After playing Minden Cricket for almost one year, I think that it is a good idea to have a review of the game. The game arrives in a neat box, with a board, some tokens, 2 dice and of course the rulebook + the charts. Also needed is a standard 52-card deck.
Every player is evaluated through some ratings which measure their batting and bowling abilities. In addition, several elements are considered, such as:
1) Weather conditions. A test match played in England might be affected by rain, while a test match in India might be played in hot and humid conditions.
2) Pitch conditions. There are more than 10 possible pitches. It can be hard, grassy, dry, flat, cracking and many more. Usually on Day 1, the pitch will be flat, favouring the batsmen. On Day 5, the pitch will favour spinners.
3) New ball and old ball. It is recommended to use fast bowlers with the new ball, while spinners will not be that effective. The reverse is true for the old ball!
4) Unusual events: injuries, warnings…
After having prepared the two line-ups and having set weather and pitch conditions, the game can start. We have to shuffle the deck and flip the first card. One card flipped equals to one over bowled (a series of six balls bowled by the same bowler). The value of the card will determine how many runs are scored in that over. In some cases, we will be asked to throw one die (or two dices) to determine:
1) More runs scored by the batsman
3) Possible wickets (i.e. dismissals)
4) Unusual events.
We will have to read the relevant chart and find the result. The game can be played in two ways: THE BASIC and THE ADVANCED
In the basic game, players only receive 2 ratings, one for their batting abilities and one for their bowling abilities. In addition, the situation resulted from the card flipped is identical to every player. For example, whenever we flip a 7, the batsman will be credited with 2 runs; if we flip a 9, 2 runs will be credited to the striker, and 1 to the non-striker (3 for the team). This always occurs, REGARDLESS OF THE BATSMAN!! This makes the game quicker. After playing the game a couple of times, we will remember all possible results and we will not need to check the chart anymore.
In the advanced game, players will receive 4 possible ratings, 2 for their batting abilities, 2 for their bowling abilities.
• STRIKE RATING: ability to score lots of runs in one over.
• DEFENSIVE RATING: ability to protect the wicket (avoiding being dismissed)
For example, Shahid Afridi might score 36 runs in one over, but be dismissed the very next one. Rahul Dravid, instead, won’t have those big run explosions, but it will be extremely difficult to dismiss him.
• BOWLING RATING: ability to get wickets (dismissing batsmen)
• E-rating: ability to limit the numbers of runs allowed in one over.
Every player has his own chart. That means that the cards flipped will have different results. For example, we flip a 7.
• With batsman X, 2 runs are scored;
• With batsman Y, 1 run is scored;
• With batsman Z, no runs, and so on.
In addition, we should consider ball effects. Excellent bowlers might get special effects, such as extra swing or spin and some others. Obviously, the special effect is connected to the weather conditions. There are also optional rules that we can use (fielding tactics, aggressive or defensive batting and so on).
In the rulebook, there is also the explanation on how to create ratings for the basic game; for the advanced game, we need to buy one of the sets (there are quite many).
Duration. In the rulebook, it says that we can complete a test match in 90 minutes … Well, that is not really true. Actually, it depends on the amount of details we want to record. If we play the basic game and we only want to register the total score, that might be true. However, if we want to record more statistics and we play the advanced game, well… IT MIGHT TAKE MUCH LONGER! When I play, I want to record the individual scores of batsmen, the stats of bowlers, how batsmen are dismissed… Well, one test match might take even 6 hours. Do you think it is too much? Let’s consider this: a test match lasts five days for a total of more than 30 hours. 6 hours out of 30 is 20%. A football (soccer) match lasts 90 minutes; 20% of 90 minutes is 18 minutes. So, you can realize that 6 hours is not that much.
Absolutely recommended is a Microsoft Excel sheet (or similar programs). During the game we have to register scores and do calculations, which can be extremely tiring and annoying! So, let the computer do the dirty job! If we do the calculations ourselves, we might make mistakes and trying to correct them can be a big pain in the… If we use Microsoft Excel, the margin of error will instantly decrease: the game will be quicker and more entertaining. To tell you the truth, I have never used the board and the tokens.
Some more advice. Fast bowlers need more time to complete an over than spinners. The rulebook says that an over by a fast bowler requires 4 minutes to be completed, while only 3 are required for an over by a spinner. Then, we should add 2 minutes for every wicket… We can do those calculations, of course, but is it worth? Of course it is. But I prefer to keep it simpler. In one day 90 overs should be bowled: so, in my games 30 overs are bowled in the morning sessions, 30 overs in the afternoon session, 30 in the evening session, regardless if we employ spinners or pacers.
Final comment: the game is good and realistic. It is extremely easy to understand the rules. There are several details, but without exaggeration. And certain rules are optional, so if we don’t want to use them, it is OK! You can really feel the flow of the real test match. Even with the basic game! You can see batsmen building big leads, but also collapsing. You can see a bowler destroying opponents’ line-up but also being demolished. And don't forget the weather…
Negative aspects. It can be repetitive. You flip the card, you throw one die, you register the score… And like this for hours! Strategy is limited: actually, we see the game in front of our eyes, as if we were at the stadium. Seldom will our decisions determine the outcome of the game.
The game is recommend for just one player.
Final mark: 8 out 10!
One last thing: Darren is a great guy! You can write him whenever you want and will always reply!