Category Archives: Games

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 2/10/2022): Mysterium

    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.

Game of the Week Blog Reflection (For Class on 1/27/2022): Ultimate Werewolf

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.

Free Play: Lazers and Feelings

Last week, we had the option of choosing a game to play. The group I joined was playing Lazers and Feelings, a quickstart SciFi RPG all about using your laser or your feelings to solve all of our problems. I decided it would be fun to play the ship’s engineer, an android named distribution android model R-3 class Double L or D.A.R.3.L.L for short. Darell had a 5 in lasers which meant he was an expert in all things technology and logic. Lasers and Feelings only as one stat which determines how you can interact with the world. If you have a high Laser score like D.A.R.3.L.L, then you want to roll a 5 or lower on a d6 for your action to be successful. The opposite goes for Feelings, in which you would want to roll above your chosen number. The hardest e part about playing Lasers and Feelings was remembering that if you rolled your chosen number (5 for D.A.R.3.L.L), you got to ask the Storyteller one question about the situation.

After the unfortunate comatose state of our former captain, the crew picked up on a distress beacon from a derelict ship. We found no life signs aboard and decided to board through an airlock. I powered up the ship to reveal a bloody mess. The crew appeared to have been massacred by an assailant known to them. We decided it would be a good move to secure the armory to gear up against the threat. While looting the armory for everything we could, the assailant hailed us from the bridge. We negotiated a parlay and prepared for the worst. It turned out that an android spy worked its way on board and was trying to turn the ship into a planet killer. Thanks to our new weapons, we quickly turned the machine into scrap and blew up the ship ourselves.

Lasers and Feelings really shine in its light mechanics. Having only a single number determine how good you are in two opposite fields is a really cool way to build roleplay into the mechanics. Since my character was amazing at mechanics, I found it really fun to roll for feelings hoping that I would get a 6. My weird robot brain would understand humanity a little bit better with each successful roll. Quickstart RPGs like this one are great microcosms for leadership. Each of our characters had the opportunity to guide the crew’s choices and how we handled different situations. Our robot doctor would assess corpses, I would take any engineering concerns. Our security officer and explorer would guide us through the ship, and our science officer would keep us all sane. It was a great experience, and I recommend it to everyone.

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! among the stars

Shenanigans among the stars


Reach for the stars

Faster than light travel has been discovered and commodified. Everyday people can get jobs piloting between planets or even upon stars. The stars were always pretty from Earth but who knew they could be even more pretty when you’re rocketing past them. We’ve explored every inch of the galaxy by now. It’s not the most common of jobs but it really gets you away from the life at home and out there. We’ve always had our eyes on the sky and now we’re there. Space is a fresh start for many. Is this your chance to start anew? What all can you find out there beyond the stars? Maybe you can do some good for everyone? After all, what’s there to lose?


1 partners

  1. Lab partners
  2. Captain and second mate
  3. A scientist and their helpful robot assistant
  4. On a honeymoon trip
  5. In crime, in life, in death
  6. For however long that lasts

2 coworkers

  1. Working in the bowels of the ship
  2. Assigned reluctantly
  3. Who bunk together
  4. The two who know the ship best
  5. A scientist and their helpful robot pal
  6. The only 2 who can communicate between 2 groups

3 friends

  1. Since day one of the assignment
  2. Traveling the worlds together
  3. From back in college
  4. At a time that isn’t right now
  5. Who share a secret
  6. For as long as this is mutually beneficial

4 shady

  1. Captain and head smuggler
  2. Dealer and druggie
  3. Blackmailer and blackmailed
  4. Person onboard officially and the person they smuggled in
  5. Mercs hired to oppose the rest
  6. Dealt together in the distant past

5 intrigue

  1. Alien and scientist
  2. Mysteriously ill and doctor 
  3. You recognize each other but you have no memory of meeting
  4. Recently you two agreed to a risky deal
  5. Detective and suspect
  6. You both suspect each other of something nefarious

6 rivals

  1. Vying for the captain’s notice
  2. In scientific discovery
  3. In owning the smuggling world
  4. Captaining the two best ships in the galaxy
  5. Siblings assigned to the same ship
  6. Captains of the two fastest ships in the galaxy


1 scientific discovery

  1. You want something named after you before you die
  2. you need more patents than your sibling
  3. You need to cure this disease
  4. You need to make the first contact
  5. You need to crack this code
  6. You need to invent something great

2 truth

  1. Something here isn’t right
  2. These glyphs mean something
  3. Your father disappeared in this sector years before
  4. Everyone needs to know this before I die
  5. They told me one thing before they disappeared
  6. They died and you need to know why

3 to get out

  1. Of a bad situation with worse people
  2. Of debt 
  3. Of the country with no way to track you
  4. Of this ship and away from these people
  5. And finally make something of myself
  6. Of this part of the galaxy

4 to get money

  1. And live life as stress free as possible
  2. To get your parents off your back
  3. To bail out a buddy
  4. To rid yourself of your past
  5. And start a new life half-way across the galaxy
  6. By any means necessary

5  to gain respect

  1. Of the crew
  2. Across the galaxy
  3. Of another person of science
  4. And accolades for my abilities
  5. From my family by finally doing something good
  6. Of that jerk who dismissed me

6 surviving

  1. This trip to the end
  2. To see someone one last time
  3. Because you promised them
  4. To prove them wrong
  5. To live a better life
  6. In spite of the situation


1 Tech

  1. The trustworthy AI aboard
  2. Bug codes on a zip drive
  3. Malware infecting something
  4. Robotic prosthetic or necessary accessory 
  5. A new invention you want to test out
  6. Your spaceship has just been fixed up

2 Alien

  1. Egg that might have just hatched
  2. Weapon accidentally activated
  3. Glyphs appearing on your arms
  4. Plant that just destroyed the observation room
  5. Baby smuggled aboard
  6. Parasite that just bit someone

3 Useful

  1. Wrench got from the engine room
  2. Fire Axe broken out of its box
  3. A single spacesuit
  4. The last functioning escape pod
  5. A medkit with all the works
  6. 3 days worth of rations

4 Dangerous

  1. item never meant for zero gravity
  2. Illegal weapons the captain doesn’t know about
  3. Deal with the mob that better pan out in the end
  4. Modifications done to a ship
  5. Meteorite headed straight for you
  6. Notification appearing with no sender

5 Secret

  1. Experimental drugs
  2. Smuggled goods ready for the market
  3. The last message from Earth
  4. An extra person
  5. Instructions from the local gang
  6. Part of an alien ruin still untranslated

6 Brings back memories

  1. Picture of a lost lover
  2. A personal journal
  3. Locket that won’t open
  4. Letter from a former friend
  5. A switchblade from dad
  6. A stuffed animal you still can’t sleep without


1 Past the milky way

  1. On a trip to the furthest star
  2. On the galaxy super highway
  3. In an alien blackmarket
  4. In an observation tank
  5. At the biggest space auction house this side of Pluto
  6. On an ordinary mining operation

2 in our galaxy

  1. Exploring Martian ruins
  2. Observing earth
  3. On a mission to Venus
  4. Escaping Earth
  5. Headed straight for the sun
  6. And leaving as fast as possible

3 Onboard a spaceship

  1. Owned by the US government
  2. On its maiden voyage
  3. Doing a cargo run
  4. Not necessarily your spaceship
  5. Hidden with the supplies
  6. Trapped in the medical center

4 in the middle of nowhere

  1. In an asteroid belt
  2. Far from anyone who could help
  3. Caught between two ships
  4. Found by smugglers
  5. Ready for a deal
  6. Hiding from the mob

5 Wrecked

  1. In hostile territory
  2. On an inhospitable planet
  3. And tied up by masked people
  4. Trapped in the ship
  5. On some random comet
  6. With your translator dead

6 lost

  1. On a planet not on your star charts
  2. Way off course
  3. Somewhere that has oxygen at least
  4. On a strange green planet
  5. With enough gas for one jump
  6. On an empty hunk of rock

Honey Heist

Honey Heist is a fun, one-page, one-shot RPG with a great story and a fun atmosphere. The group I played with was willing to step out of their comfort zones and become bears conducting a heist. It’s a great game to embrace the absurdity of its premise with, and to allow cartoon humor to run wild. The hardest part of the game is probably taking yourself seriously and immersing yourself in the absurdity of the role-play scenario, especially if you aren’t a bear, which I assume most players are not.

I think this is a great game for literally everyone. Everyone should play this game, even if they aren’t big on RPGs, it’s a great introduction to the roleplaying element of the game and it does a great job of being an entertaining concept to mess around with. It is probably not a great game for you if you’re a bear, because bears can’t necessarily talk.

This game is great for leadership, afterall, every heist team has different skills that need to be applied in the proper plan. This game allows for the players to work together to find the best plan that will definitely never go wrong, ever…ever. This game is great for teamwork, for improvisation and for a creative outlet.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen was an interesting take on representing identity in games, it allowed the players to step into the role of Victorian caricatures and through two different, but related gameplay loops attempt to outperform the other teams to be the richest guy and the prettiest girl at the ball. Overall, the loop of the ladies side of the game, the side that I was able to play, was fun and if not taken seriously this game has a lighthearted tone with very strong parody elements to its aesthetic and how it treats itself.

The hardest part of the game is trying to not only strategize with your partner,but also to take yourself seriously with such a silly premise and tone. With the limited communication between teammates until the purchasing stage of the game, the “lady” must not only think about what will score the most points but also what is affordable, while the “gentleman” needs to get as much “money” as possible to take advantage of the “lady’s” choices for the sake of scoring more points.

I think this game can work for any group of people that are comfortable with each other, I think part of the fun is playing into the silliness and that definitely works best when people are comfortable with one another. This game ties into leadership because of how it addresses and circumvents the idea of identity by making a mockery of the Victorian stereotypes it uses as its aesthetic.

Dungeons and Dragons

In class, we played Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition for three weeks, it was an interesting experiment in roleplaying and an interesting way to demonstrate leadership. Having played Dungeons and Dragons before, both Fifth Edition as well as spending about 5 or so years toiling away with the Revised Third Edition, I would consider myself fairly experienced with D&D, I always think the hardest part about D&D is the role-playing, especially when the game is played over the internet, whether it be a voice call or a text chat. It is difficult for many players to step back from themselves and into the role of a character that has (likely) never existed before. The mechanics of the game can be taught and learned by anyone, roleplaying on the other hand is more difficult and depends on the person, it will come more naturally to some than it will to others, but it can be learned with practice and time. All of that said, D&D is a fun game, I enjoyed the three short sessions I played in class.

I think D&D is a game for everyone, every player will get something different out of the experience, and with 5th Edition especially, it is a nice introduction to Tabletop RPGs. I think the main drawback to attempting to play D&D in a classroom setting is that the sessions felt a bit rushed, each time a question arose of what to do and where to take the party of characters next, there was a solid minute of staggering silence. While this would not normally be an issue in D&D, the shortened time frame to accomplish the goals of the session made the lack of decisive action a bit frustrating. I had resigned myself to a background role, as I wanted to make sure that other players had a chance to take the spotlight more often, given that I consider myself experienced and I would hope that everyone who was playing for the first time would have a good first experience.

On the other hand, I understand that roleplaying with a group of people you don’t really know can be intimidating and that there is a bit of shyness to the first couple of sessions. I had never attempted the “Lost Mine of Phandelver” module, so I was going in blind, but the game was run well enough by our guest DM and I had fun with my Blue Dragonborn Tempest Cleric, and I figure that’s all that really matters.

Honey Heist RPG

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

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

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