In the days before complex computer simulations of baseball there was tabletop baseball, with each player assigned a card of probabilities. In the mid-1980s, Pursue the Pennant came along to challenge the two top guns in the industry, Strat-o-matic and APBA. PtP was the first major tabletop game to include the effects that certain stadiums had on performance, the variation of turf and grass and situation specific statistics.
Diamond Dreams is the computer conversion of Pursue the Pennant, and its tabletop roots are obvious. Instead of generic “ratings”, players are assigned “cards” which mimic the original cards. All calculations are done in the open, rules of fatigue are strenuously observed and flexibility is not an option. Like most similar simulations, the game has no graphics beyond the black boxes of outcomes and positions. This is a game for a serious baseball fan or analyst. If you are after accurate statistics and performances, this is the type of program you want.
The problem with the way that Diamond Dreams does things is that the fun seems to get sucked out. It is one thing to know that your outfielder has a good arm and has a decent chance to nail a runner at home as opposed to taking the safe play at second base. It is another, as in Diamond Dreams, to be told that your chance of getting the runner at home is 30% while you have a 100% chance at second. These stark numbers (the bread and butter of serious tabletop gamers) turn a fun spreadsheet sport like baseball into accounting. There is no need to know your players’ skills, because the computer will tell you what their odds are. Roster management and strategy are unnecessary skills, though these are the appeal of most computer baseball games. Coupled with a cumbersome interface that makes even a simple task like playing a schedule a major chore, Diamond Dreams has a cold appliance-like feel to it.
Reading the manual in detail is not a choice, but a demand. There is clearly a lot going on, and if accuracy is your priority, I highly recommend Diamond Dreams. If you want to enjoy yourself, opt for Out of the Park Baseball or Diamond Mind Baseball – accurate simulations that make baseball the fun it was meant to be.Reviewed by: Porcius