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Baseball Boss: If You Don’t Love Baseball Yet, You Will Now
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by Michael Arrington on July 2, 2008

First off, if you love Baseball, skip this post for a minute and go claim one of the 1,000 beta accounts we have for Baseball Boss – click “register” on the top left and use the code “techcrunch” to get in. Then come back here and see why you’ll be glad you did.

Baseball Boss is the second game title from Texas-based Challenge Games, which launched in August 2007. Duels is an asynchronous gaming platform that lets users build fantasy characters and fight duels against other users. Users loved it so much that the platform ground to a halt within hours, and the company spent weeks adding servers and trying to keep up with growth. By December a million characters a day were being killed on Duels (no problem, you could get back up and fight again).

Baseball Boss runs on the same platform as Duels, but the game is completely different. Instead of creating fantasy characters and arming them with swords and spells, Baseball Boss lets users build fantasy baseball teams using real players (they have a licensing deal with Major League Baseball).

How It Works

You create a team using real major league players from 1907 or 2007 (the more years will be added over time). To start you are given 40 players, displayed as baseball cards. The game will auto-create a team for you based on your best players, or you can go in and tweak each player individually, including setting the pitching roster and batting order. You then challenge other teams. If they accept, the game is played.

Like Duels, the two players do not need to be logged in at the same time to play against each other. All of the settings are determined prior to the game, and the computer then plays it out, using chance and player statistics to determine each play of the game. You can actually watch the entire game afterwords via Flash in you like. In my first five game series, my team of misfits beat the 2007 White Sox in four of them, leaving my record at 4-1.

You can improve your team by trading players, and you get new players occasionally when you win. You can also purchase packs of cards in a marketplace. Each player has a “rarity” score of 1-7 as well as a salary. For now, salary caps don’t come into play, but eventually the game will host tournaments and use salary caps to keep things more even. The company also says they will eventually allow you to upgrade your players as well (and no, the upgrades won’t be called “steroids”).

So here’s the thing – I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I spent hours yesterday “testing” the game and talking to the company. It’s incredibly easy to play to start, but you can spend limitless amounts of time tweaking and customizing your team to win a few more games. I eventually had to cut myself off from Duels last year when it started to affect my writing productivity. Now it looks like I’m going to have the same problem with Baseball Boss.

More screen shots below. If you don’t get an account now, look for a full launch in the near future. More screen shots below:


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  • Hm, let’s see if this can convince a bloody German immigrant of baseball. The ultimate test. I will report.

  • Thank you sir.
    Registered and excited.

  • Very interesting. I will definitely give this a go.

  • You are right, this is quite innovative. But soon there will be imitators if this takes off

  • I must definetly email this to my brother, he’ll love it.

  • and they make money how? i mean r-e-a-l money, not the “$20 and jeter uses a new maple bat” money ….

  • Did it a quick run through, not that excited anymore.
    Kinda dissapointed…. :(

  • Should do this for a real sport.

  • It looks pretty good for fantasy players.

  • Imagine Sports (Diamond Mind) has long been the leader in this space. Their simulations are published by major sports news organizations like ESPN, etc.

  • Do they have a deal with MLB?

    If not they can expect a C+D from MLB.

  • Looks interesting. But how do they plan to make money off of this? How does Duels make money?

  • I am so tried of the Padres losing…so maybe I will head over there and build a good team!

  • wow, that does look good. I love pro baseball but hate fantasy leagues but this is truly something different… w

  • The official licensee of icon would indicate that they have a deal with MLB

  • a little underwhelming…. has a far superior game.

  • Lucky dog, you have Justin Duchsherer on your team.

    Hopefully, this will help educate scruffy foreigners on the world’s greatest game. Soccer is a nice game for girls, but real men love baseball.

    Go A’s!

  • I’ve never been much of a ball fan, but it looks like I will have all kinds of fun with this. Thanks for the account!

  • I enjoyed my first few games. It brings back the memories of cracking open baseball card packs hoping for a a Ken Griffey, Jr. The gameplay is easy. The roster building takes a little getting used to but I managed. I wish they had updated rosters. There have been a few important moves since 2007. Dontrell Willis is a Tiger now, not a Marlin. More people need to join so I don’t have to wait too long for challenges to be accepted or denied. So far it looks promising and I’m sure I’ll be back later tonight to see how my team did.

  • @16: No, real men love football.

    “In football, the object is for the quarterback, otherwise known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his recievers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.

    In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! “I hope I’ll be safe at home!”

    R.I.P. Mr. Carlin, R.I.P.

  • Best UI and product I’ve played with in 2008, very well executed. Can see myself spending lots of time on this site.

  • How do we get one of these 1000 beta accounts?

  • Ahh, sorry just read the next sentence of the first paragraph that I had skipped over.

  • These types of niche social sites offer more value than what FB offers and it is only a matter of time before Niches Social networks will be bigger than all these generic social networks that offer 1 value, connecting you with others. /yawn

    - I am not a baseball fan or apart of FB, but I would guess a FB person whose passion is baseball will slowly migrate to this type of baseball social network that offers more than a superpoke.

    Serious folks, Facebook? Really?

  • To answer the “how do they make money” questions… the way I see it:

    1) Micro-transactions model. Members pay small amounts of money for in game utilities (e.g. new cards, player attribute boosts etc.) If they can get millions of users spending small amounts of money this will quickly add up.

    2) Advertising. In-game sponsorships of tournaments/leagues.

  • “So here’s the thing – I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I spent hours yesterday “testing” the game and talking to the company.”

    “So I spent the entire day playing games and talking to my internet friends.”

  • Flow of the game sucks, and they force you to buy their “challenge coins” – at least it duels you can stumble your way through the game without them and some luck

  • Very innovative! Love the concept.

  • Make a version that does the samething for Ice Hockey and I’m in!

  • Not original at all. I’ve been playing a very similar game called Barnstorming at for over a year. It isn’t as pretty, but I think it is deeper and easier (and faster). If you are a stat geek, you will probably prefer Barnstorming.

  • All this did was reinforce why I don’t like baseball…apart from the players being payed millions to do steroids, and rob children of their dreams by suing little leauge teams, and whine about how hard it is to play Baseball for 2 hours, stadium food is absurdly over-priced, and there’s always some drunk, painted-fat-asshole screaming the same 40 year old heckles, the over-all game is just boring. Even the video games are boring.

    Baseball is dying. MLB should put themselves to sleep with dignity, or start making it worth the excursion to the ball park.

  • Steve: How about free bj’s during the seventh inning stretch? Or coupons for booze in the Cracker Jack boxes. Those damn things haven’t had good prizes since 1988.

  • Apparently they thought it would be a great idea to launch, but first delete all beta accounts without warning.

    No Email, no notice on the site. Nothing.

    Tried logging in today and got: “Attention BETA TESTERS! All Beta accounts have been removed. Please sign up again for a permanent Baseball Boss account.”

    Really too bad, it really was fun. I won’t be back though. Sorry.

  • Looks very cool. I’ll try it, kinda looks like my game: Smallball baseball

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