Maximum Rules are special rules found only in the computer game (Online and Windows) which enhance the realism of Strat-O-Matic's simulation of baseball by addressing certain limitations that are inherent in a card-and-dice game. They do this by slightly altering the results normally obtained from the cards to improve things like out distribution, opportunities to take extra bases, and upholding extreme performances like Dennis Eckersley's giving up only 4 walks in 73.1 IP in 1990.
This does come at the cost of a small amount of game engine visibility, but the result, again, is a more realistic baseball simulation.
From the Windows game help section
The following is re-printed from the Windows game's help section, edited for relevancy.
One of the beautiful things about the Strat-O-Matic computer game is that you as a gamer have the ability to view the game engine. This is because the computer game is the same game as the board game. Unlike other computer games, you get to see not only the final results of a play, but also how those results were derived.
That being said, we at Strat-O-Matic have not held back the progress of our computer games because of their board game heritage. In order to allow the computer baseball game to move ahead while at the same time supporting a strict port of the board game we developed the "Maximum Rules" as optional extensions to the game.
For the long time Strat-O-Matic board game player the tradeoff is getting an improved game at the cost of a slight loss of game engine visibility.
So, just how is the game engine altered? Well, this depends upon the mix of Maximum Rules that are in play, but the game engine changes fall into one or more of the following categories:
DICE ADJUSTMENTS - Random numbers are used with a series of complex calculations to determine whether or not to override certain play results. If this determination is made another dice roll is made internally and the final play result is displayed on the screen. The on screen dice do not animate until the final play result has been determined.
SPLIT ADJUSTMENTS - Random numbers are used, again with a variety of calculations, to determine whether or not split card readings are to be overriden. The split result is not animated until a final determination is made of the play.
CARD ADJUSTMENTS - Certain portions of card results are overriden. For example, say you turn on the "More baserunning decisions" Maximum Rule. If you get a Single* result the "*" (which means that all baserunners advance just one base) is ignored and a more complex and realistic baserunning system is used.
COMPUTER ONLY RULES - Certain rules only appear in the computer version of the game -- no board game counterpart exists.
SOME EXAMPLES - While it is not possible to describe all adjustments in detail we will provide a couple of simple examples so that you may understand more clearly.
Say that the "Home field advantage" Maximum Rule is turned on. This rule, in general, creates a statistical advantage of approximately 10 points (.010) on the batting average for the home team. This is the traditional major league difference between batting averages at home and on the road. In this case certain play results that would have been outs turn into hits and vice-a-versa. These changes occur "behind the scenes" as random numbers are rolled and compared to statistical probabilities, only "kicking in" in a relatively few instances.
As another example, if you turn on the "Bunt for a basehit" Maximum Rule you are adding a rule where you cannot see what generates the result. We studied real-life baseball to determine how often bunts for basehits are successful (given a number of variables) and we programmed that information into the computer game.
OTHER INFORMATION - Note that all adjustments are made strictly with random numbers and are equally applied to all players in all situations. There is a great deal of computer code dedicated to insure that the desired effects are obtained, and to statistically balance the changes that have been made. While it takes extensive code to implement these rules, only about 5% of plays will be affected even if all Maximum Rules have been turned on.
Maximum Rules in use
The following screenshot indicates what Max Rules are in play by default in all leagues. To access this dialog box in the Windows game, click on the Max Rules button at the bottom of the dialog box shown above. (This image is taken from v13.0 of the Windows game)
- Bunt for base hit
- Improve out distribution
- Improve baserunning realism
- Home field advantage
- More baserunning decisions
- Realistic throwing errors
- Allow extra pre-1920 errors
- Pitch-Around option
- Correct Board Game Excesses