for a manager to assign a set rotation of 4 or 5 pitchers for an entire season of games or for a specified section of a season. I have never seen anyone else mention this, but I would think that many gamers would use it. Any chance that such a function could be added?
Eric Johns, Orange County, CA
            I hear you. But for this to work well, you’d have to be content with a static rotation regardless of match-up and regardless of days off. Doubleheaders would really confound things. A staff with 3-day-rest pitchers and 4-day rest pitchers also would mess this up unless you just made everybody the same. As soon as you decided that you want to hold back your No. 1 starter for a day to pitch against a tougher foe or in a favorable ball park, you could face many changes. With so many complications, would this save you any time?

Open Ice

            I play the basic version of Strat-O-Matic Hockey only. Are there any special rules or adjustments I have to make when I play the current, regular-season, 4-on-4 five-minute overtime period? I understand how the 5 minutes are timed, but there are no rules to account for the 4-on-4 situation on the roster sheets for the seasons I own (including the most recent season, 2009-10) and in the instructions for the basic version of the game.

David Solomon, East Brunswick, NJ

            I double-checked with folks at Strat-O-Matic and we came up with nothing. Since I have not played basic hockey all these years, I don’t know if this helps, but in advanced play it’s a loose puck if it goes to a position vacated by both teams. And it’s easier to penetrate with the extra open ice.
Pitcher Rest
            I have been playing SOM games since my parents purchased a 6-team baseball selector set back in 1970. Here is what I use as far as pitcher usage:

0-2 innings — 1 day off
2 1/3 – 4 innings — 2 days off
4 1/3 – 9 innings — 3 days off
over 9 innings — 4 days off

0-1 inning — 0 days off but can’t pitch in more than 3 consecutive days
1 1/3 – 2 innings — 0 days off but can’t pitch in more than 2 consecutive days
2 1/3 – 3 innings — 1 day off
3 1/3 – 4 innings — 2 days off
4 1/3 – 5 innings — 3 days off

No reliever can pitch over 5 innings unless all other relievers are unavailable.
If this is the case, then they are required to rest 4 days.

Bobby McGill, Barrington, RI
            Thanks, Bobby. Gamers are often interested in the adaptations developed by fellow gamers.
More Blitz Options
            With 1996 football coming out for computer will SOM make it possible to zone blitz? The Panthers used it to get to the playoffs. You could move players to cover the zones and use their ratings.
            If you mean blitzing cornerbacks, there are no plans to add more moving parts to the defense. I think realism would require something more complex than just moving a non-DB and using his rating at that position. If you drop a DE into coverage, he’d have to be a zero. If a LB suddenly has to cover a WR, I think that’s such a huge mismatch that the penalty would have to be even greater than making the LB a zero.
Thinking About the Outside of the Box
            What are the chances that Strat-O-Matic would make available a game design with platform boards and boxes (chart on the back of the box top, etc) based on the 1960s, early 1970s design – similar to the Founder’s Edition but not a special thing or whatever, just an option for game parts?
            That’s an interesting idea as a nostalgic collectible. Some gamers would want to collect the entire set of options. Realize, though, that Strat-O-Matic keeps its costs lower by order game parts in large volume. Unless there was a reason to believe these options would be immensely popular, the game company’s decision to stock several varieties might be counter-productive for buyers.