Author Archives: Joe

Week 8, 9, and 10 (Dungeons and Dragons)

Dungeons and Dragons is the title of the game that we played for weeks 8 through 10 but it could just as well be titled as “Joe’s Favorite Game to Play with Friends”. I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons since I was around 8 years old starting with 3.5 edition. I enjoyed it then and since then have only grown more fond of the game as I’ve learned new facets to enjoy of the game that I was unaware of when I first started playing. Whether those new ideas were just role-playing or thinking of new fun character concepts. In all of this Dungeons and Dragons is related to many different aspects of leadership.

The first tie to leadership found in Dungeons and Dragons comes when creating your character. As a leader it is important to know and understand yourself. Dungeons and Dragons gives the player many opportunities to better understand their character in game as well as to develop their character throughout the game. In real life understanding who you are and what you are capable of is important as a leader to understand what tasks you can and should do as well as what you excel at. However understanding yourself isn’t the only aspect of leadership in Dungeons and Dragons.

Another tie to leadership present in Dungeons and Dragons is the amount of communication and cooperation players must have. In Dungeons and Dragons it is important to be able to talk to and understand the words of others so that you may work well as a team. That is because Dungeons and Dragons is a team game where you work with others to complete goals and objectives that you would not be able to complete by yourself. However that does not mean there is no risk and that leads to the final leadership aspect present in Dungeons and Dragons.

Risk is always present in Dungeons and Dragons. Every decision has a consequence or benefit depending on how the dice end up rolling. Therefore Dungeons and Dragons also helps teach risk management and assessment to its players as a player who does not properly assess a situation will likely end up with their character dead or worse. In Dungeons and Dragons though it is important to take risks so that you can progress through the game and to make the game interesting. Without risk the game becomes simple and boring as every task will come without consequence. But how does Dungeons and Dragons work so that their is risk present?

Dungeons and Dragons is a tabletop roleplaying game played with several players who each control a character and a dungeon master who runs the world that the players play in. The game however runs on dice. Most character statistics are determined by the dice as well as the results of actions the players take. To lie in Dungeons and Dragons is a possible dice roll, to attempt to hit an enemy is a dice roll, and so on and so forth. While a lot of stuff that happens in Dungeons and Dragons is determined by dice rolls that doesn’t mean that everything is determined in such a way.

The characters players make as well as the actions they take are all still decided by that player. In Dungeons and Dragons there is still a lot of choice that takes place. This starts in character creation where you choose your race. Basically the species of your character. You can choose to either be an Elf, Dwarf, Human, or more fantasy type races such as Tiefling or Dragonborn. From there you choose your class which ranges from sword fighting heroes, to fast handed thieves, good-hearted priests, or powerful mages. These choices are all a part of Dungeons and Dragons and determine the kind of character you can play.

In my game I played an Elven cleric. I focused most of my abilities on helping my teammates as I was fairly certain I would be playing with a lot of newer players who would be playing characters that are more damage focused than team focused. My assumption in this case was correct as I was partied with a wizard, a rogue, and a sorcerer. In the end we were able to play the game and everyone did their jobs alright. However in this game I did not have the best time.

While playing with my group there were several issues that occurred. The first issue was that besides the DM and myself none of the other players knew the rules of how to play the game. This made our first session move along slowly as many concepts had to be taught to the new players throughout the game. The issues continued as the rest of the party did little to take initiative in the game and decide the parties course of action. This made the game awkward for me as I was trying to not determine the course of every action but ended up being the main prompter of any decisions.

Overall I still think Dungeons and Dragons is fun and with more experience playing the game the other players in my game would do more and probably have a more enjoyable time. A friend I would recommend this game to and who I have been trying to get to play for a while is Zach. As a game that is great to play with friend I feel that he would enjoy the game. Also I feel like he would enjoy playing a roleplaying game.

In the end while I did not have a great time playing the game this time I still do enjoy the game itself and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good roleplaying game to play.

Week 12 (Ladies and Gentlemen)

This week we played Ladies and Gentlemen a game about buying and selling stocks and using that money to purchase clothing, maids, and accessories. This game is all about cooperation as two players are working together. Cooperation is also the biggest tie to leadership this game has. In this game cooperation and communication are the very important to understand what goals your teammates is attempting to achieve and whether or not you are able to take certain actions in the game. How this game makes you work together is complicated and definitely the hardest part of this game.

This game is played in teams of two where the people together on a team do not know what the other is doing. The gentlemen buy and sell stocks as well as paying for whatever the lady brings to them to buy. The ladies job is to pick out the best outfit, accessories, and help for the ball that is several days away. The part that makes all of this difficult is that the players are not allowed to specifically tell the other what they are trying to do or what they have. For the ladies it makes it hard to pick out products that the gentlemen will have the resources to purchase and for the gentlemen it means they don’t know whether or not to actually purchase a product. Why would a gentlemen not want to purchase a product? Well as a person who played as the lady I personally would pick items from a shop that my opponent was also shopping at that I thought would hinder them most if I could so that they wouldn’t get all the products that they desired. Communicating that I didn’t actually desire the outfit was difficult to tell my teammate. I think this game is a lot of fun and would recommend this to many different people.

One person I would recommend to play this game mostly because I want to play with them is my friend Jacob. This game is a fun game to play with other players and playing it with another person who I know well would be a lot of fun to figure out what strategies exist that we could use. It would also be fun to play with my friend and to mess with them in a way that works strategically but looks sporadic such as to confuse my friend.

Free Play Week 2 (Honey Heist)

This week we played a game called Honey Heist. Honey Heist is a game where the players play as bears. In this game you have to understand your character and this ties to the leadership trait of knowing ones self. Knowing what your own goals and traits are is important to understand what you need to do to be a good leader. This game does a good job of making this easy to understand because for the bears your goal is to just try to obtain honey without becoming to bearish or a straight up criminal. While goals may vary a little bit more in real life the concept remains the same. But in Honey Heist how do you obtain this honey?

To obtain honey in Honey Heist is in some cases quite difficult. Honey Heist is a roleplaying game where almost every success and failure is decided by a six sided dice. In the game I played I was a Scottish grizzly bear named Scotty o’Mara and I was a retired hacker. The goal for my group was to steal a honey fountain from a mansion across a bridge. While in the end we succeeded my bear was the only one who didn’t make it out and was put in Bear jail. Overall I had a lot of fun playing the game but struggled with several mechanics. The most difficult part of the game was that although we had a clear goal there was no clear path to reach the goal. The plan for the heist was entirely up to the imagination which left a limitless number of options for us to steal the fountain however it did not give us any clear paths to reach the fountain. This mechanic made the game interesting as well because none of the players really had a good idea of what the other players were planning.

If I had to recommend this game to anyone I would probably recommend it to my friend Jacob. Jacob already enjoys the game Dungeons and Dragons and I think they would also enjoy this game because it allows for similar role playing mechanics as well as the chance that comes from rolling the dice. I would also recommend this game to my Mom for the same reasons I would recommend this game to Jacob. Overall I think this game would be a lot of fun to play with a group of friends.

Free Play Week 1 (Incan Gold)

This week we played Incan gold, a game about taking risk in an attempt to obtain treasure hidden in the Incan pyramids. The game addresses risk taking as you are an explorer who while searching for gems and treasure has to also avoid multiple dangers. Risk taking is how this game connects to leadership. In taking risks this game demonstrates the ability for the player to assess risk vs reward and determine whether or not to take certain actions in a similar way that a leader must assess risk and reward when taking certain actions.

The game itself works well with the concept of risk as well as its other mechanics. In this game you are competing against other players to attempt to collect the most gems and at the end the player with the most wins. To earn gems players must venture into the Incan pyramids and face the dangers inside. With multiple players playing this game gems are divided evenly among players in the temple with players having the option to leave early. The first question that many would ask at this point would be why should these players ever leave the temple early. The answer is simple and part of the games mechanics. The dangers of the temple, if the player sees two of the same danger they drop all of their gems and vacate the temple. These mechanics make the game interesting because it pits the players against each other where they will want to risk as much as they can to get ahead of the others so that they do not have to share the gems. I think this mechanics is also what makes the game most difficult because as a player you have to assess whether or not it is worth it to continue to venture into the pyramid or if you will lose out more by continuing forward.

As a risk taking game I think my brother would really enjoy playing this game as he enjoys playing these types of games a lot. Whether he just likes getting really lucky or actually mathematically figuring out the best solution I am unsure but nevertheless I am sure he would enjoy this game.

Week 4 (Can’t Stop)

In the fourth week of class we were scheduled to play the games Can’t Stop and Incan Gold. Unfortunately during the class period my group was unable to play Incan Gold. Fortunately Can’t Stop was really fun to play and had lots of interesting mechanics for a game that broadly looks pretty simple.

In Can’t Stop the goal is to get to the top of three columns by rolling dice 4 dice and determining pairs that help to advance up the columns. What makes this game interesting is that a player can only advance in 3 columns in a turn and can roll the 4 dice as many times as they want or until they can’t advance in any columns anymore. Furthermore, if the player fails to advance in any columns upon rolling the dice they lose all advancements they had made that turn. This mechanic is what makes the game so interesting as well as a great demonstration of an important part of leadership, risk taking.

Risk taking is displayed in this game as players must make a choice to either continue rolling and progress even further at the risk of losing all past progress, or stop rolling and keep what progress they have already made. This decision happens multiple times in a turn for a player with the risk growing greater every time they roll. This is very similar to real life where leaders must assess the risk taken when committing to some action. Leaders do tend to have more control over the outcomes than a person rolling dice as seen in can’t stop though.

Overall I really enjoyed playing this game and had several strategies that I devised while playing. The main strategy that I attempted to use was to commit to as few columns early on in a turn as possible. I did this because it would give me a safety net per say where I could continue to take progress in the other columns without the risk. This strategy doesn’t work for long however as the likelihood that anyone would roll into a specific column multiple times in a row is rather low. In the case where I would get stuck committed to three columns I tried to always have one column I was committed to be in the range of 6-8 as these numbers are the most common to come up when rolling 2 dice, and I was even more likely to get this total on at least one pair when rolling 8 dice.

If I had to recommend this game to people I would say it fits into a category of easy to play and learn while being moderately harder to master. This game has a lot of points where a player can play optimally. However, this game also gives players a chance to win when they aren’t as well aware of these “better” playstyles. I would recommend it to my grandmother personally because she enjoys games that can be played quickly and I believe she would enjoy this kind of game a lot. Overall I think Can’t Stop was a lot of fun to play and would recommend it as a fun game for anyone looking for a quick game to play.

Week 2 and 3 (Fiasco)

In the second and third weeks of playing games in class we played a game called Fiasco. This game is all about story telling and interacting with other people. In Fiasco players tell a story through scenes where they interact with other players. The players interactions are based upon the setting in which they inhabit which is determined by dice and the players as they choose the relationships they share with each other. The outcomes of the scenes determine a characters outcome at the end of the story as characters collect dice for a scene either ending good for their character or poorly for their character. True to its name though this game typically ends up as a fiasco for some people and my group was no different.

In this game of Fiasco me and the other players played a group of a gambling baseball player who betted on their own games, a bookie who assisted in the baseball player’s gambling and was in his own legal troubles, and a lawyer who was the baseball player’s cousin and helping the bookie with his legal problems. In this game the baseball player wanted to make a huge gamble in the playoffs game his team was supposed to win against a much lesser team in terms of skill by throwing the game and collecting a large amount of cash. In the meantime the bookie was trying to save up money to get out of the gang he was in. All of these are the identities of the characters and an important part of being a leader, knowing yourself.

In this game leadership is displayed in two ways. The first of which is knowing your character in the game corresponding to knowing yourself in real life. This is demonstrated through how your character is “made” in the game. As you find what relations your character shares with others that is all you learn. Your character does not yet have a name, possibly profession, a favorite color, or many other traits that all people are expected to have. So you the player have to figure out what makes your character who they are, much as a leader has to understand who they themselves are. The other part of leadership that is relevant to this game is the ability to react to the unsuspected.

About halfway through Fiasco a game mechanic called the tilt happens. The tilt throws some unexpected curveball at the players that the players and their characters must react to. This demonstrates leadership simply in the fact that a good leader must be able to react to varying situations that may arise.

When I played the game I enjoyed it a lot. There were a lot of fun mechanics that made the game interesting in a way the same game would not be repeated again even if I tried really hard. I think my favorite part of the game was creating my character and their relations to other characters. This aspect of the game is really fun from a storytelling perspective as well as learning what other people want to do with their character. On the other hand I did not enjoy the end of the game.

At the end of the game all of the conflicts and story that happen in the game are resolved. In my game I the lawyer got off scot free from all potential problems pocketing some money from helping my cousin gamble. On the other hand the other members of my group the bookie and the baseball players had less desirable outcomes. The bookie ended up being harassed by his former gang for the rest of his life, in jail and out, after failing to out the gang boss in court. The baseball player was beaten up by his former teammates after getting caught betting against the team and throwing the game. While the ending of our story was interesting and exciting the mechanic that got us there worked relatively strangely.

The dice that are given from scenes throughout the game are used to determine the final outcome. The dice are rolled and you subtract the total of the dice from each other and the further away from zero the better the characters outcome. In the situation of having a lot of good dice this makes sense. However when rolling high on the bad dice this outcome seems very strange to me as in my head rolling even should be an impartial outcome whereas a high roll either other way should be some extreme, either fortune or misfortune. Overall this was my least favorite mechanic of the game.

In the end this game was a lot of fun to play and I enjoyed the time I spent playing it. I would recommend it to anybody who likes roleplaying games or just roleplaying. If I were to recommend this game to anybody I would definitely recommend it to my mom who enjoys roleplaying games like dungeons and dragons for the roleplaying aspect as well as many of my friends whom I play dungeons and dragons with.

Week 1 (Roll Player)

This week we played a game called Roll Player and it was pretty interesting. The game is a basic idea on how to create and character for Dungeons and Dragons and includes elements such as equipment and skills that your character can buy with money, rolling for your character’s stats, and the character’s identity. The character’s identity is an important part of this game that links it together to an idea of leadership.

Leadership is displayed in this game through the player having to make choices about what character traits are important to them. The link is that a good leader also needs to be aware of what traits they want to embody as a leader and how to demonstrate and improve those traits. In Roll Player the job is pretty simple where the player can put specific care into increasing one trait over another through the use of dice, where in real life the growth is a bit more complex.

When I played this game I was sadly unable to finish playing but I was able to discern the mechanic that makes this game most difficult. The mechanic I’m talking about is initiative. This mechanic both determines what dice you get each turn to boost your stats while also determining when in the turn you are allowed to buy from the market. It creates a decision where the player must decide whether buying a certain piece of equipment can be more beneficial later in the game or if it is a better option to just grab the highest numbered die to increase a specific stat for their character. I think this is the hardest mechanic because it is the mechanic with the most decision behind it.

I think this game would be a good fit for anybody looking to get into Dungeons and Dragons that is having trouble making a character, as well as any Dungeons and Dragons player who just enjoys making characters. Due to this I think my brother would love this game because he is always making new Dungeons and Dragons characters with different and optimized traits which this game seems to emphasize as a good option.

In my personal session I enjoyed playing the game after helping explaining some of the rules to another person in my group. I think the game is a good game to play with a group of friends and can either be played with the end goal of winning or just casually with the idea of what strategies could be most interesting. Overall I liked the game and would play it again if the opportunity presented itself.