When you grow up in Texas, it doesn't matter how active you are, you just can't spend every minute of every day outside during the summer. The Texas summers can be brutal and you have to be creative to find something to do inside to fight off the boredom. One of the most fun games to pass the time that I found was dice baseball.
I grew up in the 1980s. This was before XBoxes, PS3s and Wiis. My brothers and I had a Nintendo, which was groundbreaking at the time, but it wasn't so groundbreaking that we weren't looking for other games to pass the time.
My dad is the one who introduced me to dice baseball, and it ended up being the focal point of several of those Texas summers. It combined two of the things that I loved the most, baseball and board games.
Dice baseball can be played with two players, but it is just as easy to pass the time playing by yourself. The rules of the game are very simple. The pitching team has two dice. The batting team has one die. The pitching team rolls its two dice, and the batting team then tries to match one of the numbers that the pitching team rolled. If a match is made the batter gets credit for the applicable hit (or walk). If no match is made then the batter is out. If the batter rolls a 6 then it is recorded as a strikeout.
The numbers count as such:
- 1's - Single
- 2's - Double
- 3's - Triple
- 4's - Homerun
- 5's - Walk
- 6's - No match
So, for example, if the pitcher rolls a 2 and a 3, there are six possibilities.
- The batter rolls a 1 - Out
- The batter rolls a 2 - Double
- The batter rolls a 3 - Triple
- The batter rolls a 4 - Out
- The batter rolls a 5 - Out
- The batter rolls a 6 - Strikeout
One thing to note is what happens when the pitcher rolls Double 6's. Since the batter cannot match anything that results in a base, the result is an automatic strikeout.
Dice baseball is played with the same rules governing outs and innings as regular baseball. There are 9 regulation innings with each team receiving three outs per inning. If the game is tied after 9 innings then extra innings are played. While playing, you create a typical baseball scorecard and keep score like you would do during a regular baseball game.
Baserunning is very straightforward. However many bases the current batter gets, the runners move up the same number of bases. So if the bases are loaded and the batter hits a double, the runners on 2nd and 3rd base score and the runner on 1st goes to 3rd base.
What I would do as a kid to make this truly a game to pass the time was create leagues. You would be correct to question my social life, but come on, I was 9. But as I was saying, I would create a league of about 12 teams, 4 divisions of 3 teams. Why 12? Well, the teams would play 10 games and I had to make the schedule. 12 teams seemed to be the maximum number of teams that wouldn't make my 9 year old brain fry when figuring out a schedule.
Throughout those brutal Texas summers I would make my way through those games in order to pass the time. I would look in the newspapers (remember, no Internet back then) to find the starting lineups for the teams that I used in my dice baseball league. Throughout the league I kept track of stats and at the end of the season determined who the homerun leaders were and who was the league MVP.
I would also play National League and American League Championship Series, followed by a World Series. It was always exhilaration and relief when I would finish that last game.
Dice baseball was a great game to pass the time during those summers when I could not always be outside and before I could drive. There are other, more complicated dice baseball games to play, some of which I own, but I will always prefer the simple, fun game of dice baseball that I was taught as a child how to play.