Review: K-Force: Baseball Scoring
Pointstreak K-ForCE, by Stephen Rakonza
• Don’t have to pay extra for rosters
• Lots of flexability
• Lots of detail when scoring a baseball game
• Interface seems a little “clunky”
• Difficult at times to figure out what to do
I am a baseball fan (as indicated by my reviews each year of the MLB.com app!). When I saw the iPhone in 2008, one of the first things I thought was that it would be fun to use the iPhone to score baseball games. Sure enough, eventually some people had the same idea as me, and I soon saw various “scoring” apps. I decided to try K-ForCE (which has a lite version) mostly because you didn’t have to pay extra to download the MLB roster (like you need to do in iScore). With ESPN having purchased iScore, hopefully that will change.
First up, K-ForCE has a lite version for free that allows you to do all the same stuff as the pay version, but you can’t keep a season long record of the games. For people who may just want to score a game here or there, the lite version will be fine. For people (or coaches) extensively tracking one team, the pay version is probably better.
K-Force lets you input the roster, make substitutions, track pitches, and follow the game the same way that you can with the paper/pad method of scoring. It will automatically do somethings for you – keep track of outs, advance runners, and keep score. Other things you must do manually (such as runners advancing more than one base, as well as obvious things like steals, passed balls, etc). When keeping track of the batter, you can also do things like keep track of total pitches in the at bat, keep track of the hit location, and tracking things like a fielders choice (and then you can choose if the runners advance or stay put, for example). The amount of information that you can record is impressive.
Unfortunately, that is also part of the problem. I am the kind of person who likes to jump right in and try something. I have scored baseball games before, so how hard can it be? Well, the interface is less than intuitive, in my experience. I was hoping for a simple method of entering the values (single, double, etc) than automatically moving to the next batter. Unfortunately I always found myself trying to figure out what to do. For example, if the runner advances on a fly ball, that took a lot of keystrokes to record the out, go back and manually enter the runners advance, then manually choose the “next batter”. I would have hoped some things would have been streamlines. There were many times where I found myself putting information on the wrong screen, and needing to go back and correct things. All in all, it didn’t “flow” in the smooth manner that I was hoping for.
This even extends to when the game is over. You can “finalize” a game when it is finished, but if you hit the wrong key, you can make changes (even things like lineup changes) to the “finalized” game! Maybe it is just me, but I would have considered a “finalized game” to be…well…finalized.
You can also do things like create report (scoresheets in PDF, text, CSV, or HTML format. These reports contain the box score, the game logs, game scoring information, and pitch by pitch information about the game! If you are in charge of a league, you can also manage the league and create up to the date stats (only in the pay version).
The app does have video tutorials, which I decided to look at after I was giving myself a headache just by trying things. Of course, the video tutorials are posted on YouTube, and don’t play on the iPhone!!! I tried watching the tutorials a little bit on my computer, but the app still strikes me as needlessly confusing.
All in all, this is a decent app for scoring a baseball game, especially given the alternatives. However, it will take some time to learn the complexities and features within the app, so don’t expect to just sit down and just have it “work”. The pay version (for $9.99) includes the ability to keep records and stats over the course of a season, but the free version allows all the scoring features. For the casual scoring fan, the free version is the way to go. A complex app that does include lots of nice features, the confusion I had when I first tried it means I am giving it only 3 and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.