2013 Year End Review: Best New Game

In 2013, Plaay Games hit a home run with the release of History Maker Baseball, oneforfive.com’s Best New Tabletop-Sports Game of the Year.

HMB has exactly everything that most gamers require in a game: it has a clever game engine, quality components, accurate statistics, smooth gameplay, a short gametime, almost no learning curve at all, and a small footprint.

But there are myriad games that can boast most if not all of these qualities. Why do you need another baseball game?History Maker Baseball cover

In the realm of baseball simulations, it sometimes seems like we’ve seen them all before.

To clear out a space on tables that are already crowded with baseball simulations a new game has to be something truly new. 2013’s Best New Tabletop-Sports Game of the Year, History Maker Baseball, is that rare and special game that offers the simulation qualities that we’ve come to expect from the best baseball games, but also provides a novel new experience during the gamer’s campaign.

Keith Avallone and Plaay Games’ latest release challenges the notion that tabletop-sports gamers require perfect statistical recreations of the season they are playing. Instead, History Maker Baseball offers a different kind of experience.

From the game’s website:

Where the great baseball board games of today look through the rear-view mirror, HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL is designed to give you the “Opening Day” perspective. HMB will allow for the collusion of intangibles which could potentially produce a result somewhat modified from what actually happened–or, WILL happen–in real-life, while still generating acceptably realistic, believable statistics.

Some of those intangibles that will affect your season may include pre-game coaching, or messages from the front office, or an angry sportstalk radio host. Umpire reputation and competence will change outcomes. That short porch in right in your home ballpark may come into play, but your lefty slugger that took an 0-fer yesterday may be COLD and may only have warning-track power today. Over a season-long campaign, hot and cold streaks will be a real thing that you as a manager will have to deal with.

The Best New Game award is intended to honor the game that best captured our imaginations in 2013. No other baseball game in recent memory offers the opportunity to capture and recapture your imagination the way HMB does.

CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO REVIEW OF HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL (from: After Further Review with Steven Tower)

Best New Game 2013 quote[NOTE] To qualify for this award:

  1. The game must have been released as a finished product for the first time within the calendar year 2013 (beta releases and playtest releases don’t qualify).
  2. The game must be a tabletop game, though Excel based card flippers and PC ports of tabletop games would qualify as long as the game engine remains intact and the game could be played as a card & dice version.

For instance, Diggin’ Deep Tennis PC would qualify, since it is both a first time 2013 release and a port of a tabletop game, but Strat-O-Matic Baseball 2013 would not qualify due to the fact that it is an update of a previous version, not a “new” game.

  • Besides History Maker Baseball, a special mention goes to the following two new games, both of which were exceptional in quality of components, playability, originality, and fun factor. Either of these two games would have won Best New Game in most other years:
  1. Payoff Pitch (Joe Bryan, designer & PT Games, publisher)
  2. Gridball (Gary Brown, designer & publisher)
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  1. I could not agree more. HMB is my favorite sports game right now, and one of the best games I played (regardless of genre) in 2013. Another excellent job by Keith.

  2. Congratulations to Keith for an outstanding game and a well deserved award.

  3. Gary Brown is not the inventor of the game deck for gridball as he will readily admit. It is the Tack deck of playing cards from http://www.gameyex.com and the fac deck is an exact copy in gridball format. I’m glad my deck of cards is being used in such different ways, but please give credit where credit is due.

    • Thank you, Marshall, for pointing that out. Your Tack deck is clever and useful for many purposes, as Gary’s appropriation of the deck for Gridball’s FACs clearly indicates.

      Gameyex.com did great work with the Tack deck, and I’m sure that we will see other games incorporate it in many innovative fashions. Thank you for the comment and clarification, Marshall. I appreciate it!

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