Bottom of the 9th - First Impressions

Alternate title: Why Not to Play a Simultaneous Action Selection Game With Your Wife

People who hang around here often may remember that I am a huge baseball fan. There aren't a ton of baseball board games, or at least not a lot of good ones (that I've found, anyway). The best is apparently #Baseball Highlights: 2045, which, depending on the day, is either #1 or #2 on my wishlist. The next best that I've found is this one: #Bottom of the 9th. These games share a goal, but execute it differently: distill the grand game of baseball down to its best bits for a quick and engaging board game. Baseball Highlights makes you feel like you're watching a highlight reel of a baseball game, and trying to score the most runs possible over the course of a game. Bottom of the 9th has you playing a single half-inning - the titular bottom of the 9th - where the game is on the line, and all the batting team has to do is score a single run, otherwise they will surely lose in extra innings.

The basic structure of Bot9 (as I'll call it from here on out) is, in my opinion, simultaneously simple and complex. Each round starts with pitch selection and guessing, and depending on the results, may result in a hit, strike, or ball. Each round has the pitcher secretly selecting a pitch location, and the batter secretly guessing what the pitcher will select. These selections are made using two double-sided tokens each. One has High/Low, and the other has Inside/Away.

Depending on how many of the hitter's guesses were correct, and the pitch the pitcher selected, different things can happen, as mentioned above. Different dice are rolled to determine the pitcher's control and how good of contact the hitter makes. Before the game, the pitching player will select two pitchers to use, and the hitting team will select a lineup of hitters, each of which have special abilities.

All of this is why I say the game is simple but complex. The basic structure of the turn is simple - make pitch selections, resolve the effects (accounting for abilities on the player cards), and possibly roll some dice to see if the batter will be thrown out or safe. But resolving all of these effects requires parsing several different variables and identifying the correct effects, and is just not quite as simple as I would prefer. It's still quite fun, but it took a few minutes to get the hang of it, and a few more to help my wife get the hang of it as well.

Anyway, to explain the alternate title (Why Not to Play a Simultaneous Action Selection Game With Your Wife) - I played as the pitching team, and she played as the hitting team. She guessed my pitch perfectly almost EVERY SINGLE TIME. At a certain point we just started laughing hysterically because it was just uncanny. Lots of fun, but I had no chance. For this reason, I'm looking forward to playing this game again - it's silly and fun, and as a bonus, it actually does feel a bit like baseball. I bought Bot9 secondhand from someone selling it locally for $5. Heck of a deal.

Like| 27 comments | report | subscribe

Please log in or make an account to post a comment.

4 months ago

I got through half of the rules with a friend a while back with this game, then his child acted up and were not able to finish it up. I love baseball too, as you know, so if I can find a kiiller deal like you did, it may be in the cards! Thanks for reminding me about this game!

4 months ago

Ah bummer. Yeah it's a fun one, but I wouldn't pay more than like $10 for it. There are expansions too, but I don't really see myself getting any.

How pumped are you for baseball to start??

4 months ago

I watched a baseball game a few years ago when I visited my partner in the US, I remember the thing that took me most by surprise was that it just kind of started without any great fanfare: one moment they were all warming up and then the next they had started the game and the crowd didn't seem to change in those moments :D I liked that there was this calm air to the whole proceeding, and Maddy's Dad is very into baseball so was able to explain all the numbers 

4 months ago

Haha, yeah. There's a particular atmosphere at a baseball game. Some people don't care for it or find it boring, but I love it.

4 months ago

For sure,

I AM SO PUMPED!!! It is just me at home this weekend so I am bingeing all of the baseball lol. 

4 months ago

Oh dude that sounds so awesome haha

4 months ago

Ya man, I have a game night friday night so I will miss most of opening day, but saturday and sunday are primed! Are you gonna be able to catch any of it?

4 months ago

Nice! What are you playing?

And I'm not sure - as I mentioned before I don't have a way to catch Angels games, but I do now have access to an MLB.tv account, so I could watch other games. I may do a little of that on Friday/Saturday.

4 months ago

We are for sure playing Wavelength to kick off the night, from there it is unknown! I am typically a planner but we will most likely have two groups of 3 playing different games. Who knows. Bus, concrodia, Brass, Agricola, Race for the Galaxy, Puerto Rico all might be on the table! A friend is also bringing The Crew so there are lots of options!

4 months ago

Sounds like an awesome night!

4 months ago

Ya man! We will see what gets played!

Also I totally breezed over MLB.tv. You should just try and get a VPN so you are not blocked out of angels games lol

 

4 months ago

Yeah I've thought about that. I might actually give it a try.

4 months ago

I had a friend living overseas that did it all the time! Then he realized I have a COX account that my parents have kept active and I can watch sports through that lol

4 months ago

What a hilarious concept :p

4 months ago

Ha, hard to hide something from someone who knows you best! Looks like a fun little game

4 months ago

Lol, next time I'll have to just pick randomly without knowing so even I won't know.

4 months ago

Or you need to go one step deeper into the meta: you know that she knows what you'll do, so now you can play accordingly. Unless she knows you know that she knows what you'll do......

4 months ago

lol, hence my chaos strategy

4 months ago

But what if she knows?! Is your partner secretly omniscient?

4 months ago

Then she's been letting me win sometimes, and I love her more for it, lol. Also if that's the case then we need to head to the casino real quick.

4 months ago

Haha, would be handy, could finally afford a new kickstarter game :D

4 months ago

Lol, truth

Supporter4 months ago

What an awesome bargain!! And I love those meeples xD

Seems like a great game for baseball fans. Your story reminded me of my first play of #Love Letter with my wife when I took her to a board game cafe in Glendale, CA. She didn't have much clue of what she was doing, but ALL of her guesses were spot on. We were just laughing the whole time at how ridiculous the odds were.

Are you still considering #Baseball Highlights: 2045? Is it at the top of your wishlist?

4 months ago

I remember the first time I played pandemic with my partner we played a game of trying to guess which card was on the bottom of the deck when an epidemic card was drawn. We had an astonishing success rate: like 5 out of 10 (two games), and we were in hysterics

4 months ago

Haha, that's awesome!

4 months ago

Never have I been so excited to see what is coming off the bottom of the deck, we probably lost the game but it's those little moments, the things you create around the table that make board games such an enjpyable hobby for me

4 months ago

Haha, that's awesome. And yeah, #Baseball Highlights: 2045 is top of the list. Real baseball season starts tonight!!

Linked Games
Bottom of the 9th
Linked Topic