Monthly Archives: February 2022

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 2/17/2022): Fiasco Week 1

Not long ago, our class got together to play sessions of the Fiasco Role Playing Game over a course of two weeks. Fiasco is an RPG System designed with the intent of creating chaos and allowing players to create the most disastrous situations they can. In this game, players use the color coded dice they have been given to help create their characters and determine the outcomes of scenes that they perform, all so that they can work together to create an interesting story where everything falls apart around their characters. It is worth noting that these dice rolls do not determine what the characters will be, but rather aspects of the character, such as their relationships with other characters (each player is actually required to establish at least one relationship with another character), what their goals are, and perhaps even key aspects of the world that all of the players can interact with, like important objects and locations. The players can then use all of these aspects to act out two scenes each in Act 1, developing their characters and creating conflict between their characters. Players can either establish a scene and act it out themselves, waiting for another player to give them either a positive or negative die to determine how it ends, or choose a positive or negative outcome and allow the other players to establish a scene for them to finish. For my personal group, this was the extent of our first session of Fiasco, as we ran out of time just as we finished our Act 1. 

As for our session itself, once we had established our characters and our setting, a commercial district in the middle of a suburban town, it was time for us to start acting out our scenes. Personally, I believe that this was the most difficult part of the game for our group, at least initially. With nothing to go off of besides our characters goals and relationships. With that in mind, I tried my best to establish our first scene based upon my character, Eddy McFarlain, and his rival’s (another player) competing lemonade stands, and tried to use that pre-established conflict to help begin our story. As we continued to create scenes and get a feel for our characters, this process became much easier, leading to scenes where two estranged relatives fight with each other as passive aggressively as they possibly could, and a rival lemonade stand employs a “wizard” to sabotage their competition by graffitiing their cart. However, the initial starting point was very noticeably slower to start than any other scene that followed it. 

While the beginning of our session may have been the most difficult part of our session, I believe that this also shows just how Fiasco might relate to leadership as a whole. In our game of Fiasco, we had difficulty beginning our scenes because we weren’t sure where our story was going at that point. Personally, I believe that this could represent the vision that a leader needs of their goal in order to successfully lead their team. If the leader is unsure of what their own goals are, they will likely have a very hard time actually guiding their team towards a common goal. During the course of their project, the goal might become clearer, and therefore easier for the leader to guide their team toward. However, it would be preferable for the leader to know exactly what their goal is from the beginning, so that the “warm up” period could be skipped entirely. 

However, an insight into leadership is not the only important note that I believe I can take from this, as it may also contain an insight into myself. First though, I need to more completely describe the character that I was playing as in this session, Edward “Eddy” McFarlain. Eddy is an aspiring lemonade salesman that has been down on his luck recently, as his rival across the street has managed to do far more business than him. His goals, based upon the result of the earlier rolls, were to Get Rich using a living will, and to vaguely Get Even. He also has a The Past, fast friends relationship with one of the other characters, and a Work, business rivals relationship with another (his lemonade stand rival). However, despite all of these opportunities to create conflict himself, perhaps by instigating his rival or using his friend in some way, I ended up playing Eddy as a fairly honorable, if failing, businessman, and someone that tries to be a good friend. I personally think that this aspect reflects the most on me, as I try my best to be a helpful, caring friend, and to help out whenever I’m able. In this way, I believe that my own personal values ended up being visible in Eddy, as a character that tried to avoid dirty tactics in a system that is expressly designed for them.

Gaming Event Reflection: Strategy Gaming Club

On Tuesday, February 15th, I attended a gaming event here on campus, specifically one of the Strategy Gaming Club’s (SGC) meetings. SGC is a student organization that provides a time and place for students to play all sorts of tabletop games, as well providing a wide selection of these games at each Sunday and Tuesday meeting. Additionally, SGC also has a group of members that have been hosting sessions of the Warhammer series of games, as well as miniatures for players to use with the games on Wednesdays. Recently though, these Wednesday meetings have been taking place alongside the Tuesday meetings, allowing those who usually could not come to the Wednesday meetings to play various Warhammer games during the Tuesday meetings instead.  

SGC Tuesday meetings allow the attendants to play whatever tabletop games they want to, assuming that the organization owns those games and have brought the games with them to this meeting. Due to the fact these games could require any amount of space, the organization itself does not perform any setup of the room themselves beyond bringing the tabletop games, instead allowing the members to break up the large rectangle of tables themselves in order to create the space that they need for their chosen tabletop games. As a result, the only part of the room left in its initial state is often the far end of the tables, which are where the games not being played are located. However, this more hands-on setup is typically not a problem, as all of the attendees will often move the tables back into their initial place once they are done playing games, and the table is no longer in use. 

Of course, you will need to get a group of players together for most of these tabletop games, but the other attendees of these meetings are usually more than willing to arrange groups to play larger games or join you for a game you would like to play. In many cases you might be able to play multiple different tabletop games in one meeting, but at this particular meeting I was only able to fit one game in, though I enjoyed it quite a lot. I was only able to play this game due to the fact that SGC was able to move some of its Warhammer content over to the Tuesday meetings.

Warhammer and it’s various games are something that I’ve been interested in for quite some time now, but I have never been able to experience them myself due to the large cost of building an army of miniatures and lacking any time to attend SGC’s Wednesday meetings. As such, now that Warhammer is being hosted during the Tuesday meetings, I jumped at the chance to finally play these games myself. During this meeting specifically, I played Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress, a Campaign Dungeon-Crawler game set in the Warhammer 40k universe, along with three other players.

In Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress (Blackstone), you play as a group of explorers searching for relics and riches within the depths of an ancient space-faring fortress. These expeditions into the fortress take place in two distinct phases, the exploration phase and the facility phase. In the exploration phase, the players draw a card from the exploration deck, which determines what they will find in this area of the fortress. In our session, we only drew Combat cards from this deck, but other areas of the fortress will feature other challenges. Combat encounters in particular are quite complex, as they require the players to balance not only their own actions, but also their position in initiative, the group pool of Destiny Dice for additional actions and the potential actions that their enemies may take based on the roll of a twenty-sided die. After each exploration phase, the players have the option to exit the Fortress and enter the facility phase, where they can use their character’s ships to perform various actions and purchase items using the loot they have gathered, though each player can only visit one ship. From this point the players can either save their characters by placing their character cards and loot in their special card sleeve and stop for the time being or reenter the Fortress.

    As Blackstone is a Campaign game, my group is still quite far from finishing it, but I had quite a lot of fun with the combat encounters that we were able to play through. However, I do not think that the fun I felt was purely attributed to the game, but to the people I was playing with as well. For one thing, one of the players in this group is actually someone that I have known since my first semester here at Miami, and that I would consider a good friend. And the two other players, even if we only recently met, were still more than willing to discuss the things they enjoy and just generally have a good time while at the meeting. This general feeling of openness and acceptance is not just something that applies to this particular meeting, as it is something that I have found in every meeting of SGC that I have attended. 

I believe that it is because of this open and accepting feeling that I enjoy my time with SGC so much, both this meeting and any other. No matter what group of people I choose to play with, or what game we are playing, I enjoy my time while I am there. The community their organization has built is just so accepting and so committed to having fun that it seems to be hard not to have fun while playing tabletop games with them. Not only that, but if the game you are playing happens to be a game that you are unfamiliar with, and someone else is very familiar with, the more experienced players will typically jump at the opportunity to share something that they love with someone new. This exact scenario is what happened during the above meeting, as while I am still relatively new to the people that play Warhammer at SGC’s meetings, they were very excited to help teach me the games that they enjoy so much.

As I have expressed throughout this reflection, I have always been able to enjoy my time spent at SGC, and the meeting on February 15th was simply an example of just why that is. The community that the Strategy Gaming Club’s officers have been able to build over their time is just simply such a welcoming and open one. As a result the entire organization just has a friendly and accepting atmosphere that makes it clear that having fun and meeting new people should be the number one priority, and that the tabletop games available are simply a way to meet those people and build those friendships. Even after all of this time, there are still new people in the organization to meet, and new games to play, and so the environment that SGC provides will always be appreciated.

A selfie of myself at SGC, with some of the people I was playing Blackstone with in the background.
A picture of a combat encounter in Blackstone. The miniatures had not been painted yet, so unfortunately almost all of them are pure black.
(Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to rotate it in the blog post.)
My character card, showing the two wounds I had suffered at this point and the rewards I had gathered to the side of the card.

A Frightening, Flammable Fiasco in the Far West (Act 2)

This week, we finished up our playthroughs of Fiasco! Picking up right where we left off after the Tilt, players ran through Act 2 and the Aftermath of their games. In the case of my group, we finally reached that climactic bank heist that had been built up all of Act 1 and concluded with a gun fight in the wild west, many dead, and everybody suffering just a little. It was a great time. Somehow, my character had the happiest ending because he took a bullet to the gut early on and managed to avoid the deadly final shootout that left all but one other player dead. Unfortunately, that other player was the infamous bounty hunter my character swore revenge on many years prior, so it wasn’t a “happy” ending.

The hardest part of Act 2 for me was accepting failure. The goal of the game is, of course, to come up with schemes that fail spectacularly. However, in the moment while playing the game, everyone is trying to achieve some degree of success and can bring the game slightly to a halt. A few examples from my game come to mind, but I’ll only talk about one. One player, whose character was in the spotlight, was trying to convinced another player’s character to come outside and follow him to the bank. He’d received a white die, signaling a positive outcome, but the scene ended with the second character fleeing out the back window and getting away. It stuck out to me as a case of going against the outcome die for the first player because the second player did not want to fail. Improvising involves a rule-of-thumb dubbed “yes, and…”, where people accept what is being done and continue with what has been set up. Playing Fiasco, it was really hard to say, “Yes, I will fail, and this is how it happens.”

One tie to leadership that Fiasco demonstrates well is encouraging healthy competition. Fiasco involves so much betrayal and player-against-player storytelling, but at the end of the day, it is a roleplaying game and everyone is there to have fun. I think it does really well encouraging people to go ahead with their plans, not take what others do too personally, and having an overall fun time regardless of what happens. Applying this to the real world, minor competition within a group can be beneficial because it pushes everyone involved to do better in their endeavors. As a leader, it is important to make sure, despite any rivalries, that everyone on all sides knows it is in good fun.

Having played through the second half of Fiasco, I would like to slightly adjust that kinds of people I previously said would enjoy the game. People who are comfortable improvising or don’t mind giving improv a try would enjoy playing the game. In addition to that, anybody who plays games to win and takes experiences that happen in games personally should steer away from Fiasco. Furthermore, anybody who would *make* a playthrough of Fiasco personal for other players should stay away. For those reasons, I can see Fiasco being enjoyed by groups of friends who are fine with giving each other grief and don’t mind being ridiculous with each other.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 3: Mysterium

In this class I played Mysterium for the first time. The hardest part of the game was trying to figure out the clues. There were times throughout the game where multiple people thought their clues were pointing to the same room or object. We knew someone had to be wrong, but it was hard to justify why someone could be more right than another. Another thing that was hard at first was getting used to being able to help people. I am used to games where you don’t want to show people your cards. It was hard for me at first to remember I could collaborate with the other players. 

In terms of leadership skills, I tried to make sure everyone was able to be heard. I think including everyone at the table is important, so I tried to make sure everyone felt included and had a chance to share their thoughts. 

I think my extended family would like to play this game because we like to play games together. I also think it would be good for them because my little cousins would be able to play and understand the rules, but also since it is a cooperative game they could get help when they got frustrated. 

I really liked this game and plan to buy it! It was fun to play a game where the best strategy was to work together. It was a new type of game that I haven’t really played before, and I really enjoyed it. 

Overall, the game session was fun, but we lost. We had two players not get through before the 7th hour ended. This I think was partially because their items were very similar so there was confusion amongst the players as to which it could be. Yet, it was still a lot of fun and well worth the play. 

A Frightening, Flammable Fiasco in the Far West (Act 1)

Within the realm of tabletop gaming, role-playing games can be one of the most intimidating to players. Players either are given or create a character then assume the role of that character in personality, goals, dialogue, and so on. This Game of the Week, Fiasco, tasks 3 to 5 players with creating a web of relationships, needs, objects, and locations before setting them loose to act out scenes of criminal activity, low impulse control, and shenanigans. Depending on the playset, these characters can be from a variety of settings and backgrounds, but the majority of the time, they are terrible, terrible people making equally terrible decisions.

The hardest part about playing Fiasco was certainly the improvising. The game gives vague prompts and general details about the characters, relying on player creativity to figure out what that means for their characters and what they want to do or achieve. Scenes are thought up on the spot and acted out between the players immediately, with the only direction given to them either a white die signaling a good outcome or a black die signaling a bad outcome. Fortunately, once the ball gets rolling and the initial 2 or 3 scenes are completed, the direction of the story becomes more clear and everybody has a better grasp on who they are playing as and what they should do. At my table, there was one player who started the game not knowing what they should be doing or how to play the game. However, by the final scene of Act 1, they had masterminded a plot to rob a bank, hired my character to help them, then threw me under the bus to the bank’s treasurer to play both sides of the conflict and always come out on top. I didn’t even care that I was being used as a scapegoat because it was such a glorious move.

One very important aspect to leadership that can be seen through Fiasco is that everybody in a group should be equally comfortable and equally involved. The characters in the game are not good people who can get into any scenario that the players think up. Some situations, however, might be really uncomfortable or triggering to players. It is very important- and the rules explicitly say to take a break and discuss the direction of the story -to check in with everybody at the beginning and frequently throughout that there are not any topics or themes that are ruining their fun. In addition, especially with a roleplaying game, some players (particularly those with more experience) may become more prominent while other players are pushed to the side. A couple designs I really appreciate from Fiasco include how each scene has a different character that is explicitly the focus of the scene, each player-character has an equal amount of scenes, and the circle of relationships and details tie everyone together because that allows everybody to have an “in” that allows them to get involved in the story and remain relevant. Thinking about this in terms of leadership, everybody in a group needs to be relevant and feel that they are relevant, and it is a leader’s responsibilities to make that happen.

Fiasco is meant to be played by people looking to act out a ridiculous story together. People who appreciate games for their rules and mechanics, or people who get frustrated when they can’t pause to think and must improvise, should probably find a different game to play. Personally, I have some friends I’ve met in various theatre programs that would find Fiasco really fun. They have experience thinking on their feet, getting into character, and creating a fun story together. However, I recommend that anybody who likes being creative, whether you are a professional actor or somebody with zero improv experience, give Fiasco a try.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 3: Mysterium

Mysterium is the first time I’ve come into contact with a group cooperative reveal type game and it’s a board game. Knowing the rules I thought it was going to be a very complicated and exhausting game, and as I played it with the group, I realized it was more fun than I thought. First of all, everyone has their own identity in the game, and they have to find the corresponding characters, scenes, and weapons according to the tips given to us by the “ghost”. I think the hardest and funniest thing about this game is that we don’t fully understand the cues that ghosts give us, and different people have different interpretations. So when we try to help other people solve puzzles, we are most likely misleading others and getting further and further away from the correct answer.

I think this game is not only suitable for partying with friends, but I think my mother will also like this game very much. This game will also bring a lot of fun to everyone during family gatherings by guessing each other’s thoughts. And at first, I thought each character and other clues were paired and unique. My team and I thought this game couldn’t be played over and over again because you could remember which clue corresponds to which character or scene. At the end of the game, I suddenly realized that the clues the ghost gave us were what he thought would help us, not the only answer. So this game is an endless decryption process. So it really triggers us to think proactively and try to think from the perspective of others.

I absolutely love this game and hope to have a fun way to spend leisure time with my friends and roommates. I believe this not only brings us joy but also develops our understanding of each other’s minds.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 1: Ultimate Werewolf

Werewolf is a board game that is very popular among young people in China. There are so many small businesses around this game. And there are also many stores in the United States that provide locations and professional props to play Werewolf. There are about 20 students participating in this game in our class. I have never participated in a game with so many people before. That means there are a lot of characters that I’ve never dealt with before. This excites me very much because I have a strong curiosity about new things.

In the process of participating in this game in the classroom, I think the most difficult thing is to maintain a clear and logical mind to analyze what everyone is saying. Because all participants are new to me. This meant that I couldn’t tell if other participants were lying by how well they knew them. It’s the hardest at the beginning due to the lack of clues, information, plus every round to vote a player out. When the good guys, which were my faction at the time, voted wrong, it made the game harder because we kept losing teammates. In this case, it is very necessary to have a person with clear logic to lead the team, which is also a very good opportunity for participants to exercise leadership skills because you need to convince other players to believe in you and lead everyone in a short period of time Make the right decision.

At the beginning of the game, I was very quiet, because I was a priest and had the ability to protect others, I didn’t want to reveal my identity too early so the werewolf wanted to kill me. And I try to use this ability when I need it most. That is when the prophet reveals his identity because the prophet is very dangerous at night. But it gets easier when the number of people tapers off because I already have a lot of clues and the number of people counts better.

The advantage of playing this game with a large crowd is that you get to meet a lot of different characters. But there is also a disadvantage of having a large number of people. Because there are too many characters, the night will become very long. All in all, it was a fun gaming experience, and I’m still reminiscing about the class a few days after the game ended.


In last week’s Mysterium game, we were divided into 3 groups. Because many of our classmates were playing this game for the first time, we chose an experienced classmate to play the ghost. He knew that each player was looking for What is the suspect, location and murder weapon, and through the cards he draws, find out what he thinks is related to these truth elements and send them to the corresponding players. Players, on the other hand, search for the connection with the truth based on the cards obtained and the clues known at the beginning of the game, and infer what they are looking for through their respective card associations. In this process, players can discuss and complement their brains. Each player must find the suspect before continuing to find the location, and find the location before starting to find the murder weapon.
I think the difficulty of the game is that only after all players have found the murder weapon, the game will enter the final phase of finding the real murderer! That’s right, it’s useless for only one person to complete it quickly, everyone must complete it to start looking for the real culprit. Our cooperation in completing missions is what makes the game complete. So teamwork became the foundation of this game project, and I really like this type of game that encourages the spirit of collaboration. This kind of atmosphere can create an environment that is conducive to success.
For leadership, this game effectively embodies that teamwork is a spirit of resource sharing and collaboration in order to achieve a set goal. It can mobilize all the resources and talents of team members and automatically eliminate all inconsistencies. Harmony and injustice, while rewarding outstanding performers in a timely manner, makes teamwork a powerful and lasting force.

Ultimate Werewolf

Through the first week of the Werewolf game, I found a lot of interesting aspects. First of all, everyone’s style is different. Some people like to protect good people as their identity when speaking with their werewolf identity. And the good people who stand on the wrong side will be referred to as werewolves by others, which will enhance the conflict between good people, so that the werewolf cards can have a rhythm. At this time, you can judge according to the situation on the field. When each person speaks independently, he needs to take his perspective. If he is a good person, what position should he choose to come out? Think about whether the werewolf uses him as a stand-in. Some people speak like a wolf, but he is not a wolf, so the werewolf will not miss the opportunity to resist him. This is the helplessness of a good person. You go save him and you’re out too.
In general, I have very little contact with this type of game. At first, I felt that everyone’s speech was sincere, but the most sincere is always the next one. My position was constantly updated, and I couldn’t see the situation clearly. Later, I gradually learned to question others, such as: whether the speaker’s words and deeds are consistent, and whether the position and vision are consistent with their identity. Whether you deliberately avoid someone when analyzing a situation.
At the same time, this game is a good improvement for leadership. You must rely on your own logical reasoning ability to influence each other. This process requires you to have good expression skills, logical analysis skills, and exercise people. So I also want to exercise my expressive ability and thinking through this game.

Fiasco & My Pre-Determined Death

This week playing Fiasco was interesting. I’m not sure what the normal group dynamic is playing this game but I played with a group of friends that all knew each other and I had a fun time, but I don’t think we played the game very seriously. It was humorous, and we spent 90% of the game laughing, which made it enjoyable. I think next time I’m going to watch a more comprehensive instructional video before playing the game again because I think we were overall a bit confused and were unsure if we were playing correctly. It was fun to listen to the different story lines people came up with, but I don’t know if I was really good at this. I think I was good at connecting ideas, but coming up with new plot or story lines was somewhat difficult for me unless I had a really good idea. The hardest part was getting started. After choosing our locations, needs, objects…etc, we had an adjustment period of just not knowing what to do next but once we had a story going, I think we all became invested to an extent.
Because of commitments I have next week, I told my group in the beginning that I wont be here next week to play part 2 of the game, so we decided in the beginning that my character would die at the end. I think deciding this in the beginning almost made the story easier in a way because while we were interested in having subplots and other things needed to happen so people could fulfill their needs, we knew that the one thing we absolutely needed to do was kill my character, so there was a common goal established. My main need in the game was to get rich through fraud and trickery. This need was met pretty early on in the game because one of the other girls playing had established that we were government officials that were embezzling money, so as long as I had maintained this status, I didn’t really have any motives except to help keep the plot moving in the direction of me getting killed. I was unable to relate a lot to this game, but I can see my own values modeled loosely in the game. Because my character was made to be devious and a fraud, I feel as if I can somewhat relate to this persona of being secretive and mysterious. I don’t share myself and my emotions easily with strangers, so few people really truly understand who I am and what I’m about because I have a lot of hesitations about opening up to people who I don’t know for sure genuinely care.
As far as a general play synopsis, my character’s name was Lady Victoria. Lady Victoria was a government official with Sandy. Sandy and Lady Victoria were embezzling money and Sandy decided she didn’t want to be a part of it anymore, so she asked Dobby(another character) for help in murdering me. Dobby had already been to jail before and had a need to repair his reputation so he didn’t want to be caught up in a scandal, and they devised a plan to blame the murder on Papa Elf (another character.) Gianna had a motive for murder, so she joined in the plan with Dobby and Sandy to kill me. Papa Elf came home from the bar and accidentally knocked on my door, thinking it was his own house. I took him in because he was very clearly drunk and we thought we might have some fun so I turned off the cameras, showing him where the cameras were. While I was sleeping, he cut the cameras so that when I’m murdered, nobody can see who did it. I don’t remember all the connections here, but this is most of what I remember.
I think this game can tie to leadership because leadership requires adaptability. When someone starts to have ideas for the storyline that you didn’t have and starts to bring the game in a new direction, the characters have to be adaptable so the game can keep moving. Leadership also requires keeping the bigger picture in mind during smaller interactions. It could have been easy to take the story away from where we had intended for it to go, just like with leadership it’s easy to get caught up in the details and stray away from the most important tasks at hand. I think my friend Josh would really enjoy playing this game because he’s super smart and can easily create stories. He loves creating interesting conversations and I think he would be able to create some really crazy plot twists and character connections. I am interested to know how the game is supposed to end though because I also can see it being difficult for him to enjoy if there’s not a clear winner or clear team winning at the end.