Review - OOTP 2013

I am, admittedly, a simulation junkie. I have been playing simulation baseball programs for more than 10 years now, starting with the old Baseball Mogul and moving on to OOTP way back in 2003ish. In that time, I've come to realize just how ridiculously fun - and addicting - these games can be. OOTP 2013 continues that trend, as I have only had the game for a week and have already lost countless hours to simulation baseball.

For those of you who don't play video games, OOTP is quite unlike what you might expect. It's not a program dependent on computer graphics. It is, however, a program that uses statistical analysis and a pretty complex program design to determine baseball outcomes as close-to-life as you might imagine. Sometimes, good players tank. Other times, crappy players excel. Or are they good or bad - it's tough to tell, because even the best scouts in the game can make mistakes and you might unload your talented farm system on a player who turns out to be a bust.

What's awesome about OOTP in general (whether you buy in on the new version, which costs $40, or if you buy an older one like OOTP 2012 for $20) is that you can pick an organization and basically manage them for years, if not decades. You draft players, offer them contracts, determine when they are ready to make a big league debut, and negotiate to keep them when they gain enough playing time to reach free agency. You can trade for stars, negotiate lavish contracts with players while competing with other teams for those players' services, or choose to rebuild.

Probably my favorite move so far in the new game - I attempted to sign Roy Halladay to the Cubs for the 2014 season. He's old, so I assumed his skill would begin to rapidly decline, and I was thus unwilling to offer him the kind of multi-year deal he wanted. So I went the short term route - 2 years, 65 million (35 in year 1, 30 in year 2). The Red Sox outbid me, I bid him adieu, and watched him rapidly decline and tank in Boston. Roy won a total of 14 games for the Sox over those 2 years, which I imagine must've contributed to their 104 loss season in 2015. Mwahaha!

For those of you who have played OOTP before, you should consider upgrading t0 2013. To my surprise (since 2012 seemed so complete) the program has taken leaps and bounds to become even better. For example, it's easier to find trading partners now, as teams that are either competing to Win Now! or Rebuild are clearly labeled as such. For those of you who have disliked the use of scouts in the past (I label myself as such), you can now retain them (and now use the kick-ass world scouting system to round up potential stars) without the risk of 'human error.'

Other improvements to the game include...
New default filters for all Infielders, Outfielders and Relievers.
Complete histories for coaches. Not just their won-loss record as manager, but their entire career at each level.
Link to Google Earth in the "Explore Game World" section. This allows you to browse Google Earth for player origins, etc.
Recently Retired Players list in History. You can see just the guys that retired the prior year, instead of everyone who ever retired.
Bench Player for X Days: You can now put a player on the bench for a set number of days...like for keeping your ace starter off the mound after you have already clinched the playoffs! This is under Player Strategy for each player.
Development Indicators: Players have up (green) and down (red) arrows when they have development shifts in the minors.

Overall, I have indeed found this game to be worth the hype. I haven't run into any annoying game errors, and despite my master ability at General Managing, I've yet to win a World Series, and I'm about to enter 2017 with the Cubs.

And of course, my favorite feature remains the ability to 'cheat.' If you are so inclined to turn a dud into a stud, you may do so. I find it challenging to avoid doing this. Even when I'm playing fair, it's hard to avoid the temptation to improve the Chicago market and make myself super rich enough to afford the best free agents.

In any case, if you like simulation games, OOTP 2013 is unbeatable. Check out the program - it will fill a hole in your life that you didn't know you had.

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    I haven't played OOTP for several years, but one of my complaints back in the day was that scouts were too accurate. If you pumped up your scouting spending you could pretty much guarantee that you would never make mistakes in player evaluation. Has that been corrected in recent versions? I have no time for games like this, but I might be tempted anyway :)

    I actually started a campaign back in the day in which I played the Cubs starting in 1900 and went forward from there. It was a blast.

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