The Best Games for Baseball Fans

Baseball Toss

Baseball is a beautiful game to watch. It’s also a wonderful game to play, and that joy extends to all sorts of variations and spin-off games. With that in mind, we put together this guide to the wide and wonderful world of baseball games. Here’s what you should be playing when your favorite team isn’t.

Standard fantasy baseball

Let’s start with the obvious. Baseball is the sport for which fantasy sports was invented, and it’s still arguably the best sport for fantasy fanatics. The stats-forward nature of baseball makes it ideal for crunching numbers and playing armchair GM. Fantasy fans will find lots of great apps for drafting and maintaining fantasy teams under head-to-head or traditional rotisserie scoring.

Getting started with fantasy baseball is easy. Even if you don’t have a group of friends with which to start a league, you can use online apps to join leagues with random players.

Of course, fantasy baseball may be old hat to many people by now. So what’s next? Read on!

Baseball simulation games

For those who long for a slightly more “realistic” take on fantasy sports, a number of baseball simulation games are available. These games, which typically live online because of their complexities, offer a richer and more detailed fantasy experience.

Some baseball simulation games allow you to draft players, fantasy-style, and then set lineups — but every day, rather than every week, and with extra complexities like park factors.

Some simulation games also put players in the role of the in-game manager, rather than focusing on the role of GM or the manager’s pre-game role. One of best known of those belongs in our next category.

Baseball board games

Modern fantasy sports games have largely eclipsed the baseball tabletop gaming culture of yore, but some incredible baseball board games are still out there — and, in fact, new ones are still emerging.

Baseball games vary from simple dice games (Deadball) to collectible card games (Clutch Baseball). The greatest of all, in many fans’ estimations, is Strat-O-Matic. Strat-O-Matic’s tabletop baseball simulations focus on in-game decision-making and use dice roles to simulate not just whole games, but specific actions like attempting a bunt or a steal.

Baseball video games

Baseball video games have been around for almost as long as there have been video games (though, of course, not nearly as long as there has been baseball!), and there have been plenty of good ones and plenty of bad ones. The best baseball games feel fast-paced and fun while still being true to the nitty-gritty details of the complex game.

The best baseball video game series on the market right now is unquestionably MLB The Show. But more casual players should also check out RBI Baseball, the classic title that was recently revived as an ultra-simple and extremely playable arcade-style baseball game. Those looking for an in-depth experience but lacking a PlayStation 4 (to which MLB The Show is exclusive) should check out MVP Baseball 2005 on PC. Yes, you read that right: Though the game came out more than a decade ago, a dedicated group of baseball and video game fans have been modding current rosters into the game for years and are still at it today. Fans of retro gaming will want to check out the game, too, along with other classics like 1986’s original RBI Baseball and 1997’s classic Backyard Baseball.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of baseball games (or even of types of baseball games), but it should be more than enough to get a baseball fan started down the road toward even more baseball-related gaming fun. Play ball!

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