A new tabletop RPG inspired by cult browser game Blaseball has been released, giving players the chance to manage their own sports team during a season of absurd and surreal events.
Fantasy Sport Manager: The Roleplaying Game is openly inspired by the online sports simulation released by developer The Game Band last summer, which saw players follow fictional baseball teams such as the Kansas City Breath Mints and Baltimore Crabs as they competed in week-long seasons tracked on the Blaseball website.
Like a fantasy league, players could bet on hourly matches using coins and earn additional virtual currency from individual players’ performances. (The game does not feature any way to spend real money.) Those coins could then be spent to influence the game’s random events and rules changes at the end of each season, with many veering into the absurd - such as the incineration of characters, the redistribution of wealth among human players and randomly reassigning stars to other teams.
THE STAGE IS SET! pic.twitter.com/2tf4ki72gS— BLASEBALL COMMISSIONER (@blaseball) June 19, 2021
Fantasy Sport Manager turns the browser-based simulation of Blaseball into a solo journalling game created by indie tabletop RPG designer Nakade.
The single player is cast as the manager of Valhalla Vespers, a team in the minor league of an unspecified sport.
The RPG plays over the course of a season, during which the Valhalla Vespers play five games. The player’s manager draws cards from a deck of playing cards to generate three random events that they must resolve before each match, writing down their outcomes and decisions in a journal or similar.
Channeling the absurdist tone of Blaseball, the decisions veer from fairly realistic - such as players upset about salaries or looking to change team - to the surreal, such as recruiting alien players, installing robotic supporters and ascending the team to godhood in their chosen pantheon.
Fantasy Sport Manager: The RPG is built on a modified version of the Wretched & Alone system, first used in Chris Bissette’s sci-fi solo RPG The Wretched before being adapted for use in other games by Matt Sanders. Chase found The Wretched to be a powerful single-player experience - especially in light of the ongoing pandemic - when he wrote about it for Dicebreaker earlier this year, calling it “a game that deals with hope in hopeless times”.
The 12-page rulebook for Fantasy Sport Manager: The RPG can be downloaded from Nakade’s Itch.io page, where it costs $3. A $4 bundle adds in the designer’s micro-RPG Depths and Dooms. A limited number of free community copies are also available for those in financial need.
Blaseball’s inspiration of a tabletop game brings things full-circle in a sense, as The Game Band creative director Sam Rosenthal previously told Dicebreaker sibling site Gamesindustry.biz that the video game was partially inspired by a desire to make something for his friends who were playing "not particularly well-made browser games that were just adaptations of board games or card games”.