Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tale of the Tape #2 for 2016

I have continued to work on my three board gaming challenges that I have committed to doing this year. So far, I think I'm well on track to get this done this year. Here is the current Tale of the Tape...

10 x 10 in 2016 Hardcore Challenge

  1. 7 Wonders Duel = 15 Plays - DONE!
  2. Munchkin = 5 Plays - 1/2 Way There
  3. Machi Koro
  4. Pandemic = 1 Play
  5. Power Grid = 3 Plays
  6. Yedo = 1 Play
  7. Zombicide = 6 Plays
  8. Lords of Vegas = 2 Plays
  9. RoboRally = 1 Play
  10. Guillotine
Challenge #2: The 52 Game Challenge

This challenge is designed to get me to play 52 different types of games over 2016. The types are listed below. There are only 50 listed because #32 is a "trilogy". 

  1. A game that take 4+ hours to play - Firefly - Played 01/02/2016
  2. A classic game - The Game of Life - Played 01/08/2016
  3. A game that became a movie - Jumanji
  4. A game published this year (2016) - Dr. Who: Time of the Daleks 
  5. A game with a number in the title - 7 Wonders - Played on 03/08/2016
  6. A game designed by someone under 30 - Bohnanza (Uwe Rosenberg was <30 when he designed this game) 
  7. A game with nonhuman characters - Merchant of Venus (Classic Version) - Played 01/09/2016 I played the EeepEeep
  8. A funny game - Munchkin - Played 01/18/2016
  9. A game by a female designer - Qwirkle (Susan McKinley Ross) - Played 01/08/2016
  10. A game with a mystery or thriller theme - T.I.M.E. Stories (Mystery Theme) - Played on 01/16/2016
  11. A game with a one-word title - Fluxx - Played 01/08/2016 
  12. A game from a "system" - 504 - Played 01/04/2016
  13. A game set in a different country - Yedo (Fuedal Japan) - Played on 01/19/2016
  14. A game based on historical events - Axis & Allies (World War II)
  15. A popular designer's first game - RoboRally (Richard Garfield) - Played on 04/01/2016
  16. A game from a designer you love that you haven't played yet - King of New York (Richard Garfield)
  17. A game a friend recommended - Nefarious - Played 01/05/2016
  18. Spiel des Jahres winning game - Alhambra (2003)
  19. A storytelling game - Gloom - Played on 03/22/2016
  20. A game at the bottom of your to-play list - Forbidden Island - Played on 03/15/2016
  21. A game your Mom loves - Monopoly 
  22. A game with a horror theme - Elder Sign - Played on 01/25/2016
  23. A game more than 100 years old - Chess (1475 A.D./C.E.)
  24. A game based entirely on its cover - Fortune & Glory
  25. A game you hate that you've played at least once before - Poo
  26. A game named after a person - Justinian
  27. A game you can finish in under 15 minutes - Loot Letter (Based on Love Letter)
  28. A game with antonyms in the title - The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin - Played on 01/18/2016
  29. A game set somewhere you've always wanted to visit - Istanbul (Turkey) - Played on 01/19/2016
  30. A game that came out the year you were born - Alexander the Great (1971) 
  31. A game with bad reviews - Phase 10 (Tom Vasel HATES this game)
  32. A game trilogy -
    Pandemic - Played on 02/05/2016
    Pandemic: Contagion - Played 01/08/2016
    Pandemic: Legacy
  33. A game from your childhood - The Wizard of Oz Game (1974)
  34. A game with triangle-shaped components - Zombicide (Noise Tokens) - Played on 02/11/2016
  35. A game set in the future - Outpost - Played on 01/01/2016
  36. A game set in a school - Zombie Dice 3 (School Bus) - Played on 03/11/2016
  37. A game with a color in the title - Red Dragon Inn - Played on 02/09/2016
  38. A game that made you cry/sad - Dead of Winter
  39. A game with magic - T.I.M.E. Stories: A Prophecy of Dragons 
  40. A game illustrated by your favorite artist - Euphoria (Jacqui Davis) - Played on 03/15/2016
  41. A game by a designer you've never played before - Codenames (Vlaada Chvátil
  42. A game you own but have never played - Ogre
  43. A game that takes place in your hometown (or as close as possible) - Hang Town (Placerville, CA) 
  44. A game that was originally published in a different language - Power Grid - Played on 02/13/2016
  45. A game set during Christmas - Holiday Fluxx
  46. A game designed by someone with your same initials - Aye, Dark Overlord! (Chiara Ferlito)
  47. A game with 8+ players - One Night Ultimate Werewolf - Played on 03/11/2016
  48. A game with a controversial theme - Cards Against Humanity
  49. A game based on or turned into a TV show - Battlestar Galactica - Played 01/01/2016
  50. A game you have trouble getting other people to play - Dixit - Played on 03/15/2016
A few clarifications:
  1. The list may be completed in any order
  2. The same game may not be used to satisfy multiple criteria
Challenge #3: 1 x 100 Challenge - 7 Wonders Duel = 15 Plays

A Storytelling Game - Gloom

So, I'm not sure how this happened, but somehow I have started something at work. Once a week I host a Game Day at lunch time. I bring in gateway games that can be played in 30-45 minutes and show my coworkers who show up how to play. On March 23rd I brought in a card game called Gloom.

In this game you have cards for the members of your family. Each member is strange and a bit dark. Each player introduces his or her family by reading off the flavor text on the cards. The object of the game is to lower your family members' self worth to such a point where they die of misery and despair.

This game reminds me of the old TV show, The Addams Family. In that show the Addams Family members were always doing things that were opposite of normal families. They tried to make each other miserable, picked dead flowers, and eating spoiled food. The humor in this show was in that they were opposites to social norms. The same is true for this game.

The cards in this game are made of transparent plastic. Each action card has either positive or negative self-worth points. You play the negative self-worth card on your family. You play positive self-worth card on your opponents family members - thus cheering them up and giving them hope. Occasionally you will draw R.I.P. cards that allow you to kill off any single family member with negative self-worth. You want to be careful that they don't die too soon, because you're trying to rack up negative self-worth points.

The game ends when one person has managed to kill off their entire family. Then each person adds up all the self-worth points of their dead family members. It is possible that the person who finished the game may not be the winner if he or she has killed off family members too quickly instead of building up negative self-worth points.

This game does sound like it is indeed gloomy. It is not. Part of the fun of this game is the story telling aspect. As you play each card on your family, you need to tell the story of what happened to your family members to lower their self-worth. The situations that each player comes up with to explain what happens is the part that causes much hilarity to ensue. The replay-ability of this game comes in playing the different families and by introducing this game to new people with different creative stories during game play.

I really enjoy playing this game. It allows for creativity in the story-telling aspect of the game-play. Some people may freeze up a bit at first as they try to get into the spirit of the game. I have found, however, that if they stick with it, they will get into the flow of the game and ultimately have fun.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A game illustrated by your favorite artist - Euphoria (Jacqui Davis)

I recently got to play (not for the first time) the first game that ever got me to say, "Oh that's beautiful!" Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia is an artistically lovely game. It has an Art Deco art style. The game itself is based upon ideas posed in dystopian literature like:

Before I proceed with a description of this game, it's important to make sure that all of the readers understand the meaning of the term, dystopia:
"A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopian societies appear in many subgenres of fiction and are often used to draw attention to real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, economics, religion, psychology, ethics, science, and/or technology, which if unaddressed could potentially lead to such a dystopia-like condition." (Wikipedia)
Basically you are a workforce leader who has "awakened" and are trying to figure out how to react to the reality before you. Your job is to keep your workforce (dice) dumb and happy. You do this with food and Bliss (drugs). You are presented with opportunities to "invest" in projects. If a project that you invested in is seen to fruition, then you gain certain privileges. If you missed out on an opportunity, there will be areas of the board that you are locked out of until you can buy your way in. 

During the game you are collecting commodities (food, water, power, and Bliss), resources (ore, clay, and gold), and artifacts from history (glasses, boardgames, teddy bears, balloons, etc.) in order to either invest in projects or keep your workforce dumb and happy. You are also confronted with an ethical dilemma that you have to decide how to deal with it. One way to deal with it is to maintain the status quo and thus, earn a victory point (star). Another way to deal with it is to go against the establishment and recruit others to your faction to rebel against the status quo. The winner of the game is the first person to place all ten of their stars on the board. 

I have yet to see the rebel strategy win. The idea of the game, after all, is to build a better dystopia. Therefore taking the more conservative and stringent path will lead to the "best" dystopia. On the one hand, this is a fun game. On the other hand, it forcasts a depressing vision of society if one truly understands the meaning of the term, dystopia. As with the books named above, the game serves as a warning of a possible future.