Strat-O-Matic Fanatics

“Strat-O-Matic Fanatics” by Glenn Guzzo is the true story behind the creation of America’s most popular sports board game, Strat-O-Matic. The book traces the game’s roots from 11-year-old Hal Richman’s bedroom, his first rudimentary attempts at developing a baseball game when he was not satisfied with the statistical accuracy of games on the market, down through many stages of development to the game we have today. Strat-O-Matic started as a baseball game but had subsequent editions created for Football, Basketball and even Hockey. The book takes the reader behind the scenes detailing how it bypassed arch-rival APBA and survived other competitors such as Sports Illustrated and Electronic Arts. Along the way, Hal goes broke, faces opposition and betrayal but ultimately develops a successful baseball game due to his passion, courage and determination.

Even though the popularity of the game today has been threatened by more flashy computer games (Strat-O-Matic now has its own less flashy computer game), the original board game is still popular due to its excellent statistical accuracy, which simulates baseball managerial strategy well, and relative simplicity of play. In fact, many Major League Baseball players have and still play the game, looking forward to their new cards coming out each year reflecting the previous season statistics, anxiously waiting to see how their cards and ratings look. The game has been celebrated at the Baseball Hall of Fame due to its iconic history associated with baseball and its popularity. The book documents how Strat-O-Matic inspired baseball’s statistics revolution and details many stories of famous and not-so-famous persons devotion to the game.

This book is a great read for someone who has played Strat-O-Matic or loves the game of Baseball. The book gives an unique inside view of how the game was developed and even how some of the player ratings are determined. I have very fond memories of long summers playing Strat-O-Matic baseball and waiting for my new season’s cards to come in the mail every year. It was an integral part of life for my friends and I as a boy and enhanced my love of the game of Baseball. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.