Baseball sim games have never been known for their ease of use or user friendliness. By embracing the social web and modern technology, Pennant Wars looks to challenge those genre tropes.
Putting you in control of a franchise in one of its fictional baseball worlds, Pennant Wars has all of the basics in place that you’d expect. What sets the game apart, in my mind, are its four major selling points:
1. The game is entirely online: You don’t need to download, install, or configure anything. You don’t have to worry about anything, just go to the http://www.pennantwars.com on your computer, phone, tablet, etc. You can check on your team and manage them anywhere you have an internet connection. This also means that you are always playing the most up to date version of the game (which is significant, since the development team is very active and pushes out updates frequently).
2. Great Multiplayer Competition: Pennant Wars’ leagues are similar to the English soccer leagues where teams are promoted or relegated (demoted) to higher or lower divisions based on their performance. In Pennant Wars there are 4 divisions per league, and everyone is fighting to get to Division 1. Unlike other sim games, there is nothing to configure and no hassle for playing online, it’s already baked into the product, leaving 0 hassle for you. The constant rise of top teams means that Division 1 will always be a great challenge. It also means the feeling of accomplishment is great when winning it all.
3. Ease of Use: In Pennant Wars you won’t be setting seemingly arbitrary things about your team (like how often between innings your mascot should dance). GM activities and functions are nicely abstracted to “big picture” levers and pulleys. This lets you have control in ways that makes sense (with clear consequences), and removes arbitrary and cumbersome decision points (don’t worry, you can still set your lineups, pitching rotation, team strategy and all that stuff). This also means you don’t have to micro-manage your team if you don’t want to. The game world moves about 6 times faster than the real world, so you will typically have 5 or 6 games per day that are simulated. If you only have time to log in once a day, you’ll be fine. Even if you only have time to log in once every other day, you will probably be okay.
4. Community: The Pennant Wars community is lively. The sense of camaraderie and competition among players is palpable. With the newly added chat feature, there are always people around to share advice and help out new users (as well as talk trash when appropriate). Furthermore, the development team is extremely engaged with the community and very responsive to requests and bugs. This is something you simply can’t get in other baseball sims.
Ultimately, Pennant Wars is a game that looks to bridge the gap between the extremely alienating and unfriendly world of stand-alone, clunky, primarily single player baseball sims and the dynamic online world of fantasy sports. If you’ve been turned off by the baseball sim world before, but love the idea of owning and managing your own team, Pennant Wars should be perfect for you. If you love those old clunky dinosaur sims, you’ll still probably love Pennant Wars, because it gives you a fix in a way that those old standbys can’t.