Clutch Baseball Season Kickoff 2019

        Okay, so it’s been 2019 for a while now, but the big league’s season doesn’t begin on January 1st, and neither does ours. Winter is beginning its retreat and giving way to Spring, football is behind us, and we’re just days away from one of the best times of the year: Spring Training! So let’s get the ball rolling and jump right in to what’s new and exciting for the upcoming 2019 Clutch Baseball Season.

Gameplay Changes

        We’re constantly working to improve the game of Clutch Baseball, both in how it reflects the current state of the game of baseball and in how that translates into enjoyable (but fair) game that gives you complete control over your team and strategy. Towards that end, a number of small (and some not-so-small) changes have been made to ensure that balance of fun and function.

New Icons

  • The K Icon will now be awarded to the top 3 leaders in (K or K/9) from each league among qualified Relief Pitchers in addition to the K icons traditionally awarded to Starting Pitchers.
  • The R (Runs) Icon has been added to the game, and will be awarded to the top 3 leaders in Runs Scored from each league.

Positional Changes

  • The CP (Closing Pitcher) position has been removed from the game. We recognize that traditionally, this designation is not a position in the traditional sense, but a role that a relief pitcher is assigned to by their Manager. In order to offer the same flexibility to Clutch managers, who may prefer to use traditional closers in other roles and other relievers in the closing role, we’ve taken players that previously would have been assigned the CP position and designated them as having the RP position instead. Going forward, new Strategy Cards and Stadium effects that would have previously applied to the CP position  will specify an in-game situation or reference the SV icon instead. Previous cards that mention the CP position will not be updated or issued errata, as some casual and legacy formats may take advantage of previously printed CP cards. A blog that expands on this change with more information will be published closer to the set’s release date.
  • Not a positional change, but more of a positional enhancement: due to an effort to provide a more balanced array of players across teams, positions, and salary ranges, there will now be more affordable options for your bench. We hope that rather than the same select few players appearing on the majority of Managers’ benches, this will provide more opportunities to take advantage of low-cost players who meet a specific need or fill a specific role, be it backup catcher, pinch-runner, defensive replacement, or a variety of others.

Salary Adjustments

  • Icons: For 2018, icons that were similar were grouped together (hitting, pitching, speed, defense, all-star) and costs were reduced per icon in that group, so that you weren’t being charged double or triple for very similar icons. That formula has been very slightly adjusted, so that the first icon in a group is slightly cheaper, and the second and third icon in a group are slightly more expensive. Overall, it balances out very similarly, but someone with one icon in multiple groups (like 2018 mid-season pre-order bonus Ichiro — MVP/SL/GG/SB/AS) would end up saving about 15 points on their salary.
  • Battery Defense: In the past, Catcher card salaries were largely determined by everything but their defense. This resulted in a number of high-defense, low offense Catcher cards that providing a lot of defensive value at a very low cost. Because Catcher (and Pitcher) defense plays such a large part in the Speed aspect of Clutch Baseball, it has been adjusted. The lowest defense Catchers will not cost a bit less, and the rest will be adjusted slightly higher on a sliding scale as it increases. Pitcher defense salaries have not been modified, but it will now be slightly easier for a Pitcher to qualify for each tier of defense, so that there’s a better variety of available options.
  • Speed: In order to help Clutch Baseball align more closely with it’s real-life counterpart, concessions have been made on salary for top-tier speeds. Nothing drastic, only about 5 salary pts difference, and only for the highest levels of SPD, but hopefully enough to make a 16 or 20 SPD player slightly easier to roster. The real news here? A salary point has been developed for a new tier of speed: 24 (S). Now obviously it’s going to take an elite level of talent to get this designation, but we can think of at least one player who qualifies.

 

The 2019 Starting Lineup

        Enough small talk, let’s get to the goods! Most importantly, in 2019, the base set of players will not be contained to a single release. In order to be more flexible in terms of which players get printed and when, and in order to account for trades and late free agency signings (looking at you, Bryce Harper), the base set will be expanded and spread across one large release and two smaller ones. In total, this will allow for well over a hundred additional players in the base set over the course of the year! The majority of them will appear in Series 1 (which in the past would have been “the base set”) with more 2019 free agency signings, traded players, and breakout players appearing in Series 2 (known as the All-Star mid-season set in prior years) and even more trade deadline moves, breakout players, and September call-ups added to Series 3, a second mid-season set that will arrive near the end of the season. These mid-season sets will be bolstered by themed subsets of inserts as well, capturing players from throughout the game’s history and bringing them in to compete with and alongside today’s best and brightest stars. In addition to these three series of larger releases, more small-scale Limited Edition player releases will occur throughout the year as well. Here’s a detailed rundown of what you can expect from the Clutch Baseball lineup in 2019. 

Series One – Pre-Orders Begin March 1st

  • Series 1 of Clutch Baseball will include:
    • 400 new Player Cards
    • 70 new Strategy Cards
    • 30 new Stadiums
      • Every big league Stadium has been updated for 2019
      • Each Stadium will feature a new effect (and home town player bonus!)
    • For the first time ever, limited edition Variant versions of all Rare players will be available in the base sets

Series Two – Pre-Order ETA June 1st

  • Series 2 of Clutch Baseball will include:
    • More new Base Set Player Cards than ever before, including
      • Late Free-Agent Signings
      • Breakout Players
      • Traded Players
    • New Strategy Cards and/or Stadiums
    • Special themed subsets of player inserts

Series Three – Pre-Order ETA September 1st

  • Series 3 of Clutch Baseball will include:
    • Even more new Base Set Player Cards, including
      • Trade Deadline Moves
      • More Breakout Players
      • September Call-Ups and Prospects
    • New Strategy Cards and/or Stadiums
    • Special themed subsets of player inserts

Limited Edition Sets

  • In addition to the Black History Month LE set currently on-sale, there will be additional LE sets available throughout the year, details of which will be released in advance of their on-sale dates.

 

Design Updates

        2019’s Players, Stadiums, and Packaging all get a facelift for the new season, and each of them look sharper than ever. Player cards are obviously the biggest change this year, but the result should more helpful and easier to read and find useful information on than ever. Packaging will undergo both physical and graphical updates, not only to look better, but to streamline the shipping process as well. Stadiums have received a fresh look to help further differentiate the 2019 stadiums (with new effects) from their 2018 and 2017 counterparts.

Player Designs

  • Updated design featuring a bolder, more high-contrast look and feel
  • Even more player silhouettes for increased accuracy and additional variety
  • Salary, Defense, Speed, and Inning Pitched limits will now appear in their own section of graphical card details being referred to as “the stack,” and will each be designated by a corresponding icon.
  • A new “Power Bar” has been added to the top of all hitter and pitcher cards. The colors on the Power Bar correspond to that player’s chart; the more red the better for a hitter, but pitchers will be better off with a bar full of blue.

Stadium Designs

  • Updated look and feel for 2019 in order to differentiate from 2017/18 Stadiums

Packaging Designs

  • New booster packs design with new easier-to-open tabs
  • New packaging for complete sets that will make shipping faster and more efficient
  • New graphical updates for packs, complete sets, starter decks, and more

 

Check Out The Team Shop

        Whether you’re just getting started or you just can’t get enough, 2019 is bringing a variety of new options to get you into the game. With returning favorites, some new entries, and a few twists along the way, this year’s product line is hotter than ever!

  • Starter Decks
    • 4 All-New Themed One-Player Starter Decks
    • Available on their own, or in two or four player starter sets.
    • Each contains a themed 25-man Roster (2 Rares, 6 Uncommons, 17 Commons), a 22-card Strategy card deck (1 Rare, 7 Uncommons, 14 Commons), and 3 Stadium cards (1 Uncommon, 2 Commons)
    • Full details and Player/Strategy/Stadium lists will be revealed soon!
  • Rubber Mats
    • You’ve asked and asked, and they will be back for 2019!
    • Premium Rubber Mats will be available in the Clutch Baseball Store in March.
  • Promo Cards
    • 4 all-new 2019 Promo cards
    • Details on players and distribution will be announced before Opening Day
  • Variants – Series 1
    • For the first time, variant editions of Rare players will be available in the base set!
    • Every one of the 50 Rares in the Series 1 set will have a “Shadow” Variant with a blackout color scheme (limited to 9 copies per player) and a “Spectrum” Variant where each player will have one of 9 unique color schemes (limited to 1 copy per player).
    • The odds of pulling a Shadow Variant will be approximately 1:6 booster packs.
    • The odds of pulling a Spectrum Variant will be approximately 1:60 booster packs.
    • The Series 2 and Series 3 sets will include Shadow and Spectrum Variants as well!

 

Growing the Game

        The Clutch Baseball team has been tirelessly working to get everything ready for Opening Day of the 2019 Clutch Baseball season, but our goal isn’t just to get new products onto shelves and into players’ hands. We’re also dedicated to improving the gameplay experience year after year, and 2019 should be a banner year for helping managers make the most of their gaming experience. Here are some of the ways we plan on helping make your games more fun, less frustrating, and played in more formats than ever before!

More Ways (and Opportunities) To Play

In 2019, we plan on introducing a number of new game formats, as well as guidelines and assistance for running events yourself. We want you to be able to make the most of your Clutch Baseball cards throughout the entire year!

  • Limited / Draft Formats
    • Plans for official Limited and/or Draft formats are in the planning stages, and will be shifting into play-testing after the release of Series 1. Once finalized, these formats will be supported with new product kits for casual or hosted official events.
  • Independent League Rules
    • An official rules system for hosting your own in-person or online league, designed to be flexible for any number of players, over any length of season, and played out over any length of time.
  • Regional Meetups & Tournaments
    • We are in the formative stages of identifying Clutch Baseball “hot spots” around the country (or the globe!) along with experienced players to act as regional coordinators for future events. These events could include pre-release tournaments, in-person draft events, regional leagues, or even regional semi-finals for a national championship tournament. If you are interested in volunteering for a position like this and you feel there are (or could be) enough player in your area, feel free to reach out to us!
  • Oddball Rules
    • Throughout the year, we’ll post a variety of non-traditional formats and roster-building themes with new twists and odd rules for you to try playing at home. There may even be prizes for the best teams!
  • Online Leagues & Tournaments
    • Currently, the official Clutch Baseball online league consists of 16 “major league” teams and was recently expanded to include 10 “minor league” teams as well. While this expansion was nice, it still wasn’t enough, because we’ve had even more Managers asking how they can join and be involved. We’re still in the planning stages of this year’s online leagues, but our goal is to include as many Managers who are interested in either the primary league or in additional smaller ones. If you are interesting in joining one of these leagues, please let us know by filling out this survey!
    • In addition, we will be scheduling and hosting multiple shorter-term Online Tournaments through the year. This first of which is the ongoing Generations tournament, and based on feedback from that we will finalize plans for more events throughout the 2019 season. Details will be shared as we finalize them but you can get a jump start by filling out the online play survey at the link above.

More Player Support

We know that in the past, a lot of players have had questions, concerns, or feedback regarding in-game situations, individual rulings, verbiage on cards, and more. It’s also been tough at times to track down who to ask or seek old old answers elsewhere. We’d like to make sure players have all the resources they need to enjoy Clutch Baseball free of frustration or confusion, so we’ll be putting a lot of time and effort this year into doing so.

  • “Go look in the rulebook!”…
    • …”the rulebook doesn’t say anything about that!” Well, it should. And it will! More frequent rulebook updates should lead to less question. And if there’s something missing that you think it should cover, let us know! We’ll also make sure to keep the changelog updated so that even if you know everything there is to know in the rulebook, you can quickly see what’s changed (along with an explanation for why).
  • “But how does this card work with that one?”
    • Well, sometimes the rulebook can’t cover every card and every scenario in the game. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be covered somewhere! We’ll be introducing an easily accessible list of Strategy and Stadium cards that covers and Frequently Asked Questions, Individual Rulings, or Errata for each card in the game. This reference guide should help make gameplay much smoother and far less frustrating.
  • “Okay let’s just ask someone who knows.”
    • First of all, the entire Development team is going to have a larger presence on Social Media, where we should be easily accessible when needed. You should be able to @/DM/message us on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, anywhere you prefer. Need an answer and can’t get to any of those? Text me. Seriously. I’ll put my number right below this section. Sometimes it may not be as fast as any of those other methods, sometimes it may be faster, but I guarantee you’ll get the answers you need.
    • For a long time, the Clutch team has been the best resource for answers and in-game help, but the game is growing, and players are becoming as experienced as we are (some maybe even more so).  Other games have “Judge” programs or other way to designate an “expert” when it comes to playing, so why shouldn’t we? We’re working on developing guidelines for an “Umpire” system — a system that empowers some of the most experience plays in the game to oversee games, issue temporary rulings, and help guide newer players who may need it, online and in-person. We’ll have more details on this program as it develops!

Keeping an Eye on the Future

        We’ve covered lots of ways we plan on improving things for 2019, but we want to take a second to make sure you know our scope isn’t limited to just this season. Throughout the year, we’ll be working on laying the groundwork for next season and the seasons beyond. From trying out new rules to adjusting the way cards are designed and developed, we will continue to make Clutch Baseball more enjoyable while helping it more accurately reflect the real-life trends in baseball.

 

ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM

        Every sports fan knows that your team is only as good as its management, and going into the 2019 Season, the Clutch Baseball team is growing strong than ever. Joining the development team this year is Nick Guppy, who brings several years of high-volume shipping experience to the table, including owning and operating his own vinyl distribution company. Clutch HQ was relocated to his warehouse in Wyoming, Michigan over the winter and already, his efforts to revamp the supply-chain side of the business have led to improvements in shipping times, order processing, packaging, and more. Nick is focused on the future growth and success of the Clutch product and team.

        Also, since I have your attention (assuming I haven’t lost it by now), I ought to introduce myself as well. My name is James Rate, and I am the new Community Director for Clutch Baseball. I’ve already written and organized a few things around here so far, but this is the formal introduction. What does the Community Manager do? Well, the abbreviated explanation is that I’m the guy you get to keep bugging when you want or need anything! The expanded version is that it equally involves being a brand ambassador, providing player support, and acting as a liaison between a passionate fan base and the company’s development team. I’ll work to communicate news and changes, act as Commissioner for Online Leagues and Tournaments as well as other League Management duties, answer rules and gameplay questions, assist the development team, and write incredibly long blogs. I’m excited!

Hey, that’s me!

 

Going, Going, Gone!

        Thanks for taking the time to read this. We hope you’re as excited for the 2019 Clutch Baseball as we are! If you ever have any questions or feedback for us, please free to reach out to us on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or anywhere else we may pop up. We appreciate every one of you, and we hope to make this the best year ever for Clutch and all the players who enjoy our game. 

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James Rate

Long-time player, former Official Clutch League champion, and new Clutch Baseball Community Director!
James Rate
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