“Bottom of the 9th”
designed by Darrell Louder and Mike Mullins, published by Greater Than Games (Dice Hate Me Games)
Players: 2; Playing Time: 5-20 min.; Good for: Baseball fans, couples, and armchair quarterbacks (to mix sports metaphors)
The game is tied, with two men on, two outs, and a full count. You stare into the eyes of the opposing batter, and you’re on your last legs. What do you do? Find out in this two-player game that recreates, well, the bottom of the ninth inning. The home team wins if they score a runner while the away team wins if they get three outs. Players begin with a “stare-down” where the pitcher chooses a pitch using two wooden disks and the batter tries to guess that pitch using the same method. Successfully guessing the pitch will give the batter an advantage, while outsmarting the batter will give the pitcher the same. Then the pitching player rolls dice to determine how well the pitch turned out, randomly determining a ball, a strike, or even painting that elusive corner. The batter responds by rolling a die, the number indicating a strike, a foul, or a hit, and even the type of hit. Players play through each pitch like this, with the pitchers earning fatigue with certain pitches and the batter trying to CRUSH THAT PITCH.
The best part of this game is the way they use game mechanics to capture the feeling of the batter-pitcher duel. The picking of the different pitches, the way the dice offer randomness, the way contact works, and the way pitcher fatigue is built in: all nicely done, and yes, really feels like baseball in a box. The fact it only recreates half an inning also makes sure it doesn’t wear out its welcome. Did I mention unique player powers for each batter and pitcher? A lot of game in a little box, and quick enough to lose two or three games to your son, who doesn’t even watch baseball, in an evening.
One Line Verdict: Don’t leave this one on the bench, especially if you’re a baseball fan. Even if you’re not, pick this up as a great two-player experience.
Review by Paul