Strategically Thematic: Baseball Highlights: 2045

December 6, 2017

Strategically Thematic is a segment featured on The Dice Tower's bi-weekly Throat Punch Lunch videos about games where the theme and mechanics go together really well.

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Hi! This is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and this is Strategically Thematic, a segment where I talk about theme in different strategic games. This time, I’m talking about Baseball Highlights: 2045.

Baseball Highlights is a two player deckbuilding card game where you’re managing a team of futuristic baseball players. In the future, baseball games last 6 innings and there are cyborgs and robots that play alongside natural humans. The game is a series of mini-games, each of which represents one baseball game in the World Series. Each mini-game lasts 6 turns, which are the 6 innings of a game. On your turn, you play one card, and then your opponent will play a card in response, and you go back and forth until the game is over. Each card can have multiple abilities - defensive and offensive. When you play the card, the defense is in response to your opponent’s previous card, and then the offense decides how many people you could get on base.

One neat mechanic is that there are different speeds of the batters - slow, average, and fast. When the runners are on base, they’ll move forward when there are future hits. But they advance based on their speed - slow runners always move one base per hit, average ones will score from second base if a single is hit, and fast runners move an extra base per hit. But just like in real baseball, if there’s a slow runner in front of a fast runner, the fast runner will need to slow down to stay a base behind. So when you’re choosing the order of your lineup, you want to keep in mind the speed of the runners.

The different players also have different strengths which go well with the theme. For example, robots tend to be really good hitters, but they’re slow runners. Some players also have special abilities representing their ability to hit or field well. For example, this cyborg is a good pitcher, and robots can’t hit off of him, so his ability cancels all hits when played against a robot card. The players you use each game also determine how much money you bring in from the ticket sales. Popular players will give you more money, but unpopular players, like robots, don’t bring in any money. Between each mini-game, you recruit new team members using the money you gathered during that game, so you can improve your team and even try to get players specifically to compete against your opponent’s top players. But each game you can only have 15 players in your lineup, so when you recruit new players you need to replace one of your existing players. You have to make sure you choose wisely to keep your team working well together.

Baseball Highlights is a really neat game that brings the highlights of baseball games to the table. Even though the theme is a futuristic version of baseball, the main parts still feel similar, and the back and forth play to counter each player your opponent uses is really fun and exciting. Thanks for watching Strategically Thematic! Let me know what you think in the comments!
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