Sports fans live in a world of fantasy. Our emotional well-being is tied directly to the outcomes of games played by grown men in pajamas. We celebrate our irrational brand loyalty by buying shirts, hats, socks, smart phone cases, crocs, and anything else we can find that has our favorite team’s logo on it. And we convince ourselves that decisions we make about what we wear, where we sit, or what we say at a given moment will interact with the cosmos in such a way as to influence action on the field of play.
We take these fantastical notions to the next level by playing fantasy sports—fake games within the already surreal world of professional sports. And the simulacrum bubble expands even more when we attend fantasy camps put on by our sports heroes, who by that point are mere shells of their former selves anyway.
But what’s the next level beyond fantasy sports? Fantasy FANTASY sports, that’s what.
CSE Games’ Fantasy Fantasy Baseball takes the world or orcs, elves, and dragons, and mixes it with the world of Tinkers to Evers to Chance and comes up with that rare product that appeals to fantasy geeks and baseball nerds alike. To be clear, it’s not a fantasy game about baseball, it’s a fantasy game about FANTASY baseball.
Without getting too deep into the rules, players assemble teams of players, all derived from the world of fantasy, and try to collect the best stats over the course of the 20- to 50-minute game. There are rosters, bench players, waiver wires, and all the trappings of actual fantasy baseball, but there are zombies, elves, and ogres, too.
“What we are hoping to do is introduce sports fans to the board game hobby,” said Fabio Del Rio of Card Sports & Entertainment Inc. (CSE), the game’s publisher. “We feel Fantasy Fantasy Baseball can be a game that will entice baseball fans who are non-gamers to explore the amazing new games that are in the marketplace.”
The game, designed by Daryl Andrews and J.R. Honeycutt, and illustrated by artist Rob Lundy, will appeal to an interesting overlap in the Venn diagram of fantasy fans and baseball fans—the sort of people who get the joke when they stumble across “Ghouly Bat Flips” (above) or the sly reference to a famous Billy Ripken baseball card on the knob of an elf’s bat (top of this post).
“The fantasy fan, the baseball fan, and the fantasy baseball fan will each catch some of the inside jokes built in to the game,” Del Rio said. “Whether it’s a play on words referring to a baseball reference, the poses of the characters, the names of the characters or the description of their magical abilities, we’ve added a few layers of humour for each type of fan to enjoy.”
Del Rio himself is one of the people in that target market. “I grew up loving Star Wars, Transformers and Lord of the Rings, but sports have always been a big part of my life,” he said. “I collected baseball cards and played baseball all my life. I also pitched at Brock University, where we won a national championship in 1998.”
A Kickstarter campaign has already surpassed its $7,500 goal, thanks in part to its selection as a staff pick, so the game will be available in spring 2016. Similar games featuring football and hockey are also in the works for late 2016 and early 2017 respectively.