Top 5 Sports Games – by The Dice Tower with HAMTAG

Posted by Paul on March 27, 2015 | Short Link

HAMTAG (Half As Much, Twice As Good), is a game review show on The Dice Tower channel on youtube. This week each of the three co-hosts offers his own list of “Top 5 Sports Games.”

The show is aimed at the Board Game Geek crowd, which does not typically feature many sports-game aficionados. As more traditional board-gamer types, it’s no surprise that these lists are light on sports simulations, and instead feature party or casual sports games.

That said, there are some true simulations on this list. Title Bout – Avalon Hill’s boxing sim (recently re-released as Advanced Title Bout by PT Games), is the only game that makes all three lists, in fact. Also mentioned: Strat-O-Matic Baseball, Football, and Basketball.

It’s incredibly exciting to see sports games getting more coverage on mainstream boardgaming sites and shows. Maybe we’ll see Mayor-of-the-Internet Wil Wheaton (an unabashed LA Kings fan) playing a hockey sim on Tabletop one of these days.

Bart Brunscheen

5. TITLE BOUT (Avalon Hill boxing game)

4. WEYKICK (magnetic soccer game)

3. LONGSHOT (horse racing game)


1. K2 (mountain climbing game)


Judd Vance

5. TITLE BOUT (Avalon Hill boxing game)

4. SURESHOT HOCKEY (hockey foosball-type game)

3. STRAT-O-MATIC BASEBALL (Judd calls it “the most elegant, beautiful sports game ever made.”)

2. RED BARBER’S BIG LEAGUE BASEBALL GAME (Sherco Baseball replica version. Tagline: “All the thrills, excitement, and suspense of Major League Baseball”)



Greg Schmittgens

5. STRAT-O-MATIC FOOTBALL (Greg says he played the entire 1970 season twice, and the Rams won both times)

4. Reiner Knizia’s  DECATHALON (dice-based track & field game)

3. TITLE BOUT (Avalon Hill boxing game)

2. WRASSLIN‘ (Avalon Hill wrestling game)

1. NHL ICE BREAKER (generic hockey game with “War”-like game mechanic)

Tampa Tarpons Stadium by Kenn Tomasch
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Posted by Paul on March 25, 2015 | Short Link
Tarpon Stadium was designed and built by Kenn Tomasch of  It's a recreation of Al Lopez Field in Tampa, FL.

There aren’t nearly enough blogs on the topic of tabletop-sports, so when a dedicated gamer creates one that regularly publishes quality writing on interesting subjects, it’s a travesty if it isn’t getting read. Kenn Tomasch’s “ Blog” is a gem in the tiny rockpile that is the tabletop-sports blogosphere. I hope you’ll add it to your regular stops on the web.

On Tuesday, Kenn published a post on the design and building of his most recent tabletop-baseball stadium, a miniature recreation of Al Lopez Field in Kenn’s hometown of Tampa, FL. Kenn took great care in documenting the entire process, and the result is a photo essay and accompanying video that should be a joy to watch for any fan of tabletop-baseball. Kenn calls this his “APBA Ballpark,” but the following will be interesting and inspiring to all fans of the genre, regardless of the game to which one claims loyalty.

Bleacher Rat by Joyce Kessel
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Posted by Paul on March 24, 2015 | Short Link

Bleacher Rat
by Joyce Kessel

I grew up a National League fan
of the Pirates, Cards, Reds & Giants,
not even knowing many decades before
my Buffalo Bisons played in the Senior League
well before becoming a minor league stalwart.
So I’d pray for sunny skies over Forbes Field
rather than Cleveland’s “Mistake by the Lake.”
My rare defection to the American League
came when the Orioles gained Frank Robinson
in that lopsided trade and after,
who couldn’t have appreciated Cal Ripken?

My dad & I would troll the minor leagues
where for some reason affiliations
didn’t seem to matter as much,
at least not to me,
who took in the green expanses
beyond dirt as the glowing diamonds
they were meant to be,
even in parks that were bare shadows
to Little League fields today.

In bandbox fields
and open air bleachers
we’d watch players with numbers,
but no names on their uniforms,
trading cards in their future or past
or not at all, their talents raw and wild.

I learned a geography of Rustbelt cities:
Toledo Mudhens, Columbus Clippers,
Rochester Redwings, Syracuse Chiefs,
Geneva Cubs, Oneonta Yankees,
Niagara Falls Rainbows,
a day’s ride away,
hoping they’d play two,
and mastering the geometry
& hieroglyphs of scorecards.


This poem was originally published in Spitball Magazine, the finest baseball-themed literary magazine of which I know. It’s a semi-annual publication. I have a subscription and I hope you will subscribe and support baseball-themed humanities, too.

Joyce Kessel is an editor at Earth’s Daughters, and a professor at Villa Maria College in Buffalo, NY.

Hands-On with Al Wilson: Ultra-Quick College Hoops by Downey Games
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Posted by Paul on March 21, 2015 | Short Link

Kentucky beats Duke in this Pre-Play of the 2015 NCAA National Championship

Football Manager Ruined My Life

Posted by Paul on March 20, 2015 | Short Link

It’s no secret that I have a tendency toward addiction. In Alcoholics Anonymous (referred to by members of AA as “The Big Book”), this inability to control one’s drinking is described – not in a strict medical sense, but more metaphorically – as an “allergy” to alcohol. It’s a shorthand way to describe the fact that alcohol affects the alcoholic brain in an abnormal way.

Back in December, 2011, I wrote the following:

I’m an addict. It’s in my nature to become obsessed and to compulsively engage in behavior that stimulates whatever combination of chemicals it is in my brain – seratonin, dopamine, oxytocin, endorphines, I don’t know – that creates a feeling of euphoria and peace. I crave this stimulation to the point of anxiety, and without a support system and framework in my life that encourages a healthy response to these cravings, I will be tortured and compelled by my own brain to go to any lengths to quell that anxiety.

Without a support system and framework of greater strength than I, I would plot my own destruction to quell the torture of the addiction.

I’ve been sober for over 14 months now (in a row!)[ed. – as of 3-20-15 it’s been almost 4 1/2 years!), but not for a day have I not been an addict.

I want to stay sober, so I try to study and seek the advice of other addicts who have successfully maintained sobriety for long periods of time. This active search for wisdom has provided me with many useful tools and methods to use when the compulsion of addiction is particularly strong.

The tool I use most is prayer. I probably pray a dozen times a day, maybe more.

The tool I use second-most is tabletop-sports gaming.

It’s been over 3 years since I wrote that, but in regard to my addictive tendencies, nothing has changed. Moreover, it’s not likely that anything ever will.

These days I spend – literally – at least 8 hours a day playing, writing about, discussing or generally considering tabletop-sports games. I justify this by proclaiming my intentions to further my career through my work in the hobby. But there is undoubtedly an element of obsession and compulsiveness to it, too. Some might say I’m a work-a-holic, some might say I just love what I’m doing, some might say tabletop-sports are the least of many evils I could be pursuing, some might just say I’m an addict.

Tony Jameson is a stand-up comedian from the UK, in his mid-30’s. He describes his stage show, Football Manager Ruined My Life, as being “about obsession, delusion, and general idiocy from a bloke who should know better.” I might just have to steal that for this site’s tagline.

I like to think we’re enthusiasts who just can’t stop playing, but maybe the addict thing is a possibility as well. – Tony Jameson, from his stage show “Football Manager Ruined My Life”

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