Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sherco Grand Slam Baseball

Sherco’s Grand Slam Baseball was the only tabletop game that attempted to use real ballparks, weather effects, and hit locations. For example, a routine fly ball might turn into a single if your fielder was positioned too deep, or it could turn into a homerun if the wind was especially fierce that day.

Sherco was played on a 28x28 grid representing a baseball field. It came with diagrams for each major league stadium (and a few classics) - so you knew where the outfield walls were.

Player positioning was a key feature. Whereas other games never got more sophisticated than “Infield In/Infield Back”, Sherco let you position your fielders exactly on the grid. You could shift your outfield to target a pull-hitter, for example.

For me, the gimmick didn’t quite work. You had to count the number of grid squares based on the fielder’s throwing arm. Routine ground balls required numerous checks, especially with runners on base.

Sherco also gave you the ability to play with any player in history using their ratings formulas. This was a real break, especially if you had a Baseball Encyclopedia handy. (It would be even better now that all this information is readily available on the Internet).

I always like the idea behind Sherco, if not the execution. I once tried - with mixed results - to integrate the game’s ballpark effects into Strat-O-Matic.