Gene Newman / Japanese Insider
CADACO BASEBALL GAME
By Gene Newman
Cadaco Game Cards Archive - Japan, Korea, Taiwan
Some of you, I'm sure, have Japanese player cards for the APBA baseball game, but I'd like for a moment to share information with the members here about a great tabletop baseball game that long predates APBA.
Ethan Allen All Star Baseball Game (ASB) was originally issued in 1941. Allen was still a major league baseball player when he originated the game. Cadaco, the manufacturer, eventually dropped Allen's name from the title, but continued to produce it annually from 1941 through 1993. Each year a new set of player cards (called discs, because they are round) was produced based on the results of the previous year's all star's stats. Occasionally an additional set of "old timer" discs was included.
The game went out of production after the 1993 edition, primarily because it was just too difficult, and costly, to obtain the rights to use current MLB player names. Cadaco did issue a new ASB in late 2003. Other than a newly designed tin box that looks nice, it was a disappointment to many of us who grew up with the game (I received the very first edition as a Christmas present in '41). All of the discs except for one were merely a rehash of previously issued ones.
The game is spinner-based. All previous editions had the spinners affixed to the game board, but for some illogical (to most of us) reason, the spinners in the latest edition are on cards separate from the board. Some folks experienced the cards flying off the table while trying out the game!
I returned from Japan (where I spent most of my adult life) in early 1993, and started to get really into the game again. I made some contacts through eBay auctions of the game, and one of the men I met was John Rose, an old friend of Ethan Allen as well as someone who has maintained close contact with Cadaco about the game and actually assisted Cadaco in research and preparation for may of their disc sets. For years, John has published a semi-annual ASB NEWS. Each issue includes a large number of discs, all of them MLB players.
Well, my interests run to foreign baseball leagues (Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela in particular), minor leagues, the old All American Girls Professional Baseball League, and university teams (I made complete disc sets for all eight teams from the 2002 College World Series . . . plus a set for my University of Alabama team that lost in the Regionals). So, I badgered John until he provided me with a copy of his disc-making program.
Since 2000, I have made quite a number of disc sets for all of the above and have improved on the disc format and come up with quite a few modifications that add to the game. The game is batter oriented, but over the years I have found that there is not a lot of disparity between ASB results and real-life results even though there is no pitching strategy involved. Now, some have developed pitching systems for the game, but to many of us it distracts from one of the prime features of the game, and that is its fast play. The mods I have made attempt to add some desirable elements without increasing the number of spins required or the length of the game. Playing the original style, a game can be completed in less than a half hour, if you keep stats, or maybe 15 minutes if you don't. With some of my mods, it adds maybe 10 minutes.
ASB is a great game and I hope that some of you will find an interest in it. For anyone who wants more information, just let me know.
If you're really interested, please come join the forum where, with modest restrictions, you can download any of several versions of discmaker and make your own discs: