Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Guilty Pleasure For Eno & Daniels: Tabletop Sports Games

When I interviewed actor Jeff Daniels for the November issue of MCS Magazine, I asked him to tell our readers something about him that nobody knows.

His answer caused my jaw to drop.

Seems Daniels, like I am, is a closet sports board game enthusiast. His game of choice, he told me, is APBA baseball. That's the game with the player cards and the two different colored six-sided dice that are read "APBA style": 11 thru 66.

Daniels: A fellow sports board gamer

"I played a sixteen team league, thirty games per team," Daniels told me.

Some quick math will tell you that's 240 games. How long did it take to complete?

"Oh, most of the 1980's," he said.

So there you have it. Jeff Daniels and I shared something, and it was the least expected thing I could imagine.

But unlike Daniels, I play ALL the major sports, on my tabletop. APBA, Strat-o-Matic, Statis-Pro, plus countless others. Daniels asked me if I play video games, too.

"NO," I answered emphatically.

"It's about the dice, isn't it?," he said, "and the cards."


I've never been much for the loud, frenetic video game. It has always been, like Daniels said, "about the dice and the cards."

I'm bad at starting seasons and replays and never finishing them. Downstairs in the basement are at least a dozen boxes of various sports games, with attempts to replay seasons and playoffs and my own little tournaments, all started and all in varying degrees of completion.

In May, I was at a local hobby shop and discovered, to my glee, an unopened version of Dynasty League Baseball, which just happens to be the best baseball tabletop game on the planet. It would have cost close to sixty dollars had I purchased it online. As it was, the shop, perhaps not knowing what it had, was selling the game (2003 season) for $25. I couldn't buy it fast enough. Maybe someday I'll get the nerve up to replay the 2003 Tigers, to see how close to 119 losses I can get. Currently, I'm replaying the 2003 Red Sox, and we're 18-16 thus far.

I'm still rolling 'dem bones, usually late at night, when the wife and kid are in bed. You can keep your video controller. Like Jeff Daniels says, "It's all about the dice and the cards."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big APBA fan too. I did finish the 1970 NFL season a few years ago but I've never finished a baseball season. The problem is I always spend too much time compiling the stats of all the game results. I managed to get the 1973 season into September a few years ago but never got back to it. I'll finish it some day!

11:00 PM  
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4:06 PM  

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