Author Archives: Leah Ball

Hanabi – A Cooperative Game with Parameters

This week I played a card game called Hanabi, which was very different from anything else I’ve ever played!  It’s a cooperative game, so everyone is working towards the same goal, but what made this different from other cooperative games I’ve played is that there were parameters on how much you can help your teammates.  The main mechanic of the game is that you are trying to make stacks of 1-5 of different colors, but you hold the cards in your hand backwards so that all of the other players can see your cards but you can’t.  Your teammates can use their turn to give you small hints at what you have in your hand, but other than that you can’t freely help each other know what to do or play.  I play a lot of cooperative games with my family, and I like being able to discuss what I should do on my turn with the other players, so the hardest part of this game for me was not being able to get advice from my teammates.  One of the main themes of this game is weighing your options and having to make a decision, which is a translatable leadership skill.  On your turn, you can either give one of your teammates a clue about what they have in their hand, play a card from your hand and hope based on what your teammates have told you that it will go on top of one of the colored stacks you have been building, or discard a card from your hand and trust that it isn’t important or else your teammates would have told you about it.  So on each turn, you have to decide if anyone else absolutely needs to know something about their hand, or if you should play/discard to keep the game moving forward.  This decision is not always an easy one, and it involves thinking ahead and anticipating what other players will be doing on their turn without being able to ask them.  One of the students I was playing with whose name is Brennan was a great leader and took time to explain to me the big picture concepts of the game and helped me to think through the strategies at different points, which was very supportive and really helped me to be the best player and teammate I could be.  I think my brother would enjoy playing this game with his friends because they like cerebral games that require lots of strategy and thought.

The Resistance: Avalon – Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Last week in class we played Avalon, and I really enjoyed it.  My favorite thing about it was how easy it was to pick up and learn, and also how quickly you can play it all the way through.  I also really like how many people can play!  I was the generic blue/good character both times we played, so I’d really like to play again sometime and either be blue and have a special power, or try out being red.  I think the hardest thing about playing the game for me was that I never got to know anyone else’s identities going into the game like everyone else, so I was always just having to guess if people were good or evil based on their votes, which didn’t always work because a lot of times the evil characters were tricky.  I also had relatively little information to go off of when trying to choose who to take on quests with me.  Another aspect of the game I particularly appreciated was how you could vote on whether or not to let a quest occur, because that keeps the game from being broken in the evil characters’ favor.  For my specific case, this game taught me more about following than leading, because I did have a lot less knowledge than other people on who was good and who could potentially be evil.  I just had to learn to trust others based on their votes, and then trust that the people they chose to quest with were probably also good.  I usually just operated on a basis of trusting people until they proved me otherwise.  I did accuse one other player of potentially being evil in the first game and she ended up being good, and that taught me a lesson in making assumptions and jumping to conclusions when I didn’t have the proper information to do so.  One of my best friends would love this game because she loves games of secret identity.  From experience playing Werewolf with her, I know that she is so good at hiding when she is evil, so I would definitely want to be on the same side as her if we played this together.  I actually ordered a copy of this game online for myself after playing it in class because I enjoyed it so much and it was so reasonably priced.