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Subject: Eric's Solitaire Review: Minden Playing Card Cricket rss

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Eric Lai
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Minden Playing Card Cricket

Introduction

Underneath this oriental exterior lies the heart of an closet Australian, its been almost fifteen years since emigrating back to Hong Kong after spending much of my childhood in Melbourne. Many days during those youthful years of mine, I sat in a daze in front of the television watching the grand game of cricket. I was first seduced into the game during the Ashes where Steve Waugh smashed a triple century and with the crazy spin of Shane Warne and the other baggie green caps recovered the coveted Ashes to Australia. I am still reverent of those deeds to this very day, despite my lack of attentativeness to the cricket world nowadays. Now if you don't know anything about cricket, you probably don't come from a commonwealth country, its a "baseball" like game but on steroids. The batsman are practically armored, it takes 5 days to finish a test match and the ball travels faster than any sport in the world. The game I am to review today is an armchair version of this game that attempts to emulated the highs and lows of the game through random draws from a deck of cards... can it be done?

Commentary

The game I played is the 5th version of Minden Playing Card Cricket which as been license to Dagbostar Games in the UK. It was originally published by Minden Games and designed by Gary Graber, who also publishes a fine small magazine call Panzer Digest.

In the spirit of Sports Illustrated Baseball Strategy game made by Avalon Hill (and others of its elk.), this is a game where you take the actual players of the sport and their real lifetime statistics and apply them to a virtual game. , it easy enough that you can create your own characters if you want too!



The game arrives in a very neat little package, there is a rulebook, some player aids, pitch status cards & player cards and a couple of forms for you to photocopy, so to record your games on. It also comes with few tokens that mark various statistics on a gameboard and it comes with two wooden dice. You'll need to supply yourself a pack of regular playing cards and you are ready to go.

The game play is remarkably simple, first you setup the game by selecting your teams by writing their names on the scoreboard sheet where you'll record the happenings of the game, two team of eleven plus the twelve man.

A game of cricket is quite simple in concept but infinitely variable in nuances, there are two sides of the said 11 men, one side takes turn batting and the other side like baseball takes turn fielding and bowling (sort of like pitching in baseball). A test match is played over 5 days, during this time, the batting side that went first must be "bowled out" (sort of like the whole team is striked out) whilst scoring runs (points), the team that batted second must before the last day of the match, either overtake the first batting team's total score and win or lose because they were bowled out a second time with out beating the opposing team's score. (If neither occurs, a draw occurs)

When 6 consecutive balls are bowled by the same bowler, it is called an "over", then another bowler is prepared to bowl, swapping over every over. You play the game by revealing a playing card and each playing card represents what occurred during that over; for example a King drawn means there is a chance of a dismissal of the batsman, a six drawn represents 1 run, a 3 drawn may mean you roll a 6 sided dice on a batting table where the batsman's batting statistics come in to play, modifying the result and so forth. Basically each card play may result in scoring directly or result in having to roll on various tables that are on the player aids.

Every aspect of a cricket game is covered in this simulation from how many overs are bowled per innings to who caught the ball in the outfield to the effects of an old ball on a spin bowler's effectiveness.

There are two versions of the game, the game is introduced with the basic version where the player's statistics are simplified and there is less chrome, or the advanced game where each player's statistics are very malleable and closely resemble each cricketer's real life performance, in the advanced game every variable is added to make a truer simulation.

When playing the game, it has a remarkable resemblance to the real game, anything that can happen in the real game can happen here, and the narrative is very strong: A bouncer during the bodyline Ashes series can cause injury to batsman and that named batsman, say Bradman, has to leave the field. Its very realistic. Another hallmark of a good game, especially a solitaire game (note: this game can be played two players as well), is the myriad of choices you have at any moment. Like a Cricket Captain in real-life, you have to decide how to set your fieldsman, are your batsman attacking or defending, a fast pitch may favor a fast bowler, have a more close field position to pressure tailend batsman risking more boundaries and so forth (whatever you can think of it can happen). The wealth of decision is unending, just like the real thing.

Conclusion

This is another gem of a game, it reminds me a lot of B-17: Queen of the Skies with its excellent narrative and invokes the imagination and tables that simulate the situation so well, but unlike that game, this game has so many more decisions every turn to be made, its astounding. There are a lot of rules but for those familiar with cricket these rules will come naturally without much thought. This is my number one choice for traveling, all that is needed is a pencil, a pack of playing cards, a dice, player-aids & tables that I have shrank and made pocket size and away I go. The only catch to the game is its intrinsically small market, as cricket is normally only played in Commonwealth countries, many people will simply not know enough of the game to want to play a simulation of it. Another plus is that the teams will be continually updated with new player purchases (that are quite reasonably priced) and during the English Summer this year, Dagbostar is planning to release a One Day Cricket Version as well. Howzdat!!!!

I will give this game a 10 out of 10, for this game manages to bring out the intricacies and dramas in a game of cricket at home, not only is it statistically accurate but it compresses the excitement of a slow full 5-day test match in only a 2-3 hours. Its almost better than the real thing in this aspect!

+10 for the perfect game that invokes the imagination and excitement of the game of cricket, whilst still retaining statistical accuracy and still managing to randomize the outcome convincingly. A game of narrative and decisions. If only more games are like this.

-0 the only issue with this game is its limited market, but for those of us that loves cricket we are blessed by Gary Graber at Minden Games for his magnificent invention.

A geeklist of my other Solitaire Reviews
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Edward Kendrick
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Eric, just in case you've never seen it, there is a card game Armchair Cricket which does a brilliant job of representing a cricket match via cards - competitive rather than solitaire.
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Eric Lai
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I've heard of that, looks similar with the cards and all. I have the sneaking suspicion that the advance game of Minden Cricket is probably more detailed in respect to individual player statistics. I will have to pick up a copy to compare. Thanks for sharing!

Minden Cricket is not really a solitaire, but a two player game where each picks a side, but like many of these sports stats games, plays better solitaire.

(Good to see some Poms and South Africans on the Geek, wonder if I can collect all the cricketing nations to visit the review!)
 
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Lawrence Hung
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Quote:
I will give this game a 10 out of 10, for this game manages to bring out the intricacies and dramas in a game of cricket at home


Wow, it must be something. But I know nothing about the cricket.
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Eric Lai
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You had to have grown up with cricket to understand it, but yes, it is something!
 
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Steve Prince

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Lawrence Hung wrote:
Quote:
I will give this game a 10 out of 10, for this game manages to bring out the intricacies and dramas in a game of cricket at home


Wow, it must be something. But I know nothing about the cricket.


Cricket Explained by Robert Eastaway makes it easy to understand and reads quickly. It's a strategy-and-tactics-rich sport.


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Lawrence Hung
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I remember I had a soccer paragraph based game...it was fun...I lost it after all these years of moving and settling. Plus, I was very young back then.
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john guthrie
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Garfink wrote:
You had to have grown up with cricket to understand it, but yes, it is something!


to play it yes, but you can enjoy watching it with a bit of explanation. i lived in england for a few years back in the gooch era and got to really loving the game, as a spectator.
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Eric Lai
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It is a great spectator sport, beer and picnic at the MCG... those were the days.
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john guthrie
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Garfink wrote:
It is a great spectator sport, beer and picnic at the MCG... those were the days.


i went to a test match, australia v india, at the MCG once where there were only about 100 spectators in the stands the whole day.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
it was women's cricket
 
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Eric Lai
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ha ha!

I am very lucky, my introduction to the love of cricket was the 1993 Ashes series, where Steve Waugh smashed a triple century, Shane Warne did that CRAZY leg spin ball that bowled Gatting.

The fall of Gatting's wicket left England on 80 runs for 2 wickets, a position from which they never recovered, as Warne added the wicket of Robin Smith a mere four runs later. Warne also accounted for Gooch and Andy Caddick in the innings, helping to reduce England to a first innings total of just 210. Encouraged by their bowling, Australia declared their second innings at 432 for 5 wickets. Warne then contributed four more wickets as Australia won the match by 179 runs, winning the man of the match award for his efforts.

This result of this match set the tone for the remainder of the series, and Australia cruised to a comfortable 4-1 victory, with Warne taking a total of 34 wickets at an average of 25.79 and being named the Australian man of the series (each team being awarded a separate Man of the Series award by the other in that series).
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john guthrie
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i was on holiday in paris for that match. couldn't find out anything about it for some reason (not in the french newspapers!). i ended up calling the australian embassy and asking how the match went, getting a nice rundown from the kind lady who answered the phone.
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Mochara C
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Thanks for the excellent and informative review.
However

Quote:
the ball travels faster than any sport in the world


It's bloody fast, yes, but nothing comes close to jai alai (300+ km/h ball speed).
 
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