Note: This is a copy-and-paste outline I've been sending to new players for quite some time now, and it keeps getting longer and longer, so BEWARE. That said, I would hope it could serve as a kind of reference document for new owners if anything gets confusing along the way. If you've got a couple HBD seasons under your belt, this probably will have limited use. However, I find I learn something new each season, so it's possible it could be of use to veteran owners, and at the least may generate discussion!

First off, as a newbie, it would be a good idea to read Whatifsports' overview document, but this is a VERY general overview of the game: https://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Main/Rules.aspx

Also starting basic, an overview of a real life day of fake baseball:
A real-life day is broken into "sim events" or cycles. In between these cycles, an owner can do anything to affect the next cycle -- change lineups, make call-ups, sub for tired players, etc. The cycles are named kind of awkwardly, and there are 6 of them: AM Part 1, AM Part 2, PM Part 1, PM Part 2, PM2 Part 1, and PM2 Part 2. In the midst of the regular season, games will be simulated at each Part 1 cycle, so in essence there are 3 "sim days" for every real day.
(Note: all times CST.)
A cycle is processed every 4 hours, starting with AM1 at 2am, AM2 at 6am, PM1 at 10am, PM2 at 2pm, PM2.1 at 6pm, and PM2.2 at 10pm. That might look overwhelming (at least it did to me at first), but an owner doesn't HAVE to log in at these times. A game occurs at 2am, 10am, and 6pm, so many owners typically check once before 10am to see the 2am results and make any quick roster changes needed, check again after 10am to see the 10am results and make any roster changes, and then check a final time after 6pm. (The "part 2" cycles are mainly important for things like contract negotiations and things like that, so if you miss them it's not that big of a deal as far as day-to-day roster management or game results.)


The season starts off with budgeting -- and before I get too far into that, I will just note that at the top of every HBD page is a little "Help" link -- it changes for EVERY page. So any page you need an explanation for, click that little help link and it will explain a lot.
So, rather than re-hashing all the help text on the Budgeting page itself, I'll just say you have $185m to split between 9 different categories. As a new player they start you at a baseline value, and for most (not all) areas you can only modify it +/- $4m. It's supposed to simulate year-to-year consistency in a franchise.
Once budgets are set, owners have a chance to re-hire any coaches and attempt to sign any of their departing Free Agents before they declare for the open market. Each of these takes a real life day, so it moves pretty quick. After that, there's a real life day of Arbitration hearings, and then several real life days to bid on free agents and bid on coaches. Finally, the rosters freeze for the Rule 5 Draft, after which the "meat" of the off-season is complete and Spring Training starts!
Spring Training is the (boring) ramp-up to regular season games, at which point we can all relax and watch our team kick ass or get our asses kicked. Mid-season we get the prospect list for the Amateur Draft, but the main part of the game is about maximizing your lineups and developing prospects.


  • First off, in general I would say it's a good idea to avoid making many trades your first season or two, until you really start to get the ratings down and stuff. Some of them can be deceptive at first, which ones are important and stuff like that, so it is usually good to just sit back and watch how your team performs. (Note: I am currently working on getting a volunteer list of veteran owners available to new owners so they can discuss trade proposals and other HBD questions. Trading is fun, but it's frustrating to see a veteran team get a new owner's top prospect for peanuts.)
  • A basic tip: I usually set it so that no pitchers OR position players play under 99% fatigue. You could probably fudge it down to 95% if you want, but in general they perform WAY worse if they are tired (particularly pitchers), plus it ups their chance of injury. This stuff can be set at Manager's Office > Player Settings.
  • A player's assigned position may not always be their best position, and you can manually change them/add secondary positions. If you go to GM's Office > Roster Management, and click on a position player's position, it brings up a new window showing what an "average" position player should be fielding. Now, there is nuance to these ratings -- some are more important to a position than others (for example, CF says the average for arm accuracy is 65, but at most that will cause a few minus plays a season when he should have picked off someone trying to stretch a single to a double), but in general I try to get my players to hit those ratings. SS and C are usually the hardest fielding ratings to find, along with CF because their range is so important.
  • On the topic of catchers, pitch call is REALLY IMPORTANT, to the extent that I usually try to find a guy with 80+ and don't really care if he has an OPS under .700. Obviously personal preference, but if your pitchers stink partway through the season, look at your catcher's pitch call.
  • Overall rating really is just a guideline, it kind of sums up a player's total ratings. A high rating guy certainly has value, but just because a player is in the high 80s doesn't automatically mean he'll perform. The flip side to this is you can often find guys with lower ratings, say mid-70s, who can turn out to be great assets.


It is very important to have a full roster at ALL levels -- if you're short on pitchers, your staff will quickly get fatigued and it's difficult to recover. I typically go with 13 position players and 12 pitchers.

In addition to your 8 (9 if counting DH) position starters, I try to have:
  • Backup catcher
  • Backup utility fielder (ideally just a great defender who can play SS -- if he's a good SS, then he can play anything else)
  • Two other guys who can either field or hit a little -- some kind of utility man
For pitchers, you'll begin to learn more about what combination of stamina and durability will work for starters and relievers, but in general I try to get 8 guys who have stamina above 65, and 4 guys who have stamina below 50. That gives:
  • 5 starters (stamina > 65)
  • 2 long relievers (stamina > 65)
  • 1 mopup (stamina > 65)
  • 4 setup/closer pitchers (stamina < 50)
There are a lot more positions for your pitching staff (tandem starters, righty/lefty specialists) but in your first couple seasons I would stick to the above 5 positions. (I don't even use righty/lefty specialists.)


World Office: This is where you can find general information. I spend a lot of time in the World Office > Reports section, in particular Player Search, Draft History, and International Signings. The last two can be filtered by team and by season so you can get a good idea of where guys get drafted and how much young players get signed for. Other useful highlights: standings/advanced standings, player and team statistics, All Star teams.

Manager's Office: This is where you set lineups and pitching rotations, and also find your rest hierarchy and defensive depth chart. Also, in Management Console, you can set whether or not you want the AI to control parts of the game for you. I pretty much left these unchecked from the get go, you really don't get good results with them. They don't have a ton of purpose either, once you get your settings set up right the simulation really does a lot of the rest. And, I know this annoyed others -- in the Management Console you can switch your Roster Mode to Advanced Roster Mode -- then when making roster moves you can do multiple moves at a time, rather than one at a time. Makes it soooo much better.

Useful highlight: Under Player Settings > Player Settings (yeah, it's stupid) is where you set your pitch counts, auto rest settings, and how quickly the bullpen is called when a pitcher starts struggling. I usually just use the "Show Recs" button and save them to start the season, and then tweak them after that as I see fit. Note that if you've set your "Default Auto Rest Settings" in the Management Console, clicking "Show Recs" will set all the rest settings you pre-defined (in my case, 99%). This is super handy at the start of every season, it gets the basic settings set quickly. ALSO: This is the same screen where you set your position player settings! I didn't figure that out for a long time, but in the top there is a drop down called "Type" and you can use that to get to your position players.

Other highlights: Under Player Settings > Spring Training Squads you can set your ST rosters.

GM's Office:

This is the section where you make your roster moves; look at potential trades (and update your trade block); deal with the waiver wire; deal with arbitration; sign players (free agents OR your own) to long term contracts; and eventually see the Amateur Draft list. Pretty self-explanatory. One note: I don't think a player EVER accepts an offer BELOW his initial demands. When I started, I tried to low-ball players in hopes of getting a bargain; doesn't work. In the free agency period, it's a starting point for bids. During the regular season they will typically just accept whatever per-season demands they ask for. You can offer different dollar distributions or number of years, too.

Admin Office:
Hire Coaches, Set Budget, and the Help sections. I don't spend much time here, though I would try to work your way through the Player's Guide, and the FAQ is useful. The Player's Guide is where I go first if I don't understand something.


There isn't ONE best rating to shoot for, lots of types of players can turn out to be good. But as a general rule of thumb here are some things I watch out for:

  • For pitchers, I usually try to keep control over 70 and left/right splits over 55. These are pretty much minimums. Right splits are more important than left simply because there are more right-handed batters in the game.
  • Also for pitchers, 1st pitch is more important than 2nd pitch, which is more important than 3rd pitch, etc. That said, some players succeed without amazing 1st or 2nd pitches because they have no weak pitches. Lots of players can succeed.
  • For hitters, I don't have as many hard and fast rules. One tip is that often times players with the combination of high power and high batting eye end up being better than you'd expect -- low batting average, but high OBP and high power. This can often be a cheap way to score runes, by finding a 1B with these attributes in your minors.

If you have any questions feel free to Trade Chat me, or any other owner, that's usually where I bug other people for advice! If any veteran owners think I'm missing anything important in this write-up, please let me know. Any feedback is appreciated, I hope this guide is helpful!