Fiasco (Week One) Reflection

In week 4 of class, we played a Role Playing Game (RPG) called Fiasco. This was an entirely novel experience for me as I’ve never played an RPG before. The goal of the game, after selecting your playset and defining relationships between characters, is strictly to come up with the best possible scenes with your group. I really enjoyed working with my team, especially since none of us knew each other. It added a little element of fun with the whole nothing-to-lose aspect. I would say that the session went well. It was full of a lot of hysterical laughs and smiles.

The most difficult part of the game for me was absolutely acting out scenes. I’ve never done much improv before in terms of performances, but I really had to think hard on my feet to avoid any awkwardness, or worse, being the person who the scene went poorly for. I noticed that I got tense at times when I wanted scenes to either continue rolling or go differently, but my improv skills weren’t up to speed to control the scene.

I really think that my younger brothers would enjoy playing this game. They love to come up with whatever they can, and to act out all the time, so I feel Fiasco may be right up their alley.

Ultimate Werewolf Review-EDL290T

A couple weeks ago in class, we played a round of Ultimate Werewolf. This is primarily an asymmetrical hidden role game where each character gets a different team and ability, and the primary objective is either to obfuscate your role and outlast the other team, or find the members of the other team, convince your team they are guilty, and vote them out. The most difficult part of Ultimate Werewolf for me is figuring out who is on which team when I am good. There are not that many information roles, and all the powerful ones will be secretive about their ability, which makes a defined solve very tough to achieve.

The aspects of the game that relate most to leadership include times when you are on the good team and must garner trust among fellow players to prevent yourself from being voted out and vote out those not on your team. When you are on the bad team, you must similarly lead the town, but in the opposite direction, perhaps creating false information that will lead others to your point of view, and into your following. The best ways to do this in both cases will usually be to find sentiments that others are agreeing with that fit your desired world, and agree with these sentiments, taking apparent agency away from yourself and giving it to another, while still controlling the game state.

I think some of my friends from high school would like this style of game; I might introduce them to something similar when I go home for Thanksgiving. During the play session we had, I was the bodyguard, and successfully protected my cupid pair on a night I thought he was likely to be killed. My team did not win the game as we were not able to figure out who all was on the other team. I liked this play session and thought it went well, though whenever I play werewolf I wish there was more information available to solve through. Many risks are taken in Werewolf in when and who you share information with, but I did not take those risks in this particular session. When I am in a leadership position I usually take a more active role than I did in this game, as I didn’t know the people I was playing with too well and did not want to be too aggressive in my playstyle.

Ultimate Werewolf Reflection

In our first week of class, we played a turn-based game called Ultimate Werewolf, where two teams were pitted against each other, the villagers, and you guessed it, the werewolves. Each “night,” the werewolves had a chance to get together and choose a villager to kill. Most times, this would work out, unless there was a specific villager who got to save that specific person. The game was interesting to me, as we got to talk amongst the entire group between night phases to try and figure out who was who.

This brought out the hardest part of the game to me, understanding how much information I could or should give out without identifying my own self. I felt that this directly ties into leadership, at least in examples I’ve seen in my own experience. Sometimes, you will possess information that could be of value to a larger group of people, but it may bring you more personal harm than good to share that information. These are conflicts that we will have to face on a recurring basis throughout the entirety of our careers.

I found myself less-than-likely to take risks in Ultimate Werewolf, I believe mainly out of fear of being “killed,” which is very much not like my genuine approach to leadership. If I believe in something, it is often shared or acted upon without fear of retribution from others.

I can very much see my family at home enjoying this game with some of my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. With a level of familiarity within the group, I really think we would enjoy playing together.

Werewolf Reflection

Personally I was a huge fan of werewolf. I like the class atmosphere and I know for a fact everyone in there liked it too. All the people seemed to be having so much fun and they all were engaging in conversation and just enjoying the experience. I know from personal experience what that game is like because I have played mafia and town of salem. All wonderful games that are great for breaking the ice between strangers. Also one student said that it is much better to play as strangers and I would 100% agree on that. The game started out sort of awkward and slow but once people began to participate in dialogue it was a lot easier for us to play along. I was virginia Wolf and the person I picked died very early.
My favorite part about the game was trying to figure out who was who and lying to the other players in order to gain a better hand. It was hard to interpret the truth because we didn’t know anything about each other. I am excited to play another game next week. I picked Forbidden Island because it just sounded interesting. I think this game is related to leadership because once the second person started talking people began to join in. People felt a lot better and were more at ease with each other.

Overall it was an amazing game that I truly enjoyed and I am looking forward to playing forbidden island next week. I wish the class times were more frequent, like maybe twice a week. That is because I felt a great relief of stress while playing and I’m excited to play more games later on in the semester.

T.I.M.E Stories Reflection – Week 2

On April 20th our class had a choice to either dive deeper into the adventures of T.I.M.E Stories or to participate in free play. Although my group and I encountered many struggles during our first session the week before, we chose to challenge ourselves and continue playing T.I.M.E Stories. The scenario we played was the Asylum, and at the beginning of the round we had the opportunity to choose which character we would be playing with. None of us were able to see each character’s conditions and characteristics before choosing them, but after failing our mission once we were able to choose a different character to play with if we weren’t satisfied with our current conditions. The characters we used for the second round were: Madeleine – Anxiety attacks (me), Marie – Erotomania, Edith – Cannibalism, and Felix – Paranoia. I found this to be a very good combination of characters, especially during combat. During this game our party explored multiple rooms and fought some monsters while trying to find hints and leads on how to complete our mission. During the second round we only visited the rooms where we knew there would be items and passages that we needed to get in order to access other areas. Since we took a lot of notes on the previous round, this was not an issue. 

The hardest part about playing this game was to use all the information we gathered to solve the pentacles puzzle. Even though we took notes on what we deemed important, our group had a hard time figuring out what was missing. This might have happened because while we took notes on a lot of things, we failed to notice the smaller details that ended up being the key to solving the puzzle. This was definitely the longest and most complex game that we have played so far, however it was also the most fun and challenging. Being able to explore on our own accord and slowly putting the pieces of the story together was great. We had a good dynamic and we had fun trying to take different paths than the ones we had used before. 

This game ties into leadership in ways that the other games we played didn’t as much. Because there are many different mechanics and rules in T.I.M.E stories, we needed everyone to be attentive and for communication to be clear and effective. Because of that, each of us took on a leadership role and made sure that the aspect of the game that we were focusing on was taken care of. Note taking, collecting items, choosing the best paths for our group, strategizing which characters would be better together were some of the aspects that were divided between us, and this helped us work together as a well organized team. After playing this game I believe that my family would enjoy playing together because it takes a while and it is very engaging. I think that it could definitely become a regular part of game nights since there are many different scenarios. 

Ladies and Gentlemen Reflection

This week in Tabletop Games & Leadership we played a game called Ladies & Gentlemen. This game is, in essence, two separate games that come together at various points. Usually, half of the table will play as the gentlemen and the other half will play as the ladies, except in our case we had an odd number of players, which meant that we had an extra lady in the form of the Courtesan. This game, set in the Victorian era, is meant to be a satire of the gender roles and rules of the time and shine a light on how ridiculous they were. With this theme in mind, the gentlemen had the goal of raising as much money on the stock market and fulfilling contracts and the ladies had the goals of gaining as much elegance as possible for the ball that’s fast approaching. They do this by shopping for clothes, accessories, jewels, and servants and asking their husband to pay for them. The lady with the most elegance, and her gentleman, are the winners of the game.

In this session, I played as a lady. For me, the hardest part was to try and build a strategy while being completely blind to what was happening on my partner’s side of the table. I would try to do my part and get items that would increase my elegance and when possible try to play some mental tricks on my fellow ladies, but there wasn’t much I could know about what my team could or couldn’t afford. I think this is also one of its closest ties to leadership. Sometimes in a leadership position we cannot, or at least do not, know what the rest of our team is doing but we have to do what we can to help them out.

In terms of gameplay, I liked that there were different styles of play and the strategic aspects of the ladies’ side of the board. I feel that I would have also liked the mad dash aspects of the gentlemen’s side of the game. However, I did not like that they were separated so much without communication. I have mixed feelings about the theme of the game. The game is intended to be a satire of gender roles in the Victorian Era, which I know and understand, but it still feels a little weird to me. I think my friend Ian would enjoy this game because I could see him being very comfortable with getting into character and I think he would do good with the strategic aspects of the game.

Campus Leadership Event – A Night with Marcus Samuelsson: A Career of Chasing Flavors

On March 29th, I had the opportunity to attend a campus event that featured a motivational and life changing story that was Marcus Samuelsson’s leadership and upbringing to fame. This event was centered around his leadership that he spearheaded throughout his experiences in the culinary industry. Throughout the night, the audience members were able to understand through Marcus’s intense words, that his story was a lot deeper than just food. Marcus would go into depth of how his love for food, community, and culture would drive his life into the spotlight.
To start, Marcus shared the story of his upbringing. While many would naturally be disheartened to hear the details of how his mother died shortly after birth and how he became an orphan with his older sister in Ethiopia, Marcus instead focused on the leadership of the nurse who saved him and his sibling’s life. The nurse (through breaking the law) brought him and his sister into her home, which would lead to their adoption. There seemed to be a trend when it came to his loved ones reflecting leadership since once he was adopted, his new mother and father (as well as his aunts and uncles from all over the world) did everything they could in order to raise Marcus and his 8 siblings in a way that would inspire them and others.
Making a segway into his admiration for food, Marcus spoke on how his grandmother’s cooking and being able to travel around Sweden, England and Jamaica had inspired him to further pursue his love for food. From watching the leadership of others, Marcus was determined to take a risk toward his own goals of self-leadership and work as a chef in a 3 star michelin restaurant in france. While he didn’t know much of the French language, he did everything that he could in order to be the best that he could be. He worked in the restaurant (away from his family) for a few years until he was driven with passion to be more than just a cook. He wanted to be an entrepreneur and start his own restaurant. When he confronted his boss about this idea, he was abruptly struck down by him saying, “There are no blacks that can own their own restaurant. You should stay here and work for me”. This comment from his boss didn’t diminish his dream though, in fact, it fueled it. In a few months he would be moving to New York in order to start his own restaurant.
Marcus moved to New York and was immediately in awe of the busyness, noise and possibility that lined the streets. In order to stay on his feet in the expensive city, he lived with 5 other roommates in a small space where it was a luxury to be able to sleep on the couch. Additionally, he got a job at a luxurious restaurant in a similar manner to how he worked when he was in France. Eventually he realized through a conversation with his mother that the people who he was serving in the big apple (mostly rich bankers and businessmen) weren’t the clientele that he originally grew up with and found his passion of cooking for. Therefore, he took the biggest leap of faith in following his dream and finally opened his first restaurant in the tougher side of the city, Harlem. This was where he met the most soulful and loyal individuals that focused on Marcus and his business for more than just the meal.
Following the recent opening of his business, he was invited for a TV show called Top Chef and then later, rose in popularity to the degree where he served the President of the United States dinner. The most important part of this whole story is that while he reached his goal of starting his own business, he didn’t stop there with his leadership. Even more so, his leadership and fame didn’t change who he was on the inside, a caring and kind-hearted individual that wanted to share his passions with the world.
Overall, I think that taking risks in order to achieve goals is a great representation of self-leadership. The main point of leadership is the “leading” component. Being able to find it in yourself to take risks because you know that you will become a better version of yourself is a key aspect in self-leadership. Those risks are what inspire others to take those same steps outside of their comfort zone.
Throughout this year (at many points) I questioned what truly was the root cause of my admiration for science. I hoped that being able to find the root cause would help lead me in the direction of what industry that I choose for the next few years of my occupation and would provide me the most satisfaction in the work that I would be doing. I ended up finding something very similar to that of what Marcus found. My passion for science stemmed from the research that can be used to help others. This was something that Marcus was devoted to expressing as he continued to provide amazing food to people of all backgrounds. Likewise, my passion is to research in order to create something to help people from all backgrounds.
I am very honored to have been able to hear Marcus share his inspirational story of how to be a leader to others, you must first become a leader to yourself. While I was not able to speak with him 1 on 1, I know that my energy from the crowd was still appreciated as I was also appreciative that he flew to Miami University all the way from New York. I would like to find out more information about Marcus and watch more of his cooking on shows such as Top Chef, and also see if there is an interview segment about how his dinner went at The White House during the Obama administration. It was very insightful to be able to hear Marcus speak on the raw story that was his upbringing, but I would love to also find out how other Food Network stars have been inspired as well from his leadership. One last thing that I would like to do is to get his cookbook so I can truly see what aspects of cooking have driven him to be so passionate about food.

Ladies & Gentlemen Reflection

Last week (March 30th, 2023) our class traveled back in time to the Victorian era with the game Ladies and Gentlemen. There were two roles from which we could pick from – along with an extra role that was only used due to our uneven number of players. The first role was the Gentleman: By playing this role you commit to going to work everyday and making money by fulfilling contracts and selling items. The gentlemen should make as much money as they can to then satisfy their ladies’ wishes at the end of the day. The next role is the Lady: By playing this role you are given a number of shopping choices throughout the day. Your objective is to strategically find the best items and choose the dress and accessories that will make you look the best at the ball (at the end of the game – after six rounds). Once your choices have been made you are to showcase them to your husband (with little to no communication) in the hopes that he will use the money he earned to gift them to you. The extra role is the Courtesan: By playing this role you are a Lady who does not have a husband. Your objective is the same as the other ladies, but you must ask any of the gentlemen for gifts. If you are the best dressed of the ball, the gentleman that gave you the most elegance points (included in the item cards) wins with you. If you are the worst dressed, the gentleman that gave you the least amount of elegance points and his lady lose the game with you. 

The hardest part about playing this game (especially as one of the ladies) was the restriction of communication between partners. Even though the Ladies and the Gentlemen had to work together to win, it was not possible to share our individual strategies, and it seemed like we were playing two completely different games at the same time. In my case, I was looking to buy cheaper items, but to gain elegance points through my servant cards – since I didn’t want to miss the chance of getting items in case my gentleman wasn’t making enough money. Meanwhile, my gentleman was trying to accumulate as much money as he could to spend on the very last round, which I did not know about. Although it was a complex game to play, it was really interesting and fun to figure out. The satirical reference to the Victorian era was clever and done in a way that exposed many gender roles and expectations that have shaped our society. This game can definitely teach some lessons about gender disparity and gender roles, which are important topics to be aware of, especially when it comes to leadership. A good leader can be inclusive and empathetic, and putting yourself in a position that you are normally not in can help you understand someone’s context better. Being able to look at things from different perspectives and adapt accordingly can go a long way. 

In my opinion, I believe that my classmates from WGS courses would enjoy playing this game and discussing its context afterwards. This game can be a good conversation starter about gender roles then and now, and about gender inequality. 

A Reflection on RECON

Over the course of Friday, March 3rd through Sunday, March 5th the largest annual geeky event in Oxford was held. In case you don’t know, I’m talking about RECON. RECON is a time when the League of Geeks and all of its member organizations get together (in the form of taking over the Armstrong Student Center) to host a weekend full of geeky fun. There were many things going on ranging from playthroughs of Blood on the Clocktower with Meeples to Cosplay contests and from a Phineas and Ferb marathon to many different and themed “Beat the Geek” trivia contests. Since you’re reading this review, you may be asking the ever important question of what activities I took part in? Well don’t worry, I’m going to talk all about my time at RECON.

Sadly, my time with RECON was limited by other commitments, but I made sure to make some time to visit Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. My time at RECON started just before 7 pm Saturday night, where I was able to see the Comedians Andrew Rudick and Ben Brainard. I have looked forward to seeing Ben’s performance ever since I learned of the possibility of him coming to RECON sometime last semester. I have been following his YouTube page for well over a year at this point and I have found him to be very entertaining and I appreciated his energy. After seeing him perform live, I have to say that he lived up to the hype. He was able to riff off of the audience’s energy and make consistent references to earlier jokes in ways that fit his style of comedy well. After the show, there was a meet and greet with the comedians, where I got the chance to get a picture with Ben (see below), but that was not the end of my Saturday RECON adventures.

I ended the night joining a friend in Pavilion C to play some board games and hope to win one of the many prizes that were being given away. At the Meeples hosted freeplay, there were tons and tons of games to choose from, even with countless groups already in the middle of games. My friend and I started with a simple game of Codenames with some people that he knew. This was a great start because I’m a big fan of Codenames and it is a simple enough game to play later in the night when everyone is starting to get tired. In the couple games that we played my team was able to remain undefeated. Playing a game got everyone in our group a token which we exchanged for an entry to win a prize. I later found out that the people I was playing with had also put their entries into the same set of metallic dice that I put my entry into, but none of us won them.

After the Saturday giveaway winners were announced the pavilion cleared out a bit and we were nearing the end of the day’s portion of RECON, so my friend and I picked a random game that had a relatively short estimated playtime. That game happened to be Point Salad. As we were setting up the game, we happened to recruit someone who knows how to play, which made the whole learning process at least twenty times simpler. For anyone who doesn’t know, Point Salad is an aptly named point salad style of game that involves drafting a deck of cards, sorry I mean a salad of vegetables. Each card has a vegetable on one side and an objective on the other, so each turn you can either hoard objectives or the vegetables that make your salad. By the end we all had some peculiar salads that weren’t much to boast about, but plenty of points to go around. My salad was primarily crafted with combinations of peppers, cabbages, and onions in a way that I’m sure Gordon Ramsey would scoff at. Thankfully he isn’t the judge of this game, and I was able to come out just a few points ahead of my competition.

That game of Point Salad may have been the end of my Saturday at RECON, but I was able to make it back on Sunday just long enough to play one game of Red Rising. I chose this game and found some strangers to play it with me because it was one of the many play-and-win games that Meeples was offering. Pretty much if you play the game you get a chance to win it. Red Rising, which is based on a book series of the same name, is a hand-management, combo-building game. There were a lot of moving parts to the game that I could not find a way to optimize in my favor. Although I thought I was doing a good job, I came in a very distant second place in a group of three. All-in-all the game was very enjoyable to play and I would definitely consider playing it again. This loss did mark the end of my RECON experience, but in total my experience at RECON was more than enjoyable.

I had been looking forward to this RECON for a while and it did not disappoint. This is the most time I spent at a RECON event in my nearly complete time at Miami and I regret that I was not able to be there for more of it. I got to see a comedian that I have liked for a while and I got to play a couple of games with some people that I know and some that I didn’t know beforehand, but I missed out on a bunch of things at the event that I wish I was able to go to, such as a couple of “Beat the Geek” trivia contests that I probably would have done well in, a game show, and the Miami Mouse Club’s presentation of “Disney Songs That Go Way Harder Than They Should.” I feel like these activities could have only added to the fun that I had at RECON. I’m grateful for the League of Geeks for putting on such a great event, and especially for Meeples for having a great and open free play.