— Mobile

Fantasy fantasy sport Blaseball developers score $3M seed funding to go mobile – TechCrunch

In the absence of a real baseball league, it is perhaps not surprising that a simulated one should grow popular during the troubled year 2020. But even so, the absurdist horror and minimalist aesthetic of Baseball seem an unlikely success. The text-based fantasy league has attracted hundreds of thousands of players and now $3 million in funding to build up the game and go mobile.

If you’re unfamiliar with Baseball, feel free to go check it out now and sign up — it’s free. You’ll probably get a better idea of the game from 30 seconds of browsing than the following couple of paragraphs.

However, for those of you who’d instead read, Baseball is a web-based fictional baseball-esque league where players can bet in-game currency on the outcomes. But this is where things get weird. The teams aren’t the Mariners or the Mets but the Moist Talkers and the Worms; players have names like Chorby Soul and Peanutiel Duffy; their stats include allergies, pregame rituals, and an inventory of RPG-like items.

Likewise, games — told through simple text summaries of the action like you might see in the corner of a sports site — involve hits, balls, and stealing, but also incineration, shaming, and secret bases. “Weather” might involve spontaneous blood transfusions between players or birds that interfere with play.

In short, it’s totally ridiculous, utterly unpredictable, and very funny. This totally unique concoction of fantasy leagues, baseball satire, and cosmic horror has accrued a dedicated yet routinely puzzled fanbase over its 19-week-long seasons. And like so many hits, this one came as something of a shock to its creators.

Activity feed from the game Blaseball showing various absurd and normal events like hits and incinerations.

Image Credits: The Game Band

“We’re as surprised as you are,” said Sam Rosenthal, founder, and CEO of The Game Band, which developed (and is developing) the game. “Baseball was an experimental side project for the studio — we were in the middle of a pandemic, publishers were in a spending freeze, it was a scary time. We wanted to make a game that brings people together in this really isolating time.”

The idea for it came from banter at a real baseball game, where Rosenthal and a friend speculated about a league where the rules were “different and more chaotic.” Of course, the laws of real-life Baseball are continually being revised, but so far, there haven’t been any resurrections of players incinerated by rogue umpires, free runs for home teams, or shrink rays.

While the resulting game-like product resembles Baseball, betting, and fantasy leagues, it’s much too weird and random to really be considered the same thing. That’s led to some friction as players who expect a more traditional experience lose coins on a game decided by, say, a bird pecking their team’s star hitter inside an enormous peanut shell or a guaranteed home run because the batter ate magma.

The Hades Tigers … so hot right now. The roster shows a team’s current and permanent attributes, while players can work together to create change by voting weekly. Image Credits: The Game Band

“Sometimes we have to remind the fans that this is a horror game,” Rosenthal admitted. As players discover in time, the gameplay consists more in cooperation and guiding the league itself than in precision odds making. “This is not a game about individual success but collective success. The mechanics of the game reward organization fans banding together with other fans of their team. Using those coins to buy votes to determine how the most idolized players are treated at the end of a season, for instance, could have huge repercussions on the next season. Ultimately the players are really participating in a sort of long-term alternative-reality game rather than a zany baseball sim, as the ominous announcements and events drive home now and again.

Katie Axon

Katie Axon is a 25-year-old junior programmer who enjoys listening to music, podcasting and theatre. She is kind and giving, but can also be very rude and a bit greedy.She is an Australian Christian. She has a degree in computing. She is obsessed with bottled water.

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