Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A New Series Looming?

by Crazy Ivan

In the time I've been with Myachi, I've watched 29 new series arrive.  It works out to about 3 new series each year, though that's just an average.  Back in the early days it was only one new series a year and nowadays they come with much greater frequency.

Generally, when you've been through something 29 times over a 10 year period, it starts to lose its luster.  Doesn't matter much what it is, once you've done it that many times, it's just not as exciting as it was.  I'm sure going to the moon is really awesome, but if you did it 29 times in a ten year period, at a certain point, I'd have to imagine it would seem routine.  Sure, it would still be fun, sure it would still be exciting, but as fun and as exciting as the first time?  I doubt it.

So one would think that eventually a new series coming out would just be more of the same.  New fabrics?  New color?  Been there.  Done that.  But strangely enough, that hasn't happened at all.  If anything, I get more excited about new series as we make more and more of them.

There's a couple of reasons, I suppose.  One is that when I was new to the game and the company, every Myachi was new to me.  Sure, a new series was cool, but it wasn't any cooler than looking over Kid Myach's collection and finding old gems like the Yellow Cat and the Silver Surfer.  All Myachis were new to me at that point, so the new series wasn't any newer than the old series.

Another factor that staves off the monotony is the life-cycle of a Myachi.  I can't tell you how many times we make a new series, I get excited about it, the excitement fades and then I see a really broken in sack from that series and I get excited about it all over again.  When I first started with the company and I saw a new Myachi it was just, "Hey, a new Myachi!  I wonder how good it will jam."  But now, I have so many different questions.  Sure, I still wonder how it will jam, but I also wonder how it will jam when it's broken in.  How will it jam once it's been broken in for a year?  How popular will it be with collectors?  Will it be one of those inexplicable sacks that everybody wants two years from now?  Will it be one of those inexplicable sacks that everybody seems to forget about?  Will it be the first in a long line of similar sacks or will it stand alone as a family of one?  Will it wind up being my favorite from the series?  Will it wind up being my least favorite?  Most of these questions will take months or years to truly answer, so every time I see a new Myachi I know that it's opening up a corridor of mystery that I'll be wandering through for quite some time.

And, of course, the biggest factor that contributes to my ever-increasing excitement is my personal involvement with the series.  When series 1.0 came out, I was brand new to the company and I didn't even see the sacks until they were on the shelf.  I just came into the booth one day and "BAM", there's series 1.0. With 1.1 it wasn't much different.  In 1.2 Myachi Man showed me the prototypes before the sacks were released, but it wasn't until series 2.0 that I had a hand in helping choose the fabrics.

Once you've got a personal stake in it, that changes everything.  I see a fabric and I fight for it to be included in the new series and then I've got to take ownership of it.  If that Myachi turns out to be a bad jammer or an unpopular design, that's my fault.  But then again, if it becomes a legend that everybody is clambering over each other to get, I can take a little pride in it, knowing I helped to make that Myachi a reality.

So as I eagerly anticipate the new series I can't help but wonder if that excitement will ever start to fade.  And who know?  Ten years from now it might be a ho-hum nonevent for me, but considering how stoked I am right now, I find that hard to believe.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Myachi Baseball

by Crazy Ivan

We just wrapped up yet another awesome season of Myachi after-school programs here in the city.  On Wednesday we closed the last one out with a bang.  Normally Lucky hosts the school program and when the schedule will allow it, I'll put one other Myachi Master there with him for the sake of variety.  But on the final day we went all out.  Lucky, Kid, Maverick, Hops and myself all showed up for bit of a Myachi bonanza.

And yes, there were trades, there was Fu, there was MYACH and there were some new tricks to work on for everybody (including us masters), but the highlight of the day for me was the biggest game of Myachi Baseball ever played.

We only had time for three innings and my team got crushed (7 to 3), but we all had a blast doing it.  See, this wasn't the first time we've played Myachi baseball, but it's the first time that we ever had (a) enough people to field two legitimate teams and (b) paddles.

As you might have guessed, the paddles changed everything.  In the past, outfielding was all but impossible in Myachi baseball and passing quickly in the infield was so tough that you constantly gave up runs by lofting the Myachi too high as you moved it from 2nd base to 3rd.  Once you add paddles, you can outfield, you can turn double plays and you can scoop a Myachi off the ground quickly enough to keep it in play.

And with the weather getting warmer, I figured it would be a great time to highlight this particularly awesome Myachi game.


Basically, Myachi baseball is exactly what you think it is.  It's played essentially just like baseball so any rules I don't specifically mention here would just be the same as the rules in regular baseball.  There are only a few minor changes you need to make.

BATTING: When you're up to bat at Myachi baseball, you don't have a bat, but you do have two options.  One it to use your foot and kick the oncoming pitch into the outfield.  The other option is to catch the Myachi and throw it into the outfield.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but before I discuss those, let's look at a few options the batter doesn't have:

  • You cannot use your body to catch the Myachi.  If you opt to catch the pitch and toss it back out, you must make the catch with the back of your hand, not by cradling it between your arm and body.
  • Generally, batters don't use paddles.  Only outfielders use paddles.  But if you've got one or two players that are newer to Myachi, giving them a paddle when they're up to bat is a great way to handicap the game and keep it fair for everyone.
  • A drop is a strike, not a ball.  If you attempt a catch and miss it, it doesn't matter where the Myachi winds up, that's a strike.  It's not a bunt, it's not a foul.
The strategy of whether to catch or kick will change throughout the game and it might even change during a single at-bat.  Catching and throwing will allow you to be more accurate and exploit a hole in the opposing team's defense, but it also gives them more time to get ready.  A kick is less accurate, but it tends to leave the defense scrambling a bit more.

Kicks are also much harder, so often a batter will attempt kicks until they have a couple of strikes and then they'll play it safe and go for the catch.  This strategy can be effective, but it makes life easier on the pitcher, as he or she will then generally know what you're going to do and pitch accordingly.

PITCHING: The "Strike Zone" in Myachi Baseball is a bit lower than it is in traditional baseball.  Since the kick is a genuine option, a pitcher can toss a Myachi much lower than they could with a baseball and still have a hittable pitch.  When we played at the school, we used our "Myachi Golf" target to define the strike zone.  A trashcan lying on one side would be about the right size for a strike zone... a hula hoop could work. Basically, you just have to clearly define a circle that sits low to the ground behind the batter.

This is really important unless you want to spend half the game arguing about whether that pitch was high or outside or what.  If the batter doesn't swing (or touch the Myachi when he or she tries to catch), you can easily say if it was a ball or strike just based on whether it went through the hoop or landed in the trashcan or whatever.

I should note that in our game, we had Kid Myach pitching for both teams and if he'd wanted to, he could have pitched a no-hitter.  If he'd really been rifling the Myachis in, we'd have been helpless.  So to keep the game fun, you can add an "arc" rule (meaning the Myachi must travel in a curve rather than coming straight across) or you can back the pitcher way up so that they can't accurately pitch really fast shots.  As weird as it might seem, if we were playing among Myachi Masters, we'd probably have the pitcher standing on 2nd base.

OUTFIELD: Basically this works exactly like it does in regular baseball, but there are a couple of important things that I felt like I needed to address.  One is that outfielding in Myachi baseball is one of the very few times you can ever touch a Myachi with your palm during a Myachi game.  Obviously, you can't catch with your palm since that would just about defeat the purpose of the game.  If you're going after a fly ball, you still have to catch with the back of your hand or your paddle.  And if your throwing to the infield, you still have to throw from the back of your hand or your paddle.

But the palm is acceptable if you're picking up a Myachi that has landed in the outfield.  In fact, not only are you allowed to pick it up with your palm, but you can even toss it to a teammate from your palm in these instances if:
  • You throw immediately (if you take a step or pause before throwing, you must move the Myachi to the back of your hand or your paddle before passing it) and
  • You don't "set" the throw (meaning that your hand doesn't go back behind your shoulder to make the throw)
Palm throws are only allowed if you pick the Myachi up and throw it all in one motion and such throws should be arcing throws.  The only reason this is allowed is because moving the Myachi from your palm to the back of your hand before a throw makes fielding take too long and gives the offense a huge advantage in the game, leading to scores of 11 to 14 in the second inning.


Armed with just that info, a basic understanding of how to play baseball, a Myachi. a few paddles and a few friends, you're ready to play.  If you have questions that I didn't cover in this post, feel free to leave them in the comments section and we'll get you taken care of.