Baseball management sims go way, way back. You could say that they have their roots somewhat in Earl Weaver Baseball (although that was arguably more of an ‘action’ game), but regardless there have been countless titles vying to get this genre right. One of the most well known is Baseball Mogul, but the most thorough is the Out of the Park series. OOTP has always been a very deep game, seeking to represent all aspects of running a league. This makes for excellent fantasy leagues, but have always daunting to casual players. This has mostly been due to their complex layout and complicated procedures. However, OOTP 2006 attempts to remedy that with a more streamlined interface, a more user-friendly layout, and a more familiar menu system. All in all, does it work? I’d say yes.
I got in to the OOTP series with Out of the Park 5. I loved the attention to detail, but was a bit put off by the complexity. OOTP 2006 takes the Civilization IV approach in making the game more accessible without losing options or features. The first addition is the right click menu, which any Windows user should be familiar with. With this you can promote/demote players, open player profiles, scout or quick-scout players, or just about any option the game has to offer. Overall, it makes the game feel allot more connected.
The game also has a cleaner, more user-friendly interface then before. The persistent menu bars on top and bottom, as well as the bookmarking feature, making running your league as easy as possible.
After all, running a league is what it’s all about, and OOTP 2006 has more options then any other game out there. You have to maintain your 25-man playing roster and 40-man active roster, deal with players’ remaining minor league options, place players on waivers or designate them for assignment, handle contracts that could include option years and incentives, deal with arbitration, and more. All of this is much more streamlined then it sounds, I assure you.
There are a few kinks in the system, however. The game can be a resource hog. I’ve had it take up the majority of my available RAM while playing. This makes the game run fairly slowly, and also slow to pick up mouse clicks. I can’t count the number of times I had to click five or six times on something for it to register after playing for a while. However, if you can get past that, Out of the Park 2006 is the finest baseball management sim on the market, bar none.