Somebody tracked me down on Twitter and asked if I had any other custom rules that I use when playing Strat-O-Matic.
Why yes I do.
But then, so does pretty much everybody who plays a tabletop sport simulation. It’s one of those nice things about still living in the stone age and playing games with cards & dice. If I’m playing a PC-based sim, I can’t very well get the source code and build some mods for the game. But playing “analog” like this? You bet!
Here are the things that I do a little bit outside the norm.
Relief Pitcher Rest
I am using one little wrinkle here on top of what the official rules booklet uses to determine rest for relief pitchers. Rather than going by innings pitched (i.e. 0.0 – 1.0, 1.1 – 2.0, 2.1 – 3.0, etc.) I go by the number of innings in which they pitched. In other words, if a reliever enters the game with 2 outs in the 6th, strikes a batter out, then starts the 7th, gives up a double, and is pulled from the game, that counts the same as if he had pitched 2 innings. That guy warmed up to get ready to pitch the 6th, then he had to rest while his team was at bat, then he had to come back out to get ready and pitch the 7th inning. That, to me, should count more than a guy who started the 7th inning, faced four batters in the inning, and then was out of the game before the 8th inning started.
Injuries to Pitchers
I’ve seen this one come up on the Strat-O-Matic Forums quite a bit. Questions arise over how to treat injuries to pitchers. If I roll up a 2 game injury for a starting pitcher, what’s the point? He’s got to miss 4 days to rest before his next start anyhow!
What I do is use the standard injury chart for position players and also relievers. I’ve thought about using a different chart for relievers but haven’t come up with anything really great yet. My problems with it are that, in non-DH games anyhow, modern relievers almost never bat, so the odds of one ever getting injured are pretty much nil anyhow. But relievers in DH games who roll the 6-12 against a DH could still get hurt. It’s a little lopsided where relievers from the AL could get hurt but those from the NL never will, right? Doesn’t make much sense.
What I’m currently doing for relievers (and I admit this isn’t perfect) is that any reliever with a closer rating of (6) is akin to a position player with 600 or more At Bats + Walks – they’re both proven full-time guys whose injury duration should be capped at 3.
The problem is that this still doesn’t account for guys who were full-time relievers but not full-time closers. What do you do with a LOOGY who had 70 appearances with only 40 innings pitched? He also shouldn’t be susceptible to long-term injuries, right? It gets tricky… I may have to use a similar “maximum 3 game injury” for relievers with, say, 60 or more appearances. Not the way I currently play, but that seems like a fair estimate.
If I roll an injury to a starting pitcher, I use the following chart for injury duration.
Roll SP w/ * SP w/o *
---- ------- --------
1-2 OK OK
3-4 REM REM
5-8 4 5
9-11 5 6
12-13 6 9
14 8 12
15 10 15
16 12 18
17 14 21
18 16 24
19 20 30
20 30 45
Close Plays on the Bases
To start with, I kind of like the “Catcher Blocks the Plate” rule that Strat-O-Matic provides rules for. I know some folks despise it, but I find that catcher defense is already underutilized, so this (to me) is one way to get them a little bit more involved in the fielding side of things. So, for that, I use it.
However, why stop there? I use the same rules on all base running plays; not just at home plate!
A guy has a 1-15 chance on a stolen base and rolls a 16? Well the guy covering the base he’s stealing has to roll on the same chart as a catcher would to see if they get the base runner or don’t. If the guy is stealing 2nd, I use the SS to cover the bag if the batter is batting lefty and the 2B if the batter is batting right-handed.
Same rules for a guy going from 1st to 3rd on a base hit. If there’s a close play there, I roll against the third baseman’s fielding range rating to see if they get the guy out or not on a “border roll”.
I also have the possibility of injuries or fights breaking out after close plays. I’m about 150 games into a replay project using these rules and so far have had ZERO fights (still hoping for one, though) and TWO injuries, so it doesn’t change the game engine all that much.
Here’s the full rules…
If a split roll for a stolen base attempt or attempt to take an extra base comes up for the either the last number of the safe range or first number of the out range, the play is close and there is a chance of a collision and subsequent fight.
First, roll to see if the fielder handling the throw hangs on to the ball and tags the runner out or if the slide knocks the ball out of his glove.
Fielder Rating Safe Out
1 1-2 3-20
2 1-6 7-20
3 1-10 11-20
4 1-14 15-20
5 1-18 19-20
Next, roll the white and red dice.
If the White Die is a 6, there is a possible injury. Roll the 20-sided Split Die.
1-8: No injuries occur.
9-15: The fielder covering the throw is injured.
16-19: The base runner is injured.
20: Both the fielder covering the throw and the base runner are injured.
If the two Red Dice total 12, then a fight breaks out. Roll the 20-sided Split Die.
1-5: The base runner is ejected.
6-8: The fielder covering the throw is ejected.
9-10: Both the runner and fielder covering the throw are ejected.
11-20: For each team, make a separate roll of the red dice. On a roll of 2-7, 1 player is ejected at random. On a roll of 8-11, 2 players ejected at random. On a roll of 12, 3 players ejected at random.
Ejected Players may also face suspensions. For each ejected player, roll the 20-sided Split Die for the suspension duration.
1-7: 0 games
8-12: 1 game
13-16: 2 games
17-19: 3 games
20: 4 games
I like the SADV rules that allow you to roll to see if a batter gets a lead before they attempt to steal. When the SADV stuff is available, I’ll use that even when I’m playing Basic. I’ll use the pitcher hold and catcher arm combination to modify the base stealer’s chance and I roll for the Jump as usual.
But what if SADV isn’t available?
Well, first, let’s say this set has ADV sides of the cards. In that case, I use a spreadsheet to calculate pitcher Hold ratings (not posted here – yet!) and couple it with the catcher’s arm rating to modify the base stealer’s chance of success using the standard AAA and AA = 1-17, A = 1-15, B = 1-13, etc. With no Jump available, I assume they need to roll 5-9 on the Red Dice to get a jump. (AAA stealers get a jump on a roll of 4-10 instead.) So I roll that first to see if they even get to attempt. If the roll is a 2, the base runner is potentially picked off by the pitcher and if it’s a 12 by the catcher. In either case, re-roll the red dice. If both dice are larger than the fielder’s basic fielding rating (either the pitcher or catcher), then the runner is picked off by the designated fielder.
If I don’t have Catcher Arm ratings available, I use the Catcher’s Basic Fielding Rating and assume a 1 has an Arm of -3, a 2 is a -1, a 3 is a +1, a 4 is a +3 and a 5 is a +5.
Using POW with Basic
POW is cool, right? If you don’t have an ADV side of the card available, you can calculate POW. No, it’s not as simple as dividing innings pitched by games. I’ve seen that posted a lot on the Forums and it’s simply not true. If a guy makes 4 starts and goes 9, 9, 9 and 1 innings in his starts, his POW will be 9, not 7. Yes, that adds up to 28 innings over 4 starts and 28 divided by 4 is 7. But when I reverse engineer cards, I find that it tends to go by the 60th percentile of all the pitcher’s starts.
I’m not 100% certain on that number as I don’t have that spreadsheet with me, but I think it was 60th percentile for starters and 90th percentile for relievers. So if a reliever made 10 appearances and, sorted from shortest stint to longest, they went the following number of innings – 0, 0.1, 0.1, 0.1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3 – his POW is a 2, not a 1, even though he averaged exactly 1 inning per appearance. He’s essentially shown himself capable of going 2 (or more!) innings in a relief appearance, so he’s getting the 2 here because that’s where his 90th percentile falls.
That’s not even really what I’m posting about here, because the POW calculation is all well and good, but what if you are playing with the Basic side of the card? There are no dots on there that take away outs and convert them to SINGLE** readings! What the hell do you do?!
Well, first off, I pretty much always remove my pitcher once he’s fatigued. But if you don’t want to, you can convert things over.
Let’s point out, first of all, that all pitchers receive the dot on 10 of the 108 chances on their card. If they have strikeout chances on their card, those 10 comes out of there first. So maybe they drop from 17 strikeout chances to 7. I just want to give that background first.
Since the Basic side does not have dots to indicate altered results when pitching tired, use the following rules.
- If the result rolled off of the pitcher’s card is a strikeout…
- …and he has 10 or fewer strikeout chances on his card, change the result to a SINGLE**.
- …and he has more than 10 strikeout chances on his card, roll d20. Check your roll here and if the pitcher’s card has the number of strikeout chances listed, then convert the result to a SINGLE**.1-3: always
4: 57 or fewer
5: 44 or fewer
6: 36 or fewer
7: 30 or fewer
8: 26 or fewer
9: 23 or fewer
10: 21 or fewer
11: 19 or fewer
12: 17 or fewer
13: 16 or fewer
14: 14 or fewer
15-16: 13 or fewer
17: 12 or fewer
18: 11 or fewer
- If the result off of the pitcher’s card is NOT a strikeout…
- …and he has fewer than 10 strikeout chances on his card, roll d20. Check your roll against the “Pitching Tired Singles” chart, cross-referencing his strikeout and non-strikeout out chances. If you roll the number indicated or less, then convert the result to a SINGLE**. For example, if the pitcher has 7 strikeout chances on his card and 34 non-strikeout out chances on his card, then a d20 roll of 1 or 2 will convert the result to a SINGLE**. For the purpose of this chart, consider Hit/Out split-chances as not counting towards the non-strikeout out totals.
- …and he has 10 or more strikeout chances on his card, leave the result as is.
So, ya, this last thing here is complicated. But it will work. Alternatively, if you don’t mind marking up your cards, add dots to 10 chances on the Basic side of his card and be done with it! I personally prefer the spines of my books flawless and my game cards clean, so I won’t do it. But maybe that’s how you roll. (See what I did there?)