Little Blog Adventure

A gaming "sketchblog"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Settler's Cafe Visit

Here's some notes about the games we played at Settler's Cafe over break. I'd written a skeleton after the trip and meant to expand it into a full post, but events (well, World of Warcrack, to be honest) pushed it into the background til now. Well, here goes.

Game: Taboo
Game with 2 teams, who try to score points. During each round, a team member has to take a card from a pack and describe that word to their team, without using gestures or any of the other words written on the card (members of the opposing team will check to see that there's no cheating). If the team can guess the word in 30 seconds (or was it a minute?), they score a point. The process repeats for the other team. Rounds continue until every member on each team has played. Not sure when the game ends because we just stopped playing- I think the rules said something like first team to reach 10 points wins. Or maybe 20.
- Social
- Depends on linguistic skill n quick-thinking
- Some words are too culturally-specific to the USA
- Game wasn't too successful. Some players weren't enjoying themselves. Words too hard, perhaps? Or the game is only successful with certain types of players (i.e. those who have the right skills) or in a real party-atmosphere.

Game: Some game about relationships (can't remember the name)
Everyone gets dealt a hand of cards at the start, and gameplay involves discarding cards in a certain order. Sticks (either blue or red) are added to your pile o'sticks with each card you discard (except for certain special cards) and the winner is the player who has the least difference in blue and red sticks. So if you have 10 red and 10 blue, there's no difference and you win. Unless 2 players have no difference, in which case I guess it's a draw. But that scenario didn't happen.
- The game's SUPPOSED to be about relationships, but the gameplay isn't
- It's actually somewhat of a strategy game
- Not very social; didn't bring out enough interaction between players
- Example of how a game and it's theme don't match!

Game: Guillotine
Each player is an executioner during the French revolution. The objective of the game is to get the highest score. At the start of play, each player is dealt a hand of action cards which have different effects. 12 Noble cards, each of which has a different value, are arranged on the table. Each player takes turns to execute the Noble currently on the "chopping block"- that is, the leftmost Noble on the lower row of cards. Nobles are executed in a counter-clockwise fashion. However, during his/her turn, each player can choose to use an action card- some of which shift the positions of Nobles. Each round ends when all 12 Nobles have been beheaded or when Robespierre is beheaded (in which case all Nobles after him are just put in the discard pile). The game ends after 5 rounds.
- Fast-paced
- Strategic
- Sabotaging other players is part of gameplay; players try to "send" low or negative-valued Nobles to the front of the pile so that another player will get it, or use an action card to deflect such a Noble to another card.
- The action cards facilitate much of this "sabotaging" gameplay, some cards can shift the balance of power quite drastically
- Very fun! No one player dominates for very long because whenever other players see him/her starting to rack up a high score, they'll try to sabotage him/her.

Game: Munchkin
Parody of RPG games, played using cards and one 6-sided die. Each player is an adventurer and starts as a level-one human. The objective of the game is to reach level-10 before everyone else does. Each turn begins with a player "looking for trouble" by taking a dungeon card from the dungeon card deck. If the card is a monster, the player has to fight it (or try to run away). If the player's level plus any bonuses the player has (from treasure cards) is higher than the monster's level (plus any bonuses it has), the player wins the fight, goes up a level and collects loot in the form of treasure cards. Treasure cards can be items (which have one-off effects), weapons (that boost stats), armor (ditto), class or race cards (both class and race cards give a variety of effects, some beneficial, some not so much).
- Higher learning curve than the rest
- Great deal of gameplay possibilities
- Impressive simulation/reinvention/parody of a D&D-type game using only cards n 1 die
- Also really fun! The same element of sabotage-type gameplay applies to this game as well. Except there's an additional layer of intrigue in this because players can choose to help each other during battles if they think it'll work towards their own advantage. Alternatively, they can also choose to sabotage players during battles (by using cards that boost a monsters stats).

Game: Easy Come Easy Go
The first player to obtain 3 special tiles (out of 9 on the table) wins. To get one of these tiles, a player must roll 4 dice and obtain a certain value (either 4 of a kind, 2 pairs, 3 of a kind and all dice odd, 3 of a kind and all dice even, a sum of exactly 7, a sum of exactly 13, 17 or more or 4 consecutive numbers. Players can choose to re-roll 4 times, but each time they must "freeze" a die (meaning on the first try they roll all 4 dice, on the second they roll 3, 2 on the third and finally 1). If they get the combination of one of the tiles, they can take it no matter where it is on the board (i.e. even if its in the possession of another player)
- Fast-paced
- Relies heavily on chance
- The name describes the game perfectly- gameplay revolves around
- Fun for short sessions but gets slightly repetitive after a while.

Game: Jungle Speed
It's pretty much like Snap, except instead with a custom deck of cards (which are harder to match than normal cards)
- Really fast-paced
- Relies on spatial/pattern recognition (the cards are geometric shapes).
- Suitable for a younger audience

Overall, I'd say Guillotine, Munchkin and to an extent Easy Come Easy Go went down the best with the group I played with- their mechanics facilitate social play (and social interaction along with it) rather well. I was particularly impressed with Munchkin (and not just because I'm a Steve Jackson fan!) both because of the hilarious way it lampooned RPG conventions and how emergent the gameplay was. Ditto with Guillotine. Easy Come Easy Go wasn't particularly emergent and it relied heavily on chance, but some interesting interactions did come out of it- like when players would try and grab a tile from a player who'd just obtained two. Nobody really tried to convince a player to make a bad decision with the dice rolls (such a friendly bunch we were ;-) ) but it's a distinct possibility with the game!


At 10:05 PM, Blogger alex said...

Wow, you really managed to play a lot of games! We spent the entire time playing Settlers of Catan... :)


Post a Comment

<< Home