Rindge resident uses software engineering background to build online game
Pennant Wars team owners track their team's progress online as games are being played.
Player statistics help Pennant Wars team owners set their lineups.
Nolan Madge says most baseball fans have strong opinions. They are probably convinced that they could run their favorite team far better that the real owners. They know which players should be benched, whether a pitcher performs better as a starter or a reliever, when to pull a slumping slugger for a hot pitch hitter and if a rookie should come up from the minor leagues.
Now Madge, a 30-year-old Rindge resident, is offering those fans a chance to see how smart they really are about the game. He’s created a online baseball simulation game called Pennant Wars, where participants can purchase a team, build it from scratch by drafting players, signing free agents and making trades, and play a 162 game season against teams run by fellow baseball enthusiasts over the course of six weeks.
“It’s kind of a twist on the traditional idea of fantasy baseball,” Madge said recently. “Instead of being based on real players, it’s a virtually simulated world. I’ve written a simulation engine that matches the way major league baseball works.”
The game offers lots of flexibility, allowing team owners to test their strategies. They can choose the type of stadium where they play their home games, for example, tailoring it to the style of ball they prefer and they can draft imaginary high school and college players based on their computer-generated stats.
“There’s no one best strategy,” Madge said. “You’re not forced down one path. You have to react to what the other teams in the league are doing. The game encourages you to be creative.”
Players can sign up to try the game at Pennantwars.com. Madge says leagues are forming regularly and the first season for new team owners will be free. After that, additional seasons with the same team cost between $17.99 for a three-season pack and $35.99 for nine seasons.
Madge said he has new teams and leagues opening up every few weeks.
Team owners set the lineups, pitching rotation and team strategy. Then, once a game starts, the simulation engine takes over and determines what will happen. At that point, just like in the major leagues, the outcome is out of the hands of the owner.
“Your manager makes the game decisions,” Madge said. “You can get really frustrated when he makes a strange pitching change.”
Madge said he’s working on additions to his simulation engine, including developing a way to factor in the random injuries that impact a baseball season.
“Injuries are not turned on yet,” he said. “I didn’t want to discourage people in the beginning. I plan to phase that in slowly.”
Madge said Pennant Wars is different than many other online games because it is completely cloud-based.
“That’s the way everything is moving now,” he said. “You don’t have to download or install anything. You can play on your phone, from home, anywhere you have the Internet.”
Madge worked in software engineering for Staples in Framingham, Mass., before moving to Rindge in September 2012, after his girlfriend got a job at Eastern Mountain Sports.
“I wanted to focus on the game full-time,” he said. “New Hampshire seems to have a favorable business climate. I’m working out of a space bedroom at our house.”
His company, Inspigo LLC., is about a year old, and Pennant Wars was launched in June.
“We’re staring to build a strong community of users,” Madge said. “We have a handful who have signed up for more than a year’s worth of games.”
Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or email@example.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.