Category Archives: Assignments

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 4/14/2022): T.I.M.E Stories

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.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 4/7/2022): Ladies and Gentlemen

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.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 8: Specter Ops

For the free play week I ended up playing Specter Ops. The asymmetrical and hidden traitor aspects of the game were familiar enough, but the hidden movement feature was new to me and was very interesting. The agent tracked their movement on a piece of paper while the agents, including myself, moved around the board trying to track him down. Unfortunately we ran out of time to finish the game but based on the game so far the agent was likely to win the game. While I am very interested in playing the game again I wonder if the agent only had such an easy time because we were all new to the game. With all experienced players I am unsure how the agent would stand a chance.

The main challenge of Specter Ops is figuring out where the agent is as a team. You only have so many actions to locate the agent before they move and you have to start over again. Each character has their method of tracking the agent that when combined can be very effective. Or at least they would be if there wasn’t also a hidden traitor. I was initially the most suspicious player of being the traitor due to the agent using an item to sneak past me when I would have otherwise caught him. It wasn’t until just before we had to end that I regained the trust of my teammates.

The unique character abilities in Spector Ops highlights how people on leadership teams fulfill different roles. Everyone has their own set of skills best suited for different tasks. Tracking down the agent requires careful planning of where to look and when to use which abilities to use. The agent also has a special leadership role in how they interact with the traitor. Any open communication between the two would blow their cover. There is also a balancing act of not always lying about the traitor’s info to protect them. Poor leadership as the agent greatly increases the difficulty of the mission.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection 7: Two Rooms and A Boom!

For week 7 in class, we played a whole class game of Two Rooms and A Boom!. I had never played this game before, but I really enjoyed it. In the first round I was the President, but died by the bomb. The hardest part for me was not really knowing people in the class. I am pretty introverted, so it was awkward for me at first to talk to people in my rooms. 

Another difficult aspect of the game was when I was the blind person because I was pretty much ignored. Being pushed room to room in a chair was the most attention I received, and it was like people were laughing at me when it was happening. I understand in the game it made it obvious that I was not the bomb or the President, but it still would have been nice to be included regardless. One of my best friends is blind and it’s frustrating watching people exclude her in a similar way in life. This is something to remember in a leadership position. People in your organization will have differences and it’s important to include everyone at the table. Everyone wants to feel included and that their respected. 

I think my Church’s youth group would love to play this game. We like to play large group games, and this is a fun one that gets everyone included. They would also like how no one is eliminated in between rounds so everyone can play. 

Overall, I would play this game again! In class it was fun to strategize with everyone.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection Week 6 Mental Blocks

For week 6 of class I played Mental Blocks. I initially thought the game would be quite boring after a couple of rounds because I thought it would be the same sort of game round after round. What I did not expect what the different challenges added in and that no two rounds were the same. Some of the challenges were a player was unable to talk or unable to touch a certain color. 

I think the hardest part was that no two rounds were the same. Every time we thought we figured out a good strategy it would not work the next round. Each round led us to different issues to overcome. 

This game ties to leadership because in this game you have to work together, but it is easy to be selfish and demanding. This ties in with student orgs for example when the leadership team needs to work together, but they all might have their own agendas of how things should be done. 

I think my cousin Becca would like to play this game because she likes puzzles and games that go together. So Mental Blocks would be perfect for her because it is a puzzle and a game all in one. 

Our play session went well out of the 10 puzzles we did we only didn’t complete 1 and took extra time on 2 before we completed them successfully, but just too slow. My favorite memory of our session was when I found out I couldn’t talk, and I threw my hands in the air exasperated. The player sitting next to me turned to me and said “well guess we know who can’t talk”. It made me laugh! It was really fun trying to come up with different strategies. I liked that no two rounds were the same and how it was a race against the clock. I would definitely play again. 

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 3/10/2022): Two Rooms and a Boom

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.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 3/3/2022): Mental Blocks

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.