Dwarf Sport-ress: Out Of The Park Baseball 16

Of all the game releases anyone might need a reminder about, an annual sports series seems unlikely to be jostling for a space at the front of the queue. Out of the Park Baseball [official site] is different though. It’s different because baseball isn’t a popular pastime or even part of the cultural background in many parts of the world. It’s different because it’s one of the most in-depth and customisable simulations of anything ever. Out of the Park isn’t the Football Manager of baseball sims, it’s the Dwarf Fortress. To explain why, I’ll tell you about the three games I started when I downloaded the new version last night.

Out of the Park has three modes. You can play with the upcoming MLB season’s opening day rosters, start with any historical MLB league from 1871 onwards, or create fictional leagues to play with. As I do every year, I’ve started one game in each mode. This year, I’ll be playing each one in a different fashion to the next.

1) In the present day league I’ll be attempting to take the New York Mets to the World Series because I am a stubborn fool.

2) The historical league will start in 1871 and I’ll switch off all of the checks that balance player progression with reality so that my eventual 2015 league is a complete alternate history of baseball. I’ll mostly be simulating the process rather than playing as a specific franchise but I’ll jump in from time to time when a particular team looks like it has hit an interesting spot in its development. OOTP’s Commissioner Mode lets you take control of teams at any time if you want to play around with the simulation model rather than challenging yourself or roleplaying an actual manager.

3) My fictional league is the British Baseball League. It begins with two subdivisions, each containing four teams. They’re split between North and South, and I’m taking charge of the Manchester Monsoon. The start date is 2015 when an unknown benefactor has decided to fund the construction of ballparks in eight major cities, and has spurred on the creation of a major, televised British league. OOTP can simulate rule changes, drafts and, most excitingly for my fictional league, expansions. That means there’s the possibility that by 2035 we’ll have sixteen or twenty four teams across Britain as the sport takes hold.

Alongside the usual simulation and UI improvements, additions this year include full MLB licensing, smarter in-game strategy selections, and improved intelligence and personalities for AI coaches. The new feature that I’ll probably make most use of is a GM mode that I’m probably going to apply to my New York Mets game. That’ll allow me to concentrate on trades and staff management while leaving gameday to the AI.

I should also admit that I was childishly excited when I realised I could click a button to load up Google Earth and see the logos of my fictional teams planted on the cities their ballparks are located in. Needless to say, I’m tempted to create an entire global system of leagues with a genuine World Series at the end of each season. I’m not even sure if that’s possible but I’m determined to try. And by try, I mean download someone else’s hard work in the form of a mod.


  1. Epicedion says:

    Really knocked that headline.. somewhere..

  2. Gothnak says:

    I’d love to play management games of other sports, but although i know the rules of baseball i have no understanding of tactics, or who would be a good player to go where.

    I’ve finally understood how to play Football Manager 15 in Classic mode in my 5th season, after getting sacked from Woking and Hednesfgord Town, i’m now in the playoffs for Conference South with the Powerhouse and financially bankrupt Maidenhead Utd. In the end there are 3 star rating for each player and i have been getting them all mixed uip and not understanding why when someone who is 5 *s becomes 3 when i employ them. So if it takes me 4 seasons for a sport I DO understand, for Baseball it’d take me about 50 seasons i expect.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      That difference in star ratings is most likely because your scout has different opinions on a player (and different abilities to judge players ability/potential) than your staff, and additionally, depending on where you look, your players are rated versus your team, your league, or globally (context being pretty important).

      Particularly if you’re playing with a small club, your staff opinions will usually be at best only semi-reliable, and at worst, complete fiction. They only start to become useful when they have higher rated abilities at rating players (and other stats), and they’re also affected by hidden things, like their personality and culture.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      As a basis, you need to be familiar with the player stats tables, and then it becomes clearer : avg, OBP, Slug, HR% for batters, pitcher rating for pitchers (I’ve no idea if these feature in the game, I just deal with Baseball proper a lot). Then you’ll note that coaches tend to put their best batters up front in the line-up, but maybe put a few surprises deeper in the lineup. Judging whether to swap players or what’s going to happen in any giving inning usually depends on where you are in the line-up, as well as how well the pitcher is doing. Also left v right hand.

      If those stats seem a little too much, for a video game I imagine just looking at batting average and pitcher rating wont lead you far wrong.

  3. P.Funk says:

    “It’s different because baseball isn’t a popular pastime or even part of the cultural background in many parts of the world.”

    *raises eyebrow* Yea, just… in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and parts of Asia.

    • RedWurm says:

      And I can safely say that The Entire Rest Of The World is made of many, many parts – divided by geography, language and culture, but united in their indifference towards baseball.

      • Hunchback says:

        Indeed, probably most of Europe, Asia and Afrika don’t care much about Baseball and are mostly crazy about Football… both stupid games per se, mind you, but for some reason people can’t seem to like both at the same time.

        In recent development tho, geographical, cultural and language differences seem to be all but forgotten when people gather around that new and upcomming sport – DOTO2. Today one can happily go around most major cities in the whole wide world and call people SUKA, BLYAT, PUTIN, VODKA, IDI NAHUI, PIZDER, knowing that the message is understood… All that, thanks to DOTO2!

        <3 teh internets :D

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          Harlander says:

          Peace through universality of ethnic slurs? Worth a shot…

  4. Smidgey87 says:

    Probably the game I sink the most time into each year without realising. Far more compelling that Football Manager.

    Be interested to have a run with the British Baseball League. Never dabbled in custom modes before. Will it be available as a download or list of rules to set it up?

  5. Allenomura says:

    Is there a decent gridiron-type Football manager anyone can recommend?

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      The developers of Out of the Park Baseball actually have one coming… soon™. Like in a year.

      In the meantime, I’d suggest Solecismic’s Front Office Football 7. You can buy it direct from the dec, or on the Steams.

      It has an engineer’s UI, but once you can get past that and get comfy with what you can find and where, it’s an excellent rendition of the NUFFLE.

  6. fantodant says:

    I really, really enjoy OOTP, and I’ve owned three versions of it over the years. Unfortunately, it’s never had anywhere near the sort of lasting draw for me that FM has. There are several reasons for this, I think, not the least of which is the sheer complication of the thing (managing a super-complex farm-system? Dealing with contracts that change year-by-year and a salary cap? Realizing that if you don’t do specific things with certain players, they suddenly become glorified free-agents?). It really is the DF of simulators. I think the main issue, though, is the speed. You can simulate an entire season in minutes – and for someone who doesn’t feel like managing game-by-game, this is often what ends up happening. It all starts to get a bit…blurry. For that reason, I think that this game’s real strength is that “start it and watch” sort of simulation rather than a management game. At least for us casual folks.

    FM really is right in the sweet spot, and that’s as much down to the sport itself as the game. Soccer (sorry) is perfect for this sort of thing – 40-50 games per season, a reasonably straightforward academy system, and enough data to keep the stattos happy without being as overwhelming as OOTP. Though I absolutely love the whole procedural rule-generation/expansion thing.

  7. P.Funk says:

    I can report one thing. Its by far the most boring game to watch anyone play on youtube.

  8. Pantalaimon says:

    As much as I love staring at pages and pages of numbers in sim/management games like this, I feel like I actually need some visuals to get a sense of what kind of game this is.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      edit: after looking at the site I see it’s basically just gone the Football Manager route. I was kind of getting unreasonable excited that it would have some resemblance to Dwarf Fortress (someone make this game).

  9. melnificent says:

    I was looking at this as it’s 10% off at the moment on steam. Maybe I can help the Baltimore Orioles win the world series, or even just the league.

  10. Bundin says:

    I read “Ootpol 6” and wondered what it’d be about… lost interest quickly though. I’m not one for spreadsheets w/ graphics tacked on.

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Can you create a league where performance enhancing drugs are mandatory?