The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Longball Revisited

The latest project of mine that has me running about is a reconstruction of an old baseball simulation board game that I got back in the 1980's. It was advertised frequently in the pages of Baseball Digest (which was probably the reason why I bought a copy of the game).

The game was Longball, produced by Ashburn Industries. It was actually a pretty simple game to master, as you didn't have to know some rare calculus to create a player card as in APBA or Strat-O-Matic. If you had some basic stats (batting average, home runs, ERA), you could simulated a pretty reasonable facsimile of a major league baseball game.

About a dozen or so years after I bought the game, I tried to update the rules to reflect the increase in statistical knowledge of baseball - things like park factors, tying stats to particular hitting and pitching styles, adding a pitch count to endurance ratings, and things of that nature.

However, after I got married, the game got put on the back burner - especially since by that time I'd gotten into computer baseball games like Earl Weaver (EA Sports first foray into baseball games) and APBA and SOM's online versions.

Somewhere along the way, though, my playing boards disappeared. I still have the rating cards, the rule book and my "adjustments" to the rules - but no play result boards. The rule book did have some "alternate" versions of the playing boards, but they didn't help in some situations.

So, I've spent the last week or so doing some "recreation" of the playing boards, using what little I remember of the real boards and combining a little bit of what the charts in the rule book have for the results. I've actually done a pretty good job - including adding a couple of "updates", like a play description that turns a home run into a ground-rule double because of replay.

That doesn't mean that I've stopped looking for my playing boards, though. And, if anyone else out there has the game, and still has the game boards (the ones from Ashburn Industries, not from Skor-Mor), feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I'd love to at least have a detailed photo or scan of the boards.

I do wonder, though, whatever happened to Ashburn Industries and whether or not the copyright for the game expired. Who knows? It might be all retro to bring back the game to the 21st century.