As the baseball season hobbles on like a drunken three-legged cat with rickets, fans in search of an organised sports fix have found a new sensation on which to hyperfocus: Blaseball. Blaseball (and I’m going to kill my autocorrect function before this piece is over, I swear) is what would happen if the delightfully twisted people behind the “Welcome to Night Vale” podcast teamed up to reinvent baseball with the people who wrote the brilliant “17776”. It’s a game that’s part sports simulation/part interactive storytelling experiment that is as frustrating as it is fun.
Blaseball (autocorrect I swear to GOD) is not something that can be explained, and I will not attempt to do so here. I am merely a messenger, a Blaseball evangelist, come to answer the questions you might have about America’s new favourite pastime but were too afraid to ask because it’s a Weird Internet Thing that defies all forms of understanding.
How do you play Blaseball?
You can’t. In fact, you may not want to, as Blaseball players are subject to anything from incineration from an umpire to an inexplicable, random death noted only by a solemn tweet from the Commissioner (may they live for 1000 years). Regular people participate in Blaseball via “watching” games on the official website and betting. When you first log into the site, you choose a favourite team — don’t worry, you aren’t locked into this team forever — and you’re given coins. Use those coins to place bets on teams that, when they win, earn you more coins.
What do coins do?
You use coins to buy stuff from the shop: Snake Oil, a Fair Weather Flute that allows you to change your favourite team, Peanuts, a Squirrel Of Devouring to help with all the peanuts you just bought and, most importantly, coins buy you the right to cast votes.
You can buy votes?
Don’t most American democratic institutions work that way?
Fair. What exactly do you vote on?
Votes allow you to cast a ballot for Decrees and Blessings. Blessings are randomly generated beneficial statuses bestowed upon a team. For example, in the most recent season, the Hades Tigers won the Blessing of Bloodlust, which maxed out the pitching stats of player Yazmin Mason. A team having the most votes for a Blessing does not guarantee that team will win the Blessing, it only makes that team more likely to win. Blessings, as with most things in Blaseball are subject to the whims of the Most Good and Holy Commissioner who never tires, never fails, and is never, ever wrong. Please adjust your expectations accordingly.
Decrees are different from Blessings in that they are rules that fans vote for and go into effect for the following season. After the inaugural Blaseball season, fans voted to open Ť̷̼h̷̘̽e̸͕̋ ̵̂F̸ö̴̧́r̷̘̂ḃ̸̻i̵̥͐d̶̨͋d̸̼͑e̸̳͒n̶̨͝ ̶͓̓B̷ó̵̞o̵̟͐k̵̭͝ for Season 2 and thus ushered in the Discipline Era. This resulted in a number of changes, including a season-long solar eclipse and player incinerations. Our condolences to the players who were lost in this season of burnings.
At the end of Season 3, fans voted for the Eat the Rich decree, wherein coins from the top 1% of fans are redistributed to the rest of us poor schmucks and the Interview decree. No word yet on what to expect from Interviews, but hopefully Los Angeles will be recovered soon.
Wait, go back. The Forbidden Book?
It is the B̵̮̒o̷̰̾ǒ̴͔k̶̩͊ ̷ö̶́f ̵̰̽R̷u̷̗͌l̷̜̔e̴͈̚s̴̻̉, containing knowledge of [REDACTED] and [REDACTED].
OK….So who is your favourite Blaseball team?
The Canada Moist Talkers. Naturally.
And your favourite player?
I am loath to name my favourite player, as doing so could potentially put them at risk for incineration. You would do well to keep that information secret.
Can I play Blaseball now?
No, unfortunately. In a post from the developers The Game Band, Blaseball is on an “extended siesta” right now, and my life is duller for it. But Blaseball, more than incinerations, blessings, bets, or T̸͍͗h̸e̸͑ ̶̦͐B̷͉̉o̵̼͋ọ̸̀k̸ is about the fan community. In the three weeks since its sudden arrival, an entire cottage industry of people obsessed with the game erupted, creating fanart, fan lore, Twitter pages for the teams, a fake newspaper, a fake tourism board, and the hashtag #blaseballcares that connects fans with various charities. Blaseball is a splort, but really it’s a thing to keep our stimulation-starved brains occupied as the pandemic rages on, killing off our favourite team sports.