There's too much to like here to let one problem, however glaring, be a deterrent to enjoying PureSim Baseball.
Baseball management simulations are usually played with one hand on your mouse and the other scratching your head, trying to decipher the labyrinthine interface. Even the best games of this type require some creative thinking on the part of the player. You almost need to read the mind of developer Tom Tippett to figure out Diamond Mind Baseball 8, and even more user-friendly releases like Baseball Mogul 2003 treat components such as drag-and-drop support as luxuries. If anything has prevented sports management titles from reaching a mainstream audience, it is this user-unfriendliness.
This is not the case with PureSim Baseball. One-man design team Shaun Sullivan has learned from the mistakes of his forebears and created the first baseball management sim that is truly easy to use. Anyone who knows a ball from a bat can sit down with this game and immediately get started on building a contender. This approachable character is combined with a depth of play that is striking for a first effort. Nearly all the nuances of serving as the general manager of a big league ball club are portrayed here, putting to rest the old notion that any sports sim worthy of playing couldn't help but be complicated. Only a sluggish simulation engine prevents it from being a real alternative to the likes of Out of the Park Baseball 4.
However, PureSim Baseball is more of a distant cousin to the Out of the Park games than an immediate family member. Its gameplay is a cross between the gameplay of Out of the Park Baseball and the gameplay of Baseball Mogul, with much of the depth of the former crossed with the latter's focus on the duties of a general manager. You play as the head honcho of a baseball club in an association composed of anything from one league with four teams to the current Major League Baseball setup of 30 teams in two leagues and six divisions. Do well and this will be reflected in your approval rating and continued employment. Turn in some subpar seasons and you can be fired, which forces you to look for new work or start from scratch. The game walks you through the process of creating an association with individual screens that clearly point out what your options are every step of the way. Help options are available everywhere, giving you a full rundown of how things work and why.
In keeping with this theme, the financial aspect of the game has been simplified. The in-game economy is similar to that of Baseball Mogul in that it uses franchise points instead of dollars. Teams can play with either a set number of points per season across the board or with varying values depending on their location. Regions across North America are depicted, ranging from major urban areas like New York-Newark and Los Angeles-Anaheim-Riverside to outer-limits burgs like Winnipeg and Des Moines. The numbers don't vary as much from market to market as they do in the real world, presumably to give people who want to pit the likes of Modesto against behemoths such as Chicago a fighting chance. Even the tiniest town in the game, Corpus Christi, starts with 751,000 franchise points, which is in the same area code as New York, which starts with 1,130,000. It's not difficult to keep even the poorest team at .500 for years and maintain an approval rating high enough to keep you from being fired, although it can be very hard to get beyond being merely competitive and make the playoffs.
Employees and players are signed with franchise points. This is their sole function, as there are no extra financial worries like ticket pricing or TV broadcast rights. Even contracts are based on a sliding scale, with fixed rates regarding the amounts and terms, and a flat fee is assigned to player development each year. But not everything is simple. You do have to hire a scouting director and manager to oversee many day-to-day operational tasks. Scouts are graded A to F according to their ability to rate pitching, hitting, defense, and potential. Good ones are generally capable of building a reasonable roster if you decide to take a pass on some or all of the 60-round opening draft or rely on their advice for each pick. You can even provide guidance in regard to which players they will recommend by tweaking the fiscal persona setting. Establish yourself as a very cheap organization and your scouts will provide cut-rate talent. Set yourself up as a free-spending club and you'll get blue chippers for big bucks.