The Talk Show – October 2014

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.
            I have a question concerning a defensive card reading that I’ve found on only two cards in my group of past football season releases from S-O-M. The readings are found on the basic version of the 1969 L.A. Rams and 1969 Oakland Raiders. (Actually I’ve used neither thus far, but I’m curious about this.)
            On the Rams’ elementary defense under Short Pass, and on the Raiders’ elementary defense under Long Pass, a red dice total of 6 results in an "Intercepted 0," which implies the pass has been picked off at the line of scrimmage.
            The basic question is this: when most short passes are somewhere between 10 and 15 yards, and most long passes are beyond 25 yards, what exactly is happening? What would be a good interpretation here?
            I would think an "Intercepted 0" is more likely to occur under the Flat Pass column, and since S-O-M is putting this on No. 6 (where most interceptions are listed on No. 4), it seems to indicate that "whatever is happening" occurs more often than a "normal" interception downfield. (And the columns in question both have the regular interception reading on No. 4 as well.)
            I can think of instances where the ball is deflected by a defensive lineman, or the quarterback is hit just as he throws, causing a "wounded duck," or forced out of the pocket scrambling around and instead of going short or long, he tries to dump it off to a back. But it baffles me that this would happen more often than the "normal" pick off and would like to know what the interpretation is and what is inferred here under Short Pass and Long Pass. Thanks for the help!
Steve Jessup, Lee’s Summit, MO
            Both readings are errors; they should both be blank.
            Any possibility of having football cards re-released in their original size again?
 Garett Seebruch, Las Vegas, NV
            I doubt it. While a larger card would permit larger type – not a bad thing for the Baby Boomers who began playing Strat as kids in the Sixties – those were products of the days when SOM had individually cut cards. Perforated sheets permit faster shipping (no collation), a lower chance of shipping an order that is missing stray cards, and a lower price. The larger cards were a unique shape. It would be a challenge to find the card stock that would permit putting them on perforated sheets

            Please explain what is Strat-O-Matic’s “set average” that I have been reading about? How does Strat-O-Matic come up with that set average batting number? I know it’s secret but could you help explain it somehow?
Joe Glus, SOM player since 1975
            I think you must be referring to league-wide averages, or norms. These are the batting averages and percentages for all other stats that contribute to a Strat-O-Matic card. Each team has its own norms for batters and pitchers. Essentially, this says a player’s performance depends on the competition. If he hit .320 against opposition that, on average, yielded a .260 batting average, that hitter needs a card that will hit .380 for the half of the dice rolls that will come off the batter’s card. The .380 half the time and the .260 half the time would average .320. This “normalization” also permits teams to be played across eras.
            Can you tell me and other Strat owners, who are the leading contenders for the next past baseball season in January of 2015?
Phil, Passaic NJ
            That has to wait for SOM’s official announcement. However, we can ballpark it. SOM has carded every season from 1954 forward and some older than that. So it’s a good bet that the next pre-1954 season will be 1953. But lately SOM has said its updates of 1960s and 1970s seasons into Super Advanced form have been popular (translation – they sell well). The seasons from those decades that have not yet been updated are 1962, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1979. Based on reader polls and their historical attractiveness, 1962, 1969, 1976 and 1979 probably would out-rank the others.
            What are the best settings to use with the computer game when replaying a complete season “As Played.” I want to make it as realistic as possible and avoid all overusage.
Scott Slezak
            Obviously you’ll want to use the “As Played” version of the season, which will give you the exact schedule with actual starting lineups. If you do that, then, under Options/Lineups and Usage, the program should pre-select “Automatic Lineups” for the visiting and home teams and “Automatic Transactions.” Select “Fully Control Overusage.” You should also accept the default settings for “Give Scheduled Days Off,” “No Auto Swap-O-Matic,” and “Use Actual Pitcher Batting Cards.” The Help file also issues this caution: “Make sure that you do not turn Injuries or the Max Rule Daily Injuries on when you are using the As Played feature. Injuries are not compatible with this feature as injuries are already accounted for in the As Played transaction files.”
            Having played Strat-O-Matic for more than four decades, I obviously think the game is terrific. But recently I’ve become frustrated with the way pitcher injuries occur in the C-and-D game. Pitchers can be injured only off their batter card, right? Am I missing something? Isn’t there another way for them to come up with a sore arm?
            My son and I play the pre-expansion games, and now we’re playing 1938. We have pitchers have a chance to get hurt every time an opposing batter rolls three sixes. Then we roll the 20-sided die. If the pitcher is a four-day starter, he’s hurt if we roll 1-3; if it’s a five-day guy or a reliever, he’s hurt if we roll 1-5. If a roll falls in the injury realm, we roll again to see how long the pitcher’s out, and we developed a chart for that.
            This has worked well for several seasons we’ve played, and we think it’s more realistic because, simply, pitchers get hurt more than regular players. We’re only a dozen or so games into 1938, but so far, Lefty Gomez is out for five starts–that’s the outside limit a pitcher can get hurt–and Rosy Davis on the A’s (we integrated 1938 with the Negro League set) is out for four starts. Other pitchers are hurt for lesser times, but it’s hardly an epidemic. And some guys can’t get hurt; Caster, on the A’s, started 40 games, so he’s bullet-proof, and ditto for Feller on the Indians. 
            Our point is that if pitchers’ injuries come only off their batting cards, these guys will never get hurt. And pitcher injuries are crucial to the game, just as injuries for the other starting eight are.
            Although we believe our system works accurately, we also think Strat could develop a pitcher-injury system that would be on the pitcher’s card pretty simply, which of course is easy for us to say. It could incorporate the three dice–say, rolling three ones–and then another roll of the 20-sided dice, with a chart showing different chances for injury according to a pitcher’s injury history that specific season.
             We’re happy with our system but believe Strat could take it further.
 Jim Poole, Cobleskill NY
            Good job of innovating to make the game more enjoyable for you. Strat-O-Matic also has an Advanced injury rule (25.1 on Page 11 of the rule book) that says, “If you are using the DH rule, an injury occurs to the pitcher in the field when a white 6 and colored dice total of 12 (6-12) is rolled and the DH is at bat.” The computer game has a rule that can be adopted for the board game: “Injuries that occur from the pitcher’s hitting cards are ignored. Instead, all pitchers can be injured when a dice roll of 6-12 occurs. An injury can occur to a pitcher with any player at-bat (not just the DH).”