Monthly Archives: February 2022

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 3: Mysterium

While I was one of the people in the class who had played Mysterium before it was my first time playing as the ghost. As the ghost I had a significant leadership role at the table. As the only player who knew what cards belonged to each player I had to give hints to them all to help them find their match. The other players could assist each other as much as they wanted to interpret my clues as a team. My role was more solitary, occasionally I would overhear a discussion that would inspire a latter clue. For the most part though I was alone in predicting how players would view my vague hints and trying to avoid leading them all astray.

The main draw of the game is also its biggest challenge, communication. I was unable to speak throughout the game and only could give hints through cards with abstract artwork. Sometimes there would be details on the cards to directly relate to the card a player needs. At other times a combination of cards could help point out minor details that might otherwise go unnoticed with only a single card. Despite my best efforts though at times the cards I had available didn’t have good connections to what I needed. I did what I could for some sort of relationship but these were the most common situations where players were unable to decipher what my hints meant.

In the game for my table the first round went perfectly. All six mediums were able to correctly guess their person thanks to some very helpful cards I drew. Our luck didn’t last though as even after using a raven very few of my cards were helpful for the locations. Only two players managed to get their location correct on their first guess, and both proceeded to get their weapon correct on the first choice. Two more players had some difficulty but managed to finish not far behind. Unfortunately the last two players had similar weapons and I couldn’t figure out how to use my cards to help them. Even with using the second raven we failed to make it to the final round. I did like playing as a ghost as much if not more than a medium so I definitely would be willing to try again for a win.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 2/10/2022): Mysterium

    Recently, our class got together to play Mysterium, a cooperative social-deduction game where the players take on one of two different roles, with one player as the “Ghost” and the one to six other players as the Psychic Investigators. At its core, Mysterium is a game all about communication, as the Ghost attempts to inform the Investigators who the suspects of their murder are and which suspect killed them, without being able to speak. Instead, the Ghost must use the intricate artwork on the dream cards they draw to try and hint to the Investigators which specific suspect, location and weapon that they are trying to find. It is this particular aspect that, as the Ghost, I found the most difficult. There were many times where I felt as if the dreams I had drawn simply did not fit with any of the items I was trying to help the Investigators find, but I still needed to give them something. At other times though, I thought that I had found the perfect card to give to an Investigator, something that would point them directly to the object I wanted them to guess, but they would then notice all of the details in the picture that I had ignored. In both of these situations, the Investigators were ultimately led away from the suspect, location or weapon that I was trying to indicate.

    The session as a whole was very much like this example, as while we did have some successes as a group, there were still many players by the end of the game who were unable to complete their set. I still personally attribute this loss to my general lack of experience with the game and my poor use of the dreams I was given, as there were many dreams that I handed out that simply led the Investigators more astray, or that failed to communicate what I intended. Of course, not all dreams led to failures, as some of the Investigators were able to complete their set within the given number of rounds. There was even one particular round where I found a dream that was perfect for a particular location, allowing that Investigator to guess their location with only one dream. However, for every large success, my session featured a similarly large failure, as one suspect took a very large number of dreams for their Investigator to find them. 

    However, while our session may have ended in a loss, I still feel that we could draw some interesting parallels between Mysterium and leadership as a result of it. While communication was easily the most difficult part of this game, I also feel that it is the part that this game shares the most in common with leadership, as having good communication with your team is very important for successful leaders. If a leader is unable to communicate exactly what their vision is with their teammates, there could be a large amount of confusion in what exactly the leader is asking their team to do, or what their goal even is. Similarly, if the Ghost in Mysterium is unable to use their dreams to effectively communicate with the Investigators, the Investigators will have no idea what the Ghost is actually trying to indicate to them, and will be forced to simply go off of their best guess of what the Ghost intended rather than the actual answer.

    Overall, despite our session ending in failure, I did enjoy my time with Mysterium. Being forced to turn strange, abstract artwork into a clue with a very specific meaning is a very interesting and fun concept, and I imagine with practice I might be able to better communicate with my Investigators just what my dreams are supposed to indicate. I would also be interested in playing the game again, but as an Investigator instead, so I can see how I do at the game when I’m trying to interpret the dreams handed to me rather than handing out the dreams myself. Not only that, but the experience of playing Mysterium has also helped me to understand just how important it is to have strong communication as a leader.

Werewolf Game Reflection, From The Perspective of A Werewolf

The game of the week this week was werewolf and personally, I really enjoyed this game. I thought it was very complex and I enjoyed all of the different elements to it. The storyline was fun, as well as the narrations from JS. I felt like it was a great way to get the class to engage with each other, and we seem to be more comfortable with each other now. I wish the game was easier to play with a smaller group, because I really don’t know when I’ll be able to be in a group this large playing games again, but if given the chance, I would enjoy playing this game again. I think my friends on campus, which I met while studying abroad, would all like this game, and that we would get very intense while playing it, however, there’s only 6 of us. The game is different for each person depending on which role you have, and you’re unlikely to get the same role each time you play, making it a game that never gets old or boring. I enjoyed that JC had us clap while the nights in the game were happening, just to make it more fair. I also enjoyed that we were able to speed up the timing towards the end so we could concretely finish the game.
I was a werewolf in the game, so I felt like there was a lot of responsibility on me to protect my role and not be obvious. I haven’t played a game like this in a while, and when accused, I’m not a great liar, so I was pretty nervous about being detected. Somehow others figured out it was me just based on external evidence, I guess the PR ( I think) person detected that there was a werewolf in my section of the circle and I was suspected, because the guy beside me already told everyone his role. This is just how the game is played and I’m glad that others had a more comprehensive understanding, but I was a little confused how I found out. I wish I had read about what the roles do prior to coming to class, because while playing the game I had some questions, but asking those questions would have easily given my position / role away. Even just asking to speak to JC privately would emphasize to everyone that I clearly have some sort of important role and don’t want to mess it up. For this reason, I think giving everyone cards with a description of every role and what they do, would be beneficial for reference during the game. I think this is a game that gets easier the more you play it as well, because those who were more familiar, seemed to have an upper hand and were able to play strategically. It was helpful to have these people.
I think this game ties to leadership very well by the idea of group think. Once one person said their case for believing someone was a werewolf, everyone else seemed to jump on board with that idea, rather than forming their own opinions. Even after the person tried to defend themselves, everyone still voted for them to be removed from the circle anyways. We didn’t necessarily have one leader, but we had about 5 people that were consistently talking, and I think they acted as leaders in a way. I think with games like this, some people kind of have to step up and speak more, otherwise the game won’t go anywhere. With the rounds needing to go quickly, we didn’t have enough time to go around the circle and ask for each individual opinion. Those who wanted to speak were free to do so, and I think we were all kind and respectful of each other’s opinions. I can see how some people might get frustrated during this game, but we all acted mature. I felt like while I wanted to take on more of a leadership role so I could more easily protect my position, as well as the other werewolves, I didn’t have enough confidence / information to make logical sense. I would have ended up talking myself into a hole and giving away my position. Because I had a very important and specific duty, I wasn’t too willing to take risks. I think in leadership if I have an intuition about something, accompanied by the knowledge, and drive to achieve something, I definitely am not opposed to taking risks. In this instance, the risk was too heavy for me. I just wanted to be a part of the game for as long as possible so I could complete the werewolves mission, as well as being more entertained by engaging, vs sitting out. I was very nervous that someone was going to detect one of my other fellow werewolves, and then by suddenly chiming in or being the literal only person not to vote for them to be removed, that would have obviously given away my position as well. I’m still not sure what the best strategic move is in that situation, but I hope that I can one day play this game again and watch more interesting situations unfold.

My Mysterium Reflection: Eerie, Elaborate, Entertaining

This week we played the game Mysterium and generally, I really enjoyed this game. Two of my favorite games are Codenames and Clue, both of which I included in my top three favorite games for the “what kind of gamer am I?” survey. With this said, i’ surprised someone hasn’t recommended this game to me sooner. I think the game was a bit complicated to figure out at first. I watched a few different videos about how to play the game and still had some problems understanding how it’s played, but after the first few rounds it gets easier. I think because so much responsibility revolves around the ghost in the game, I feel like it would be easier to play with a ghost that really knew the game well, or at least wasn’t brand new, because as everyone else is figuring the game out, the ghost was too, and that was difficult.
Some of my favorite things about the game are the artwork, and the guessing interpretation.l the artwork on the cards is very beautiful and it creates a dynamic where every game is not going to turn out the same each time. I like all the different options and possibilities. I also really enjoy the theme of the game, since I’ve always been into mysteries. I felt as if we were really a part of a novel or mystery movie, and I like the immersion effect. I also enjoy guessing and trying to analyze the cards, as well as trying to think like the ghost would. Something I disliked about the game was that there wasn’t really a clear winner. Our team either beat the game, or we did not, but amongst us, there wasn’t really a winner. I don’t think there necessarily has to be, because it was still enjoyable to play, but if I’m in a competitive mood, this might not be the best game for me to play for that reason. I also disliked how some of the cards are extremely unrelated or up for too much interpretation, because it feels like you’re wasting a ton of time discussing a card that really doesn’t relate to anything, or relates to too many things to the point where you have to just take a wild guess.
I think my friend Annie from back home would really enjoy this game. Growing up, we always played Clue together, specifically the Harry Potter version and we also watched the movie Clue every Halloween. We both really enjoy mysteries and spooky feeling things, so she would enjoy that aspect of this game. However, it would be hard to play with her though because we would basically have to have a decent sized group to play with, which I guess could be another negative to this game.
As for how this game relates to leadership, I feel like the ghost is somewhat the leader because they are guiding the rest of the team. The people who are doing well and are advancing to the next levels also somewhat act as leaders because they have figured out the ghosts way of giving clues and are mostly good at interpreting them, so they can help others interpret. Because of the element of agreeing or disagreeing with other people, it could possibly create conflict between group members, which also is an important part of leadership, since we won’t always agree with leaders or teams that we work with in general. It’s important to learn how to manage this conflict in a constructive way, and to not take things too personally, because at the end of the day, it’s just a game. This game has a lot of team building elements because we need to work together and are trying to help each other through the puzzle. I feel closer to the students that I played this game with, as a result of this activity. We all either were going to win together or lose together, and even though we lost, it was still very fun. I would love the opportunity to play this game again.

The Murder Mystery at Mysterium Manor

I love cooperative games. Even within the genre “cooperative”, there is so much variety in games. There may be players working in a team against other players as in Codenames or all of the players working together against the game itself as in Pandemic. However, as is the case for this Game of the Week, there is no enemy or clear adversary. In Mysterium, the challenge lies in communication — or lack thereof. One player acts as the Ghost, trying to get a team of Psychics to correctly deduce combinations of suspects, locations, and weapons to solve their murder. The challenge? The Ghost can make no sounds, give no facial expressions nor gestures, and must only communicate to the Psychics using a limited supply of cards beautifully illustrated with abstract images. It is up to the Psychics to figure out what messages the Ghost is trying to convey with these cards to solve the crime.

During class, I played the role of the Ghost, and I can say with confidence that having such limited communication with your teammates makes it really difficult to win Mysterium. That is also illustrated by the fact that there was a 0% win rate in class among the 3 groups. The Psychics are dependent on the Ghost giving them clues about the sets of suspects-locations-weapons, but the art on those clue cards are so colorful and detailed! Having to match the 7 clues in my hand to the 5 cards that the 5 Psychics had to guess while also paying attention to the other 6 cards I had the steer the Psychics away from… Creating a connection between the clues and the cards was hard enough. Knowing the Psychics had to figure out what my thought processes were for each clue made me squirm in my seat and hide behind my screen for fear of giving away too much information with my reactions. I think the hardest part of the game for me was biting my tongue while listening to the Psychics discuss what their answers should be. I wanted desperately to praise the players who understood my line of thinking, warn the players who got attached to the wrong details, and hint to one side of the table to look at the clues I’d given out to the other side.

When thinking about this game in terms of leadership, my mind keeps coming back to all of the things I couldn’t do as the Ghost. I couldn’t encourage my players for doing a good job. I couldn’t explain my thinking with misinterpreted clues. I remember watching in horror as one of my players guessed literally every other suspect than the one I wanted him to pick because I couldn’t say, “Let’s forget that last clue I gave you because I definitely gave you the wrong idea with it.” Playing a game with no communication really goes to show how important communication is for succeeding. Being able to clear up confusion verbally would have made the game trivial, yes, but applying this game to the real world, open discussion and being able to clear up previous mistakes is so very, very important.

I think Mysterium is a fantastic game. I recommend, however, to play it with family or a group of close friends first. Anybody who loves a game of Charades, loves beautiful art and aesthetics, and doesn’t mind waiting patiently for the Ghost to set-up or disperse clues would love this game. I suggest to play with a group of people you know very well first as an “easy mode” introduction to the game. You’ll know the thought processes of family and friends, and can get a handle on the rules of the game. Then, give it a try with strangers or acquaintances for an added challenge.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 1: Ultimate Werewolf

For the first week of class, we played the game Ultimate Werewolf. It is very similar to the game Mafia which I had played before. However, in this game the werewolves kill and not mafia members. There are also many different roles in this game compared to how I have played Mafia before with just villagers, mafia, a nurse, and a police officer. In Ultimate Werewolf there are many positions, such as werewolf, villager, mason, seer, and many more. I think the game was a nice ice breaker into the course and I am looking forward to playing more games.

For me the hardest part was the large number of players and the fact that I didn’t know anyone. I have never played Mafia with that many people, so trying to play Ultimate Werewolf with that many people and positions was hard to figure out. It was also hard because I didn’t know anyone’s names, so it made it hard for me to speak up because I found it very awkward, since I am shy around people I don’t know. I was also a mason, so I couldn’t even tell anyone what I was to defend myself.

In our game I was a Mason which didn’t have any benefit to me. I couldn’t defend myself by saying what I was. After the fact it occurred to me that maybe I could have said something like I was a MIAMI student and maybe people would have caught on. However, I’m not sure if that would be cheating… When we were playing I was voted out pretty early on, much sooner than I wanted to be. However, I knew that I came to class to play, so I wanted to play. For the first 2-3 rounds I said nothing, and I was mad at myself for not trying to speak up and suggest something. I ended up accusing the wrong person and the tables turned on me, but I at least wanted to do something instead of just sit there. I liked this game because it was a challenge with all of the different roles. It was more complex than just regular Mafia. Overall, the session went well for many people having never played before. The villagers won and I was on that team, so yay us! I can’t wait until I can play it again! My former youth group loves to play Mafia at our Church lock-ins, so I definitely think they would enjoy playing this game. It is very similar to Mafia. I am excited to introduce them all to this game at our next big gathering.

I can see how leadership strategies help in this game. Being able to lead people can help you get people on your side to trust you or get them to vote for who you suspect. I think it also shows a great deal of confidence and leadership if you are willing to speak up during this game. Having the skills to talk in front of a large group of people would definitely be an advantage in this game, especially when like us it was our first time all playing together and we didn’t know each other.

I think the biggest risks I saw taken were people talking. It seemed like for the most part those who spoke up were either immediately killed or voted out. I think anyone who tried to be a leader in the game was taking a risk. My biggest and really only risk, since I was voted out early, was accusing someone of seeming nervous. I am definitely shy around people I don’t know at first. So, for me I was sitting quietly, but annoyed with myself that I was just sitting and not really playing. I didn’t want to just sit there I wanted to speak up when others weren’t and offer accusations/suggestions. I am an ambivert meaning I am outgoing in a group of introverts, but introverted around extroverts. I am extremely extroverted around my family and close friends, but not strangers. So, I knew it would take a lot to step out of my comfort zone and speak up, but I wanted to. I think how I played is very similar to my leadership. When I am not elected/appointed as a leader I will not lead a group unless no one else steps up, then I will lead.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 1/27/2022): Ultimate Werewolf

This past week, our class got together to play a session of Ultimate Werewolf, a hidden role game where the players are divided into two teams, the Villagers and the Werewolves. However, as it is a hidden role game, none of these allegiances or roles are known from the beginning of the game, and this plays into what I personally believe was the most difficult part of the game, the beginning. Since no one had been eliminated yet, and no one’s role had been revealed, we had no information to go off of before eliminating our first player. As such, the discussions in the game’s early rounds often took very long to start, and had very little direction. However, as the game progressed and more information was revealed, discussions became easier to start and had a clearer direction to go off of. 

As for the session as a whole, I was given the role of the Seer at the beginning of the game, a role that is very powerful as they can determine which players are villagers and which are werewolves. As such, it was very concerning to me for the Villager team when the Werewolves managed to eliminate me in one of the earlier nights. My concern only grew as the game progressed, and the Apprentice Seer revealed themselves in an attempt to gain trust, an attempt that was then turned around entirely by the Sorceress pretending to be the Seer. After that point, things appeared very bleak for the villagers as they continued to lose more of their ranks, even if they had eliminated the Sorceress, until toward the end of the game when the Wolf Cub and one of the Werewolves had been eliminated. During the final round, the Hunter was chosen as the person the village was going to kill, and as their final act they chose one the last remaining Werewolf as the person they wanted to take out with them, which allowed the villagers to win the game! Overall, while I certainly did not enjoy being eliminated as early as I was, the game as a whole was entertaining, and it was interesting to see what conclusions people came to as the game progressed.

However, just what ties does Ultimate Werewolf have to leadership? I think that the ties here can be seen in just how discussions functioned, as the discussions tended to have one person in particular who “led” them, and this leader changed each round. This leader may have simply been the first person to speak up, it may have been the person who discussed possible strategies the villagers could use, or it may have been the player that had the most compelling reason for eliminating someone. No matter the situation that led to them becoming the leader though, doing so appeared to come with some risk, as they were often targeted by other villagers or by the Werewolves. Not only that, but choosing someone to eliminate is a risk itself, as eliminating the wrong person will shift the target that you placed on them over to yourself instead. I feel that this is an interesting parallel to leadership in the real world, as part of being a good leader involves taking risks, as only with those risks do you get closer to your goal. However, if those risks are not managed well, they may cause more harm than good.

Alongside this idea of risks and leadership though, I would also like to discuss my own play style for this game, or at the very least my plans for it as I was unfortunately eliminated rather early on. I was not planning on taking many risks unless I could be certain that they would lead to a positive outcome for the team. This was partly because of my role as the Seer, a role that I felt was very powerful since it could identify Werewolves with no doubts. As such, I did not want to draw too much attention to myself during the discussions unless I knew whether a target that was being discussed was a Villager or a Werewolf, and would then attempt to draw the discussion away from that person or toward them while trying not to draw too much attention to myself. Though, while I did not want to draw too much attention to myself as the Seer, this is actually quite similar to my usual level of risk taking. I am usually quite worried about taking a risk unless I am certain that the potential rewards are worth it. 

Overall, I certainly did enjoy our session of Ultimate Werewolf despite being eliminated rather early on, as even watching Social Deduction games like this can be quite fun. Not only was it fun though, it also revealed just inseparable risk-taking and leadership are, as being a leader both involves making risky decisions and drawing attention to yourself as a result.