In week 4 of class, we played a Role Playing Game (RPG) called Fiasco. This was an entirely novel experience for me as I’ve never played an RPG before. The goal of the game, after selecting your playset and defining relationships between characters, is strictly to come up with the best possible scenes with your group. I really enjoyed working with my team, especially since none of us knew each other. It added a little element of fun with the whole nothing-to-lose aspect. I would say that the session went well. It was full of a lot of hysterical laughs and smiles.
The most difficult part of the game for me was absolutely acting out scenes. I’ve never done much improv before in terms of performances, but I really had to think hard on my feet to avoid any awkwardness, or worse, being the person who the scene went poorly for. I noticed that I got tense at times when I wanted scenes to either continue rolling or go differently, but my improv skills weren’t up to speed to control the scene.
I really think that my younger brothers would enjoy playing this game. They love to come up with whatever they can, and to act out all the time, so I feel Fiasco may be right up their alley.
A couple weeks ago in class, we played a round of Ultimate Werewolf. This is primarily an asymmetrical hidden role game where each character gets a different team and ability, and the primary objective is either to obfuscate your role and outlast the other team, or find the members of the other team, convince your team they are guilty, and vote them out. The most difficult part of Ultimate Werewolf for me is figuring out who is on which team when I am good. There are not that many information roles, and all the powerful ones will be secretive about their ability, which makes a defined solve very tough to achieve.
The aspects of the game that relate most to leadership include times when you are on the good team and must garner trust among fellow players to prevent yourself from being voted out and vote out those not on your team. When you are on the bad team, you must similarly lead the town, but in the opposite direction, perhaps creating false information that will lead others to your point of view, and into your following. The best ways to do this in both cases will usually be to find sentiments that others are agreeing with that fit your desired world, and agree with these sentiments, taking apparent agency away from yourself and giving it to another, while still controlling the game state.
I think some of my friends from high school would like this style of game; I might introduce them to something similar when I go home for Thanksgiving. During the play session we had, I was the bodyguard, and successfully protected my cupid pair on a night I thought he was likely to be killed. My team did not win the game as we were not able to figure out who all was on the other team. I liked this play session and thought it went well, though whenever I play werewolf I wish there was more information available to solve through. Many risks are taken in Werewolf in when and who you share information with, but I did not take those risks in this particular session. When I am in a leadership position I usually take a more active role than I did in this game, as I didn’t know the people I was playing with too well and did not want to be too aggressive in my playstyle.
In our first week of class, we played a turn-based game called Ultimate Werewolf, where two teams were pitted against each other, the villagers, and you guessed it, the werewolves. Each “night,” the werewolves had a chance to get together and choose a villager to kill. Most times, this would work out, unless there was a specific villager who got to save that specific person. The game was interesting to me, as we got to talk amongst the entire group between night phases to try and figure out who was who.
This brought out the hardest part of the game to me, understanding how much information I could or should give out without identifying my own self. I felt that this directly ties into leadership, at least in examples I’ve seen in my own experience. Sometimes, you will possess information that could be of value to a larger group of people, but it may bring you more personal harm than good to share that information. These are conflicts that we will have to face on a recurring basis throughout the entirety of our careers.
I found myself less-than-likely to take risks in Ultimate Werewolf, I believe mainly out of fear of being “killed,” which is very much not like my genuine approach to leadership. If I believe in something, it is often shared or acted upon without fear of retribution from others.
I can very much see my family at home enjoying this game with some of my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. With a level of familiarity within the group, I really think we would enjoy playing together.
On April 20th our class had a choice to either dive deeper into the adventures of T.I.M.E Stories or to participate in free play. Although my group and I encountered many struggles during our first session the week before, we chose to challenge ourselves and continue playing T.I.M.E Stories. The scenario we played was the Asylum, and at the beginning of the round we had the opportunity to choose which character we would be playing with. None of us were able to see each character’s conditions and characteristics before choosing them, but after failing our mission once we were able to choose a different character to play with if we weren’t satisfied with our current conditions. The characters we used for the second round were: Madeleine – Anxiety attacks (me), Marie – Erotomania, Edith – Cannibalism, and Felix – Paranoia. I found this to be a very good combination of characters, especially during combat. During this game our party explored multiple rooms and fought some monsters while trying to find hints and leads on how to complete our mission. During the second round we only visited the rooms where we knew there would be items and passages that we needed to get in order to access other areas. Since we took a lot of notes on the previous round, this was not an issue.
The hardest part about playing this game was to use all the information we gathered to solve the pentacles puzzle. Even though we took notes on what we deemed important, our group had a hard time figuring out what was missing. This might have happened because while we took notes on a lot of things, we failed to notice the smaller details that ended up being the key to solving the puzzle. This was definitely the longest and most complex game that we have played so far, however it was also the most fun and challenging. Being able to explore on our own accord and slowly putting the pieces of the story together was great. We had a good dynamic and we had fun trying to take different paths than the ones we had used before.
This game ties into leadership in ways that the other games we played didn’t as much. Because there are many different mechanics and rules in T.I.M.E stories, we needed everyone to be attentive and for communication to be clear and effective. Because of that, each of us took on a leadership role and made sure that the aspect of the game that we were focusing on was taken care of. Note taking, collecting items, choosing the best paths for our group, strategizing which characters would be better together were some of the aspects that were divided between us, and this helped us work together as a well organized team. After playing this game I believe that my family would enjoy playing together because it takes a while and it is very engaging. I think that it could definitely become a regular part of game nights since there are many different scenarios.
Last week (March 30th, 2023) our class traveled back in time to the Victorian era with the game Ladies and Gentlemen. There were two roles from which we could pick from – along with an extra role that was only used due to our uneven number of players. The first role was the Gentleman: By playing this role you commit to going to work everyday and making money by fulfilling contracts and selling items. The gentlemen should make as much money as they can to then satisfy their ladies’ wishes at the end of the day. The next role is the Lady: By playing this role you are given a number of shopping choices throughout the day. Your objective is to strategically find the best items and choose the dress and accessories that will make you look the best at the ball (at the end of the game – after six rounds). Once your choices have been made you are to showcase them to your husband (with little to no communication) in the hopes that he will use the money he earned to gift them to you. The extra role is the Courtesan: By playing this role you are a Lady who does not have a husband. Your objective is the same as the other ladies, but you must ask any of the gentlemen for gifts. If you are the best dressed of the ball, the gentleman that gave you the most elegance points (included in the item cards) wins with you. If you are the worst dressed, the gentleman that gave you the least amount of elegance points and his lady lose the game with you.
The hardest part about playing this game (especially as one of the ladies) was the restriction of communication between partners. Even though the Ladies and the Gentlemen had to work together to win, it was not possible to share our individual strategies, and it seemed like we were playing two completely different games at the same time. In my case, I was looking to buy cheaper items, but to gain elegance points through my servant cards – since I didn’t want to miss the chance of getting items in case my gentleman wasn’t making enough money. Meanwhile, my gentleman was trying to accumulate as much money as he could to spend on the very last round, which I did not know about. Although it was a complex game to play, it was really interesting and fun to figure out. The satirical reference to the Victorian era was clever and done in a way that exposed many gender roles and expectations that have shaped our society. This game can definitely teach some lessons about gender disparity and gender roles, which are important topics to be aware of, especially when it comes to leadership. A good leader can be inclusive and empathetic, and putting yourself in a position that you are normally not in can help you understand someone’s context better. Being able to look at things from different perspectives and adapt accordingly can go a long way.
In my opinion, I believe that my classmates from WGS courses would enjoy playing this game and discussing its context afterwards. This game can be a good conversation starter about gender roles then and now, and about gender inequality.
T.I.M.E. Stories is reminiscent of an escape room/choose your own adventure game. It is a collaborative game that practically requires you to take notes. One notable thing about the game is how the artwork contributes to the story. One downside to the game is the difficulty in understanding the game before you play. There is a large learning curve right at the beginning while you are trying to set up and learn how to start. However, once you figure the setup out, it really flows smoothly from there on out.
I think the initial setup and how to start playing was the most difficult part of the game for me. Although, another challenging point was deciding where to travel as a group because we would all have to go to the same room all together. I have enjoyed playing collaborative games like Pandemic, Forbidden Desert, and a variety of escape room games with my family. I believe this makes me really appreciate the collaborative aspects of T.I.M.E. Stories.
My group failed because of running out of time units. After this failure, I decided to play a different role. I had initially been the girl with anxiety which had forced me to always go with a partner to different parts of the rooms we were exploring. When I switched roles, I became the bitter old lady with not a lot of heart but some resilience. I did not have many opportunities to compare the roles, but after the first class time spent playing this game, I think I prefer the girl with anxiety.
I think a lot of the leadership aspects that this game highlights were ones we discussed following the week we played Pandemic or Forbidden Island. This game required collaboration as well as an ability to be accountable as an individual in order to make the collaborative game easier overall.
I am looking forward to playing this game during our second week of designated class time. I also believe that my family would really enjoy playing this game together, so I look forward to introducing them to this game at some point. If you like collaborative games or escape rooms, I would highly recommend trying T.I.M.E. Stories at some point.
Two Rooms and a Boom is an engaging and entertaining party game. This game has similarities to Werewolf which we played at the beginning of the semester. It requires a lot more involvement as characters are moving between rooms and have a limited amount of time to complete the objective in an attempt to win the game. Different roles in this game included the President and the Bomber, Red spy and Blue spy, Romeo and Juliet, clown and mime, and many more. I would say my favorite role was a spy or the mime because it allowed me to be really observant of other people’s roles. I think I would have done well in the gambler role because of my observation and logic skills. I think these roles are also some of the more difficult roles in the game.
This game exemplifies a variety of ways someone can be a leader. Even though I never held the leader card, I was able to share insight and perspective that also influenced the game. In this way, I felt like I was truly able to lead by example. I also felt like the more outspoken roles and the quieter roles showed the importance of being able to listen to comrades and be a voice for your group.
The hardest part of the game was when there were roles introduced that would force you to switch roles with another player. This was difficult because it made players even warier in sharing their roles with other players which seemed to be a key component of how the game is played. I never ended up switching roles with another player but I also tried to follow cards as they switched so I knew who had what cards.
Another difficult aspect of the game was being unable to see what was happening in the other room. Although, I think this added more to the game and makes it more interesting overall. This aspect of being in two rooms required you to really think about what you were seeing and try to keep track of cards that were entering the other room during the ‘hostage’ exchanges.
I am going to recommend this game to my older brothers because I know they like the game Werewolf. I may also introduce this game to my many cousins who have really enjoyed playing Werewolf in the past. I think this game will be better for some of these younger cousins because they are able to interact more with other people and they have a higher chance of winning on their own. This game is also good because my cousins won’t get upset as easily as they are in the game the whole time rather than having the possibility of being voted out.
This game has been a very good experience for me. I would like to consider how to make this game even more accessible so more people are able to play. Maybe dividing a single room in such a way that there is less walking required. I also wish this game was still being made, but it is available as a print and play which I look forward to using.
We played Ladies and Gentlemen in class and discussed the idea of gendered roles in gaming. In this game, you can play as a Lady who shops for items to wear to the ball in order to try to win the game. The gentlemen try to fill contracts to get money and other bonuses in order to purchase the items that the lady presents. There was no communication between the two different roles to see how the game was progressing. This was probably the most difficult part. I also felt like there was no way to judge how well you were actually doing in the game.
I played the gentleman role which was interesting because you had to rush to grab resources in a hurry so that you could fulfill contracts. I found that it was important to look at what kinds of resources were necessary to fulfill the contracts before starting the day. I think I would do better playing this game in the future because I would have a better understanding of how the day worked. I bought all but one item for my lady which was good. I think it would be interesting to play from the other side of the table to experience the decision-making of the lady’s role.
My lady and I ended up coming in second in our game. I thought we did really well for being my first time playing. The pair that won was a little more conniving and sneaky so it made the game a little more intense. I really liked how we were randomly paired up with our partners. I met some new people in the class this way. I would like to take this game and play it with my family. However, we have an odd number of individuals so the game would be slightly different as we would play with the individual who tries to get all of the other gentlemen to buy her clothes.
I noticed some individuals really got into their roles and character personas. I noticed that I struggle with this. I tend to be able to imagine the role and put myself in the situation, but I cannot always act out the role well. It was cool to see people who have more experience with role-playing games, really fulfill their character’s role. I think this would be a good game for people to be introduced to role-playing and I know I have cousins who would enjoy the opportunity to act out their characters.
Fiasco Week Two was exciting. I felt like the whole group was more comfortable with the idea of a role-playing game. We discussed the concepts of role-playing versus roll-playing. I thought this brought up some very intriguing points for us to discuss as a class. I saw a little bit of both concepts within our group during the first week whereas this week we leaned more on the role-playing side of things.
Our act two ended up really interesting, each turn took a new turn because of the twist that added a lot of interest. It was unexpected and the outcome was completely opposite of what I thought it would be based purely on the week before. One person from our group ended up having their character killed off. There was honestly a lot more plot and story within Act Two than we dared to add during act one of the first week.
We also discussed the video about living every day like it was day one. This felt reminiscent of how orientation was this summer for me. I was an orientation leader and we had 18 sessions this summer. One thing we really focused on was bringing ourselves into the role as if it was day one. It may not have been our first day but it was someone’s first day and first impression on campus.
I thought about the concepts of gratitude and positivity as well. This really relates to attitude and outlook on life. Personally, I believe these are all really big concepts to grasp but can truly change your life if you think about them and live with them every day. We brought this into how role-playing games give you an option to approach situations with a sense of a new day atmosphere. We talked about how role-playing games give people time and space for understanding different situations. I felt like this topic of new-day attitude was honestly really important yet not talked about frequently in other contexts of my everyday life. Therefore, I am grateful we took the time to discuss this topic as well as how it related to the choices we make during role-playing games.
The second part of Fiasco changes the game completely, and for the better. The design of the game was created with the intent of creating scenarios for the participants to react to and add to their playthrough. Last week we started our stories as a group and acted out scenes to incorporate into our unique rehearsal. Instead of repeating that, this week was all about performing the “Tilt”. The Tilt is when the players use their dice, just like in the beginning, to select new components for the story. Following that is Act Two, which is the same steps and turns as Act One but you incorporate your twists and new components. Once that was finished you move on to the last and final step which is the Aftermath. This is where each player counts their dice to determine if the character they played had a good or bad ending one at a time.
The hardest part this week was determining how these new twists and alterations would be added to our story. It was confusing already on how to continue our production with the “script” we’ve followed so far. Adding more elements that drastically change it made it difficult and not easily coordinated to keep the narrative on the right path without getting overly ridiculous. However, the play session overall went very smoothly. Since I’m not the only one twisting the story, my group members had pretty creative ways of having fun with it. That means that friends specifically would be the best people to play this with considering there isn’t usually any filter that allows for more diverse gameplay. I liked having multiple people being able to alter our playthrough how they wanted because building off their thoughts and ideas is what makes this game enjoyable. That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of how the aftermath was designed. I personally feel the dice count determining the outcome of your character was lazy and rushed. Honestly, I don’t know how I would fix it nor do I have a better option I just didn’t like that mechanic and felt that they could have improved on it a little bit more.
Again, overall the session went very well and I enjoyed being taken down the path of our group’s ending and conclusion. The way this part of the game ties with leadership is about the same way as the first part. That is, being the leader in controlling the flow of the story and producing ideas for your group members to build off of. However, this week had a slight tilt, dealing with the tilt itself and how to mitigate your decisions based on what else you needed to incorporate could also be part of it. Being a leader means expecting the unexpected and solving problems like that without letting the setbacks get in the way of the flow. Fiasco strengthens this side of being a leader and assists in the overall connection between the game and the players.