Ladies and Gentleman!

Last week we played a game that I was really looking forward to for this semester that was Ladies and Gentleman. At first glance, this game might seem like its based in sexism, but when one further understands gameplay, its easy to see the satirical nature. The game is based in a victorian era, where the normal stereotypes are being portrayed. That of a working husband who has the single goal of gaining money in order to pay for his wife’s shopping habits. The wife’s goal is to pick out items at boutiques that her husband will pay for. The gameplay ends up being very fun because interaction can only come between a husband and wife if they are talking as if they were in the victorian era. For the essential gameplay there teams of 2 people (gentleman and lady) and there are 3 phases per turn, the morning, afternoon, and night, which I’ll discuss only briefly so this part doesn’t go on forever. To first discuss the gentleman’s phases, the morning starts at the stock market, which are tiles flipped over. One gentleman says go and then with one hand, players begin to flip over tiles that reveal whatever resource they are. These resources all have a monetary sale value or you can accumulate resources to buy contracts. There are also numbered tokens of the same number of players to choose the order in which gentleman purchase contracts in the afternoon phase. So a player may take up to 3 resource tokens and 1 number token, but as soon as they take a number token, they can no longer take resource tokens. In the afternoon phase, gentleman can either sell resources or use them to buy contracts to gain money. And finally the night phase is where the gentleman can buy clothing for their wives. Now I’ll go over the lady’s rolls. In the morning phase, the woman picks an artisan card that allows her to put a certain number of clothing, accessories, jewelry, or servants in her store (there is 1 store per player). She then chooses 1 item to put in the storefront window to give people an idea of what they can buy there. Then the afternoon phase comes, and each lady reveals in which store she would like to shop in. Ladies then pick up the items from the store they want to shop in and pick out what they would like. The night phase comes and the ladies hand these items to the gentleman who can choose to purchase the items or not. The ultimate goal of each team is to maximize the amount of elegance points based on items the team purchases for the lady. There are 6 days (turns) until the ball, so the lady must get the essential items to look beautiful at the ball! There are many more intricacies the the gameplay that I won’t explain, but for that you can buy the game and play yourself!

During this game, I played the role of the gentleman, which was remarkably simple. All I had to do was turn over tiles. The ladies had to strategize what to put in their store, where to shop, what items they’d need and when, etc. So this is part of the satire, because the very macho stock market is portrayed as flipping tiles over and ladies shopping is very complex and strategic. The part I found most difficult to balance was choosing the resources I wanted while also trying to find the first number token. Being first has a lot of advantages because if you complete a contract first you end up getting a bonus. So there were a few times where I got too greedy looking for specific resources and I ended up getting the third token and not gaining as much money as I could have.

As far as leadership goes, I think its important to understand that information cannot be directly conveyed in this game. A gentleman cannot say directly, ”I have $500,” because then that would change how the lady played. A gentleman can only say, “Money is a bit tight right now,” or, “I had a bad day at the market.” So I think a key leadership skill in this game is effective communication. Obviously many people can communicate, but this is about being helpful with your communication. A gentleman needs to be creative with what they say in order to help their teammate. That’s the biggest thing I saw in this game, and I think I struggled with it a little bit, but would be better for the next game.

I think that I’d really like to play this game with Pete and my close friends in general next time. There is an aspect of this game called rumor cards in which a player needs to insult their opponent and hand them a rumor card. This is an optional aspect of the game that is best played with people who are close and comfortable with each other. I think that adding this aspect into gameplay would make the victorian era roleplaying a lot easier and more enjoyable! I think Pete would agree with me on all of this too.

Attending REcon

L. Gray

I attended REcon in Armstrong student center at Miami University on February 24th. The League of Geeks on campus sponsored this event. The convention lasted the whole weekend and featured many exciting events. There was a live show by Dice Tower, panels, an escape room, trivia, prizes, crafts, and even more. As a student, it was nice to see people of all ages in Armstrong enjoying the event. REcon was a great mix of special events at certain times along with events that took place throughout the whole weekend. The day we went there were Medieval combat demonstrations and weaving. I was excited to see countless individuals at this event who were so passionate about gaming. They took over Armstrong and made it a true celebration of different kinds of geek culture.

I was very interested in the board game free play that was going on all weekend in the new pavilion. In class, we play numerous games I have never played before, so I wanted to be exposed to the unique types of board games that would be at this event. When looking at the different papers I could write, I also noticed there were several classifications of board games I did not recognize. Deck-building games were one type of game I had not seen before. I learned that a deck-building game is a card game that focuses on the construction of the deck you have in the game. Each player has their own deck and usually the cards are worth some sort of currency. At Recon, we played two different types of deck-builder games.

The first one we played was one of the play-to-win games at REcon called Clank! This game had a traditional board space along with the deck building part of the game. The objective of the game is to sneak into the dragon’s lair and gather artifacts worth victory points without making noise. Each Clank! adds your colored cube to the dragon’s bag. When the dragon attacks, a certain number of cubes are pulled from the bag and placed on you health tracker. So, the more of your colored blocks you have in the bag, the greater chance you have of losing health. As a player travels along, they also use their deck to gather more cards that will help them with their journey. At the end, all cards and loot are counted up for victory points, and the greatest amount wins. I enjoyed this game because it was a good introduction to a deck-builder game. I was able to adapt to this style of play because there was still aspects of the more traditional board games that I have played before REcon.

The next game we played was also a deck-builder game. We were able beat the crowds after the Dice Tower show got out in order to play DC Comics deck-building game. This game was different than Clank! because there were only cards and no actual board in this game. The objective was the same, however, to gain cards worth the most amount of power points. Each player started out as a DC superhero, and each superhero had a different objective that would aid his or her journey in this game. For example, I chose Wonder Woman, so I was able to play an extra card for each round I acquired a villain into my deck of cards. There were extensive expansion packs that went along with this game, however, being new to this game we decided to just play with the original deck. The card combinations that could be created added to the strategy and objectives of the game. The DC game was different from Clank! because of the different card combinations that began to compound on one another as we built our decks. Each turn began to take longer and become more interesting and complex. Super villains were also another component of this game. Super villains could be purchased, but also upon first appearance in the deck they could really switch up the game. For example, one super villain allowed each player to only keep one card in their hand and then required each player to pass their deck to the next person and allowed them to choose a card they wanted. This process was repeated until all the hands drawn during that turn were changed. The game ends when all the super villains are purchased. There are other ways to win, but they rarely occur. After the last turn, all the cards are counted up, and the player with the most power points wins.

I did not win either game that I played at REcon, but this was not my primary objective. Like we talked about in class, everyone has a different goal when playing these games. My goal was to learn more about the different style of play that comes with playing deck-builder games. I think that after being exposed to these unique games, I am better prepared for class and the new games I will play in the upcoming weeks. I learned more about how each turn I took built off another one, and that a decision I made at the beginning of the game could affect my style of play later in the game. Even though these games fostered competition against the other players, I wanted to simply improve my own deck and not try to sabotage other players’ decks. I also wanted to learn more about board games because I quickly realized how much I did not know after attending REcon. When we were playing Clank!, another attendee approached us and cheerfully asked if we have played the other editions of this game. I was unaware that other editions existed and was just beginning to learn how to play this type of game. There were also multiple games on the tables in Armstrong that I had never seen before REcon. I am looking forward to seeing if we play some of these games in class, and I am excited to learn more about the different strategies that are used to be successful in these different types of games. I am thankful to be a part of a class that values each person’s different objective when playing board games. I was also glad to attend REcon where there were many gracious people who were happy to help answer questions that new board game players like me had about the games.

My Recon Experience

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend and participate in an even at Miami University called Recon that was hosted by the League of Geeks. It was a weekend event that was absolutely full of any geeky event you could imagine! My specific interest in this event was in board games. I’ve been taking a class in called Tabletop Leadership in which each class we get to play a game and then we are asked to reflect on those games and how we see leadership through that game. It’s a really fun class, and I’ve recently been introduced to a lot of more elaborate and unique board games than the traditional Monopoly or Life. This event presented an opportunity to learn a lot of games, and that’s what I really wanted to do.

Going into the event I wasn’t sure what to expect, because there are countless game designers with imaginations much broader than mine. Most of the games I had played were either card games, board games, or hidden identity games. I was hoping to learn more about some different kinds of games. One of my best friends had recommended deck builder games, so we started out playing Clank, which is partially a deck builder and partially a board game. The essential idea is that your character is trying to go through the all of the paths to try and recover artifacts that were worth certain victory points. Movement was determined by the cards you had. And the ultimate goal was to end up with the most victory points and get out of the castle alive before the dragon killed your character. Starting off this game, I had no idea what my strategy should be. Never having played a deck building game, I just started collecting cards that got me the most movement. After a few turns and seeing how some cards worked together in order to form victory points I started to understand a better strategy. I tried collecting enough movement cards along with fighting cards so that I could travel as freely through the map as possible. This game was really enjoyable and it made me really interested in deck-building games.

We next were able to play the DC deck-building game. Having to go over this game ourselves, we chose to play the most basic version of the game even though every expansion was available. Having just played a deck-building game, I was on the lookout for a strategy right away. Luckily you’re given hero cards that have certain abilities that help form your strategy. I had Batman, who had a plus 1 power for each equipment card I played during a turn, so I focused on buying equipment cards. This proved to be very beneficial as I was able to fight the super villains in the game faster than my opponents were. I think one of the most enjoyable parts of these kinds of games for me is seeing the creativity of the game designers. These people are very talented in many different levels. I believe that a big issue for games that have roles is making sure that all of the cards are relatively balanced. You wouldn’t want one hero who had an ability that made them impossible to beat in the game, because that wouldn’t be enjoyable. After playing both of these games, deck-building games are probably my absolute favorite.

The next game I was able to play was Carcassonne, which was very different from the deck builders. For each turn, a player flips over a tile, which they place on the table and attach it to the other tiles available. The tiles can have different things like roads, city, and a few other things. A player must place a tile so that roads connect to roads and so that cities connect. Each person starts out with meeples that they can use to claim tiles they place. So you can claim a kingdom, a road, a piece of land (a farm), and a few other things. Each of these will be worth points that you keep track of throughout the game. The game finally ends when all of the tiles are gone. Again I was hoping to find a strategy with this game, but it wasn’t super easy. At one point I was building a big city, but my opponent was able to lay claim to it and he ended up having more meeples than I did, so he was awarded all the points for my work. I figured that out and was able to steal a city from him later, but there’s a lot more strategy to this game than I originally thought.

Of all of the games I played, I really enjoyed the deck building games the most. And while they were both deck builders, the games had a lot of different aspects. I think for me it was very beneficial that Clank is a deck-building game and a board game, because that helped me get a feel for what deck-builders are like without being thrown into it right away. Also with Clank, the cards are helpful with how you move and how far you can move, but they are not the ultimate purpose in the game. It was important to strategize a path on the board that you would take in order to get as many artifacts as possible, while also building a deck that could get you where you wanted to go. With DC deck-builder, the game was completely focused on making your deck as strong as possible so that you could continually buy better cards and defeat super villains to gain victory points. It was also beneficial to me that the roles were a part of DC deck builder because it allowed me as a brand new player to strategize without knowing the ins and outs of the game. The other thing that was different was that in Clank, the draw of your hand could end up being the absolute death of your character. If by some bad luck you didn’t draw any movement or fight cards when you needed to get out of the castle, you were just completely out of luck. With DC deck builder, drawing a bad hand was very annoying, but you were going to live to the next round, and be alright. The games were similar in that while you were competing against other players, you were not always directly trying to hurt or stop your opponents. There were some cards and abilities in each game that allowed for you to hinder the people you were playing with, but that wasn’t always a key strategy when trying to win.

This event has really peaked my interest in board games, and my roommate has already purchased Terraforming Mars because that was a game we really enjoyed trying out at the event. I’m also considering purchasing a few games, because I really enjoyed them. For me one of my favorite things is to watch a person who is totally in their own personal element. Whether that element is a board game, sports field, or stage, you can see that person light up and shine while they do what they love. On top of that, talking with someone about their passion is always fun for me. Everyone has something in their life that they love and it’s easy to tell when they talk about it. Seeing their eyes light up and hearing the excitement in their voice is always amazing. I definitely experienced that a lot at Recon, and that made my experience even more enjoyable.

Two Rooms and a Boom

Last week we played two rooms and a boom. This game has essentially 3 teams that are the blue, red, and gray teams. Players are given a role card and then divided into two groups randomly. Ideally these two groups are in two separate rooms so that they cannot listen or hear each other. There are certain roles for each team, the president is part of the blue team and the bomber is part of the red team. There are more roles for each team but I won’t focus on that now. Each room elects a leader and then the game starts on the first round, which was 5 minutes. Players have the option to share the color of their card with other players or they can share their whole card with other players. So players can share or not with other people, but at the end of the round the president must elect hostages to switch rooms. This occurs and then the second round begins. We played with 19 people and with 5 rounds. As the rounds go on, they are shorter, and fewer hostages are exchanged. The goal of the game for the blue team is to make sure the president is in a different room from the bomber. If this occurs blue team wins. The goal of the game for the red team is to make sure the bomber is in the same room as the president at the end of the game. If this occurs, red team wins. The 3rd team is the gray team. There are a few roles on this team such as the gambler. Before identities are revealed at the end of the game, the gambler picks which team he/she thinks will win. If they’re right, they win, if they’re wrong they lose. The most basic version of the game is played with generic blue/red team cards, but we played with actual roles that were on each team. I’ll explain a few now. So each team had a spy, the spy’s card was the same color as the opposite team, but said spy on it. So during a color share, a person of the red team will think the blue spy is on their team. We also played with the angel, and if the angel chose to speak, they had to tell the truth. The most important role towards the end of the game was the ambassador. The ambassador could walk freely between rooms, but everyone knew which team they were on. It was really nice to have them there so that information could be exchanged easily.

For me the hardest part of the game was remembering exactly who everyone was. It’s important to note that players are not allowed to switch cards, but it was still difficult, because there were 18 other players. Originally I struggled finding a strategy for how I wanted to play. The first round I color shared with everyone, and if someone was the same color as me, we’d full card share and that was it. From there I did my best to influence the leaders in a way that best suited my interests. I really enjoyed this game once I got the strategy down.

Leadership qualities in games like this are a little more difficult, because part of being a leader in a competitive game such as this is to be deceitful and dishonest. It was in your benefit as the spy of one team to show your card to other players so that they thought you were on their team. I think the best leadership quality I found was the ability to pull oneself away from the crazy discussions and situations to actually think through a strategy with either a group or on your own. I found many of the other leaders doing this so that they weren’t making rash decisions. I think a strong leader is someone who is able to take a lot of information in and then best choose the course of action that will benefit their side.

I think my friend Derek would be good at this game. Whenever I’ve played hidden role games with him (which this kind of is) he was very good at being deceitful, but also in going through all of the information to make informed decisions. I would really like to play this game with him sometime.


This past week I played Mysterium in class. In this game, each person is assigned a role. There will be 1 ghost and the rest of the players are trying to uncover messages from the ghost. The ghost is trying to reveal information about their murder (the murder, the location, and the murder weapon). However, the ghost cannot remember the exact details of their murder, so they reveal a different scenario to each player. Behind a closed wall the ghost randomly chooses a person, location, and weapon for each player. The ghost uses dream cards, which are images in order to get the players to first guess the person they were given, then the location, and then the weapon. During each turn the ghost gives each player a dream card and the player has to make a guess. The first turn a player has to guess who their person is. If they guess correctly, the player will guess on the location on the next turn. If they guess that correctly, they’ll guess the weapon on their next turn. Each turn the ghost will reveal if the player has guessed correctly. Eventually once everyone has guessed their person, location, and weapon correctly, the ghost will reveal 3 cards trying to explain the scenario of their murder. One of the combinations of murderer, location, and weapon is correct, and the 3 final cards are used to try and reveal which of those combinations is correct. Each player votes individually, and if the majority of players vote correctly, everyone wins.

This game is relatively straightforward in the goal, so that part of the game is easy. The most difficult part for me and I’m assuming most people is interpreting the dream cards effectively. Usually the dream cards are very complex and have a lot going on in them. This makes it difficult to pick out exactly what the ghost is trying to hint at with each card. Sometimes the ghost could be using the card because of color scheme or the ghost could use the card for a specific aspect of the picture. This ambiguity makes the game a little more difficult.

For leadership, this game can be helped by someone trying to facilitate discussions during each round. When interpreting the meaning of dream cards each round, it helps once everyone receives a dream. Once everyone has a dream you can use a process of elimination to make better decisions. For my group there was not a single person trying to facilitate it was definitely more closely related to group leadership. But I think having that facilitation and trying to work together is really important when leading, because its important to make sure that all ideas are heard and understood. This allows for more diverse ideas so that every possibility is considered.

I really think my dad would like playing this game. He would be a good ghost, because he would be good at determining which dream card would help lead a certain player to choose what person, location, or weapon they were. He’s a good critical thinker, so I think he would thrive in the ghost role.

Two Night Ultimate ReCon

Friday, and Sunday, I attended ReCon, thrown by the League of Geeks. On the two days, I participated in two very different events: an open-smash session, and a board game session.

On Friday, a friend and I visited the Smash 4v4 tournament in Armstrong Pavilion. We arrived, and saw many TV’s and monitors set up to various consoles throughout the large room. On one side of the room were several different fighting games. The other side and middle of the room was filled with Wii U’s running Smash 4 and some game cubes running Melee.

We quickly gravitated over to an active 4v4 match underway, observing the hectic mess of heavy attacks and seeing what hit. Seeing some of the participants, my friend and I felt emboldened to ask a friend and organizer if we could join the tournament. They told us no, so we hung around, and eventually sat down to play a friendly game of Melee, since only Game Cubes were open. We asked if there were any extra controllers, and plugged in for a match. A friendly stranger joined us as we played a few round.

After a little bit, we got up, tired of Melee. We soon found a Smash 4 station was open, and sat down to play again. The stranger followed us to the new space, and we played another few rounds before my friend and I had to leave. I personally have some weird baggage with Smash 4, so even though I wanted to play, I left in a weird mood. We left ReCon for the night after that second session.

On Sunday, I received a text from friends that they were intending to go play board games at ReCon, so I got ready and joined them. I asked an officer and friend in Armstrong where my friends playing board games might be, and was told to look for board games in the East Wing. My friends were already in the middle of a game of Carcassonne when I arrived (one of my favorite games), so it was very nice to see them have fun with a game I enjoy.

While they were finishing a game, I looked over the pile of games on the nearby table and found one that I’d like to play: Terraforming Mars. I dove into the rulebook, and was very excited by what I saw. When they wrapped their game of Carcassonne, I began to set up for Terraforming Mars. As I was doing so, JS came up to us and said he’d teach us how to play, and that the rulebook was not very good at doing this, so that was very lucky. It was around 2:30, and he told us it would take 2.5 hours for us to finish.

We played for about an hour before an officer came around to tell us to wrap up playing, since they intended to give the game away. After light protests (what if we win? What if they aren’t here?) we had to stop playing and clean up. That was very frustrating, as we had all been enjoying the game. When they finally named the winners, someone else who wasn’t present won the game.

With a little less wind in our sails, three of us selected another game to play, with a fourth joining us: Codenames. I had previously played the game before with a large group, but wanted to try the game with a smaller one. We played a few rounds, with the final one ending rather climatically. I was a spymaster, and my partner had 4 cards to go, compared to our opponents 1. Knowing they would win the next turn, I knew I had to give a clue about 3 different cards (my partner was likely to guess the fourth from a previous round). The 3 cards were dwarf, degree, and pistol. After much thought, I gave the clue “fires 3,” and my partner, remarkably, was able to get all of them, securing an unexpected victory.

Looking back, I enjoyed being a spectator to the hype and excitement of Friday’s Smash 4v4s, vs spending quality time with friends on Sunday. Smash (and most esports) aren’t quite for me, but I do enjoy the community building power they hold. On the other hand, I do enjoy participating in certain board games, particularly those that employ map-building, asymmetric strategy, and gamestate economies. While dismayed that our play session was cut off early (and further dismayed none of us won the game), I met a game that I liked and want to play again.

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

This past week we played Betrayal at the House on the Hill. In this game, each player chooses a character with specific abilities, two mental and two physical. These abilities have a numbered rating which allows players to move around as well as take other actions throughout the game. The goal is for the players to explore the house, which is created by placing a new tile once a player enters a doorway that doesn’t have an adjoining room. There are 3 floors as well, so you can expand the upstairs, main floor, and basement. This setup allows each and every game to develop a house of a different style. During a turn a player moves as many spaces as their speed rating allows and they can add new rooms. If a player enters a room with either an omen, item, or event card, they must end their turn there. If an omen card is pulled, that player must attempt what is called a “haunt roll” at the end of the turn.  The game continues this way, developing a house, until a haunt roll results in the sum of the dice rolled being less than the amount of omen cards that have been drawn. At that point the game changes, and 1 of 50 different scenarios occurs, with a typical theme of one player turning into a traitor and trying to defeat the other players who are now called heroes. However, there are different situations, and they all have rules for each player (the traitor and/or the heroes).

So this game is semi-cooperative in the fact that at the beginning everyone is on the same team and trying to discover the layout of the same house. The part that has always been most difficult for me about this game is that it’s hard to pick a good strategy. This is because no one knows which of the 50 situations will occur. In some situations it might be beneficial to be by yourself, in others it might be beneficial to be near others, or it might even be helpful to be in a specific room of the house. In the haunt my group played out, no one was the traitor, but our house was picked up by a giant bird, and the only way out was by parachute. Of course there were only 3 parachutes for the 6 heroes left, so it was every person for themselves. Unfortunately for me, I began the haunt, and in the next 3 turns all 3 parachutes had been picked up and 2 of the 3 had been used. There was only 1 parachute left, and I was much too far away in the house to do anything about it. The game ended quickly and only 2 of the 3 parachuters survived. I really struggled with the uncertainty of the situations.

Within this game, being a leader can be difficult since it is semi cooperative. For the most part it is in everyone’s best interest to work together and discover as much of the house as possible. However, there are situations where it could be helpful to not cooperate and leave another player in a situation that they cannot get out of. For me personally the trait of gaining and reciprocating trust was important for this game. One of the other players from this past week was stuck, and couldn’t move more than 1 space unless they ended up in the space room as another player. Without hesitation I moved next to the player and did my best to help him. Unfortunately my room was moved, and my good intentions were destroyed by the nature of the game. In talking to that player after they were surprised at my immediate help, because it was very possible that he could have ended up a traitor and not helping him would have been beneficial to me in that case. This thought hadn’t really crossed my mind, because a leader really needs to gain the trust of people so that there can be cooperation. In a situation where you need the help of another person, it’s very important to be able to lean on other people for support.

This is a game that I think my friend Lucas would really like. It is a game you can play a lot with many different scenarios playing out, which is always really fun. He’s the kind of person that I could see getting wrapped up in the different haunts. Each individual haunt is so intricate, that I think he’d really appreciate and enjoy getting to experience them.

Secret Hitler

This past week, we were giving the choice of playing Secret Hitler and Hanabi. For the majority of class, I played Secret Hitler with a group a five, including myself. I found myself enjoying this game because of the cooperative, strategical game style. This game is almost exactly like Avalon which we played last week. I liked both of these games for some reason, i think it is because of having to work together but also work against each other at the same time. I think that this game incorporated a lot of leadership skills in the same way that Avalon did. They require you to make educated guesses on who is who. You have to be decisive in your guesses, especially if are guessing who is Hitler. I think that some of my friends would actually enjoy this game.

Betrayal of the House on the Hill

During week 3 of EDL 290T B, we played Betrayal at the House on the Hill. I found this game rather entertaining as it felt like a step up from the cooperative games we played the last two weeks. Although we were still playing with a cooperative style, this game made things more interesting by having anybody join the other side. Every game, the person who is evil varies every game based on how your game is progressing. I also was intrigued by the first part of the game where you spend turns exploring the floors of the house. I thought this was really cool because it made each game unique in the sense that the floor plan of the game varies each time you play. The idea of having characters being able to hold items and omens for future use is pretty cool. This game made me think about each move by using strategic planning in order for a better outcome in the game. I think that this game emphasized communication skills among players. I think that a few of my friends would enjoy this game if they played it.

game of the week blog reflection #3

The game we played was betrayal at house on the hill. The hardest part about it was when the haunt started because things started getting very complicated. Our haunt was the one where everyone had evil twins and it caused quite a bit of confusion with every move. The ties that this one had to leadership was the ability to understand the instructions and remember how to go about doing things. I was a leader when reminding people how many dice they had to roll or when they could move places. This game was a little more complex and I think that my assistant coach would enjoy playing it because his favorite holiday is Halloween and this had a very spooky vibe to it.