Author Archives: schaef11

Honey Heist RPG

Honey Heist is a rpgwhere the players are bears that are trying to pull off a heist to get honey. The complication is that the two stats each character has means that they are only a few rolls away from betraying and abandoning the crew and becoming a criminal full time or going full bear and possibly eating the crew. 

I was very happy with my bear since they were able to balance the ridiculousness of both pure criminality and pure animality. Stealing some lovely honey, but eating it out of a hat. Each of our characters were unique and contributed hilariously to our cause, stealing a honey fountain. Our luck in rolling die meant that none of us went full bear or full criminal.

Working together to infiltrate the gala led to some wonderful displays of leadership, such as an impromptu cover of Wonderwall, a dance with a security guard, car theft, and a beary large brawl. All of this somewhat coordinated since the rpg was focused on being a crew that planned out a heist so we really had to talk it out and work together to reach the clear goal of honey. Reacting to the various conflicts and traps that we came across meant we had to adapt quickly together and still make sure that we did not expose our sticky paws. We were extremely chaotic and utilized it by aiming it at our shared goal, honey.

Dungeons and Dragons

Once again, a key part of my experience is how it was impacted by being virtual. It made it hard to work together and see how the others felt about each group decision. It was extremely amusing to see my fragile warlock get down to 2 and 0 hp in the first two sessions, with a long rest in between. I knew my warlock would be soft when I made him, but since it was my first time playing a character that is primarily a magic user I wasn’t expecting that level of squishiness.

We spent time enjoying my near state of death and trying to get closer to the solution to solving the issue of where all these goblins came from. No one was quite willing to be the one to speak out and offer a course of action. Likely due to not being able to see the reactions of the other players and their reactions to different options. At least, that was why I kept fairly quiet. It wasn’t fair to our DM and definitely increased the uncomfortableness, but it was hard to get over it when trying to not speak over anyone. 

Overcoming these obstacles happened more easily and more often towards the end of the three sessions. While we still struggled to communicate, the plot motivated us to work better together and get involved and invested. Leadership was shown when everyone trusted our DM and each other and put in the effort to try and work with each other to have fun and follow the goblins.

Ladies And Gentlemen

Though we got off to a delayed and scrambled start, by the time we got to the second day phase we were all trying our best to figure out how to play and have some fun with the voices. We had fun trying to address each other in outrageous posh voices and attempt to understand our partners.

I started playing as just the gentleman, but then partway through, after it would have taken too much time to start over with the odd person playing the courtesan, a player playing a lady seemed to lose all connection and after several attempts to bet in touch with them I played the part of their lady as well until they could either return or time was up. I was pleased that everyone was so willing to work around misunderstanding parts of the game at first and relax together to have fun.

Leadership in this game was a little less obvious to me than in previous games. To me it came through in having to be able to trust your partner to pick up on your cues and pick the best choices. It was a balancing act of preparing and trying to make the most of your side and trusting that your partner will do the same.

Lasers and Feelings – A One Page RPG

Again, the virtual environment made it harder to work together and off of each other’s energy, something important to RPGs, and boardgames in general. Unfortunately, it was also cut short by the end of class. Lasers and Feelings has a nice balance in character creation that was made even more evident by our choices in characters. We went with the given characteristics and spent time delving into our backstories before starting which definitely helped bridge the disconnect between our characters.  

RPGs completely depend on the GM and the willingness of the players to get as invested as possible. Something that I believe that was done extremely well for a group with less than two hours over a zoom call. We really did get into character and have fun figuring out how to interact with each other and the npcs. Most RPGs are cooperative and that is something that I personally really enjoy. Working together to figure out what was going on while working out our character’s personalities was really fun. 

Leadership in RPGs can be both obvious and not. As a player to be willing to trust a GM to put you in a situation where you, and the other players, have to figure out what to do in new situations, be in the shoes of a new character, and to find a balance between characters and players. A GM has to know when to let the players explore and how to feed them a trail. Lasers and Feelings had us create an outline of a crew and a ship and we had to work together to fill in all the actual characterization, and that’s I think is the idea behind RPGs, cooperative creativity. 

Can’t Stop

From the beginning I knew this would be a game I either really liked or disliked depending on if I won or not, which is extremely rare for me. To me, this is a game of luck and risk, two mechanics that I don’t mind separately, but together makes for a game that has me on the edge of my seat trying to stop myself from rolling one more time. The hardest part of Can’t Stop is knowing that there’s some balance to knowing when to wait and when to keep rolling and that I just can’t figure it out.

My group’s main strategy was to roll until you couldn’t, or at least until you had at least one cone on the other side. I started with a more conservative approach. At first, as I inched slowly across the board the risky strategy seemed to be failing, and then within a couple of turns someone else would win. I tried to adjust my strategy to add more risky movements but it seemed that even two or three rolls would be too many and I’d be back where I started. I think that this game is good for those that like being able to risk a lot without having to deal with consequences outside of the game.

Knowing when to stop risking everything and when to keep trying is a critical skill in leadership. I tend to err on the side of precaution and that can be good in certain circumstances, and as I explained above, not so good in others. Making the decision to stop or continue can absolutely make or break a situation. Can’t Stop requires players to be constantly making that decision. Stop now and maybe someone else wins, or keep going and lose all your progress. The pros and cons of both choices change as you move forward and see other’s progress and as the cones get a greater and greater distance between them. The assessments of the risk versus the reward in the game that the players have to make are more immediate than ones outside of the game which only highlights their importance. The fewer risks, the fewer rewards.

Playing Fiasco on Tabletop Simulator

Fiasco was, as promised, a fiasco. As expected, the Tabletop Simulator was difficult to navigate, especially since I’m currently stuck using a trackpad. Otherwise the game went as many do, with a lot of confusion and chaos. It was hard to work off of the energy of the other players like you can in person. We compensated by talking as much as possible about our characters and the story itself. One of our group had a lot of trouble with connecting his voice to zoom, so for the last session we had the zoom chat pulled up and he communicated with us that way. Despite these struggles I believe that we were able to play

I’ve played Fiasco before in person and, despite the challenges that came with playing these past two weeks virtually, still really enjoy the game. There’s a lot of freedom in creating the characters, while still having enough of a structure and general direction that you’re not truly put on the spot for having to suddenly come up with a creative character backstory and motivation. I did struggle with immersing myself in the role of a mink farming grandmother. That had more to do with getting the components working than the game itself.

I feel that it ties into leadership by forcing each player to take an active role in making decisions concerning the story. Fiasco is, in my personal opinion, a fairly cooperative game. This means that there needs to be a balance of taking responsibility for the direction the story takes and then stepping back and listening to the others. There is also a lot of on the fly adapting that all the players need to be open to. A rigid mindset of how the game with play out can make it feel more like a script than a cooperative game. Being willing to hand over the reins can be difficult, but also makes the story better most of the time.

Roll Player

Last week we played Roll Player online through Tabletopia. The hardest part for me was definitely adjusting to the board game simulator and understanding whose turn it was. The confusion over turns was solved by constantly mentioning whose turn it was and keeping track of who went when after replacing the order cards. Our Zoom connection was fairly good so we were able to talk over how to play and get to know each other a bit while playing.

When playing Roll Player I enjoy the art and the overall unique character creation. I don’t particularly enjoy keeping track of the specific abilities of the trait and skill cards. It does take some time to understand how to keep track of the dice placement goals and I do think that anyone interested in learning to play Dungeons & Dragons or anyone who wants inspiration for a new character would appreciate playing a round or two, alone or with friends. I like that it can be taken as seriously as I want and still be fun.

It ties into leadership through the slow building of unique, and possibly unusual, backstories and strengths of each player’s character that can help the players gain a better understanding of strangers. Even more, it makes you have to be willing to adapt your strategies as some goals become unattainable. Throughout the game we had to have patience with each other, ourselves, and the simulator, something I see becoming relevant for every game.