Monthly Archives: May 2020

Gaming Event Reflection

Recon: A Reflection

For this assignment, I chose to attend Recon, a convention put together by Miami University’s league of geeks. At first, I was skeptical that I would enjoy this event- I have never been very active in the league of geeks and worried that because I didn’t know anybody, it would not end up being very fun. However, as soon as I got there, my perspective changed, and I ended up having a really good time.

The first thing I did when I got to Recon was attend the comedy show. I have always been a big fan of stand-up comedy, so I figured this would be something I would likely enjoy. I was a little bit late, so I did not see the beginning of the comedy show, but in total, I was in the auditorium watching for about an hour. The fist gentleman I watched did general stand up, and I remember quite enjoying it, but the second gentleman who came out was much more memorable. He incorporated songs into his performance, which I actually really enjoyed. I had never seen someone combine stand-up comedy and music in that way before, the only thing I had ever seen like it was Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song” on Saturday Night Live (A very funny song that I would highly encourage you see if you are not already familiar with it). His song about “The Sunday after the Saturday immediately following the actual calendar day of St. Patricks Day” remains stuck in my head to this day. 

After the comedy show, I went upstairs because I was told a game of ultimate werewolf was going to begin soon, a game I quite enjoy, but because I had some time, I looked around at other boardgames and found some of my friends from EDL290. Together, we went and dropped off the coins we had received for attending the comedy show and redeemed them for a chance to win a prize, which I did not realize was something we had the opportunity to do. While I did not end up winning anything, unfortunately, it was still fun to look. After that, I went over to the game table to try to find a game to play, and came across a game that J.S had told me about. It was a game that illustrated how Gerrymandering works and how it is done. As a political science major with a passion for elections, I found the idea of playing this game to be incredibly fun, so I tried to find someone who would play it with me. Unfortunately, everybody around me was also just waiting to play ultimate werewolf, so nobody wanted to get invested in a game they had never played before. I ended up sitting around a table with a few people from EDL290, and we were about to play a card game. However, just as we had set up, we were told that ultimate werewolf was about to start. We sorted ourselves into two lines (my friends and I all made sure to be in the same line) and split into two groups since there were so many people who wanted to play. After playing several rounds of ultimate werewolf, I said goodbye to my friends and headed home.

Being able to attend this event was a great way for me to connect with the gaming community at Miami in a way I had not before. Prior to attending this event, my only real exposure to the gaming community was EDL290, so I lacked a strong understanding of what the community was truly like. In attending RECON, I learned that, for one, the active gaming community at Miami is much larger than I thought. I suspected that there were maybe 100 or so active gamers on campus, but based on the turnout at recon, it became clear to me quite quickly that there were a lot more than 100. I also did not realize how many gaming groups there are on campus. Prior to seeing all of the different groups who helped make recon possible, I assumed that there were maybe 4 or 5 gaming groups on campus, but I learned at that event that there are actually quite a few more than that. 

In addition to learning more about the gaming community in general, I was better able to connect with many of the individuals who make up that community that I would otherwise not have had the chance to connect with. I believe that there is somewhat of a stigma/stereotype associated with gamers on campus; the idea that they want to be left alone and do their own thing, and that your presence is not welcome or desired. I am embarrassed and somewhat ashamed to acknowledge that I subconsciously bought in to this narrative for a long time, and never had any meaningful interactions with the gaming community at Miami. However, in attending RECON, as well as just spending time in EDL290, I realized that these notions could not be farther from the truth, and that the gaming community was happy to have more people interact with them, and that most of them are really nice, interesting, fun people. It is unfortunate that it took me as long as it did to come to these conclusions, but I am glad that I did. It certainly makes me think about what other preconceived notions and biases I may be carrying about other groups on campus, and encourages me to address those as well. 

Ultimately, I really enjoyed my time at RECON. Like I mentioned, I was initially skeptical that I would enjoy the event- the biggest reason I attended was because I knew that I needed to for class and that this would be a better way to earn points than some of the alternatives. I figured I would stay for an hour, get my points, and leave. But instead, I found myself staying for about 4 hours and really enjoying the time I was there. The connections I made with my fellow Miamians was well worth the time spent at the event, and I look forward to connecting more with those same individuals, and other Miami gamers, soon.

What Type of Gamer Am I?

For the course, EDL290T, I took an assessment. This assessment analyzed my opinions about different kinds of games. This assessment took into consideration what makes me interested in a game. This involved myself answering prompts about how things such as design, theme, goal, gameplay, and more affect my interest in a game.

            The results of this assessment indicate that I prefer games that involve Conflict and Social Manipulation the most when compared with games involving characteristics such as Strategy, Aesthetics, Social Fun, and others. The following are my results for each of the eight categories in order of the lowest to the highest percentage match, and the number designates to what percent I fit into the category:  Immersion, 12%; Discovery, 14%; Cooperation, 20%; Aesthetics, 22%; Social Fun, 27%; Strategy, 38%; Conflict, 68%; and Social Manipulation, 74%.

            I think these results are interesting. I would agree with many of my results. Things like Aesthetics (22%) are not very important to me in games. While Aesthetics are nice and make a game more appealing, a game does not need to have superb Aesthetics for me to enjoy it. On the higher end, I would also agree about my Social Manipulation percentile (74%). I really enjoy games that involve independent thinking and forcing players to think about how they can outsmart and overcome other players. My favorite game is The Resistance, which I feel falls into this category of having to outsmart other players. I was surprised that my score for Strategy, 38%, was as low as it is. I would have expected myself to get a higher percentile. Similar to Social Manipulation, I enjoy games that force me to think about the gameplay.

           I appreciate that this website was brought to my attention. I think it is really cool how this website analyzed my preferences for games. I would say that overall, and for the most part, this assessment accurately portrays who I am as a gamer! Try taking the assessment for yourself! Here is the website! https://apps.quanticfoundry.com/surveys/answer/tabletop/

Life-Sized Clue Game

By Sam Belkowitz

OBJECTIVE

Someone ate the last piece of cake in your household. It is your job to find clues and discover who the culprit is!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Potential evidence: fork, plate, knife, glass of milk
  • Notebooks for each player
  • Dice for every player
  • Cards with each player, room, and possible evidence

This edition uses Mom, Dad, Oldest Sister, Next Oldest Sister, Myself, Fork, Knife, Plate, Glass of Milk, Family Room, Kitchen, Main Bathroom, Basement, Dining Room, Living Room, the Study, and the Porch.

SETUP

Place the pieces of evidence in different rooms in the house. Randomly select a card from each of the three categories (who, what, and where) and place on the kitchen table. Shuffle the remaining cards and distribute them to each player. In your notebook, cross out your cards. Mom always goes first, continue from oldest to youngest.

GAMEPLAY

Each player starts in their bedroom. Roll two dice. Take the amount of steps you roll. When you are in a room, you can make a claim for what happened to the cake. Guess the room you are in, the player you think ate the cake, and what they ate the cake with. The player who goes after you will inform you if any of their cards match your accusation. If they have a card that matches, they show only one, and the accuser crosses the card off of their list. If the next player does not have that card, the accusation moves to the next player, and so on. If a player has a card that matches part of your suspicion, then you know what is on that card was not involved in the crime.

WINNING

If a player believes they know the details of the crime, they need to go to the kitchen table. If their accusation matches the cards on the table, they win. If they do not win, gameplay continues until someone wins. The player that incorrectly guessed cannot win.

——

Contact Sam Belkowitz with questions and comments

belkows@miamioh.edu

Community Standards Board: The Game

Requirements: Number of Players (5+ Players); Playing Time (1-2 Hours); Age (17+)

Miami University’s Office of Community Standards works to encourage students growth and development of integrity and personal responsibility. As such, the Office of Community Standards has created a hearing process to serve as the medium. One portion of the hearing process is the Community Standards Board, a board of individuals of the Miami community. You are a member of this Board and your role is to serve as an adjudicator in regard to violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Objective: As a serving member of the Board, your objective is to work with the other sitting members, discuss the evidence surrounding a potential violation of the Code of Conduct as well as the alleged violator’s response, and come to a decision on whether or not the alleged violator is responsible, or not responsible, for the violation. If found responsible, the Board must then come to a decision on the appropriate sanctions that should be placed on the violator. 

Components

  • Three (3) Board Members
    • One (1) Student Member, and two (2) Faculty Members
    • These are the Board Members who will be voting whether the Alleged Violator is responsible or not responsible for the violation of the Code of Conduct
  • One (1) Community Standards Representative
    • This is a representative of the Office of the Community Standards. Their role is to assist the Board Members with any questions they have about school policies, as well as, provide information to the Board Members about past violations committed by the Alleged Violator. Additionally, if the Alleged Violator is found “Responsible,” then this individual will provide the Office of Community Standards recommendations for sanctioning. 
      • The purpose of sanctions is to assist students in reflection and undergoing responsibility of their behavior. Sanctions can include probation, failed class, monetary payment, suspension, etc. Finally, the Community Standards Representative ensures that all rules of the game are being observed and followed.
  • At least one (1+) Alleged Violator of the Code of Conduct
    • This is the individual who came to the Board under the accusation of violating Miami University’s Student Code of Conduct. Their role is to explain the situation at hand. In layman’s terms, the Violator is roughly similar to the defendant in a criminal trial. 
  • (Optional) Complainant
    • The Complainant is the individual who has brought the alleged violation to the Community Standards Board and will speak against the Alleged Violator. In layman’s terms, the Complainant is roughly similar to the plaintiff in a criminal trial. 
  • (Optional) Witnesses
    • Both the Community Standards Board and the Alleged Violator have the option to bring with them witnesses who have directly witnessed alleged violation. 
  • Miami University’s Student Code of Conduct
    • The Code of Student Conduct outlines the rights and responsibilities of students, behaviors prohibited on and off campus, possible sanctions, and the procedural rights of students and student organizations.
  • One (1) Voice Recorder
  • Three (3) Legal Notepads 
  • Three (3) Pens

Setup

  1. Board Members arrive and set up the room for the Hearing.
    • The Three Board Members were given case materials which included police/residence life/academic reports regarding the potential violation the day prior to the Hearing.
      • The information given can only be related to the alleged violation, and nothing more. 
    • The Board Members then choose one member to act as the “Leading Member”
      • The Leading Member will act as the voice of the Board and will give the Opening/Closing instructions and will be in charge of recording the Hearing as dictated by the Student Code of Conduct. 
        • The Student Member of the Board cannot be the Leading Member.
    • Once the Board Members are ready to begin, the Community Standards Representative will bring in the Alleged Violator and the Complaintant. 
    • The Leading Member will then read the instructions of how the Hearing Process will play out. Additionally, the Leading Member will ask the Alleged Violator and Complainant if the makeup of the Board is acceptable. 
      • Unacceptable conditions include: 
        • A Board Member has a clear and negative bias towards the Alleged Violator/Complainant.
        • A Board Member has a clear and positive bias towards the Alleged Violator/Complainant.
        • A Board Member holds an outside position of authority over the Alleged Violator/Complainant. (i.e. Resident Assistant, Employer, Professor etc.)
        • The Board Member feels that they cannot adjudicate neutrally.
      • The Alleged Violator/Complainant can only say the Board is unacceptable if and only if it meets the above unacceptable conditions.
    • Once the Board Members have been decided, and all questions have been adequately answered, the Hearing Process begins.

Hearing Process (How to Play)

The Hearing Process consists of a series of rounds. These include Opening Statements for the Alleged Violator/Complainant, Questioning of the Alleged Violator/Complainant’s witnesses, Questioning of the Alleged Violator/Complainant, the Closing Statements of the Alleged Violator/Complainant, and Finally the Board’s Finding of “Responsible/Not Responsible” and Sanctioning. 

Hearing Process

  • The Hearing Process consists of a series of rounds. 
    • (1) The Opening Statement of the Alleged Violator.
    • (2) If the Alleged Violator has brought witnesses, then the Board will hear from the first Witness. If not, then the Board will begin the questioning phase of the Alleged Violator. 
      • (2a) If the Alleged Violator has brought a witness, the witness will then have the chance to speak their perspective regarding the alleged violation. 
      • (2b) The Alleged Violator has the option to question the witness. 
      • (2c) If there is a Complainant, the complainant has the chance to question the witness. If there is no Complainant, or else after the Complainant has asked their questions, then the Board has the option to question the witness. 
      • (2d) This process repeats until all of the Alleged Violator’s witnesses have been questioned.
    • (3) If there is a Complainant, the complainant has the chance to question the Alleged Violator. If there is no Complainant, or else after the Complainant has asked their questions, then the Board has the option to question the Alleged Violator. 
    • (4) The Opening Statement of the Complainant (If there is a Complainant). 
    • (5) If the Complainant has brought witnesses, then the Board will hear from the first Witness. If not, then the Board will begin the questioning phase of the Complainant. 
      • (5a) If the Complainant has brought a witness, the witness will then have the chance to speak their perspective regarding the alleged violation. 
      • (5b) The Complainant has the option to question the witness. 
      • (5c) Once finished the Alleged Violator has had the chance to question the witness. After the Alleged Violator has asked their questions, then the Board has the option to question the witness. 
      • (5d) This process repeats until all of the Complainant’s witnesses have been questioned. 
    • (6) The Alleged Violator then has the chance to question the Complainant. If there is no Complainant.
      • If there is no Complainant, then the Board transitions to the Closing Statement of the Alleged Violator.
    • (7) The Closing Statement of the Alleged Violator. 
    • (8) The Closing Statement of the Complainant. (If there is one)
    • (9) The Alleged Violator and the Complainant leave the game. 
    • (10) The Board privately discusses the evidence of the case and comes to a unanimous decision. 
    • (11) If the Board finds “Not Responsible,” then the Hearing Process is Finished
    • (12) If the Board finds “Responsible,” then the Board enters the Sanctions phase. (13) The Sanction Phase begins with the Community Standards Representative providing information on past violations committed by the Violator, and offers the Community Standards recommendations on sanctions. 
    • (14) Utilizing the information given, and the severity of the violation, the Board will come to a unanimous decision on the sanction that should be given. 
    • (15) Once the sanction has been voted on the Hearing Process is Finished

Description of Player Actions

  • Community Standards Board
    • The Board controls the flow of the Hearing Process and decides when to transition to the next series of events.
    • The Board has the ability to ask questions to all those involved in the Hearing Process
    • The Board is charged with the duty to come to a unanimous decision on whether or not the Alleged Violator is responsible for the alleged violation.
      • If held responsible, then the Board must come to a unanimous decision on the sanctions that will be placed on the student.
  • Leading Board Member
    • The Leading Board Member is in charge of moderating the Hearing.
    • The Leading Board Member has all the powers of a regular Board Member, but cannot vote.
  • Alleged Violator
    • The Alleged Violator may bring Witnesses on his behalf and question them
    • If there are witnesses against the Alleged Violator, then the Alleged Violator may question that witness.
    • The Alleged Violator has the ability to make an Opening/Closing Statement
  • Complainant
    • The Complainant may bring Witnesses on his behalf and question them
    • If there are witnesses against the Complainant, then the Complainant may question that witness.
    • The Complainant has the ability to make an Opening/Closing Statement
  • Witnesses
    • Witnesses must answer the questions presented to them
    • Witnesses cannot ask questions
  • Office of Community Standards Representative
    • Ensures rules are being followed.
    • Answers any procedural questions raised
    • Provides information the the Board Members
    • Does not Vote on the Hearing

End of the Hearing/Game

The Hearing is over when the Board has made their final decisions regarding the responsibility and Sanctions of the Alleged Violator. 

Winning the Game

As a Board Member, you “win” the game so long as you, and the other Board Members come to an appropriate decision. As the Alleged Violator/Complainant, you “win” the game if the decision the Board comes too is in favor of your position.


Things to Keep in Mind/Hidden Rules

  1. While it is not clearly stated, this is an official hearing with significant impacts on student wellness. Thus, it should be treated in a professional decorum
    1. For example, rudeness, inappropriate, and child-like behavior will result in you being ejected from the game.
      1. This can include not following the rules of the game, deliberately delaying the Hearing, behaving in a violent or menacing manner, falsifying information etc.
      2. All players are subject to this rule.
    2. Additionally, as this is a professional space, the Board Members must dress in business-casual/professional attire. 
      1. It should be noted that, as time has progressed the dress code has become more lenient. 
    3. As a Student Board Member one must attend outside events that target professional development. 


D20 Activity: Lego Counting

Description:

           This activity is designed as an educational tool to assist young children from the ages of 3-7 years old. The objectives are to target sight-reading, math, and spelling. There are three levels to the game, each challenging the child further. The child will be challenged to read a number and its corresponding symbol and then place that many Legos on the play mat. For example, if the child sees the number “4,” and the word “four,” the child should place four Legos on the mat. Once the child is comfortably answering correctly, then he is ready for the next level.

Directions:

            Set-up:

  • Take a piece of fabric and draw a grid as shown below using a marker.
  • In the first row, write down the number of your choice (i.e. “4”).
  • In the second row, write down the corresponding word of that number in the first row (i.e “four”).
  • Leave a pile of Legos on the side of the fabric

Gameplay:

  • Begin by speaking aloud the number in the first row and second rows to your child.
  • Next place Legos in the appropriate column of the third row in the amount of the number that was chosen in the first and second row (i.e. four Legos).
  • After practicing with the child, allow the child to try for himself/herself.
    • Have the child read aloud the symbol and the word of the chosen number, and then ask them to place that many Legos in the appropriate box.
  • Once the child is comfortable with this exercise, challenge them by drawing a new grid without the symbol of the chosen number (i.e. “4”) in the first row and have then do the exercise again.
    • This time, have the child re-write the missing symbol in the corresponding row.
  • Once the child is comfortable with this exercise, repeat the exercise without the word of the corresponding number.   
  • Finally, when the child is comfortable, challenge them by giving them a blank grid and let them write the symbol, the word and place Legos in the corresponding box on the grid.

Learning Outcome: 

             This activity focuses on acting as a supplemental tool to assist in strengthening a child’s ability to sight read, count, write, and number recognition. Thus, this activity is meant to be implemented for children aged 3-7.  This activity can also be evolved to match the level of the child as they further progress. The overall goal for this activity is to be an engaging method of learning basic skills while challenging and thus increasing a child’s level of confidence and work ethic.  

Additional Materials:

  • At Least 4 Pieces of Fabric
  • A Marker
  • A bag of Legos

Picture:

Example of the grid and play mat. The numbers chosen are up to the individual.