Baseball Highlights 2045

 BH: 2045 is a valiant attempt at combining the entertainment needs of nerds and jocks in one game.  The premise is, it is 2045 and baseball had run its entertainment course years ago, until they started adding robot and cyborg players into the mix!  That’s right, you start with a team of players made up of robots, cyborgs, and naturals (humans that are still somehow able to match skills with their more-than-human competition) – you know, like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.  Too soon?  Anyway, you take your starting deck of players and over the course of a few games, draft new players into your deck (a deckbuilding mechanic) and send the lesser players to rot in the minor leagues.  As the teams get stronger, more ridiculous abilities appear.  For the most part, robots are great hitters, able to get multiple hits in one at bat.  Cyborgs are excellent pitchers.  Naturals tend to be jacks of all trades.
Game play consists of opponents taking turns playing a card from their hand of six, each draw tries to answer the text of the other’s card.  For instance, player one plays a robot that “threatens” two singles.  The opponent then plays a cyborg that cancels one single by a robot player and threatens its own double.  That means the first card played ends up being a single (one of them got canceled) and the first player puts a runner on first base.  Now it’s the first player’s turn again and they try to play a card that will cancel the second player’s threatened double while threatening another hit of their own.  After six cards are played by each opponent, the game ends and the player with the most runs scored wins.  Then players use the money value of the cards played to draft free agents into their decks.  Then you draw 6 new cards and go again.  The idea is you do three games/drafts before starting a best of seven World Series.
I have to say, this game should be more well known than it is.  You don’t really have to know much about baseball to play it, but if you do have some knowledge, the game is really thematic.  Players have funny names that combine famous real players, for instance, Barry Sosa.  The artwork is cool, with stuff like robots having multiple bats in their multiple hands.  The drafting of players has a management feel to it and lets you take your generic starting team and give it your stamp.  Like lots of cyborgs?  Fine.  Well, sometimes the naturals tend to counter those, so if your opponent keeps drafting naturals, you might need to diversify and add some different types of players.  The game plays relatively quickly (under an hour for the World Series) and really does a great job of marrying table top gaming with sports.  I think this game is a gem.