Pitch Count Fatigue is a special system found only in SOM Online and the CD-ROM game that is a replacement for the board game's Super-Advanced Point of Weakness (POW) rules. It improves upon the all-or-nothing fatigue state of pitchers in the POW system by more realistically and gradually tiring pitchers as they throw more pitches and give up baserunners in a game.
In the Strat-O-Matic Online game, PCF is in effect for all leagues, and has been since the game's inception.
Suggested Pitch Count
A Suggested Pitch Count is determined for each pitcher at the start of each game. This represents the approximate number of pitches he may throw before his condition starts to deteriorate.
It is possible that a pitcher may have his Condition altered well before or well after the suggested number of pitches for him. For instance, if he gets his doors blown off early in the game he might have his Condition affected earlier. Conversely, if he is pitching a gem he might be able to go many more pitches before his Condition deteriorates.
Pitcher's Condition (F0 - F9)
The pitcher's Condition can be from F0 to F9. F9 means that he is operating on all cylinders, whereas F0 indicates that he has nothing left in the tank. Normally pitchers start their appearance as F9 and maintain that level until they approach or exceed their Suggested Pitch Count.
If a pitcher's Condition drops to F0 he will continue to fatigue the longer he stays in the game. His Condition rating will remain displayed as F0, but he will start to give up hits and walks at a higher rate if you leave him in the game.
The situations wherein a pitcher can reach his Point of Weakness (POW) as per the Super-Advanced POW rules do still apply, but in these cases he is not to be considered suddenly "tired", nor do all "@" readings automatically turn into SINGLE**. But this DOES significantly speed up the pitcher's Pitch Count Fatigue deterioration.
Otherwise, in general, if the pitcher hasn't reached his POW per the Super-Advanced POW rules, he will gradually start losing points in his Condition (e.g. F8 -> F7) as he throws more pitches, once he has exceeded his Suggested Pitch Count for the game. However, if he has been pitching particularly well in his most recent innings, this rate of deterioration will be slower.
How Condition Affects Gameplay
Similar to POW, PCF affects readings on pitcher cards preceded by an "@", but it doesn't automatically turn them all into SINGLE**. Instead, it is a more gradual effect, and the variety of the resulting penalties is greater. Basically, once a pitcher's Condition falls below F9 (full strength), the chance of an "@" reading turning into a hit or a walk increases incrementally with each point descending towards F0. The hits can be singles, doubles, triples, or homeruns.