Out of the Park Baseball 12 is a stats and text-based baseball sim where players are given complete control of any baseball club they choose. Unlike other sports games, players take a back seat for the action, but get a plush office as team general manager, with a full set of tools at their disposal to raise their team to glory.

Developed by German games studio Out of the Park Developments, OOTP 12 is for the fantasy sports type, for whom spreadsheets and statistics that detail thousands of players draws rush of sustained excitement. Like the real sport of baseball, sometimes trading away that proven, veteran pitcher to get an offensive prospect is the key to success in the coming seasons. Players have the opportunity to toy with that philosophy, but with limitless possibilities.

A huge improvement in this year's game is the player salary system. Negotiating contracts is much more rewarding, due to added performance bonuses, player and team options, and most importantly, minor league split contracts. Convincing a player to take your minor league contract (which is at no cost to your franchise) with the promise of an eventual major league contract adds a few more layers of enjoyment and realism to the signing process.

Most players default to managing an MLB team, where real players and coaches are exhaustively well represented. You also have the option to play both offline and with others online in historical leagues, with accurate teams dating back to the 1800s, or in fictional leagues. With dozens of options in creating these leagues, your experience can be as hand-crafted as possible.

I replayed a season with the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, except it ended in disaster this time around with late season injuries sidelining Robin Yount and Rollie Fingers. Then the game generated a fictional league for me in Botswana, which I named Xtreme Arena Baseball. My Gumare Larks saw third baseman Minyar Murtada start in the all-star game and lead the league in RBIs. I found that this fictional league encouraged me to throw out all pretence of my players' performance (my initial play-through had me desperately trying to trade Brewers short stop Yuniesky Betancourt, even if he was magically batting .356).

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