NPNG+ is a tabletop dice baseball game. It is based on the original National Pastime game created by Clifford Van Beek and released in 1931. However, National Pastime Next Generation + (NPNG+) has been greatly enhanced to produce maximum baseball fun and accuracy while preserving the playability of the original game. NPNG+ is a result of over 50 years of play experience and an "ear to the ground" as to what other "gamers" wanted over the years from their game.
SUPPORT: NPNG+ is supported at: Delphi Forums
Professional baseball has been employing strategies that make use of lefty-righty matchups between hitters in pitchers for years. Also, in watching tons of baseball games over the years, I've noticed that the same pitcher has a different level of effectiveness against lefty or righty hitters. And at times, as an example and the one that I noticed and started thinking about, even some right-handed pitchers struggle throwing strikes to left-handed batters and vice-versa. We also know that some right-handed pitchers are very effective against left-handed hitters. Add to this the fact that in the latter innings of a game, managers are substituting pitchers and hitters (and juggling their lineups) to gain the maximum edge for the critical situations. That's what I wanted in any tabletop games I play.
NPNG+ is based on lefty - righty matchups (but makes this feature optional) basing a pitcher's ability to pitch to, strike out and walk / not walk hitters from each side of the plate based purely on the statistics for that year. I mentioned that this feature is optional because each pitcher is rated on his batting average against, ability to strikeout batters and his control (walks) versus left-handed and right-handed batters. But NPNG+ also includes a "combined" rating that you can use instead -- if you do not wish to play NPNG+ with such detail. You play the game as you choose.
A player card (see samples in the section called "Player Cards") is computed for all players who appeared in a Big League game. In addition, if a player plays on one or more teams during a season, he receives a separate card based on his stats for each team he played for during that season. If a player batted .240 for the last place team in the league and then was traded (in real life) to the first place team to help during the stretch drive to the pennant and batted .330, this will make a difference. He will receive two cards. His first card will be based on his stats for the last place team and will yield close to a .240 batting average. He will receive a second card for the first place team with the card being based on stats batting .330. All cards are assigned numbers in a manner that attempts to reduce the number of re-rolls required. You never need to roll more than twice and for most plays; only once. In order to have all players on all teams, in the newer seasons you’ll have to purchase the “extras” card set. In the earlier years, all players are included in the basic set.
Each player is rated separately for each position he played that year, for that team. This includes separate ratings for left, right and center fields. All players are given a fielding rating and a range / ability rating. In addition, outfielders are given assist ratings -- all ratings at each outfield position played. Using this variety of ratings for fielding gives NPNG+ the exceptional ability to deliver accurate fielding results, rate the tendency of fielders to even reach the ball and makes outfielder assist stats very realistic.
Each pitcher receives a card based on his stats for each team in which he appeared. If he pitched for three teams during the regular season; he will receive three cards in total -- accurately based on his performance for each team. IMPORTANT NOTE: Pitchers’ grades are based on batting average against -- a separate set of ratings for each team he was a member of -- with separate ratings versus lefties or righties. This allows NPNG+ to fine tune these categories for each pitcher. Additional plays have been added to the NPNG+ playing boards to aid in getting hit-by-pitch and walks stats in line.
NPNG+ is a blending of batter and pitcher abilities. Pitchers are also rated for their tendency to give up or not give up home runs. In addition, the ballpark in which the game is being played is rated and affects home runs. All of this is combined into a rather easy and seamless way of determining each play result to give you an accurate reproduction of professional baseball. Each batter’s card is computed taking in consideration the pitchers he will probably face and in which parks he will play his games.
Late inning player usage can make a big difference in the outcome of a game with NPNG+. You must be careful though. Some pitchers may not be as effective against same-side batters as you might expect! There are some surprises. And another decision YOU as manager must make is whether to put a higher grade pitcher in who is proned to walks and wild pitches late in the game with runners in scoring position and especially with the base loaded. That’s why managers get paid the big bucks.
You can intentionally walk the good hitter with first base open (or even not open) to set up a double play and / or just to face the next batter who is weaker. The manager must also decide to play some or all of the infield in -- yes you can play “in at the corners” if you wish. Just call it before the batter’s dice roll.
Sacrifice bunting is available for any base situation at any time. Each batter is given a separate bunt rating based on his real life ability. And yes, bunting with the bases empty is an option!
You, as manager, can start your runner(s) early and have the batter swinging away -- a hit-and-run. This play can be called with runners on first, first and second or first and third. It keeps your team less vunerable to the double play on the ground (especially with slow runner and/or batter) and can give your runner(s) an extra base. But, it increases the possibility of lineout double plays, strike-out-throw-out caught stealings, etc. This is what gives manager’s grayer hair.
Base stealing is built into the player cards. Your players will steal and be caught stealing very closely to the number of times they did in the actual game. They can steal third or be thrown out at third after a double. If you are the manager for both teams, you could exercise your option to prevent the steal / caught steal in the case where the runner would not have attempted it. If you are playing face-to-face, you should stick to the cards unless you make your own rules in this area. Occasionally a player (especially someone used as a pinch runner most of the time) may not make it possible to give proper base stealing ratings but NPNG+ covers these situations with a "manager called steal attempt". Some seasons do not have a player in this category. Instructions are given in those season that do have them.
"That ball would have been outta here at the other ballpark." You've heard that before. NPNG+ allows for this by providing a Park Factor chart. It's all here for you.
There are also injuries, wild pitches, passed balls, errors, base runners being thrown out, ejections, rain outs (or lights out in domed stadiums), unusual plays -- pretty much everything the happens in the real game can happen in NPNG+. Great care is taken to produce cards for batters, pitchers and fielders to produce real life accuracy -- even down to the number of fly outs, ground outs, sacrifice flies, etc.
All cards are based strictly on actual stats with one exception. Any player that didn’t have a plate appearance is still given a standard "no at bats” low-yield batting card. Players are not downgraded because of low number of games played. NPNG+ includes ratings in all phases of the game based on what actually happened. NPNG+ also has taken advantage of the wealth of new stats now available that we didn’t have fifty years ago (and before the Internet!).