In these Bottom of the 9th: Clubhouse Expansion notes, I’ll make several observations in regards to what I liked or disliked about this expansion. At the end, I’ll also try to touch on how it improves or diminishes the base game. Since this is not a review, I’ll present these notes as a bulleted list. If you would like something more specific, I recommend reading our review of Bottom of the 9th, which can be found here.
- Some of the new components are really thoughtful and fun, such as the Pennants and Peanut tokens. I don’t know if the Pennants are necessary, since all they do is determine who’s pitching or batting, but I still find them to be a neat little add-on.
- The new Player Cards are great, just like the cards from the base game. Though, I do wish a few more of them featured the Shift ability.
- Speaking of the Shift ability, I think it’s a nice addition to the gameplay. While I don’t think it mimics “shifting” in actual baseball that well, it does add some intrigue to the dice-rolling, considering a natural 5 roll can now become a natural 6, which is a crush.
- The Equipment Cards are really awesome, and I love that they come in such a variety. There’s also pretty effective humor featured here, if you’re a baseball fan. For instance, the Rally Cap is entirely useless, but it’s a funny thing to pass to your opponents and catch them off-guard with. Also, I especially enjoyed the Corked Bat card and the risk/reward involved with it.
- Unfortunately, not all of the Equipment Cards were created equally. By that, I mean that some of them are either too weak or too specific in their function to be widely appealing. Take the Golf Gloves for example – they allow you to treat low Ball pitches as Control pitches. That’s all well and good, but if your opponent knows that, they might not throw anything low. And if they do, there’s no guarantee it’ll be a Ball. I’d much rather utilize Equipment like the Baseball Spikes that add +1 Speed, since I know they’ll almost certainly be used at some point.
- Additionally, I do wish the Equipment Cards were explained a little better. A section at the back of the rulebook that clarified their functions would’ve made everything a lot easier. For the most part though, the new cards are intuitive enough.
- The Diamond Tactics Cards are something Bottom of the 9th really needed. Being able to steal bases or pull off double plays are baseball essentials, so I loved playing them out here. I do wish that you could choose which base-runners you’re throwing out during the double plays, but then again, that’s nitpicking.
- Anyone playing this game has to remember to flip over their on-deck batters, since a lot of them have “On-deck Abilities” that usually benefit other hitters in the lineup. If you’re like me and enjoy choosing random batters you’ve never used before, then you need to make sure you read their abilities carefully. If you don’t, you might put yourself at a disadvantage.
- We’ve started to notice that the new Equipment Cards and Peanut system benefit the batters slightly more than the pitchers. So far, that hasn’t translated into the batting player winning more often, but that’s due to poor dice-rolling.
- A lot of these new additions really slow the game down and lengthen the playtime. I could easily see a half-inning game taking well over an hour, especially if you have to learn the new Player Cards’ abilities.
All in all, I really appreciate the additions that the Clubhouse Expansion offers, but then again, I’m the target audience. This expansion was made with knowledgeable baseball fans in mind; not casual fans or tabletop gamers. If you have no reference for what’s important in regards to baseball, then you really don’t need this expansion. But if you’re like me and love America’s Pastime, then you’ll probably enjoy it. Since it adds a lot of weight to the base game and thus extends its playtime, I’m not certain if this expansion improves Bottom of the 9th at all. At the same time, it certainly doesn’t diminish it in any way.
Lastly, I’d like to thank Mike Mullins, Darrell Louder, and Dice Hate Me Games for creating a game that captures my favorite sport so well. I can’t wait to play it again.
To watch our playthrough of Bottom of the 9th: Clubhouse Expansion, check out this link.