IBL Game FAQ

What happened to Pursue the Pennant?

In the fall of 1995 PtP sent out a mailing to old customers indicating that the company had lost a significant amount of money and stated that all orders for the 1995 set must include a $15 deposit. PtP eventually ceased operations and never produced a card set for the 1995 MLB season.

What are the big differences between PtP and TIG?

The stealing system has been completely overhauled, introducing a “bad jump” and increasing the chance that basestealers will get nagging injuries. Batter and pitcher cards are now completely park neutral with respect to all hits, the vLH/vRH splits on the cards are produced using a regression algorithm, and adjustments are made for variance in the ability of opposing players. The defensive range system has been enhanced, expanding to 11 range ratings and increasing the number of range plays. The bunting system has been improved significantly. An advanced system for pitcher fatigue and rest has been implemented. Each card set includes a CHANGES file with a complete list of modifications from the previous season.

When do the new cards come out?

The card sets are usually completed in March. New releases are initially only available to members of the IBL.  Check the blog for updates on availability to the general public (or subscribe to the RSS feed).

Are you planning on producing card sets for past MLB seasons?

The mandate for this project is to create a card set for the most recent MLB season so that the Internet Baseball League can play its 162 game schedule. It is unlikely that card sets for past MLB seasons will be created.

I want to create my own card set, can you help me?

The IBL is happy to share the general concepts behind the card generation process, including data sources and methodology. At this time there are no plans to release anything other than a finished product to the general public, as the card generation process is not sufficiently documented to be useful to third parties. The best way to learn is to join the IBL.

Are all card sets backwards-compatible?

No, there can be significant changes to game play from season to season. Each card set is released as a stand-alone product and previously released sets are not updated. You should download the all of the pertinent files (cards, charts, etc.) for each season you wish to play. Read the CHANGES files for more information.

Where can I get the cards?

The IBL cards are available via the download page. Please review the terms of use.

How can I print the cards?

Recent card sets have been distributed in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader version 4.0 or higher. It is recommended that you set your page margins to zero before printing. It has been our experience that a full-service printer like Kinko’s will charge about $30 to duplicate onto a nice sturdy card stock and cut the cards.

What are those numbers on the top of the player cards?

These are: total hits / total on-base numbers / total bases


Have a question that isn’t covered in the FAQ?  Leave a comment below:

52 comments to IBL Game FAQ

  • Thanks for your interest in the game. I figure a good way to grow this FAQ is to answer questions here in the comments section, so fire away!

  • Brian

    I am trying to learn how to play the game, after having been a Statis Pro junky for years. I notice the charts refer to clutch situations, but I can’t find the definition of a clutch situation anywhere.

    Also, can you give an idea of the number of associats there are, how often owners give up a team and how long it might generally take to become an owner, as a dedicated associate?

    Thanks for your time.

    • I thought we had the clutch definition in the playing instructions, but they do not appear to be there. I believe the original PtP rules defined a clutch situation like this:

      – prior to the 7th inning, two outs with a runner in scoring position and the batting team tied or behind by 1 run

      – 7th inning or later, tying or go-ahead run is on base, at bat, or on deck

      We no longer assign clutch ratings but we haven’t removed the references from the charts in case we bring them back. Clutch ratings were removed because the PtP system did not properly balance the batting & pitching adjustments nor did it adjust the cards for non-clutch opportunities (if a player is better than his overall stats in a clutch situation he should be worse in non-clutch).

      Regarding your IBL question, we have a few associates but they are generally people who do not have enough time to run a team. If you become an associate with the intention of becoming a full-time owner it usually doesn’t take long. There’s also the option of helping out an existing team by becoming a co-owner.

  • Brian

    Thanks for your reply to my previous question. It really helped.

    Now I am confused by bunting.

    In the playing instructions it says that with men on base, the manager can declare if the bunt is a sacrifice or for a base hit. But in the charts, it says that with men on base, all bunts are sacrifices. Which one is right?

    What is the definition of each term? I guess if all the runners are holding, the bunt is for a base hit, otherwise it is for a sacrifice.

    Also in the instructions, it says that with men on first and third, the manager can hold the runner on third. In the chart, there are no restrictions, suggesting that the runner on third can be held at other times, such as if there is only a runner on third. Can he be held, while the batter tries for a base hit?

    And what about other bases? If there is only a batter on second, can he be held while the batter tries to bunt for a base hit?

    Thanks again for your help!

    • The charts are correct, you may only bunt for a base hit with the bases empty. Therefore, all bunts with men on base are considered sacrifice attempts. When I re-designed the bunting system I must have forgotten to modify the instructions accordingly. I’ll update the instructions.

      Regarding holding runners, it is the intention of the rules that this be limited only to holding the runner at third. This is so that the offensive manager is not required to put the squeeze play on with a runner on third. All other baserunners should be considered in motion on a bunt.

      In general I think one of the problems you run into when simulating a game like baseball is that if you try to keep your charts simple you unfortunately end up with ambiguous resolution in certain situations. In order to account for every possible base/out situation it would require much more text than is feasible given the space constraints. I’m thinking it might be useful to start a page on the Wiki to document some of the rulings the IBL has passed to deal with these situations.

  • Brian

    Okay, hopefully my last question: does case mean anything on a batter’s card when the positions he plays are listed? For example, is there a difference between SS and ss?

    • This is something that is done to assist IBL owners. Players who have their position listed in upper case played in 24+ games at that position in the previous MLB season. This is important because that is the cutoff for being eligible to start at that position in the playoffs.

  • Bob Style

    I can’t seem to match up the hit totals shown at the top of the pitchers card with the hits on the card. How do you value the deep fly? Does that explain the difference?

  • Brian

    Here’s another one: suppose a runner with a jump rating of 1 wants to steal third, and he is being held. This reduces his jump rating to -1. The jump chart only goes down to zero, so does that mean he can’t ever get a jump, or should the 0 column be used?

    • A player attempting to steal third with an adjusted jump of less than zero should simply use zero. Note that the rules specifically forbid attempting to steal home with an adjusted negative jump.

  • Brian

    Yet another question from me . . .

    I’m having trouble understanding the CHOICE chart. For example, an HF play says that the runner on 3rd can try for home. Suppose the bases are loaded, and I send the runner on third home. What about the other runners? Can I send them, or can only the man on 3rd go? Can I hold the guy on 1st, and send the guys on 2nd and 3rd? How does safety advance figure into it? Or does safety advance only apply if more than one guy explicitly has a choice?

    Thanks again, for your help.

    • You can only send a runner if the play explicitly allows a baserunner the option, usually via the keyword “choice” (e.g. “1 + choice”). So, in the case of a HF only the runner on 3rd may try to advance. Of course, there are CHOICE CHART results which will allow the trailing runner(s) to advance (e.g. SAFE+, OUT+).

      The “safety advance” option was added to allow the offensive manager a way of ensuring that trailing runners are not caught by the “cutoff” play. Of course when you invoke this option those trailing runners also may not advance due to SAFE+, OUT+, etc. If there are no trailing runners then neither the “cutoff” or “safety advance” options are necessary.

  • Ben

    Hi, I have a question about pitcher’s fatigue. In the rules, batters who reach base on a fielder’s choice are not counted towards the eight baserunners needed to fatigue a pitcher, but is the runner who got out on the play also not counted, since he was out on the basepaths. And if so, is it the same thing for the third out, or do the fielders always throw to first to make the third out rather than trying to get the lead runner? Thanks.

    • In order for a baserunner to be counted against the pitcher the batter needs to reach base safely without any other outs being recorded on the play. Since an out is made in the case you are asking about, no baserunner is counted. Hope that helps.

  • Matt L.

    Hi: Randomly happened on this website and was impressed. I never played PtP but was a fan of its descendant Dynasty League.

    I am more interested in the math behind the game, and had some questions as to how the dice roll numbers on the card are created. How do you “neutralize” the player’s statistics by home park, and what other factors do you apply? What assumptions do you make about the average results of IFR/OFR/Park/DF and the average opposing pitcher/hitter that goes into the numbers? Where do you get the data? Baseball-reference.com, or are there better sources?

    Also, a sillier question: How does pitcher’s fatigue work? I see the charts, but don’t see where the complete rules behind it are spelled out. Are they the same, or more or less the same, as the PtP fatigue rules?

    • For park effects 2-year park data is used (weighted 2:1), unless it is a brand new park in which case only the previous season’s data is used. Once the PARK? ranges are determined then each player receives an individualized adjustment based on a weighted average of PA per park. The same thing happens with HR data and fence distances. For pitchers it is assumed that cumulatively they face batters with Av power, who convert a DF to a HR with an average fence distance (12) 30% of the time. All of the data is obtained from Retrosheet.

      The pitcher fatigue rules should be detailed in the playing instructions.

  • Jeff

    I have a question about players with small numbers of games played, or a player with limited at bats. How are those situations handled in a league? Is the info for making limitation decsions on the cards?

  • Michael R.

    I never played PTP or Dynasty League so I used your rules as a total guide to playing. I have one suggestion and one question if you’ll indulge me. Suggestion: Could you please add abbreviations in the rules for brand new players. It took me a while to figure out what SP/O/P were on the batters’ cards and RSP/LSP etc. in the charts. I looked everywhere in baseball-reference.com for these ratings until I figured them out lol. Question: While looking at the cards I noticed 2010 Teagarden card had 83-97 Park? but below that there were 9 other results without numbers, I’m confused, how are these results applied?
    Thanks.

    • Each card will have all of the potential results listed. The plays without numbers will not be applicable. The numbered ranges on the cards should always be contiguous.

      Thanks for the feedback on the instructions, they definitely could use an overhaul.

  • Taylor S.

    Love your game – it’s just as solid as PTP or Dynasty League, if not better.

    I have a question (more of a clarification) concerning the adjustments for pitchers who start on three days rest. The rules mention that “a weather or dome effect does not alter these adjustments.”

    So for example: If 1997 season Andy Pettitte, whose Fatigue rating is 8, pitches on 3 days rest, on a cool evening, am I to understand his Fatigue rating is now 6? (I wasn’t sure if the Fatigue rating should be 7 due to the cool weather, but the rules seem to indicate no.)

    Thanks much for your time.

    • Yes, your interpretation is correct. When a pitcher starts on short rest he is prohibited from receiving the standard +1 bonus for cool weather. The -2 fatigue penalty for hot weather would still apply though.

      Glad you like the game and thanks for the compliments.

  • Mom of a fan

    My son is 10 and is a big fan of the online version of Dynasty League Baseball. He wants the board game version for Christmas. It is really not within our financial reality at this time. I came across your version, and am going to printout the cards, etc., order some dice and package it for him for Christmas.
    My one remaining question is the scoresheet. I looked at the one offered by DLB and it’s not unreasonably priced, but the cost of shipping is quite steep. What sort of scoresheet do you use for the IBL version of the game?
    Thank you so much for your help and for offering an affordable, and hopefully equally as fun, version of a baseball game.

    • Gerard

      There are tons of scoresheets that you can find with a simple internet search, then print out as needed. If there are specific things that you are looking for in a scoresheet that the generic ones don’t provide, you can design your own eventually using a spreadsheet program without too much difficulty. If it helps, I put a copy of my scoresheet on my team page — you have permission to use it as much as you like. http://havanahabaneros.blogspot.com/2011/12/scoresheet.html

  • Brian W.

    Could you please explain what happens when there is a strikeout when a hit and run is on? Does the batter strike out and the runner is forced to steal, or is the runner forced to steal and the same batter remains at bat?

    Thanks for your help.

    • On a SO result with the hit and run play on the batter strikes out and the runner is forced to steal. On a HR result with the hit and run play on the batter swings and misses but does not strike out. Hope that clears things up.

  • John Marlatt

    How do you use the numbers at the to of the batters’ cards to determine which players are starters and how to set the batting order? I also have the same question for determining starting pitching rotations. I am a fan of the PTP and Dynasty League games, and your game looks like it will be fun to play.

    • Those numbers are there in order to make it easier for you to compare player cards when making decisions about lineups, pinch-hitting, bringing in a reliever, etc. Obviously you are free to use whatever batting order or pitching rotation you see fit.

  • Scott K

    Hi all…
    I am very interested in your game. A little what I do. Each year I pick a team to play out the current season. I use a combination of CAIRO and STEAMER projections to come up with their statistics. I then look at the previous three seasons individually and then choose which season resembles their projections. So in this case I will be looking at seasons 2010-2012. If there is insufficient historical data, I will then create their own player card. When reading your FAQ, a couple of questions come to mind:

    1.) You stated “there can be significant changes to game play from season to season”. Would this be the case if used Joe Mauer’s 2010 card against Justin Verlander’s 2012 card? Has the game changed that radically and will rules be very different this year?

    2.) Is it possible to share out methodology regarding card making? As stated above, there are some players that do not have enough historical data and will have to create their cards from scratch.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Scott K

    • re: #1 — Game play definitely changes from year to year, and the further you go back the more likely it is that you’ll run into issues where the cards/charts become incompatible. You should review the CHANGES file which summarizes the differences. Another fundamental problem with crossing year boundaries is that the average level of offense has changed significantly over time. The average AL team scored 4.45 runs per game (731 OPS) in 2012, whereas it was 4.82 rpg (764 OPS) in 2009 and 4.97 rpg (776 OPS) in 2006.

      re: #2 — I’m always willing to discuss general methodology, obviously there are already quite a few posts on my blog which cover various design topics. This is an extremely complicated project with virtually no documentation and I do not have any plans to distribute the source code (over 10K lines of C/perl/SQL).

  • Stumbled upon this site when seeking to tinker with my personalized version of Extra Innings. I remember playing PtP extensively back in the day. Great game. Nice to see that it’s being “preserved” to some degree in the original format. Not a fan of the online presence, frankly. I’ve noticed that this is not being monitored lately. Scott and I have checked in. I’m sure someone will reply.
    My only curiosity would be if these “cards” and this game can be formulated to “create” mythical players? Seems to be the ol’ Col. Sanders secret of the sauce. Thanks again.
    /Mitch.

    • While this game shares the basic game mechanics of PtP, so much has been overhauled at this point that it really can’t be considered a preservation of the original. The basic data used for card creation comes from the MLB play-by-play event files released annually by Retrosheet. It really wouldn’t be practical to create fake players, as it would either require creating fake PBP data in Retrosheet format or writing new code to consume a different data source.

  • I keep coming back here from time to time to see what’s up. What amazing work! You should be congratulated for keeping a hobby, which I hold dear, alive and kicking. Your point is logical regarding a fictional universe for this game. I’m not savvy enough with Retrosheet to soldier on myself in understanding how a card is developed. But that’s okay. Thanks for a wonderful game option, Sean.

  • Ragg Tagg

    Thinking about getting back into tabletop baseball now that I’m retired (have much experience with Strat and Statis back in the 60’s and 70’s) but it’s a bit daunting. The rules to your game are fairly straight forward, but a help file explaining the cards, their elements and abbreviations would be a HUGE help. Any chance of making something like this available? (Even a players’ forum might be enough.)

    Thanks,
    RaggTagg

    • You mean something in addition to the instructions on the wiki?

    • Frank Hollander

      I was roughly in the same situation recently. The game is a bit daunting. Some of the old “tabletop” baseball games look like a joke in comparison. Nonetheless, the game at heart pretty much plays like S-O-M, just with a very heavy set of charts. I recommend printing out the charts and some card sheets and going through it piece by piece. Assemble lineups and roll some dice if that helps. Eventually everything on the cards and charts starts to make sense.

      FWIW, the wiki instructions could be most improved by either keying them to a specific season, or showing images of example cards, so that when it says “Barry Bonds rolls a 580 which is an ‘IFR’ on Josh Beckett’s pitching card” you can actually look at a Barry Bonds and a Josh Beckett card with the appropriate numbers. Nonetheless, the instructions work pretty well as long as one pays close attention to the charts and cards, which are tremendous. (I have printed out everything for the 2014 version on 110 pound index card stock and have been slicing up the cards with a simple craft store cutting thingy!)

    • I agree with your comments about the instructions. The problem I run into is that once the cards are produced I have to switch focus to the upcoming IBL season, so the instructions tend to wither on the vine. I’d love to find somebody who would volunteer to act as a caretaker for the wiki page.

  • Ragg Tagg

    Sean, this is a great game! I have played through a couple games and it’s true that almost everything on the cards is explained at somewhere, but a short section devoted to exclusively to the cards themselves (explaining, for example, why some results are bolded and others not) would be a great help. The suggestion of including an illustration of the card with some of the elements pointed out is a great idea. (The fact that the Defense info…for Error, Range, etc…on the top right of a batter’s card doesn’t quite line up with the legend printed above them really threw me for a while.)

    But, aside from all this, I do have a couple questions/suggestions about a few things;

    – on the error charts I encountered a result under Ec of “RG”. All other results are explained on the chart key except this one. I decided it meant “Routine Grounder.” Is this correct? So this means the play did not result in an error, right?

    – I don’t understand the figures in the bottom right of the pitchers cards, for example “162 SP 50 RP” SP and RP I get, but what are the numbers? They can’t be innings pitched.

    While we certainly don’t need to add even more info on the players’ cards, it would be helpful to have some sort of key to determine how a player was used played in the real world. How can I look at a card and be able to say, “okay, this guy played a ton of games at this position” or “this guy played in only a handful of games”.

    I have the same question that John Marlatt asked above. How do you use those numbers to determine starting players, batting orders…” etc. Your answer didn’t explain how to interpret this information, only that they “are there in order to make it easier for you to compare player cards when making decisions about lineups, pinch-hitting, bringing in a reliever, etc.”

    With all the abbreviations used throughout the rules and cards, a summary or key would be most helpful.

    Again, a great game. Donation on the way regardless.

    • Re: error charts – yes no error, resolve RG just as if you rolled RG result on a batter card.

      Re: numbers listed on the bottom right of the cards – these are AB+BB splits (vL/vR for batters, SP/RP for pitchers). The IBL has playing time requirements for post-season eligibility and these were added to the cards for easy reference.

      Re: defense – positions are listed in decreasing order of innings played and are capitalized if the player appeared in 24+ games at that position (another important cutoff for IBL post-season). Unfortunately catchers use up all the horizontal space with their defensive ratings so nothing else can be added.

      Re: lineups, etc. – I’m not really sure how to answer the question. The FAQ above explains that those numbers correspond to the number of hits/on-base/total bases on the card (assuming average resolution of events like IFR/OFR/DF). Each individual manager is going to have their own preferences about which of these things they value more when determining their starters and constructing their lineup. It may be helpful to think of them as analogues to BA, OBP, and SLG.

      An example of how those numbers can be used: consider a situation with a runner on third and two outs. The offensive manager may want to pinch hit in order to maximize the total number of hits in the batter/pitcher matchup.

      Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the game!

  • Jack North

    A question about HR in Fenway Park:

    I don’t see any option on the ballpark card nor the Park Effects card for a batter to be robbed of a HR by hitting the 37 foot wall and getting a ground rule double, a fairly common result in Fenway. (The “wall ball double”.) On the At-The-Wall chart the fence height column lists no die rolls for >11 feet. Does this mean any fence height greater than 11 feet automatically results in a HR? Or is it just the opposite; there’s no way to hit a HR over those walls?

    Thanks.

    • I believe you are referring to the “AT THE WALL” chart, which is a check for a defender leaping over the wall to rob a HR. This is only used after HR results on the batter card and yes, it is not possible to rob a HR if the fence height is greater than 11 feet (automatic HR).

      I believe the old PtP game had some special rules for Fenway that could turn a DF into a 2B, but I doubt that they properly adjusted the cards to account for the rules being implemented. In our game all park effects for 2B are rolled into the PARK? result, there are no unique chart modifications for Fenway. Feel free to create your own house rules if you’d like to add more flavor to Fenway.

  • Jack North

    In addition to the HR at Fenway Park question (see my reply to Ragg Tagg above) I have a few questions:

    Why are there several results under a dice roll range on a batter’s card? For example: Mike Napoli’s 2013 card, dice roll vsLH 164-177, vsRH 129-140 shows the result “lrf 1B lrf” but below that are two other results; “3b RG 3b” and “lf HF lf” When are these results used?

    • Each card uses a standard template which lists all of the possible outcomes, but not every player card will generate every possible outcome. If there are no number ranges next to the result then it simply does not come into play for that card. For example, a batter with an extremely low frequency of doubles will have no number ranges next to the 2B results on his card.

      Re: Napoli, he struck out so frequently that it resulted in him having very few non-strikeout outs on his card.

  • Paul M

    Loving the depth of this game!
    It really does feel as though you are in that game…
    Still getting fully comfy with the chart checks, but each inning gets smoother.
    I play other games for nostalgia, partial depth or speed of replay.
    This is the game I take my time with now, immersing in last season’s
    replay.
    Thanks again guys!

  • James L

    First things first!!!!
    Thank you for this great game! Keep it going!!
    Could anybody help me with some abbs. used in the game?.
    I struggle with this ones:

    Player ratios… Rp, Ro, Rsp, Lp, Lo, Lsp
    And im not 100% sure about the 2B… lc, rf, lcf, rcf, lfw, rfw, lfl, rfl

    Thanks again!!!

    • Paul M

      I know Ieft &right center field and ‘W’ for wall, left/right field line etc…
      But not a 100%sure about all the other placements.
      Just understand how they impact infield/outfield ball outcomes.

    • batters can be pull (p), spray (sp), or opposite (o) field hitters, so Rsp = RH spray hitter

      with the 2B, the different locations are used to indicate which outfielder fields the ball (e.g. 2b lcf fielded by cf whereas 2b lc fielded by lf), check the charts for details

  • I know you guys dumped tough/clutch ratings long ago. However, I am playing around a bit with your cards reflecting the 1998 season when those ratings were still part of the game. I would love to play without the ratings, nice to free up that part of the brain. Do you think cards from that era will play realistically without using the ratings?

    • The game will actually play more realistically without using the clutch ratings because the player cards did not have their non-clutch performance adjusted for the “boost” in performance in clutch situations.

  • Doug Puthoff

    Is the game available for PC?

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