Monthly Archives: October 2022

Ladies & Gentlemen

Ladies & Gentlemen is a multiplayer tabletop cooperative fun type game. The best number of players for this game is 6 and you need to try to have the same number of male and female players so that you can make sure that one person plays the role of the gentleman who works hard to earn money and the other person plays the role of the wife who is good at spending money to dress herself. During the game the gentleman needs to work hard to earn money while the wife works hard to make her husband spend money to buy the right clothes and accessories, thus forming a cooperative relationship between the couple and the competition with other couples in the game. At the end of the game, the team with the most elegantly dressed wife wins, in fact, the wife of the man with the most luxuriously dressed whole body wins.
The rules of the game and the game process are very simple and easy to understand, and there is no overly complicated game process required. And overall the game is very fun and enjoyable because the players playing as gentlemen can quickly grab the most profitable resource cards in the money making process like kids grabbing candy. The interaction between husbands and wives can simulate the same flirting as real couples, which is perfect for social bonding between boys and girls.
I think the most important point of this game involving leadership is to maintain the order of the game, as well as for the specific implementation of the rules of the game. The game requires a leader to maintain order in the marketplace among the gentlemen, to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of the income and to prevent anyone from secretly getting more game currency. At the same time, the leader needs to guide everyone to earn money in the earning stage, to buy goods for the wife in the buying stage, and to decide the winner and loser of the game in the final deciding stage. I believe this is a game that all young people will enjoy because it is so much fun. It’s also a very effective social icebreaker between men and women, and I really like it. But the biggest drawback is that the game is not suitable for repeated play. Once players lose their sense of freshness, it becomes relatively uninteresting, due to the lack of a certain amount of competition.

Ladies & Gentlemen: A Class Reflection

We played Ladies and Gentlemen in class and discussed the idea of gendered roles in gaming. In this game, you can play as a Lady who shops for items to wear to the ball in order to try to win the game. The gentlemen try to fill contracts to get money and other bonuses in order to purchase the items that the lady presents. There was no communication between the two different roles to see how the game was progressing. This was probably the most difficult part. I also felt like there was no way to judge how well you were actually doing in the game.

I played the gentleman role which was interesting because you had to rush to grab resources in a hurry so that you could fulfill contracts. I found that it was important to look at what kinds of resources were necessary to fulfill the contracts before starting the day. I think I would do better playing this game in the future because I would have a better understanding of how the day worked. I bought all but one item for my lady which was good. I think it would be interesting to play from the other side of the table to experience the decision-making of the lady’s role.

My lady and I ended up coming in second in our game. I thought we did really well for being my first time playing. The pair that won was a little more conniving and sneaky so it made the game a little more intense. I really liked how we were randomly paired up with our partners. I met some new people in the class this way. I would like to take this game and play it with my family. However, we have an odd number of individuals so the game would be slightly different as we would play with the individual who tries to get all of the other gentlemen to buy her clothes.

I noticed some individuals really got into their roles and character personas. I noticed that I struggle with this. I tend to be able to imagine the role and put myself in the situation, but I cannot always act out the role well. It was cool to see people who have more experience with role-playing games, really fulfill their character’s role. I think this would be a good game for people to be introduced to role-playing and I know I have cousins who would enjoy the opportunity to act out their characters. 

Fiasco Part 2: A Reflection

Fiasco Week Two was exciting. I felt like the whole group was more comfortable with the idea of a role-playing game. We discussed the concepts of role-playing versus roll-playing. I thought this brought up some very intriguing points for us to discuss as a class. I saw a little bit of both concepts within our group during the first week whereas this week we leaned more on the role-playing side of things.

Our act two ended up really interesting, each turn took a new turn because of the twist that added a lot of interest. It was unexpected and the outcome was completely opposite of what I thought it would be based purely on the week before. One person from our group ended up having their character killed off. There was honestly a lot more plot and story within Act Two than we dared to add during act one of the first week.

We also discussed the video about living every day like it was day one. This felt reminiscent of how orientation was this summer for me. I was an orientation leader and we had 18 sessions this summer. One thing we really focused on was bringing ourselves into the role as if it was day one. It may not have been our first day but it was someone’s first day and first impression on campus.

I thought about the concepts of gratitude and positivity as well. This really relates to attitude and outlook on life. Personally, I believe these are all really big concepts to grasp but can truly change your life if you think about them and live with them every day. We brought this into how role-playing games give you an option to approach situations with a sense of a new day atmosphere. We talked about how role-playing games give people time and space for understanding different situations. I felt like this topic of new-day attitude was honestly really important yet not talked about frequently in other contexts of my everyday life. Therefore, I am grateful we took the time to discuss this topic as well as how it related to the choices we make during role-playing games.

Dune: War for Arrakis Review

Dune: War for Arrakis is a 1-versus-1 asymmetrical tabletop war game that was successfully funded on Kickstarter last month, produced by CMON. While the physical version of the game isn’t out yet, the developers made the incredibly cool move to release the game for free on Tabletop Simulator to let everyone try it and see if they want to back the project. As such, I got to try out the game with my brother. While it might take you a couple plays to really wrap your head around, and can have some punishing RNG for first-time players, it’s got a lot of cool mechanics going on and is absolutely dripping with the flavor of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi universe.

    War for Arrakis is essentially a new spin on CMON’s previous asymmetrical 1-on-1 game, War of the Ring, which was similarly set in the Lord of the Rings universe. It shares a lot of its core mechanics with that game, such as combat, action economy, and some aspects of victory progression. Players play as one of two factions: the house Harkonen and house Atreides. The Atreides feature the protagonists of the first novel, fulfilling “prescience” cards to reenact scenes from the story and score points to win. They have control over Arrakis’ mighty Sandworms and have resilience to the harsh natural elements of the planet. The Harkonen are the villains, sending out vehicles into the desert to harvest Spice, and aiming to exterminate all of the Atreides’ bases. They get many more actions in a turn, and have much more raw military might.

    The key mechanic of the game is action dice. At the start of a turn, each player rolls their action dice (with the Harkonen potentially rolling less if their trade relationships are down). These dice tell you which actions you can take on your turn, from drawing useful cards to adding troops to the board to moving troops. The Atreides roll fewer dice than the Harkonen, but also have a free action they can take without a dice: Placing a “Wormsign” token on the board, which at the end of the turn may flip over to reveal a powerful Sandworm, as well as giving their troops free movement over spaces with a Wormsign token. Each player also has Leaders, which enhance certain die results’ effects. This mechanic gives an interesting limitation to your strategy, but can also be frustrating. For instance, in my first game playing as the Atreides, I never once rolled the option to place more troops on the board, which made it feel like I had little I could do about my loss once the Harkonen’s ball got rolling.

    Combat works slightly differently for both factions. While the Harkonen’s troops are face up at all times, the Atreides start with “reinforcement tokens” face down on the board. Each token has an amount of troops under it, which are revealed and placed on the board when attacked. This gives the Atreides a slight edge in combat, especially on defense. Once troops are revealed, a player may choose to discard an unwanted card for a boost in combat, then rolls one combat die for each troop and card. Shields block damage, swords deal damage, and special leader abilities can have different effects depending on the leader one has in combat (for instance, an unnamed leader turns these into swords, but Stilgar’s leader ability turns into two swords). Not having a leader makes these die results worthless, so whether to bring along a leader or not can be an interesting “push your luck” decision, especially since named leaders have other useful effects you might want to keep them alive for. I’m a big fan of the combat in this game: It’s got enough variance to stay interesting while being decision-rich enough to reward skilled players, especially when combined with the game’s movement mechanics.

    My biggest complaint with this game is that it can be very punishing for a player who doesn’t know the right strategy to use from the start or who ends up with bad luck, especially when playing as the Atreides. The Atreides as a faction rely a bit more on random chance than the Harkonen, their victory condition relies on randomly drawn Prescience cards, which they may or may not have the ability to fulfill at any given time. It’s important to fulfill these early too, since progressing on the prescience track also gives the Atreides more powerful leaders that are key to their victory. Their smaller dice pool also exacerbates the issue of random options. While the action dice certainly lead to interesting moments of limited options, when you don’t roll the option you need it can be frustrating. If the Atreides get off to a rough start, whether just through random chance or gunning for something that isn’t a winning strategy, it’s easy for the Harkonen to run over them. For instance, in my first game playing Atreides I thought prioritizing denying the Harkonen spice would be important in the early game, but this led me to lose a lot of troops and eventually be unable to stop the military power of the Harkonen, even with some lucky Sandworm placements. In my second game playing as the Harkonen though, the Atreides player played the correct strategy of waiting in the early game and not trying to be too aggressive, while I learned that Spice is really a relatively minor factor in the Harkonen’s game plan (only necessary for paying to keep trade partners happy and making sure you have enough action dice). Not knowing that was the correct strategy is what led to a very swift loss in my first game, which combined with poor RNG was a bit frustrating.

    Overall though, the more I played the game the more I liked it. It has a steep learning curve, but not in the way a lot of games do. Rather, you need to have some amount of trial and error with your strategies in order to figure out what you need to do in order to counter the other faction’s game plan. This is true of a lot of asymmetrical 1-versus-1 games, but the added RNG of action dice can make this issue a little bit more frustrating and leave you with even less room for error. A good player can play around any dice rolls, but it takes several playthroughs to learn how to, and it leads to the game not making a great first impression, seeming unbalanced or unwinnable for the losing player and not very fun for the winner either. These are problems War of the Ring had a bit as well, and if anything War for Arrakis makes them a little bit worse, with the randomly drawn Prescience cards being now the only route of victory for the Atreides.

    Still, in the grand scheme this is a complaint hardcore wargamers will not feel as much. Especially if you’ve played War of the Ring a lot, you’ll pick up on the correct strategy faster, and if you do know what to do there’s a really challenging and decision-rich wargame here with a lot of replayability. I think what this game absolutely nails is the flavor, though. The map is a recreation of Frank Herbert’s original drawings, with each faction playing not only with characters and events from the books, but also in a way that evokes their strengths and weaknesses from the story. If you’re a fan of the Dune universe and want a game that really evokes that original novel, I think this game (compared to the original Dune tabletop game and Dune: Imperium) does the best job at it.

Fiasco Part1

Fiasco is a tabletop social game full of imagination and free play. The optimal number of players for this game is about 4. With Fiasco, players can make up an interesting game plot on the spot by following the plot path and character endings provided in the game book. Players can express their personalities and humor to their heart’s content through their imagination and creativity, which is perfect for socializing among players.

Rather than following Fiasco’s rules, the game provides a plot to help guide players in building a complete script for the game. For example, when the game’s plot guides the player through a violent event in a small town, the player is instructed to play the role of a student or a murderer in a virtual interpretation of the violence. Therefore, the freedom to use imagination and creativity is very meaningful and important.

Overall, the game requires a leading player to take charge of the main idea of plot creation, and other players can follow this idea to make a detailed and vivid addition to the game plot. Leadership is very important, and the creativity of the leader for the plot will influence the direction of the game’s script, making it interesting and full of logic.

Fiasco is a game that may cause different values of different players to collide, for example, some players can not accept the presence of violence, gore, death, sexual assault, pornography-related script, so before starting the game the group players need to discuss and negotiate the elements of the game’s plot. My personal values are very inclusive, so I can accept any type of script. I also believe that an unrestricted script allows me to better utilize my leadership, imagination and creativity. So I really like this free-form rules game, and I think people of all ages who love to socialize will enjoy it.

Fiasco Part 1

We played part 1 of Fiasco and ended our session right before the twist. The hardest part of this game was getting past social anxiety and the awkwardness of playing it with people you don’t know well. It is a game that involves a lot of story telling and acting, this can be uncomfortable and embarrassing if you don’t know the people you are playing with very well. It ties to leadership because it takes one brave person to break out of their shell and get the story rolling. Once one person gets over their initial embarrassment the other players follow. The leader has to show that it’s okay to get laughed at.

I think my friend Damien would like this game. He loves DND and storytelling. Damien has DM’d multiple campaigns for our friends so I could see him being extremely good at helping bring Fiasco to life. Our play session took place in a school and involved a drug dealing cop, a secretary on crack, a science teacher with a meth lab hidden in his classroom, and a school principal in love with a fourth grader. It was very chaotic and the storyline was all over the place, but by the time we go to the plot twist all of the characters had a goal.

I really liked how the game is almost completely up to the players. At first, I struggled with the concept of the dice because I had a hard time grasping how that mechanism worked. While the characters in this game did not reflect our moral values AT ALL, they did come out in some aspects of the game. For instance, anytime the principal was being creepy there was a collective groan or gag. It’s very hard to contain your morals when playing such awful people.

Pandemic Reflection

In week 2 I had the opportunity to play Pandemic. This being my first time in class, as I was sick with COVID the week before, I was hesitant to step into a new board game with a group of people I had never met before. When I entered the classroom I sat at an empty table as my friend I knew ahead of class was not there yet. The table I had sat at had already been set up for Pandemic and had a rulebook available. I began to read the rules and attempted to become accustomed to the mechanics ahead of gameplay. As I was joined by more and more members of the class, at my empty table, I found that the information I had gleaned from the rulebook gave me a palpable sense of leadership at the table. People would look to me during gameplay for answers, not only questions of rules but strategy. I would often mess small things up but the table’s confidence in my decision-making did not waver.

I found the most difficult part of the game strategizing how to divide and conquer the different viruses as a team. The process of deciphering the different abilities and their inherent strengths allowed for interesting and repeatable gameplay. I think this game can be enjoyed by anyone willing to look past all the pieces and complicated ruleset, the basic cooperation and strategy embued within the game appeal to just about anyone.

I enjoyed playing alongside people with that I had no personal ties more than I expected. I found my social anxiety peaking at the start of the game but as we all “entered the arena” (as to say began playing) I found that the centralized focus of the game allowed me to step back from my stress and dive into the game. This is one of my favorite parts about games, they have the ability to break down the barriers between people in ways that no other forms of media can. One reason multiplayer video games have taken a decline, in my personal opinion, as of late is the barriers that are put between players and social interaction. Many games that originally hooked their original fanbase with couch multiplayer split-screen have begun removing that option from their games. Historic franchises like Halo and Call of Duty have left couch multiplayer by the wayside in hopes of boosting sales and restricting their players’ social interactions to be on their platforms. I say all that and yet board games have begun a resurgence since the start of Covid so clearly the demand for in-person multiplayer is still there. That’s why I joined this class, to learn more about what games there are out there and what makes them successful. On top off that, I have struggled with self worth and advocating for years and to find out this class addresses those struggles through the light of games is extremely comforting to me.

Game of the Week Reflection: Fiasco Part 2

The second part of Fiasco changes the game completely, and for the better. The design of the game was created with the intent of creating scenarios for the participants to react to and add to their playthrough.  Last week we started our stories as a group and acted out scenes to incorporate into our unique rehearsal.  Instead of repeating that, this week was all about performing the “Tilt”.  The Tilt is when the players use their dice, just like in the beginning, to select new components for the story.  Following that is Act Two, which is the same steps and turns as Act One but you incorporate your twists and new components.  Once that was finished you move on to the last and final step which is the Aftermath.  This is where each player counts their dice to determine if the character they played had a good or bad ending one at a time. 

The hardest part this week was determining how these new twists and alterations would be added to our story.  It was confusing already on how to continue our production with the “script” we’ve followed so far.  Adding more elements that drastically change it made it difficult and not easily coordinated to keep the narrative on the right path without getting overly ridiculous. However, the play session overall went very smoothly.  Since I’m not the only one twisting the story, my group members had pretty creative ways of having fun with it.  That means that friends specifically would be the best people to play this with considering there isn’t usually any filter that allows for more diverse gameplay.  I liked having multiple people being able to alter our playthrough how they wanted because building off their thoughts and ideas is what makes this game enjoyable.  That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of how the aftermath was designed.  I personally feel the dice count determining the outcome of your character was lazy and rushed.  Honestly, I don’t know how I would fix it nor do I have a better option I just didn’t like that mechanic and felt that they could have improved on it a little bit more. 

Again, overall the session went very well and I enjoyed being taken down the path of our group’s ending and conclusion.  The way this part of the game ties with leadership is about the same way as the first part.  That is, being the leader in controlling the flow of the story and producing ideas for your group members to build off of.  However, this week had a slight tilt, dealing with the tilt itself and how to mitigate your decisions based on what else you needed to incorporate could also be part of it.  Being a leader means expecting the unexpected and solving problems like that without letting the setbacks get in the way of the flow.  Fiasco strengthens this side of being a leader and assists in the overall connection between the game and the players.