The internet’s favourite absurdist splort, fan-driven universe and horror-adjacent browser game is making the jump to tabletop. Blaseball: The Card Game has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a two-player competitive title that combines a lot of actual baseball rules with the colourful characters and reality bending powers of the online phenomenon.
Designed by Rain Watt and Michael Fox of Northern Ireland-based Wayfinder Games, Blaseball: The Card Game is an official adaptation of the 2020 internet craze currently crowdfunding a print run on Gamefound. The game will give two competing players a 24-card deck used to score as many runs as possible. Aiming for quick matches and tense tugs-of-war for leads, it skips the first eight innings and focuses all the unpredictable action on the ninth.
One player-coach will start at-bat, while the other pitches - these two positions change which stats on the cards affect dice rolls. After drawing their initial hands, coaches choose team members to put in certain positions on the field, such as batters, pitchers and outfielders, by placing their cards face down on the board. They then roll six-sided dice, add modifiers from card statistics and take into account any rule-bending special effects or peanut-related weather.
On a miss, they gain a strike. Three of these, which carry between players, will cede their time at bat. Hits allow them to run the bases, but the defensive opponent has one more chance for their outfielder to catch the ball and send that batter back to the dugout. On paper, it’s all very normal baseball rules set to dice rules and character statistics. Even winning comes down to a matter of scoring the most runs. But it's the special powers, both on their own cards and the supernatural abilities of the all-too-often parahuman athletes that throw this established order into entropic chaos.
The two teams entering into this dramatic competition are the Auric All-Stars and the Canis Underdogs. Neither of these are among Blaseball’s actual roster of, er… not-actual teams, who play matches every hour, on the hour in a season condensed down into a single week. Instead, Wayfinder Games’ have said the card game exists in some parallel dimension - this way, they can summon up both fan-favourites and all new athletes without harming the ongoing worldbuilding of the main game.
Which, if you are unfamiliar with Blaseball, folks take that worldbuilding very seriously. There’s a video produced by People Make Games that begins explaining the fascination with the intentionally esoteric game and the verdant fan community that sprouted around it. From its inception, Blaseball has only ever shown procedurally stats, player names and other extremely flat information. It is not a video game flaunting gorgeous art or visual fidelity.
Fans have picked up the slack, drawing depictions of famous players - Jessica Telephone and the once-dead Jaylen Hotdogfingers, for example - and collectively writing extensive backstories that flesh out a world hinted at through figures and numbers. All of this has fed back into the game in some interesting ways thanks to the ability for the community to vote on certain edicts, or changes to the game’s basic structure. Blaseball’s developers, The Game Band, have said community interaction is pivotal to the continued success as their game goes through another recent “siesta” for more arduous content creation.
Blaseball: The Card Game imitates that importance by constructing an interpretive canon of their own through card art and description. In many ways, this title is just a more involved fan project than your usual fiction-writing or fake court cases. It’s crowdfunding campaign, which runs through June 8th, has successfully funded the creation of two decks, along with tokens, a playmat and all other necessary game pieces. Backers can pick up their copy for £20 ($25.26), and shipping is estimated to begin in January of next year.
There are even booster packs with extra cards planned, but Wayfinder games said everything inside is the same: “We really wanted to give folks the fun of cracking open packs and pulling cool cards, just without the predatory practices or mythic rare chasing you might find in other games.”