With advances in computer technology, sports simulation games have entered something of a Golden Age.
The equation proves simple: Baseball fans want as much realism as possible in their games. Sports simulation games provide it.
Baseball, more than any other sport, involves a wealth of strategy, smarts and statistics. In recent years this has become even more apparent as certain Major League Baseball teams continue to do well year after year despite changes in the lineup,
Many of them have adopted the exact kind of statistical analysis used in sports simulation games.
How Sports Simulation Games Work
In a typical fantasy baseball league, team owners draft players from current rosters across the league. They then face each other in a year-long competition – or in weekly or daily matchups – in which stats for each player translate into a score for a team. Teams then add up their scores and the one with the most points win.
Fun and straightforward, but not quite as ambitious as sports simulation games.
Simulation games actually represent the first “fantasy” games. The early simulation board games combined statistics for everything from right hand batter vs. left hand pitcher (and vice versa), ballpark dimensions, even weather affects. Teams played against one another in simulated games.
The idea is to recreate the game as close to reality as possible, as well as give players the chance to act both as general manager and field manager. With the advances in technology, sports simulation games have become more sophisticated than ever.
For example, simulation games allow the following:
- Teams can pick players from current rosters or pick players from any era.
- Teams can recreate past seasons by drafting only players from, say, the 1949, 1952 or 1968 seasons
- Team can play in historical ballparks
- Teams can compete using some of the greatest teams from the past, including every champion since 1925, giving players the chance to pit classic clubs against modern champions
- Some, like Diamond Mind, allow you to play with some of the worst teams in baseball history, giving you the chance to see if you can do better than they did
That’s just some of the options. But as the technology evolution has led to more sophisticated programs to accurately represent the real playing skills of players, the choices have multiplied.
Diamond Mind Simulation Game
The Diamond Mind sports simulation game provides an excellent example of how close simulations have come to reflecting a real game.
Developed by Tom Tippett, who now works as director of baseball information services for the Boston Red Sox, the sports simulation proved so accurate that it became a tool for the Red Sox on the team’s way to becoming one of Major League Baseball’s most data-driven teams.
The game allows you to draft a team from more than 5,000 historical players and manage a team budget that forces you (like a real owner) to balance cost against potential reward from a player’s abilities on the field.
As noted on the website about the game, “it’s no coincidence that the Bosox hadn’t won a championship since 1918…but now have won three World Series since they started using Diamond Mind.”
For those who want to come as close to possible to the experience of running a real ball club, it has never been a better time. Modern sports simulation games offer baseball fans the chance to experience the National Past Time in a way that surpasses previous games.