During our last meeting, my group from the prior week got together to finish our game of T.I.M.E. Stories. T.I.M.E. Stories is a cooperative card-based game that requires the players to travel throughout time to uncover and prevent faults in time itself. Your team works together by possessing the bodies of people present at the time and location in question and using their abilities to investigate the area and find the source of the fault. To do this, your team will have to spend Temporal Units, a resource that determines how long your team can remain in that time. Once it runs out, you will be forced to start over, only keeping certain cards and the knowledge you gained during your first “loop”. For this session, our team started on our second of these loops, and used the knowledge we gained from our previous loop to try and locate the source of the fault.
Over the course of this second session, I would say that the most difficult thing that we ran into would be the final puzzle we had to solve before we could enter the last area of the game. Without spoiling the puzzle itself, the main difficulty of this puzzle came from the multiple layers that were involved in it. Our group had to gain knowledge from several, seemingly unrelated clues spread throughout the entirety of the scenario, before finally reaching a specific location. Once at that location, our group had to use all of these clues to finally piece together the solution to the puzzle so that we could advance and complete the story. While this puzzle was certainly difficult, it was very satisfying to piece it all together, and was only possible because our group was working together and combining our knowledge of everything we had seen up until that point.
However, what could this particular puzzle teach us about leadership? For one thing, our group was only able to finally reach the solution to the puzzle by combining all of our viewpoints and our ideas of what the various pieces of the puzzle could be referring to. Not one of us knew the entire solution, even with all of the clues, and we needed to combine our knowledge and logic to reach the solution. Similarly, a leader could not possibly succeed on their own, they need to work together with their team in order to reach their goal. Every member’s viewpoint and skills are just as important to the team as any others, a fact that a good leader must always remember if they want to lead their team to success.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed my time with T.I.M.E. Stories. I was a bit uncertain of just how much I would enjoy it after running into issues with the rules during the prior week, but now that our team was more certain of what we were doing, it was a lot of fun! Piecing together that last puzzle was certainly the greatest highlight of our time with the game, and the journey to finally reach that solution featured a lot of interesting scenarios and discoveries that kept us glued to the game. I would definitely be interested in trying out the second story in the T.I.M.E. Stories series just to see if it has any puzzles similar to this one, along with whatever scenarios it might involve.
In our most recent meeting, our class met to start playing T.I.M.E. Stories, a cooperative, card-based game that sees a team of player’s traveling to a specific point in time to uncover and prevent a fault in time itself. You and your teammates will be placed into the bodies of people present at that time and location, each of which will have their own specialties and limitations that affect how the team performs. Bear in mind though that every action you take to investigate the area, interacting with cards, traveling to new locations, completing tests and participating in combat, will require you to spend Temporal Units, a shared resource that determines how long you can remain in this time. The base cards at the start of the game will inform you just how many cards Temporal Units your team begins with, and reaching zero Temporal Units will force you to flip over a failure card before resetting the game and starting over. However not all items will be reset if this happens, and your own knowledge of the events can be kept.
However, the most difficult part of playing this game for our team was not any of these mechanics specifically, but rather the rules of the game itself. T.I.M.E. Stories is a very complex board game, with a lot of various moving parts that make it quite intimidating for first-time players such as ourselves, and the rule itself does not do a good job of explaining things. There were multiple times while we were playing where we were uncertain of how something functioned, or of how a particular mechanic worked. The rule was unfortunately not very helpful on this mark, it feels poorly organized, and some things that you would expect to be explained in the rulebook are actually only explained on cards, meaning that you won’t actually be able to fully understand how the game plays until you start playing it yourself.
With this in mind though, what does T.I.M.E. Stories have to do with leadership? Personally, I believe that one of T.I.M.E Stories best contributions to leadership is its emphasis on teamwork. Given that Temporal Units are in such short supply, the players are heavily encouraged to strategize before deciding anything, determining which team members should interact with which cards. Sharing information is also critical if the players hope to advance through the game, as clues acquired at one location are possibly required to complete tasks later on. Similarly, if a leader hopes to accomplish any of their team’s goals, they need to ensure that their team members are working together and cooperating effectively. If a team does not work well together, progress on whatever project or goal they may be working towards will slow to halt, so a leader must ensure that their team members compliment each other.
Overall, I do think I had fun with T.I.M.E. Stories, though the issues that we ran into with the rules certainly did make it more stressful than I expected it to be at times. Now that our team has a better understanding of the rules and how they fit together, I would like to see if we could make more progress next week, as we saved our game at the end of our first “run”. I would also be interested in trying out some of the other Stories that have been created for the game, as one group in particular was actually playing the second Story, and it appeared to function very differently from the Story that our group was playing.
During this past Thursday, our class got together to play Ladies and Gentlemen, a cooperative board game where players are split into teams of two, a Lady and a Gentleman, who each have very different roles in the game. The Ladies are playing a card drafting game as they attempt to set up boutiques and create the best outfit for the upcoming ball. Meanwhile, the Gentlemen are playing a dexterity game as they race each other to try and acquire stocks in goods to sell or fulfill contracts. Once both the Ladies and Gentlemen have completed their tasks, the Ladies then pass over the garments and accessories that they picked out to buy during the day for the Gentle to either pay for, pay a much smaller amount to put them on hold until they can acquire more money, or discard them.
I personally played as a Gentleman during our session, though I could tell just from observing the other side of the table that the Ladies had a much more complex side of the game. During the entire time they were drafting their boutiques, shopping for their outfits and choosing which ones they wanted to ask their Gentleman to pay for, they had to consider how many elegance points these pieces had, whether they had a piece of that kind already, and whether they had too many designers or not. With all of those things that have to be considered at any given time, I would certainly say that drafting and choosing what cards to place in their boutique is the hardest part of this game, both due to the sheer amount of things that have to be considered for it to be accomplished successfully, and for the fact that all of that effort may end up being wasted if their Gentleman just simply wasn’t able to make enough money to pay for it. This difficulty in planning and drafting is only exasperated by the blind nature of the game, as Gentlemen are not allowed to share just how much money they have with their Lady, and Ladies are not allowed to share what clothes they are planning on trying to buy with their Gentleman until they are ready to pass them over.
However, while this planning may be the most difficult aspect of the game, it may also be an excellent window into what Ladies and Gentlemen can teach us about leadership. For one thing, Ladies and Gentlemen requires the Lady players to be able to plan out their turns without knowing exactly what resources they will have available to them, and to possibly make contingency plans by grabbing extra articles of clothing and accessories. Similarly, unexpected issues or shortages of resources may occur when working on a project, and a good leader will need to be able to plan for these possibilities. This could include contingency plans to work around those issues and shortages, or gathering more resources ahead of time to work around any shortages that may come up. Either way, a leader and their team creating plans like these ahead of time will help mitigate any issues that come up during whatever project they may be dealing with.
Overall, I very much enjoyed playing Ladies and Gentlemen as a Gentleman. The game can be quite tense if you struggle to find resources you need for contracts or if another Gentleman manages to fulfill a contract first and take your bonus. From everything I saw, the Ladies half of the game may be even more tense, and if given the opportunity I would be very interested in playing Ladies and Gentlemen again just so I can see what that half of the game feels like to play in comparison to the Gentleman’s half. However, even if I wasn’t able to attempt the game’s other set of rules, I would still most certainly be willing to play the game again to experience the chaos of a fake stock market.
Very recently, our class got together to play Two Rooms and a Boom and discuss just what it has to do with Leadership. Two Rooms and a Boom is a hidden role game where the players are split into two teams, the red team and the blue team, based upon the role card they were dealt. The players are then divided between two rooms, and must try their best to achieve their goals by trading “hostages” after each timed round. The blue team, along with whatever other role cards are dealt, has the President card, and the red team has the Bomber card. The blue team must try to ensure that the President is not in the same room as the Bomber by the end of the game, while the red team must ensure that the Bomber and President are in the same room. Alongside these basic roles are several advanced roles, that either change how you interact with the other players, grant new abilities, or even place the player on the grey team with their own, unique win condition. By sharing either your full role or just the color of your card with other players, you can begin to gather information and help your team manipulate the rooms to their advantage.
However, it was many of these new abilities and restrictions that I believe were the most difficult part of the game to deal with. For instance, several of the restrictive roles either made it very difficult to interact with other players and gather information. For instance, the Mime rendered you completely unable to speak, and the Blind requires you to keep your eyes closed so long as the card is in your possession. The Mime makes the game far more difficult as carrying on a conversation and gathering information now requires an effective means of communication without words, which not everyone may be able to perform well or understand. The Blind is likely the most restrictive, as they can no longer view other player’s cards at all and must simply make a judgment on whether they trust what they are told or not. While these certainly don’t make it impossible to gather the required information, they definitely make it far more difficult, and the Blind especially requires the other players be willing to work alongside this player and aid them as they travel between the rooms and gather their own information.
While these roles create a very large source of difficulty, I feel that they may also be the most important glimpse into an aspect of leadership. These roles, by greatly restricting the abilities of the player or forcing them to be something akin to shy, could represent different disabilities or walks of life, with the Blind likely being the most clear representation of this idea. As such, it is important to remember that while these people might have different needs and abilities, they are still very much people, and can still be the deciding factor in whether a team wins or loses. Similarly, Leaders need to remember that disadvantaged people are still people, and can provide just as much if not more to a team they are placed on as any other person. While they may need some aid in some aspects, there is no reason that they should ever be treated as lessor, and it is the job of a leader to ensure that this is the case.
Beyond all of this though, I certainly did have a lot of fun with Two Rooms and a Boom. The game can be quite chaotic, and that chaos can be quite enjoyable if its own thanks to your own social skills or even luck that allowed it to happen. Even when the game isn’t chaotic though, being able to use your social skills to both work with your team and manipulate the other team to ensure that events play out as you want them to can be quite entertaining, especially when everything falls into place. With this in mind, I would very much like to play this game again at some point, perhaps in hopes of getting different than I did during this session or just simply to have fun creating chaos with friends.
During this past week, our class got together to play two games, Mental Blocks and Survive! Escape from Atlantis. Each of us were allowed to choose which game we wanted to play, with the option to even play both of them if we had enough time. Personally, I chose to play Mental Blocks, a cooperative puzzle game where the players attempt to build a specific shape using a series of foam blocks and each player’s clue card within the allotted time. However, each player is only allowed to look at their own individual clue, and each clue sees the target object from a different perspective without stating what that perspective is. It is this particular aspect of the game that I believe makes it so difficult, as if everyone is attempting to create their own individual piece of the puzzle, then they will rarely match the solution unless the players discuss what their perspective depicts and determine specifically which perspective each player holds. However, this was often easier said than done, as the time limit causes most people to immediately begin trying to build their particular perspective, rather than taking a moment to discuss.
As for the gameplay session itself, our group played Mental Blocks several times, but only managed to actually succeed once or twice. During our first game, we actually played without the time limit and used restrictions that limited what blocks players could move or how they could communicate, and as a result were able to successfully complete our first puzzle. For all of the following puzzles though, we chose to use the time limit, and from there winning became far harder as we simply could not establish whose perspective was which and began to argue over what our cards depicted, building and rebuilding the same incorrect shapes rather than finding the correct one.
Despite these losses, I still feel that we can learn something about Leadership from Mental Blocks. For instance, most of our losses in the game could be attributed to our tendency to build our own perspective first before consulting anyone else. Similarly, in a leadership or group situation, if multiple people in the group have their own, conflicting goals, then the group as a whole may struggle to make any progress at all. In situations like this, the group will only be able to recover if the leader is able to step up and force a compromise of some sort, where both parties gain some, but not all, of what they wanted. This also applied in our games of Mental Blocks, as at least one player was required to set aside their own clue and attempt to parse what everyone else’s clues depicted instead.
Overall, I had a lot of fun playing Mental Blocks, even if we were only able to succeed once or twice over the many puzzles we attempted. Attempting to parse together various clues while struggling with whatever restriction you receive is quite enjoyable, and as a side goal while playing you can also try to determine what everyone else’s restrictions are. I would very much be interested in playing the game again at some point, perhaps trying to determine what everyone’s perspective is depicting rather than building my own to see if that helps us succeed at all.
Recently, our class got together to finish our existing sessions of the Fiasco Role Playing Game that we had started the week prior. The Fiasco RPG System is designed with the intent of creating chaos for the players to react to and incorporate into their stories. In this session, rather than creating characters once again, we began by performing our “Tilt” The Tilt involves using the dice that have yet to handed out to other players in order to select new Elements to add to the story, using the similar method of defining a category before establishing the more specific meaning behind that Element. Once these twists have been added, we then moved on to Act Two, where we continued to tell our characters’ stories by acting out scenes while including the twists that had been determined in the Tilt. Once we had given out all of our dice, we then moved onto the Aftermath, where we each used our dice to determine how well our character’s story ended and told these stories one die at a time.
For this second half of our Fiasco session, I personally think the most difficult aspect was trying to incorporate the Elements that we discovered in our Tilt into our existing story. Our Tilt involved two Elements, a stranger arriving to settle a score and someone developing a conscience. Before we could even begin to act out our scenes, we tried to think about ways that we could include those elements moving forward, such as by having our stranger be connected to more than one of our players, and by allowing one of existing characters to gain a conscience and using that to prompt a character arc. While I believe we were able to resolve our tilts very well, it was still likely the most difficult part of this session, and attempting to involve those elements without planning ahead like we had likely would have resulted in the whole story falling apart.
As for the session itself, it was decided that our rival lemonade salesmen would be presented with a new issue: an employee from the company that made their lemonade stands arriving to reclaim a stand that was not paid for (A stranger arriving to settle a score), which introduced a new issue for both the innocent party and the guilty party. However, while this was being settled the “wizard” from the previous session gained a conscience and attempted to reform themselves into a businessman. Once all of the other plot points had progressed however, the estranged relatives finally settled their scores as one of them attempted to murder the other, and the sound of sirens gathered the remaining characters. The Aftermath then set the background for these characters futures, with the attempted murder landing one relative in jail while the other made a full recovery, one of the lemonade salesman running away with a EMT adn the other losing the spark that made them enjoy the business, and the “wizard” turned businessman reverting back to their “wizardly” ways.
However, what more is there to learn from Fiasco that we haven’t learned already. Personally, I think the potential difficulty of incorporating the Tilt might contain an insight into leadership as a whole, as was how we were able to mitigate the difficulty of it. A leader needs to be able to account for unexpected setbacks as they attempt to lead their team to their goal, and to plan for a way to get around those setbacks and account for them. Similarly, our group needed to be able to plan how to include our Tilt Elements in our story, even though we didn’t know what they would be until our Tilt happened. As such, I personally think that our planning session not only allowed us to mitigate the harm the Tilt could cause to our story, but was also an example of how you might be able to use planning to be a more effective leader when faced with the unexpected.
Not long ago, our class got together to play sessions of the Fiasco Role Playing Game over a course of two weeks. Fiasco is an RPG System designed with the intent of creating chaos and allowing players to create the most disastrous situations they can. In this game, players use the color coded dice they have been given to help create their characters and determine the outcomes of scenes that they perform, all so that they can work together to create an interesting story where everything falls apart around their characters. It is worth noting that these dice rolls do not determine what the characters will be, but rather aspects of the character, such as their relationships with other characters (each player is actually required to establish at least one relationship with another character), what their goals are, and perhaps even key aspects of the world that all of the players can interact with, like important objects and locations. The players can then use all of these aspects to act out two scenes each in Act 1, developing their characters and creating conflict between their characters. Players can either establish a scene and act it out themselves, waiting for another player to give them either a positive or negative die to determine how it ends, or choose a positive or negative outcome and allow the other players to establish a scene for them to finish. For my personal group, this was the extent of our first session of Fiasco, as we ran out of time just as we finished our Act 1.
As for our session itself, once we had established our characters and our setting, a commercial district in the middle of a suburban town, it was time for us to start acting out our scenes. Personally, I believe that this was the most difficult part of the game for our group, at least initially. With nothing to go off of besides our characters goals and relationships. With that in mind, I tried my best to establish our first scene based upon my character, Eddy McFarlain, and his rival’s (another player) competing lemonade stands, and tried to use that pre-established conflict to help begin our story. As we continued to create scenes and get a feel for our characters, this process became much easier, leading to scenes where two estranged relatives fight with each other as passive aggressively as they possibly could, and a rival lemonade stand employs a “wizard” to sabotage their competition by graffitiing their cart. However, the initial starting point was very noticeably slower to start than any other scene that followed it.
While the beginning of our session may have been the most difficult part of our session, I believe that this also shows just how Fiasco might relate to leadership as a whole. In our game of Fiasco, we had difficulty beginning our scenes because we weren’t sure where our story was going at that point. Personally, I believe that this could represent the vision that a leader needs of their goal in order to successfully lead their team. If the leader is unsure of what their own goals are, they will likely have a very hard time actually guiding their team towards a common goal. During the course of their project, the goal might become clearer, and therefore easier for the leader to guide their team toward. However, it would be preferable for the leader to know exactly what their goal is from the beginning, so that the “warm up” period could be skipped entirely.
However, an insight into leadership is not the only important note that I believe I can take from this, as it may also contain an insight into myself. First though, I need to more completely describe the character that I was playing as in this session, Edward “Eddy” McFarlain. Eddy is an aspiring lemonade salesman that has been down on his luck recently, as his rival across the street has managed to do far more business than him. His goals, based upon the result of the earlier rolls, were to Get Rich using a living will, and to vaguely Get Even. He also has a The Past, fast friends relationship with one of the other characters, and a Work, business rivals relationship with another (his lemonade stand rival). However, despite all of these opportunities to create conflict himself, perhaps by instigating his rival or using his friend in some way, I ended up playing Eddy as a fairly honorable, if failing, businessman, and someone that tries to be a good friend. I personally think that this aspect reflects the most on me, as I try my best to be a helpful, caring friend, and to help out whenever I’m able. In this way, I believe that my own personal values ended up being visible in Eddy, as a character that tried to avoid dirty tactics in a system that is expressly designed for them.
On Tuesday, February 15th, I attended a gaming event here on campus, specifically one of the Strategy Gaming Club’s (SGC) meetings. SGC is a student organization that provides a time and place for students to play all sorts of tabletop games, as well providing a wide selection of these games at each Sunday and Tuesday meeting. Additionally, SGC also has a group of members that have been hosting sessions of the Warhammer series of games, as well as miniatures for players to use with the games on Wednesdays. Recently though, these Wednesday meetings have been taking place alongside the Tuesday meetings, allowing those who usually could not come to the Wednesday meetings to play various Warhammer games during the Tuesday meetings instead.
SGC Tuesday meetings allow the attendants to play whatever tabletop games they want to, assuming that the organization owns those games and have brought the games with them to this meeting. Due to the fact these games could require any amount of space, the organization itself does not perform any setup of the room themselves beyond bringing the tabletop games, instead allowing the members to break up the large rectangle of tables themselves in order to create the space that they need for their chosen tabletop games. As a result, the only part of the room left in its initial state is often the far end of the tables, which are where the games not being played are located. However, this more hands-on setup is typically not a problem, as all of the attendees will often move the tables back into their initial place once they are done playing games, and the table is no longer in use.
Of course, you will need to get a group of players together for most of these tabletop games, but the other attendees of these meetings are usually more than willing to arrange groups to play larger games or join you for a game you would like to play. In many cases you might be able to play multiple different tabletop games in one meeting, but at this particular meeting I was only able to fit one game in, though I enjoyed it quite a lot. I was only able to play this game due to the fact that SGC was able to move some of its Warhammer content over to the Tuesday meetings.
Warhammer and it’s various games are something that I’ve been interested in for quite some time now, but I have never been able to experience them myself due to the large cost of building an army of miniatures and lacking any time to attend SGC’s Wednesday meetings. As such, now that Warhammer is being hosted during the Tuesday meetings, I jumped at the chance to finally play these games myself. During this meeting specifically, I played Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress, a Campaign Dungeon-Crawler game set in the Warhammer 40k universe, along with three other players.
In Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress (Blackstone), you play as a group of explorers searching for relics and riches within the depths of an ancient space-faring fortress. These expeditions into the fortress take place in two distinct phases, the exploration phase and the facility phase. In the exploration phase, the players draw a card from the exploration deck, which determines what they will find in this area of the fortress. In our session, we only drew Combat cards from this deck, but other areas of the fortress will feature other challenges. Combat encounters in particular are quite complex, as they require the players to balance not only their own actions, but also their position in initiative, the group pool of Destiny Dice for additional actions and the potential actions that their enemies may take based on the roll of a twenty-sided die. After each exploration phase, the players have the option to exit the Fortress and enter the facility phase, where they can use their character’s ships to perform various actions and purchase items using the loot they have gathered, though each player can only visit one ship. From this point the players can either save their characters by placing their character cards and loot in their special card sleeve and stop for the time being or reenter the Fortress.
As Blackstone is a Campaign game, my group is still quite far from finishing it, but I had quite a lot of fun with the combat encounters that we were able to play through. However, I do not think that the fun I felt was purely attributed to the game, but to the people I was playing with as well. For one thing, one of the players in this group is actually someone that I have known since my first semester here at Miami, and that I would consider a good friend. And the two other players, even if we only recently met, were still more than willing to discuss the things they enjoy and just generally have a good time while at the meeting. This general feeling of openness and acceptance is not just something that applies to this particular meeting, as it is something that I have found in every meeting of SGC that I have attended.
I believe that it is because of this open and accepting feeling that I enjoy my time with SGC so much, both this meeting and any other. No matter what group of people I choose to play with, or what game we are playing, I enjoy my time while I am there. The community their organization has built is just so accepting and so committed to having fun that it seems to be hard not to have fun while playing tabletop games with them. Not only that, but if the game you are playing happens to be a game that you are unfamiliar with, and someone else is very familiar with, the more experienced players will typically jump at the opportunity to share something that they love with someone new. This exact scenario is what happened during the above meeting, as while I am still relatively new to the people that play Warhammer at SGC’s meetings, they were very excited to help teach me the games that they enjoy so much.
As I have expressed throughout this reflection, I have always been able to enjoy my time spent at SGC, and the meeting on February 15th was simply an example of just why that is. The community that the Strategy Gaming Club’s officers have been able to build over their time is just simply such a welcoming and open one. As a result the entire organization just has a friendly and accepting atmosphere that makes it clear that having fun and meeting new people should be the number one priority, and that the tabletop games available are simply a way to meet those people and build those friendships. Even after all of this time, there are still new people in the organization to meet, and new games to play, and so the environment that SGC provides will always be appreciated.
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.
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.