Monthly Archives: October 2018

Week 5 – Two Rooms And A Boom

In week #5 we played Two Rooms and a Boom, which is a large role playing party game. To date this has been my least favorite game in the class, not because it is a bad game per say, but more so because it is not the type of game I enjoy playing. The most difficult part of Two Rooms and A Boom is secrecy and communication (also highly dependent on the character cards). I found it challenging to talk to everyone in the game because a lot of players were not willing to openly share information, choosing rather to keep their identities secret, which can be extremely challenging especially if you are a member of the grey team (as I was when I played as the gambler).

While I did not feel like there were many direct leadership concepts in this game, leadership does play a large part in the game. Each room has a leader which is designated by the group and can be voted out at any time, so in that regard leadership is present for that player in making good decisions and communicating with the other people on their team and in the room to make beneficial decisions.

I would recommend this game to party game lovers. I don’t know anyone close to me that would enjoy this game, maybe my friend Emily as the game is pretty social and she does enjoy talking to people and party style games more so than other types of board games. The game is definitely meant to be played with a large group and could function as a fun ice breaker!

Week 4 – Mysterium

During week 4 we played my favorite board game from this class to date: Mysterium. Heading into week #4 our teacher described Mysterium as a sophisticated version of Clue, which is my favorite board game of all time, so I was very excited to see what Mysterium was all about. While the premise of the game is similar to Clue in that the players are working to solve a “Who Dunnit” murder mystery by figuring out who, where and what weapon were used to commit the crime, that ended up being the only resemblance of Mysterium to Clue. Mind you, I asked for Mysterium for my birthday immediately after playing the first time, but it is completely different than clue other than in its basic premise.

In the first round of Mysterium, I played as the ghost, a role that I very much prefer in this game. As the ghost the biggest challenge I faced was providing dreams to the psychics that I thought aptly “described” the person, place or thing I was trying to lead them towards. This particular challenge in Mysterium is a matter of perception, (a similar challenge occurs in the board game Code Names), in which the player giving the clues has to think beyond their own interpretations in order to connect with/try to understand how others perceive ideas. This challenge nicely lends itself to an important area of leadership, which is understanding that those you lead may have different learning or thinking styles and that even if you believe you have a great idea, it can be misinterpreted or interpreted differently. A good leader can present information in a variety of ways and is open to others interpretations of problems, and will utilize others opinions/suggestions to create better solutions.

Two people I think that would really enjoy this game are my sister Amanda and my dad. My dad likes strategy games, with clue being one of his favorite board games, and I think he would appreciate this interpretation of a Who-Dunnit board game. I think my sister would like this game because of the similarities it shares with Code Names. She is great at interpreting clues and analyzing how the person providing those clues thinks, which is an important part of the strategy of Mysterium. This is a definitely a game that can be enjoyed by a variety of board game players as it encompasses visual information, with strategy and collaboration.

Week 3 – Betrayal at the House on the Hill

In week 3 we played the cooperative turn competitive strategy board game, Betrayal at the House on the Hill. This game was one of my favorites of the class so far, as it encompassed a lot of the components I look for in a game. Betrayal was unique to me because the game changes each time it is played. Due to the nature of the game, the board is placed one tile at a time and each tile while assigned a certain floor can be attached to any room. Part way through the game, a haunt scenario takes place which offers many further variations for the game, making it extremely versatile and potentially offer a new experience to players every time. Unfortunately my group ended up with a haunt scenario in which there was no traitor, which was disappointing because I felt as though I missed out on half of the fun of Betrayal. Overall I thought the most difficult and deterring part of the game is the complicated rules. The game comes with multiple books of rules, each applying to different portions or scenarios in the game and it can get quite confusing. Luckily a member of our group had previously played and we also had our teacher and TA who were able to explain any issues that arose. As a result of this challenge, I would recommend playing the game for the first time with someone who has played before, which makes Betrayal in my opinion a difficult game for the casual board game player to pick up and enjoy. I think my friend Mike would really enjoy Betrayal, he plays a lot of strategy board games like Catan and Ticket to Ride, which require more time and are a bit more complex then the games your casual board game player might pick up. Mike enjoys strategy and complex thinking (he is a math major) and I think Betrayal encompasses elements a person who likes to think strategize and enjoys board games would definitely enjoy.

As for the leadership topics covered in Betrayal, I would say that collaboration and comfortability with ambiguity are the two most prevalent topics. For the first half of the game collaboration is key, as you definitely want to try and assist other players on your team to increase their abilities so you all have a better chance of survival (collaboration goes out the door partly once a player becomes a traitor, but in my haunt scenario we played the entire game collaboratively). Further I would add that comfortability with ambiguity is important in this game because it deals entirely with the unknown, new rooms, a traitor in the middle of the game, and creepy/dangerous (for your character” scenarios. These topics are important in leadership because in order to be a successful leader, you must collaborate with other leaders and members of your team. Additionally a leader has to be comfortable with the unknown and recognize that a lot of growth can come from situations in which you are not entirely comfortable. When a leader is unsure about things that can also be a time when they can look for support from others in their team to collaborate and determine a solution

Week 2 – Hanabi

In week #2, we played the card game Hanabi. Hanabi is a cooperative card game played in small groups (I believe we played with four or five), in which players are trying to set off fireworks by placing cards in numerical order based on the color of the cards. Hanabi, unlike typical card games is unique in that the players hold their cards facing towards the group instead of towards themselves. In this particular game, the group than must help each other to recommend to each player which card to play. This is probably the most challenging aspect of the game, because players have to rely only on the information they are provided. In some turns a player may no nothing about their cards, and that can cause them to make decisions which negatively impact the team.

Overall I found the concept of this game to be extremely intriguing. The game relies a lot on trust, which can be difficult with a group of people you have just met, as I somewhat learned playing this early in the course. Unfortunately, we were only able to play one round of Hanabi and I don’t think my group played the game entirely as it was intended. We were so fearful of choosing the wrong card to play that we slowed the game down to where at points it was boring. If you choose to play Hanabi I would recommend that you try to keep decision making to a quick 30 seconds to a minute and try not to worry about making mistakes, after all the game is designed with that challenge in mind. If you worry less about being perfect and more about having fun you will enjoy this game a lot more!

I would definitely recommend Hanabi to strategy game lovers that may be looking for something quick, those who like easy set-up and players that want a challenging non-competitive game. The first person who comes to mind in my family that would really enjoy this game is my sister Samantha. She dislikes long games, prefers games that are not overly taxing on the mind but also require more thinking than a simple dice rolling game, games that involves words, patterns or colors and games that can be explained simply and require minimal set up. I think Hanabi provides just the right amount of challenge to keep players interested, without the stress and time consuming elements that make some people choose not to play a strategy game.

The most important leadership topics in Hanabi are trust and anticipation. In the game trust is most present in the reliance of others to provide you with helpful information and to steer you in the right direction, while anticipation is present in making early decisions that will prepare your team for success in the long run. These are both important concepts in leadership. As a leader you want to build a strong group around you and trust that you can delegate tasks to them and they will be accomplished, while likewise trusting that they will be their for support and share in your passions to achieve a common goal. Anticipation is important in leadership because it is necessary to think about the future of your team, org, or business and not just about its current needs/budget, etc. but also about its long term success and goals!

Week 1 – The Resistance Avalon

The first game we played in this course was the Resistance Avalon; a card based game similar to Mafia or Werewolf, combined with the elements of team dynamics/voting, that also has it own unique approach. While I was familiar with the concept of the game, I found Resistance Avalon particularly interesting because of the slight twist it incorporates at the beginning of the game. This twist involves the characters Merlin, Morgana and Mordred. On the first night Merlin is granted the ability to learn about all but one of the Evil Players (Mordred) and is also faced with challenges during the game of a player that can “act” as Merlin with Morgana. In one of my first games, I was randomly given the role of Merlin, in which I had to navigate these challenges, while helping my team. The most difficult part of playing as Merlin definitely arose when it came time to approving missions, as well as whether to reveal the information I knew to other players at the table. While I found trusting others and the decision to disseminate information challenging, I really enjoyed playing this game. I would definitely recommend this game to some of my close friends, as there is a lot of tension that develops and I believe it would be more fun to play with people that I know well and can trust. If I was to play with close friends I would also be able to pick up on queues of times they may have been deceiving me.

As for leadership topics covered in this game, I believe the game does a great job of demonstrating the need for communication and listening skills. It is extremely important in this game to not only voice your opinion but listen to other players verbal suggestions and watch their actions to see who they propose for missions. Doing so can help you determine if they are working in cahoots with other players. These skills are vital for leadership because a good leader should be able to communicate with others, listen to others opinions and use those to help make decisions that are beneficial to the team as a whole!

Week 6- Ladies and Gentlemen

This past week’s game, Ladies and Gentlemen was…interesting to say the least. First and foremost, this game is purposefully controversial for how it treats the two different roles, the Ladies and the Gentlemen. Throughout the entire game, the Ladies have to choose what items their Gentlemen should buy them, so at the end of the game they can accumulate enough to be the “best dressed” and win the game. There are a lot of stats for each item, as well as needing to buy different pieces to complete a set. The Gentlemen are left mostly unaware of this info, or how one item is better than the other. The only thing they know is how expensive the item is, and how badly their Lady wants it. Communication between a team of a Lady and Gentleman is supposed to be very vague, without direct explanation of details on money/items.

The Gentlemen, on the other hand, have a completely different job than the Ladies. They have to collect certain tokens in direct competition of the other Gentlemen to earn more money and complete contracts. The Ladies have no idea how much money they’ve earned, what the contracts are, etc. There can also be a lone person known as a Courtesan, who can cause people to win or lose depending on whether the Gentlemen agree to buy that person items. This throws off standard play by having the Gentlemen split their priorities, and is honestly my favorite part about the game.

Of course, this game is a satirical take on Victorian values and lifestyles, with women unable to do anything relating to resource gathering or money handling. The hardest part about this game, in my opinion, is keeping the conversation between Lady and Gentleman vague without directly telling each other what the other needs to win the game. It honestly frustrated me on how I could not control every aspect of the game (I still won though).

I don’t believe anyone I know would enjoy this game, but honestly I would highly enjoy showing this game to my mother to see what she thinks about it. I’m sure her words would be very interesting to say the least, but in the end she would get a good laugh out of it, which is what was intended in the first place.

Week 5- Two Rooms and a Boom

A couple of weeks ago in class, there was a game that was more unique than the rest, Two Rooms and a Boom. I was not initially too excited for this game, until I heard that the whole class was going to be playing the game together, and people were going to have roles. Although not my favorite kind of game, the idea of that style of play interested me a ton, so I came in ready. Two Rooms and a Boom is essentially a hide your identity sort of game, with two teams (blue and red). Two groups randomly form at the start of the game, regardless of what color or role they have. The red team is trying to place one of their members, who has the role of “Bomber” in the same group as the blue “President”, whose team is trying to prevent this.

The game consists of asking players to show either their color, or both role and color. Players can refuse to give information, or just a little bit of it. Roles also affect gameplay, with some people only able to tell the truth, while others may seem like red team members, but are actually a blue spy. There are even independent teams, designated gray, who are trying to complete their own objectives to win. For example, two people have the Romeo and Juliet role, and are trying to be in the same group their partner is in along with the “Bomber” by the end of the game.

Each round of the game has each group choose a leader, regardless of role, who decides a certain number of “hostages” to transfer to the other group. This plays into certain objectives, since not everyone has the same goal. The game ends after a certain number of rounds, and sometimes the “hostage” count changes between these rounds, increasing the risk to send away the wrong people.

I feel like the hardest part of this game was getting people to trust you enough to tell you what role they were. It was easiest when your role was gray, since they knew that you were less likely to interfere with their objective. It was really difficult to gain info as the “Ambassador” role, in my opinion, because people think that you either already had a ton of info, so the risk that you could influence the leader and team objectives were higher.

I believe that my cousins back home would love this game, since they already like large group games during family reunions and such. This concept would greatly appeal to them, and probably become a regular game we play together in the future if I introduce it.