Sports illustrated Superstar baseball

Game Overview: Superstar Baseball was originally released in 1972.  Over the years, different versions were released by different publishers. This version allowed you to play with some of the best historical players in the game.  You can find Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax and many other players from those eras.  There are no designated teams, instead you create the teams yourself. Three dice are included, which were popular with the Avalon Hill football games as well.  The results can range from 10-39.  You first role dice for your pitcher and if there is no automatic out, the batter rolls the dice to determine if an out occurs or if they get on base.  The batters have different results based on the pitcher being either a right handed or left handed pitcher.  Different versions of the game had a team chart that you played from instead of the individual players that are found in this version.  A really nice scoring sheet is included with the game that allows you keep track of the scoring to determine the winners and allows you to compile the player and game stats. Instead of using up those sheets, we just use a notebook  As a kid I played many seasons of this game.  Fast forward many years, Cade and I created 24 teams with 20 players each and we are playing multiple games to create a season as we track all stats of the players.  A great father-son game!  Because this game has been out of print for many years, you will have to go to the secondary market to find it.

Box Contents:   Included in the box is a nice sized cardboard field (this version only) which includes results for special game situations (bunts, steals, fielder choice results, etc..), individual player cards, the three dice, a notebook of scoring sheets, and pawns to represent base runners.  As was typical with most Avalon Hill games at that time, it is just an open box so if you want to keep things separated, you have to come up with something yourself.

Clarity of Rules: You have your normal Avalon Hill rules here where you can reference rule 6.b.1.  However, they are easy enough to understand.  I took 20+ years off from playing this game and I was able to jump right back into it.  It is that easy to learn and remember.

Game Play:  The game play is very similar to normal baseball.  You identify who will be playing at each position for your team. Players can only play at the positions identified on their cards. Each player is rated at that position and you add up your starting lineup total to determine your defense abilities.  This sets automatic ground outs when those numbers are rolled by the pitcher, which are in the 10-15 dice roll range. Once both teams have set their lineups and are entered on the scoring sheet, its time to PLAY BALL!  It's as simple as rolling your dice and matching that up with your pitcher result.  If it is a strike out, fly out, or ground out then the batter doesn't get a chance.  Pitchers can also give up walks, hit the batters, or throw wild pitches.  If nothing happens, it moves to the batter.  Their dice role determines the action of the batter.  If they get on base, the players will have a run rating.  This comes into play when attempting to steal, advance on a base hit, or taking an extra base.  The catchers arm strength will come into play for steals.  They may remove one number, with five being the highest number available of the speed rating.  As the game progresses you can bring in relief pitchers or change your batting lineup to match up better with the newest pitchers.  Many advanced rules have been created for the game that gives batters a better chance at times instead of going with that pitcher result.  Your pitchers can get tired, which allows the batters to have an easier chance at getting hits where the pitcher outs are ignored.  However, they can recover and continue back as they normally are.  Injures can occur which may take a team from the top to just surviving.  Bottom line, if you like baseball, this is a game to have.

Replay Ability:  Tons of replay ability here.  I will admit that you have limitations with the original players, but there still is enough players to have many baseball games or seasons.  I would estimate around 100 total cards exist.  To keep the game alive, fans of the game have created hundreds and hundreds of new players.  You can and will play this game again and again for years to come if you enjoy sports themed games.

Appropriate Audience:  The game suggests 12+.  You can go much younger than this, especially if you have someone that knows how to score a baseball game.  Knowing how to score a baseball game is not a requirement but goes a long way in making this a great game.

What We Liked/Didn't Like:  What I really like is the ability to keep stats for players, if you are wanting to take this game to the next level.  If you match the original players with the new players, some of the original pitchers are a little over powering but some adjustments can be made with the rules to give Bret Boone a little better chance when facing Dizzy Dean.  You do have to put some boundaries in place for certain situations.  For example, a pitcher could technically stay in the game for 13 straight innings.  If you don't want that, you have to establish a rule where a reliever has to come in at a certain point.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  As noted above, the gaming community has kept this alive for years to come.  You can find additional players, print them onto nice cardstock, and it's a whole new game for you.