Introducing Baseball Highlights 2045

So spring training has arrived in baseball land. What better time to pull out one of my favourite games from the past year, namely Baseball Highlights: 2045! If you're not familiar with this game, you can check out my detailed pictorial review of the base game here. The short version is that it's a very thematic deck-builder by Mike Fitzgerald, in which players compete over the course of several mini baseball games, complete with pawns that move around a baseball diamond in order to score runs. Baseball Highlights 2045 does a brilliant job of capturing the feel and tension of baseball, in a modernistic setting that provides a wonderful back-story, while at the same time ensuring that the game-play is both fun and central.

The game has proved to be incredibly popular, and actual physical copies have been hard to come by at times. So it's good news that a reprint has recently arrived (source), meaning that the game should be more readily available again. I also just noticed that until the end of February the publisher has a sale on all their expansions at eaglegames.net - and there's a ton of excellent expansions available for this game! But you can also get expansions bundled together with the base game, and that's what the deluxe versions are about. In this review, I want to give a quick overview of what you get with the deluxe editions (Deluxe edition and Super Deluxe edition), and all the expansions currently available. My other review already covers everything about the base game, so I'll be mainly focusing on telling you about all the extras, the deluxe editions, as well as the great new iPad app for this game that was recently released as well.



Deluxe editions

The game box of the Super Deluxe edition is identical to that of the base game, the only difference being that there's a sticker on shrink wrap that says "Super Deluxe version - Includes all 7 expansions". The Deluxe edition is similar, but it indicates that it includes the first 5 expansions.



Contents

Here's what you get with the Super Deluxe edition of the game, which is the most comprehensive edition of the game so far:
● Base game
● #1 Coach expansion
● #2 Rally Cap expansion
● #3 Magna Glove expansion (= Naturals)
● #4 Hitters expansion (= Robots)
● #5 Pitchers expansion (= Cyborgs)
● #6 Errors expansion
● #7 Big Fly! expansion



The only difference between the Deluxe edition and the Super Deluxe edition is that the Deluxe edition only includes expansions 1-5 (i.e. it omits #6 and #7), while the Super Deluxe edition includes all seven expansions.

Base game

As covered in my earlier review, the core game includes the following components:
● 4x 15-card starting decks
● 1x 60-card free agent deck
● 4x player mats
● 4x reference cards
● batter/runner pawns
● pennant & scoring tokens
● rulebook



The additional mini-expansions that are available all consist of 10-15 extra cards each, and add exciting new possibilities to the gameplay, including new immediate actions (e.g. Rally, Closer, Hold, Teamwork, Magna Glove, Cloning, Gambler, and Replace), as well as some new and modified pitches (e.g. Slider), and coaches.

Expansion #1: Coach expansion

Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Coaches Expansion consists of 15 extra cards that add coaches to the game. Most of the other mini-expansions just add player cards to the Free Agent deck, whereas the Coach expansion offers a different way to play. Each player gets to draft four coaches, each of which has a special game-altering ability that can be used once. These cards also offer some amusement value in that they depict game designers and other names in the game industry (see here for more details), including Matt Riddle, Anthony Rubbo, Alan Moon, Rick Soued, Ben Pinchback, Alf Seegert, Steven Poelzing, Bill Bricker, Thomas Lehmann, Richard Launius, Ralph H. Anderson, Richard Garfield, Mike Selinker, Matt Leacock, and of course the game's designer Mike Fitzgerald. I love inside jokes like this!



Expansion #2: Rally Cap expansion

Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Rally Cap Expansion consists of 15 extra cards for the Free Agent deck, which focus on assisting you in coming from behind or in staying ahead. The players include 4 Robots, 4 Naturals, and 7 Cyborgs, and introduce abilities like Rally, which only triggers if you are behind. Similarly Closer and Hold are situational immediate actions in that they might cancel all hits only if you are winning or losing respectively. Teamwork is an ability that just affects Naturals, and only triggers if your next player is a Natural. So these cards can really add a twist to the game, by giving some welcome variety not just in players, but in requiring you to find specific game situations to maximize their benefits. For a more detailed breakdown of the individual cards included, see Erik's review of this mini-expansion.



Expansion #3: Magna Glove expansion (Naturals)

Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Naturals & Magna Glove Expansion consists of 10 extra cards, which add 10 Natural players to the Free Agent deck. With the naturals being good fielders, the two new abilities here are Magna Glove (cancels two hits instead of the standard Glove which cancels one hit), and Teamwork (already introduced in the Rally Cap expansion). Defense oriented players will love the powerful effect of Magna Glove! The other two cards feature players with Stolen Base and Clutch. For a more detailed breakdown of the individual cards included, see Erik's review of this mini-expansion.



Expansion #4: Hitters expansion (Robots)

Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Robot Hitters Expansion consists of 10 extra cards, which add 10 Robot players to the Free Agent deck. The new abilities here include Cloning (repeat an already used immediate action), Gambler (temporarily use the top random Free Agent card), and Replace (permanently use the top random Free Agent card). One card also features a player with Quick-Eye. For a more detailed breakdown of the individual cards included, see Erik's review of this mini-expansion.



Expansion #5: Pitchers expansion (Cyborgs)

Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Cyborg Pitchers Expansion consists of 10 extra cards, which add 10 Cyborg players to the Free Agent deck. Being strong pitchers, it's no surprise that the new ability this expansion adds is a new pitch, the Slider, which cancels all your opponents hits, but only if you've already played at least two Cyborgs already. The other cards include Cyborg pitches we're already familiar with, like the Spit Ball, Knuckle Ball, Curveball, and some Pick Offs. For a more detailed breakdown of the individual cards included, see Erik's review of this mini-expansion.



Expansion #6: Errors! expansion

Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Errors! Expansion consists of 15 extra cards for the Free Agent deck. These cards require you to make a "check", which involves drawing the top card of the Free Agent deck and looking at the player type. There are some fun new actions, namely Error (Gloves do not work on threatened Hits unless make Natural Check), Wild Pitch (All Base Runners advance 1 base - if vs. Cyborg), Contact (Any Threatened Hit on this player become Single - if Gloved) and Bean Ball (Remove Batter from game and replace with Minor Leaguer - if Check matches Batter Type). See this thread and this PDF file for a more detailed explanation of how these abilities work. Not everyone will like the craziness this introduces to the game, but there's no doubt that these cards change things up!



Expansion #7: Big Fly! expansion

Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Big Fly! Expansion consists of 15 extra cards for the Free Agent deck. The new abilities include Pinch Runner (Replace all Base Runners with Fast Base Runners), Hit & Run (All Base Runners advance +1 base from Hits on this card. Ignore Base Runner Speed) and Sinkerball (Cancel all Hits vs. any Player - If Base Runner on 2nd and/or 3rd). There's some very powerful options in this expansion, and if you can get them to work, they can really help your offense.



Additional Starter Teams

Everyone loves playing with their favourite team, right? Any sports fan will understand the added appeal of being able to play with teams that you know and are familiar with, and the publisher has stepped up to the plate to meet this `need' with several additional mini-expansions that are available separately. Note that none of these are included with the deluxe versions of the game; while some completionists will want to get them all, most people will be glad to just pick and choose the teams they are interested in, and that's why it was a good idea to make them available for individual purchase.



Teams 1-4

The base game already comes with four starter teams, each of which has the same 10 rookies, but a different mix of five veterans:
● Starter Team 1 San Francisco (V1)
● Starter Team 2 Los Angeles (V2)
● Starter Team 3 Boston (V3)
● Starter Team 4 New York (V4)
The different V numbers in brackets are the common designation used to distinguish each different mix of veterans.

Teams 5-8

There are four additional starter teams available, which have a brand new mix of veterans:
Starter Team 5 Chicago (V5)
Starter Team 6 St Louis (V6)
Starter Team 7 Florida (V7)
Starter Team 8 Milwaukee (V8)



Teams 9-16

That means that there's a total of eight different sets of five veterans altogether. In addition, there's another eight starter teams which feature the same mix of veteran cards as the ones above. So obviously these don't change the game if you already have Teams 1-8, but they do give fans opportunity to add their favourite team to the game, or an alternative team to use instead of one with the same veteran mix:
Starter Team 9 Atlanta (V1)
Starter Team 10 Baltimore (V2)
Starter Team 11 Cincinnati (V3)
Starter Team 12 Detroit (V4)
Starter Team 13 Kansas City (V5)
Starter Team 14 Philadelphia (V6)
Starter Team 15 Pittsburgh (V7)
Starter Team 16 Texas (V8)



Most people won't need 16 different starter teams, especially since eight of them duplicate existing teams in terms of the cards used, with the only difference being the team name. However if you do have them all you can have head-to-head match-ups of teams with the same make-up of veteran cards. Having a wide selection of teams may also appeal to people interested in playing tournaments. For most people, it's just nice to have the option of picking up your favourite teams.

If you want to get all eight different combinations of veterans, the first four combinations already come with the base game (alternatives being starter teams 9-12, i.e. San Francisco = Atlanta; Los Angeles = Baltimore; Boston = Cincinnati; New York = Detroit). So for the remaining four combinations you can get starter teams 5 or 13 (Chicago = Kansas City), 6 or 14 (St Louis = Philadelphia), 7 or 15 (Florida = Pittsburgh), and 8 or 16 (Milwaukee = Texas).

Solo Game

One thing that I really love about Baseball Highlights 2045 is that it has an excellent solo game. It plays just like a normal game, except that you play against a dummy player that has a fixed team made up of Free Agent players, and the cards are shuffled and just turned up in order. This means it can be hard to beat initially, but as you strengthen your own roster with Free Agents, your chances of beating the dummy player increase. The fact that the dummy player's cards are turned up in random order does mean that some of its plays won't be optimal, but you'd be surprised how often the cards that turn up seem to be exactly the ones needed to frustrate your plans! You can also adjust the level of difficulty, by varying how many free agents you draft into your own roster before playing the first mini-game. If you're still finding it too easy (especially with the expansions), Automa guru Morten Pedersen has suggested a well-received tweak here, which has Mike Fitzgerald's support. I'm not normally a big fan of playing games solitaire, but this one is very true to the actual game, and works really well.



iPad App

An iOs app is now available, which has been created by Peter Kossits, and implements the solitaire form of the game. Some have complained that it doesn't include an AI, but that's just because the app is an exact replica of the actual game's solo mode, and the graphics and gameplay match this exactly. Certainly this is no reason not to get the app, because it does a terrific job in implementing the solo game. It offers a very addictive, fun and satisfying challenge, and in my opinion it's worth getting for that alone. You can also play with an opponent using pass-and-play if you want, but I've just been enjoying the solo game so far, and have played it a ton.



If you like the actual game, you're almost certain to like the app. And if you're brand new to the game and are on the fence about getting the app, don't let the absence of an AI be a deal-breaker for you, because the solitaire mode basically offers the equivalent, and is an excellent, challenging, and satisfying experience that is very similar to playing a regular game anyway.

More details about the app, along with reviews and discussion can be found here and here and here. Peter has announced plans for further development, including an iPhone version, an AI, the expansions, achievements, and a campaign mode.

Recommendation

So is Baseball Highlights: 2045 for you? I continue to love this game on account of its outstanding theme, economy of action, and its innovative and interactive gameplay. You can get enormous replayability with just the base game alone (although if you're only playing the solitaire game you'll likely want to pick up some of the expansions to add some new twists), so this isn't the kind of game that is incomplete without expansions. But certainly if you do enjoy the game, you'll love the new options offered by the mini-expansions, and their added appeal is hard to resist. You can grab them separately, but getting the Super Deluxe edition is a great way to get the base game and the first seven expansions altogether.

While the base game is terrific on its own, especially if you have another person to play with, the expansions will give you even more enjoyment and mileage. This is an outstanding game that I continue to recommend very highly!



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
mb The complete list of Ender's pictorial reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596

Subscribe to this list to be notified when new reviews are posted.

If you made it to the end of this review and found it helpful, please considering giving a thumbs up at the very top of the article, to let me know you were here, and to give others a better chance of seeing it.
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd Kauk
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Awesome post, but it appears that you have the Big Fly and Errors link under the incorrect headings (they are swapped).

Thanks! I love BH:2045.
1 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paulo Renato
Portugal
Vila Nova Gaia
Porto
flag msg tools
I run through Rahdo's Runthroughs and make right what once went wrong (via annotations)
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent work
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd Kauk wrote:
Awesome post, but it appears that you have the Big Fly and Errors link under the incorrect headings (they are swapped).

Thanks for pointing that out Todd - edit made to correct that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Janik-Jones
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
badge
Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Must. Resist. Enders. Siren. Call.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ralph H. Anderson
United States
Prospect
Connecticut
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks Ender! Excellent Overview - and correct and complete! . . . for now. Mike and I do have some plans afoot, so stay tuned!

Peter has done a great job with the BH2045 App and is already hard at work on the upgrades you have mentioned. If you are on the fence, this is a great way to try the game.
(Looking at you David! Resistance is futile! . . . and great Avatar, by the way!)

Go Wiffle!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Manuel Pasi
Switzerland
Zürich
flag msg tools
Ka Mate Ka Mate
badge
Ka Ora Ka Ora
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DaveyJJ wrote:
Must. Resist. Enders. Siren. Call.


You really, really shouldn't resist this time...you'll thank me as soon as you played your first few games of BH2045 and are hooked
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Kossits
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
...and the rules are less confusing than Fields Of Fire too.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Sinclair
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DaveyJJ wrote:
Must. Resist. Enders. Siren. Call.


Pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training. You can feel the fever returning.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Daffin
United Kingdom
Ledbury
Herefordshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great overview.

I have to say that the app is great and manages to clear up any misunderstandings about walks, clutches and how the game is played in the physical form, by showing the moves of the pawns.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard A. Edwards
United States
Lacey
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great summary! Very helpful for those looking at expansions.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Wakeham
United Kingdom
Chester
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Don't forget to mention that the app is on Android as well as iOS! In fact I think it came out on Android first.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave in Ledbury wrote:
I have to say that the app is great and manages to clear up any misunderstandings about walks, clutches and how the game is played in the physical form, by showing the moves of the pawns.

You're absolutely right, and I'm glad you mentioned this. One of the few criticisms I had of the game in my original review was that some of the rules weren't the most intuitive, and there were a few things that players could get confused about. Fortunately subsequent FAQs have covered these things, but it can still be a bit tricky for first time players to get everything right. Playing the app is a terrific way to clear up any rules misunderstandings, and to help ensure that you're playing everything correctly, because it handles all the game-play for you. So it's a great learning tool.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Kossits
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Clutch is the rule that seems to get EVERYONE (including me) into trouble. That extra base for slow runners throws everyone.

Android will pretty much always get everything before iOS due to the wait for Apple's review process. The first patch is waiting for review right now, but will probably go out to Android tomorrow.

========================

Full of surprises, Apple is. Super-quick review this time around. Patch should be available to iOS now just in time for the weekend.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phillip Millman
United States
Potomac
MD
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BH2045 is a great game and hits my table especially solo often. One of my top 3 games of 2015.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Hill
United Kingdom
Wales
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your detailed reviews and posts - looks like you'll have to do another update soon!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.