Monthly Archives: November 2018

Week 11 – T.I.M.E. Stories

In class this past week we began playing the board game T.I.M.E. stories. This game has far exceeded my expectations, and while it is at first difficult to grasp, it does become easier to understand as you play. The most difficult part of T.I.M.E. Stories so far (we are continuing the game next week, and the box is designed to allow players to save their game, which is an extremely cool feature) has been the limited amount of time you receive when starting your mission. This is not something you can really avoid or strategize around because the amount of time you lose each turn is determined by chance via a dice roll. However instead of losing the game once you run out of time, the game simply re-sets and forces your team to go back through previous steps with clues in your mind as to how to complete the mission more efficiently. Overall it has a really unique take, but is incredibly frustrating, since the group loses so much progress.

The leadership topics covered in this game are attention to detail, conveying information/collaboration, and ambiguity, amongst others. The attention to detail aspects come up in the game play. Players must pay close attention the clues they are provided and the details within each clue because once time runs out you lose a lot of the information you learned. Additionally only the players on the designated spaces are able to read the clues in their entirety, and as a result they must be able to convey that information to other players so that the team stays on the same page. Lastly, the game is extremely ambiguous because each destination/room you choose has its own set of unknown outcomes. Each player has to make choices on their own and ultimately each choice can have a major impact on the team. The qualities are important in leadership, because good leaders must pay attention to cues from their team members, and be extremely organized and detail oriented in order to ensure success for their teams. Additionally leaders have to be able to convey their ideas to others, so that people can join and understand the groups overall goals. Lastly, a good leader must be comfortable with ambiguity and change; leaders often prepare for one thing and end up dealing with something entirely different, so they must be able to adapt.

I would recommend this game to anyone who loves escape rooms or adventure/mystery stories. It has a really similar feel to an escape room in that you are trying to piece together clues, it can only be played once per story, and that there are a lot of unknown components that reveal themselves to players as they go. The game also does a great job of immersing players in the story and theme, similarly to an escape room. I would recommend this game to my friend Brooke, she is my escape room buddy and we have done over 30 rooms together. The game has a lot of elements that I explained above that she would definitely enjoy!

Week 1 – Avalon

In EDL290T, we recently played a game called The Resistance: Avalon. It wasn’t the first time I played this game; Avalon was a staple of academic team game nights last year, and I usually enjoyed playing a round or two with my friends.

As usual, I found the hardest part of the game to be the element of deception that accompanies it. It is very difficult to play this game without some form of deception, and this is all the more apparent when playing on the red, or evil, team. When we played in class for the first time, I was saddled with being on the side of the subversive enemies of Arthur and his knights. I couldn’t wait for the round to be over. I didn’t even mind when we lost the game after failing to sabotage even one mission; being on the bad team just causes me that much stress.

Fortunately, I was on the good side for the next two rounds. In the second round, I was Percival, and I didn’t do a very good job of identifying Merlin. Evan’s Morgana was just way too convincing, I guess, so we lost. I was Merlin in the next round, and the assassin failed to divine my identity after the third successful mission, so we won! Kudos to our Percival, who did a stellar job of protecting my identity.

In terms of the leadership components of the game, a pattern that I notice when playing this game is that, inevitably, a table “leader” emerges.This is someone who shapes the discourse occurring within the context of the game, someone who is able to sway people’s opinions towards their own hidden agenda. Sometimes this person is the Merlin, Morgana, or Percival, but oftentimes I find that it’s just the person who isn’t afraid to take charge, regardless of their role. You hope that this person is on your team, or maybe you’re confident enough that this king-making position can be yours.

I think my mom would enjoy this game. She’s a fan of hidden-role games, so this would probably be right up her alley.

Week 10 – Captain Sonar

In week #10 we played the game Captain Sonar. This has by far been one of my favorite games this semester, simply for the game play variety it offers. We were able to play this game three times, and in each game I played a different role. In game #1 I played as the Engineer, in game #2 the Captain/First Mate and game #3 the radio operator. Captain Sonar is interesting because each player has a different task which has major implications on the team. The game lends itself very well to the inner working of an organization or business because each team member has an important role to play.

Additionally the game has a unique approach to leadership, and incorporates a system of checks and balances. While the Captain is the ultimate leader (deciding which direction the submarine will travel), the engineer has the ability to tell the captain that they cannot go in a certain direction. This balance of power creates a really unique element in this game. At the same time, the engineer, first mate and captain have to communicate about which systems are operational, while the radio operator has to listen to the opposition to determine the location of the opposing team’s sub. As a result you have a real time game with lots of communication, checks and balances, chaos and fun!

The most difficult part of the game depends on which role you are playing; but ultimately boils down to not being entirely in control of your own role. As the engineer you are relying on the captain, who is likewise relying on the instruction of the first mate, engineer and radio operator. The game is dependent on clear communication, guidance and teamwork. Each of these topics is important in leadership, because a good leader has to communicate with their team members and work together, but also needs to guide their team in the right direction and rely on the help of others too. Captain Sonar is an amazing game to use if you want to teach people that leadership can be found within each member of a team, even if it is not overtly clear upon first look!

I would recommend this game to my uncle. He enjoys playing games that are fast paced and revolve around communication. Captain Sonar offers a lot of variety in its set up and is definitely a game you want to play with people who can handle pressure and stress well!

Week 9 – Ultimate Werewolf

In week #9 the class played Ultimate Werewolf. Ultimate Werewolf is a role playing card game similar to Mafia, in which players are randomly assigned a role on the team of the villagers or the werewolves. The goal of each team is to eliminate the opposing team via killing players during the night or voting to kill players during the day. In this game I was a member of the villager’s team and had the role of Witch, and had the special ability to save one player and kill one player at any time during the game. The most difficult part of playing the role of the witch was deciding when to use my extra power. I ultimately chose to save a player in the night following the killing of the wolf cub (during this night the werewolves can kill two players). However, overall the most difficult part of this game is determining who is on your side, who is telling the truth and who to nominate to kill. This is particularly tricky because people can choose to say whatever they want, and no one ever gives much of a reason to trust them.

The topics surrounding leadership that are present in this game are definitely teamwork and trust. In the game it is vital that you determine who is on your side and that you share appropriate information to figure out who the werewolves are. Due to the nature of the game, trust is also extremely important, because you often are taking peoples word to heart. A leader needs to have trust in others around them and believe in the team that surround them, as well as work together well with others to accomplish their goals.

I would recommend this game to my group of friends that partakes in alternative spring break trips. When we go on these trips we always play Mafia. However, werewolf offers more specific roles and is easier to explain and set up (comes with rules and cards). We all love playing mafia, so Ultimate Werewolf could be a nice change of pace while still allowing us to play the random role playing type game we love!

Week 7 – Survive Escape From Atlantis

In week #7 we were given the option of free play. During this class three classmates and I chose to play Survive Escape From Atlantis. Overall, I really enjoyed this game, it was fairly easy to set up and play, but complicated enough to peak my interest. The game reminded me of an early version of Settlers of Catan. Players begin by setting tiles upside down in the middle of the ocean to create the island of Atlantis. Players then place colored meeples, each with different hidden values on the board and take turns trying to get their meeples to safety via boats, while removing land tiles. The most difficult part of this game was strategizing where to place your meeples and which tiles to remove. Since the objective was to get the most points, it was important to protect your high values meeples from being eaten by sharks, or sea monsters. At the same time, the game is a competition and it was necessary to strategize on how to keep other players from saving their highest valued meeples.

As for leadership topics that are covered in this game, I would say the use of planning and strategic thinking are most applicable. The game can be won or lost at the start with poor planning and it is important to continuously manage the board and think ahead. These are both important skills for leaders. A leader must plan, adapt to change and actively manage in order to ensure success!

I would recommend this game to my mom because she prefers games that don’t require a lot of thinking. The game is not as simple as a dice rolling game, but is far less complicated than other strategy games available and can be learned rather quickly.

Week 6 – Ladies & Gentlemen

In week #6 the class played the board game Ladies & Gentlemen. During this game, players are in teams of two, with one player playing as the lady and one as the gentlemen. Each Lady and Gentlemen plays their own “mini-game” versus the other ladies or gentlemen in order to save up enough cash to purchase the most beautiful outfit for the ball. While the game uses Victorian era stereotypes which are somewhat offensive, from a strategy and leadership aspect, it does cover some interesting topics.

The strategy of the game is dependent on which side of the table you play on. In this game I played as a lady and in a nut shell, my job was to decide which store to shop at for the day, which pieces of clothing I would like to buy, and then request from my husband the amount needed to purchase those items. The most difficult part of the game was determining which store to shop at, and strategically choosing which designers to wear (you can only wear two during the game). Sometimes I had to take risks in choosing what to display at my own shop, as well as in what to ask for from my husband. Likewise, it was extremely frustrating to be reliant on another person to determine whether you were able to have the items you requested.

The areas of leadership that are touched on in this game strongly correlate to communication and delegation. In the game it is extremely important to both trust that your partner will do their tasks well, and to communicate with your partner about what you absolutely need. As a leader delegation is important because you won’t always be able to accomplish everything yourself, while communication is important to make sure everyone is on the same page and can work together to complete a task.

I would recommend this game to people who like strategy and want to be a bit goofy. I think my dad would appreciate this game because he enjoys strategy games, and this particular game offers the ability to be goofy while offering a variety of ways to play.

Week 10- Captain Sonar

This last week in class, the game played was a little different from the others, and it was stressful to say the least. I’m talking about Captain Sonar, the real-time team strategy game, all about communication and problem-solving. The first thing to know about this game is the positions all the players can be in the game. There are four, for an optimized two opposing teams of four. The game revolves around the teams controlling a complex submarine, which has multiple systems. Both teams not only have to concentrate on controlling their sub, but also find and keep track of where the other sub is in order to find and destroy it.

The roles are what make this game extremely interesting, and they include the Captain, First Mate, Radio Operator, and Engineer. The Captain is responsible for determining where the submarine goes, and how they can confuse the other team on where they are going. The First Mate keeps track of the sub’s systems, which have to charge over time. This means the First Mate has to pick and choose which systems to charge based on the situation. The Radio Operator is the one listening to the other team’s Captain, using their shouted out movements to try and track where they are on the map. The Engineer has probably the most complex task, keeping track of the sub’s damages. Each time the submarine moves, it takes some damage to its inner workings based on the direction it last moved. The Engineer decides which part of the sub’s systems get damaged, and have ways of undoing that damage through certain patterns.

For our class specifically, we had a limited number of people, so the Captains had to take the First Mate role in addition. This was the absolute hardest thing for me to do, because both of those roles had their own things to communicate to the other players, so keeping track of both at the rapid pace the game naturally goes at was difficult to say the least. Leadership was very individual based in my opinion, with each person expressing their concerns in their own way in order for the team as a whole to succeed.

I have a friend in Maryland who really, really likes these types of games. I think he would either be the Captain or Engineer during the game, because he likes to lead or manage the most important elements of the game. I will have to see if he had heard of this game over winter break, maybe even play it with him and some mutual friends.

Week 9- Ultimate Werewolf

After a couple of weeks of other work beyond just playing games, a couple of weeks ago we returned to form with a Halloween themed game, Ultimate Werewolf. A party game that the whole class got to enjoy, this game felt very appropriate for the season and honestly is one that I know particularly well from previous experiences. However, this time around I think was one of the most frustrating, but still enjoyable, times I’ve ever had with this game.

For some context, Ultimate Werewolf consists of a large party of players, each with assigned roles. A majority of players are simple villagers, with no objectives other than to find and kill the werewolves. Each round, the group collectively votes to kill someone during the “day”cycle, trying to kill the werewolves. In between these rounds of discussion, the players with the werewolf role choose someone to kill during the “night” cycle, aiming at the villagers with more important roles and trying to be the last ones alive.

Now, how this game in particular differed was the additional roles assigned to people in the “village”. For example, someone was a Spellcaster, who had the power to silence any villager they wanted during the night cycle. Another person had the role of Cupid, who could pick two villagers to “fall in love”, so if one of them got killed, the other died as well. In addition, a villager named Virginia Wolfe at the beginning of the game chose a person to “fear” them, meaning they would die if she was killed. All of things happened to me at once. I could not speak, and had triple the risk of being killed, which unsurprisingly happened a short instance into the game. On the bright side, the werewolves were killed, so the villagers won, so it all worked out.

The hardest part of this game was obvious, I had so many odds stacked against me, it was hard to tell who had inflicted these curses on me, but getting through them and playing carefully was a more unique experience I may not have had otherwise. Being a leader through the group conversations, finding out who to trust while also portraying yourself as trustworthy was a constant element of the game.

My group of friends from high school that I hang out with in my hometown would love this game, because of all the roles and having to deceive others. The meta-gaming would get out of hand, and I’m sure everyone would have a good time.