The last time I played a baseball simulation game it was the landmark Strat-O-Matic game with cards and a board. I could play that game for hours upon hours as a kid on rainy days, at night or during the long Upstate New York winters when being out on the field wasn’t an option.
Well, let me tell you that there is a fantastic software game from Out of the Park Developments, called iOOTP Baseball 2012, which doesn’t leave any aspect of the game untouched. I was graciously given a version for Apple’s iOS (which can be played on the iPhone, iTouch and iPad) to play with for the review and addicting is an understatement. I’ve played sim games, but this is the first baseball game, so I cannot attest to how it compares with others. But, I can tell you, I enjoyed it and will continue to use it.
There are three variations of play; Major League, Fictional League and Historical League. I decided to play the Fictional League. After selecting a team you are given the owner’s perspective, a budget and a draft ensues. The game can be played at a slow methodical pace or there are plenty of chances to advance the game through simulations; whichever you choose. I used both methods throughout and the simulation does a good job of sticking to any criteria set up in advance.
But, the true fun of it is playing the game day by day. In each game you have full control as the manager. Again, there is nothing left to chance. You’ll have the ability to make any play imaginable. If you decide to use the simulation advances, available in half-inning, full-inning, up to the 6th inning or up to the 8th inning, it will use your strategy which is again predetermined and can be changed throughout. There is a long version or short version of play-by-play for each at-bat.
As the season progresses players get hurt and some players become disgruntled because of playing time. So you act manager to control game play and anything on the field. As a GM you can propose trades and run the rookie draft mid-season. Once July hits, the trade talks pick up just like MLB. Most of the trades proposed to me were a little outlandish, but you can reject or counter them. I pulled one off and was subsequently told I ticked off the fan base.
I played straight through one season with not so great results finishing third of six teams after suffering what seemed like an awful lot of injuries. The offseason is much like MLB too. There are arbitration hearings and free agent negotiations. Again, you can do as much or as little as you want here. There is always the opportunity to let the software decide your fate.
In the end the game is fun and hard to put down. I strongly suggest it to anyone who plays other baseball simulation games or still has their Strat-O-Matic collecting dust.
Here is the site link which provides more information and screen shots. Below is a short breakdown of attributes between the PC/Mac/Linux version (OOTP 13) and iOS version.
What’s new in OOTP 13:
- 2012 Major League rosters, along with rule changes introduced by the new major league labor agreement, including Houston’s AL West move in 2013 and a second wild card team in each major league, starting with the 2012 playoffs.
- Real-Time Simulation Mode, which gives you a GM’s view on what’s happening in your league in real-time, including scores of games in progress, notifications of important events, and more. You can even jump into any game and watch it play out, or take the reins of your club.
Real-Time Simulation Mode is perfect for those final days of the season when playoff berths are on the line.
- Interactive Storylines also offer greater immersion by giving you choices when situations arise. Do you punish a star player who behaves badly or do you ignore his antics? No two decisions are ever alike, and they have wide-ranging effects on injuries, fan interest, team chemistry, player morale, player ratings, player potential, owner attitudes, and much more.
- Random historical debut is an option that lets you set up a league in which any players from baseball history can appear in any annual draft. Koufax might show up in 1930 while Ruth becomes available in the modern day, for example.
- A revamped pitching model that more accurately reflects pitching in the real world, where close to 90% of pitchers are typically drafted as starters and later become relievers for various reasons.
- You can now create Associations with multiple leagues that may share certain rules, free agents, draft pools, and/or playoffs. And speaking of playoffs: OOTP 13 features more custom playoff options, including, for example, first round byes.
- We’ve also overhauled the interface in OOTP 13, enhanced online league play, improved the core gameplay engine, and more.
- Just like its big brother, iOOTP 2012 features the complete 2012 roster set. Every player on every major league team is available, with complete ratings and career stats, along with the top 10 minor league prospects for each team.
- Detailed player histories, including award histories, are now available, and there are more league leaderboards, for a total of 8.
- As in last year’s game, the HD iPad version is included free, and many of the game’s screens have been reworked to take advantage of the larger display. Some iPad screens, such as the box score, have been improved from last year’s game to allow the display of even more information.
- We’ve revamped iOOTP’s user interface, and we’ve greatly improved the roster management and trading AI.
- Historical seasons now have real schedules, so you can play through your favorite team’s past seasons as they really happened.
- Like last year, three free historical seasons will be included. This year they’re 1924, 1969 and 1995. Bundles with 10 seasons and single seasons will be available for purchase.
- On the fictional side, iOOTP 2012 includes one new fictional setup, along with the ability to choose any year to start your fictional league, complete with stats and finances from that era.
- While managing a game, you can opt to use pitch-by-pitch mode, and you can sim until a specific inning. You can also change game options during a sim.
- In addition, you can now use the DH in any league and you can disable finances. You can also edit league, sub-league, and division names (division names are editable only in the iPad version.)
- We’ve enabled iTunes Share, which makes it easier to transfer saves or add logos to the game.