Category Archives: Game Commentary

Ultimate Werewolf Reflection

In class we played the game Ultimate Werewolf, and my role was as a villager. I really liked this game for a few reasons. One of them was because even when you got out of the game it was still very engaging. This is because once you were out, you got to keep your eyes open the entire time. This allowed for you to observe what was going on during the night phase of the game and got to see how actions other players made affected the game. Additionally, I liked how for the first class it involved the whole class in one game. This made it easier to meet people in the class. I that this would be a good game to play with tweens and teens in a camp setting. I think they would enjoy it more than mafia, which is a popular camp game because there are more roles, and it is more complex.

I would say the hardest part of the game for me was understanding all the different roles and remembering them all. I had only played Ultimate Werewolf once before this class. It was with a very big group at a League of Geeks event and since I did not know what I was doing and I was a villager, I did not participate very much. However, in class I felt more inclined to participate since it was a smaller group. That meant I really needed to understand the roles in the game.

One of the ties this game had to leadership was through the leadership principle of enabling others to act. During the day phase in Ultimate Werewolf, the village votes on one person who they think might be a werewolf. If someone strongly suspects a person to be a werewolf, they must get the majority of players to also vote on this person. This means that they must foster collaboration and build trust with the other players to convince them that they are not a werewolf.

Werewolf Game Reflection, From The Perspective of A Werewolf

The game of the week this week was werewolf and personally, I really enjoyed this game. I thought it was very complex and I enjoyed all of the different elements to it. The storyline was fun, as well as the narrations from JS. I felt like it was a great way to get the class to engage with each other, and we seem to be more comfortable with each other now. I wish the game was easier to play with a smaller group, because I really don’t know when I’ll be able to be in a group this large playing games again, but if given the chance, I would enjoy playing this game again. I think my friends on campus, which I met while studying abroad, would all like this game, and that we would get very intense while playing it, however, there’s only 6 of us. The game is different for each person depending on which role you have, and you’re unlikely to get the same role each time you play, making it a game that never gets old or boring. I enjoyed that JC had us clap while the nights in the game were happening, just to make it more fair. I also enjoyed that we were able to speed up the timing towards the end so we could concretely finish the game.
I was a werewolf in the game, so I felt like there was a lot of responsibility on me to protect my role and not be obvious. I haven’t played a game like this in a while, and when accused, I’m not a great liar, so I was pretty nervous about being detected. Somehow others figured out it was me just based on external evidence, I guess the PR ( I think) person detected that there was a werewolf in my section of the circle and I was suspected, because the guy beside me already told everyone his role. This is just how the game is played and I’m glad that others had a more comprehensive understanding, but I was a little confused how I found out. I wish I had read about what the roles do prior to coming to class, because while playing the game I had some questions, but asking those questions would have easily given my position / role away. Even just asking to speak to JC privately would emphasize to everyone that I clearly have some sort of important role and don’t want to mess it up. For this reason, I think giving everyone cards with a description of every role and what they do, would be beneficial for reference during the game. I think this is a game that gets easier the more you play it as well, because those who were more familiar, seemed to have an upper hand and were able to play strategically. It was helpful to have these people.
I think this game ties to leadership very well by the idea of group think. Once one person said their case for believing someone was a werewolf, everyone else seemed to jump on board with that idea, rather than forming their own opinions. Even after the person tried to defend themselves, everyone still voted for them to be removed from the circle anyways. We didn’t necessarily have one leader, but we had about 5 people that were consistently talking, and I think they acted as leaders in a way. I think with games like this, some people kind of have to step up and speak more, otherwise the game won’t go anywhere. With the rounds needing to go quickly, we didn’t have enough time to go around the circle and ask for each individual opinion. Those who wanted to speak were free to do so, and I think we were all kind and respectful of each other’s opinions. I can see how some people might get frustrated during this game, but we all acted mature. I felt like while I wanted to take on more of a leadership role so I could more easily protect my position, as well as the other werewolves, I didn’t have enough confidence / information to make logical sense. I would have ended up talking myself into a hole and giving away my position. Because I had a very important and specific duty, I wasn’t too willing to take risks. I think in leadership if I have an intuition about something, accompanied by the knowledge, and drive to achieve something, I definitely am not opposed to taking risks. In this instance, the risk was too heavy for me. I just wanted to be a part of the game for as long as possible so I could complete the werewolves mission, as well as being more entertained by engaging, vs sitting out. I was very nervous that someone was going to detect one of my other fellow werewolves, and then by suddenly chiming in or being the literal only person not to vote for them to be removed, that would have obviously given away my position as well. I’m still not sure what the best strategic move is in that situation, but I hope that I can one day play this game again and watch more interesting situations unfold.

My Mysterium Reflection: Eerie, Elaborate, Entertaining

This week we played the game Mysterium and generally, I really enjoyed this game. Two of my favorite games are Codenames and Clue, both of which I included in my top three favorite games for the “what kind of gamer am I?” survey. With this said, i’ surprised someone hasn’t recommended this game to me sooner. I think the game was a bit complicated to figure out at first. I watched a few different videos about how to play the game and still had some problems understanding how it’s played, but after the first few rounds it gets easier. I think because so much responsibility revolves around the ghost in the game, I feel like it would be easier to play with a ghost that really knew the game well, or at least wasn’t brand new, because as everyone else is figuring the game out, the ghost was too, and that was difficult.
Some of my favorite things about the game are the artwork, and the guessing interpretation.l the artwork on the cards is very beautiful and it creates a dynamic where every game is not going to turn out the same each time. I like all the different options and possibilities. I also really enjoy the theme of the game, since I’ve always been into mysteries. I felt as if we were really a part of a novel or mystery movie, and I like the immersion effect. I also enjoy guessing and trying to analyze the cards, as well as trying to think like the ghost would. Something I disliked about the game was that there wasn’t really a clear winner. Our team either beat the game, or we did not, but amongst us, there wasn’t really a winner. I don’t think there necessarily has to be, because it was still enjoyable to play, but if I’m in a competitive mood, this might not be the best game for me to play for that reason. I also disliked how some of the cards are extremely unrelated or up for too much interpretation, because it feels like you’re wasting a ton of time discussing a card that really doesn’t relate to anything, or relates to too many things to the point where you have to just take a wild guess.
I think my friend Annie from back home would really enjoy this game. Growing up, we always played Clue together, specifically the Harry Potter version and we also watched the movie Clue every Halloween. We both really enjoy mysteries and spooky feeling things, so she would enjoy that aspect of this game. However, it would be hard to play with her though because we would basically have to have a decent sized group to play with, which I guess could be another negative to this game.
As for how this game relates to leadership, I feel like the ghost is somewhat the leader because they are guiding the rest of the team. The people who are doing well and are advancing to the next levels also somewhat act as leaders because they have figured out the ghosts way of giving clues and are mostly good at interpreting them, so they can help others interpret. Because of the element of agreeing or disagreeing with other people, it could possibly create conflict between group members, which also is an important part of leadership, since we won’t always agree with leaders or teams that we work with in general. It’s important to learn how to manage this conflict in a constructive way, and to not take things too personally, because at the end of the day, it’s just a game. This game has a lot of team building elements because we need to work together and are trying to help each other through the puzzle. I feel closer to the students that I played this game with, as a result of this activity. We all either were going to win together or lose together, and even though we lost, it was still very fun. I would love the opportunity to play this game again.

Game of the Week: Incan Gold and Can’t Stop

A week or so ago, we played Incan Gold and Can’t Stop in class, and overall, I enjoyed both games. The theme that week was weighing risk vs. reward, and man, did I feel that. For a leader, considering risk vs. reward is an essential skill to learn because the risk impacts the whole group, but then again, so can the reward. Being placed in a position of leadership, one must toe the line very carefully. You might have to be more reserved than you might typically be to protect the group from harm. In a game sense, Incan Gold and Can’t Stop both emulate, risking it all for a sweet reward.

Incan Gold bursts to the seams with an Indiana Jones aesthetic. The premise is that a team of archaeologists/grave robbers are excavating/plundering an Incan temple for all it is worth. Throughout five rounds, the players delve as far as they can go into the temple, picking up emeralds, obsidian shards, gold nuggets, and the occasional artifact while also trying not to trigger any of the traps of the temple. As the players progress into the temple, they leave small amounts of treasure behind, and thus, the game’s strategic elements become apparent. The first person to flee the temple picks up all the leftover treasure. The further into the temple everyone goes, the more treasure is collected overall, but more traps can trigger. When the second type of trap comes up, any player in the temple loses everything they have gained on that round. The question becomes to delve or not to delve? Incan Gold was a lot more fun for me, even though I ultimately lost. My downfall came from me playing too safe. I was often the first to run back before my two companions would stumble upon a huge score. Can’t Stop, on the other hand, was a very different story.

The version of Can’t Stop that we played looked like it had not changed since its initial debut in the 1980s, but what Can’t Stop lacks in an aesthetic flair it makes up in pure strategy. The players roll dice to determine how quickly they climb up the board. A player wins by having three of their markers reach the top of three separate columns. Each round, after a player moves 3 markers, they can choose to stay or roll again. If the player stays, then their tokens advance to the markers, but if they roll again, they risk the chance to bust and lose all progress. After coming off of my complete defeat in Incan Gold, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for broke. It was this reckless strategy, coupled with lucky dice rolls, that played me in the lead by the time we had to stop playing. Can’t Stop is my grandparents’ speed much more than Incan Gold because it is not bogged down by complication. The simplicity of the gameplay is Can’t Stop’s key to its longevity.

What Type of Gamer Am I?

Overall, I agree with Quantic Foundery’s assessment of my inner gamer. As long as everyone is having fun while also focusing on the game itself, I end up having a blast. The only part of this assessment that differed from my expectations was the limited strategy and discovery. I love building a strategy up in a persona in social deduction games, working with other players to stop some disaster, or trying to build the best dungeon in that sense of the word. I think I scored low on this aspect because I do not enjoy deckbuilding or the likes of Warhammer 40K. The long-term strategy games do not do well at holding my attention. 

On the other hand, short social deduction games like One Night Ultimate Werewolf or Secret Hitler are right up my alley. Whether it be in a TTRPG or a smaller roleplaying game like the ones above, I love bringing a character to life. It is so fun when everyone comes together and adopts a character for the evening. Games like Fiasco are right up my alley for this very purpose.

The aesthetic of a game can further elevate it from good to great. One prominent example of this type of elevation would be the Call of Cthulu roleplaying game set during the Roaring Twenties. Solving occult mysteries while drinking at a speakeasy with the police captain is reminiscent of such a specific period that the aesthetic could not replicate it in any other setting. Looking at the game art can serve as a great way to feel the immersion of whatever environment you find yourself in.  It is another way to understand how the game makers wanted you to feel while playing it. 

fiasco week 1

This week we played fiasco! At first I wasn’t too interested in it but once I watched the videos and read a bit it really got my wheels turning. It is a fast-paced diceless RPG which revolves around snap choices and improv. It seems more complex than it is at first glance but we really hit a stride and found our groove eventually.

Online connection was still a struggle but we got together in 15 minutes instead of 30 this time! Progress! The most difficult part of the game was following the dice guidelines, we really wanted to use some specifics but we were really limited by the dice we rolled which was a little disappointing. I also think we had some organizational issues and that concerns me for our next round of playing.

I think this game has an interesting view on leadership, that being co-leadership and collaboration. The entire game needs you to lean on the other players and to work with them and build the story. This has its predicted troubles and successes like having difficulty with having different motives or ideas but also the success of working together and having different viewpoints.

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.