The Talk Show – March,2009

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.
A New Idea for Old Seasons
            I’ve been playing Strat-O-Matic since 1967, when I got my first 1966 basic game. Since then, I’ve played many current years but have really enjoyed the board games of past years – 1911, 20, 34, 41, 48, 50, 55, 59, 61. I know the company occasionally runs a poll to decide which old baseball year to release next, but a poll is still basically a shot in the dark. Here’s another idea that I think is a better marketing strategy than the poll-crapshoot:
            GMT games, which produces war games, has something it calls Project 500. GMT develops an idea for a game, then puts the idea on its website. If enough customers sign on – 500 was the break-even point for GMT, though the number is higher now – the game goes into production. The key is ‘sign-on.’ By signing on, customers actually agree to buy the game via credit card. In other words, the customers are committed to buying before the game goes into production. If not enough sign on, the customers aren’t charged. 
            It seems to me this method would require a minimum of work from Strat-O-Matic. GMT must do a fair amount of research just to put the game idea together. Strat would only need to suggest seasons, describe them a bit, then see who signs on. If Strat floated, say, five seasons at a time, the company could lock in the customers. I have no idea what Strat’s ‘break-even’ number is for printing a card game, but this method would give them a better idea of which direction to go.
            I enjoy your columns and seeing what other players have to contribute. And I’m looking forward to ‘24 and the Negro Leagues set.
Jim Poole, Cobleskill NY
            This might be especially useful for finding out how many gamers really would buy a third version of sold-out seasons like 1962, which have been published in Basic-only and Basic/Advanced formats, but never in Super Advanced format. But it could work for any season. There’s one obvious hurdle – SOM’s inability to research and produce more than one historic season per year. Imagine if enough gamers signed up for three seasons. Nice problem for SOM to have – the game company could decide that the season with the most commitments would be the one for that year. But that route probably would create more consternation for the advocates of postponed seasons. Still, there’s no doubt that asking for the money up front is a surer test of future sales than a poll.
Good News for Mac Users
            I was just reading a question on The Talk Show about running Strat on a Mac. I have a Macbook Pro and run Windows XP using Parallels. It works just fine. I gave up on Windows last year and switched to a Mac, but didn’t do it till I was sure I could still play Strat, which I do with Version 13. Buy a Mac. You won’t be disappointed. I just wish Strat would go back to a Mac version so it’s not an issue.
Mike Novak, Colchester, CT
            I run Baseball, Basketball, and Football on my MacBook Pro (intel mac) without problems using Parallels.  The other Windows emulators work just as well.  The only issue is Netplay, where you need to use a freeware program called Himachi. That works perfectly, too.
Brian McNeil
          Thanks for the swift assurance, Mike and Brian. Mac users will appreciate your experience and advice. Nevertheless, Strat-O-Matic has cautioned that future support of the Mac is not guaranteed.
Calling Bob Cousy
            With all-star card sets in baseball, football, and hockey, will SOM ever release an NBA all-star card set? Also, is there a reason (economics?) why there are no card sets for some of the great seasons and teams of the past – say the ‘50s or ‘60s?
Bob Siefken, Bishop, CA
            Although there’s been no hint, much less announcement, about an NBA all-time greats set, I think this is one we can predict will happen someday. Economics is the reason we don’t see historic seasons in card form. SOM’s basketball game is its weakest seller. Too bad, because those nine-team NBA seasons with only a dozen players per team would be a manageable product. However, all-time greats have shelf life and potentially enough popularity to justify a print run. There’s the issue of pre-1980s stats lacking offensive rebounds, blocks, steals and other stats used in modern Strat basketball card-making, but SOM was willing to create the 1966-67 game for the computer last year, so perhaps we’ll see other seasons from that era, and earlier. The card-image option works for seasons created only for the computer, so that’s a way to combine the best of both worlds.
Plug and Play
            Will the new version 14 for windows be able to read the card images from my 2005, 2004 and 2002 seasons? I’m playing all those seasons using the version 11 game. Will I be able to continue replaying those seasons from where I left off using the new version 14 game? If I can’t, do I just install the new version 14 to play the 2008 season and continue the version 11 game separately therefore having both versions on my computer?
Cliff Knotek
            Yes, just install Version 14 over your current version and continue play. You will be able to read the card images for all seasons. It’s never a bad idea to complete a league in progress before upgrading, but it’s not typically necessary unless your last upgrade has been too many years ago.
Translating Board/Computer Features
            Recently I noticed a new ruling on errors for pitchers, catchers and infielders on sacrifice attempts…hurray…but to my dismay see it’s only on computer game already built in. Do you have something we can do for the dice rollers? With your many years of expertise, do you have any suggestions you can share?
            This is an untested idea to incorporate errors on bunts in the board game: Roll three dice and if the odd-colored die comes up 6 and the two added dice result in either the last successful sacrifice result (e.g. 8 where the success is 2-8) or the first unsuccessful result (9 where the success is 2-8), then an error is possible. Roll a single six-sided die again to determine which fielder handles the ball (per the Super Advanced bunt chart). Then roll the 20-sided against that player’s error rating. This gives a likelier chance that a third baseman or pitcher, who are more likely to have error ratings 20 or higher, will make an error. Since they have tougher throws than the catcher or first baseman, that’s appropriate.
            Has anyone ever requested from Strat to have the ability to run two different versions of computer hockey game? One version would be in its current form, the other is playing the game the way the board game was played, which is to keep each line out for 8 or 10 action deck cards and then switch to the next line when the 8 or 10 action decks cards are exhausted. I love the way the board game is played and I think it would be a good time saving feature for those of us who would rather get in more games and maybe not have as much realism as changing your lines as often. It is a selfish request as my available playing time has dwindled due to the job and having kids.
            Also, is there any way that SOM can reformat the way we are able to search for pro football teams when playing the computer version of the game? I would love to see it in the same style/format as baseball and hockey. Maybe break down the season into AFC and NFC. It would also be great if they listed the offensive players for each team and you could double click on that player to view his card. 
                                                                                                            Henry Roman, NJ
            Although some features of computer hockey make it impossible to run the game exactly as the board game works, the line duration is easily adjusted to your preference. From the main screen, click on the season, then Options/League. The dialog box will permit you to set the number of cards for lines and defensive pairs. These settings will be the default for every team in the league.
            You can see a computer football player’s card image by double clicking on him, either while in League Manager or during a game in progress. After you’ve done so, just click the Card Image tab. As for selecting teams to play, a change likely would depend on an outpouring of sentiment to do so. Absent widespread dissatisfaction, that type of change is not likely to rank high among all the things SOM could do to satisfy gamer wish lists.
Thirty-Seven Years and Counting for Draft League
            Our NADBA league has been in continuous existence since 1972. I joined the league in 1980. We have 22 teams. We still have seven original members in the league. It’s a keeper league that retains 30 players at draft time and expands to 34 players during league play.
            We have a website – not very fancy, but functional:
            Our current commissioner, Mike McLawhorn, , is an original member and perhaps the best historian for our league.
Phil Russo, webmaster
            Congratulations, Phil, Mike and others in NADBA. Of all the many tributesto Strat-O-Matic, the highest might be how the hobby has such staying power. It never ceases to fascinate and satisfy. It builds lifetime friendships and keeps those friends together for a lifetime. It bridges generations and continents. When I think about all the changes in my life – six cross-country moves, career changes, marriage and a child, numerous new demands on my time – it’s profound that Strat-O-Matic games not only have survived all that to remain a constant presence, but have kept a prominent place against all competition. I know that’s the case for most other long-term players.