Board Game Review: Bottom of the Ninth

“Batter Up!”

I’ve found my new favorite filler game, and its name is Bottom of the Ninth.

Bottom of the Ninth takes place in the bottom of the ninth inning of a baseball game (surprise, surprise), with a tied score. One player takes on the role of the away team throwing their last few pitches of the game, while the other player takes on the roll of the home team, hoping to score that one final run to win the game.

(Side note, the fluff in the game implies that the away team is known for being highly effective in extra innings, so this is the home team’s last chance to win.)

Bottom of the Ninth is a bluffing game. The pitcher will choose between “High” and “Low”, “Inside” and “Away” chips. The batter will attempt to guess what the pitcher will be using, and correctly guessing (or, in the case of the pitcher, correctly tricking) the other’s choice gives bonuses to your pitch or batting roll.

Rolls will determine whether the pitch is a ball, strike or corner throw, as well as whether the batter will swing or not. Successfully predicting the others’ pitch chips will allow for rerolls, adjusting the numbers you rolled or a number of other things.

If the batter hits, a roll-off begins. The players will begin rapidly rolling their respective dice as rapidly as they can, over and over. If the pitcher rolls a 5 or 6, they’ll call “Out!”, placing the runner out. If the runner rolls a 5 or 6, they’ll call “Safe!” and place their runner on first base. This element to the game is excellent, and really feels like you’re racing to first base.

At the beginning of the game, each player will choose their team. The game features a bunch of really great cards for their baseball players. The cards look and feel like classic baseball cards, even coming inside a foil packaging inside the box. Each batter and pitcher has their own special moves and traits, from one of the pitcher throwing spit-balls (at the risk of getting thrown out of the game), to the batter who’s able to score a hit on a thrown ball. With these different personalities, each game will feel very different as each player chooses their respective teammates.

The game takes only about 15-20 minutes to play, and once you’ve played with someone enough times, you can both very quickly leap into the game and get to playing. The art throughout is stunning, and feels like an old, classic 1930’s baseball.

Whether you like baseball or not, I really encourage you to dive in and pick up Bottom of the Ninth.

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