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Recently Played Games

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 9 Days Until International Tabletop Day - Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham is the most fun game to play with your students. Why? Because you already know all their tells and know how to keep a straight face around them. Ha! Sheriff of Nottingham is all about bluffing  and trying to get contraband past the Sheriff. I've been told I'm not a very good liar, but when it comes to this game, I'm actually not that bad.

I loved the game from the first moment I played it. The laughs were nonstop and it even became something I taught as part of a women's event at GenCon hosted by ConTessa. They're a group that supports minority-led gaming, empowering women, people of color, and LGBTQs in the gaming community. It was a great experience for me to teach this game while trying to break my anxiety over teaching games to predominately male players. Until you've experienced situations that make you feel uncomfortable, you won't really understand how damaging it can be. So I appreciated this opportunity and the game itself went swimmingly.

This game is definitely close to my heart for the special moments I've had playing it and I would recommend it to players looking for a bit of fun, coupled with a good bit of strategy. I know it sometimes seems a bit silly, but it's a smart game with some great bluffing.

Note: We got the expansion not long ago and we're breaking it out. I'm going to be using it at my next Tabletop Game Club Lock-In to celebration International Tabletop Day. Really excited about that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 10 Days Until International Tabletop Day - The Hare & the Tortoise & Council of Verona

The Hare and the Tortoise introduced me to a whole new series of games called Tales and Games from the excellent publisher Iello. It uses fairy tales to create games, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Aladdin & the Magic Lamp, and The Three Little Pigs. The Hare and the Tortoise, though, was our first introduction to the series and offered a new look at games that feel like they're for kids, but have the ability to completely enthrall an adult. It's a great little racing/betting game.

The other part that I loved was that it fit into my game unit. The students have to write a narrative to go with their game and these games all have accompanying stories. It was really quite nice.

I still share The Hare and the Tortoise whenever I get the chance and several of my students have used it as a Mentor Game and created some really interesting games based on the mechanics.

This past February I wrote a little bit about Council of Verona. See my article here.

The Joy of Gaming - Ray's Rate a Shelf #10

At the beginning of this year, my husband started a Twitter feed, posting a different part of our game shelves and rating the games that are on them. I was so impressed by this activity, I thought it would be great to share it on my blog.

Click the Tweet to see the rankings and the games.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 11 Days Until International Tabletop Day - Tokaido

Tokaido stands out for me, because I remember my husband was so excited to introduce it to my students in my game unit. He set the directions down for them to play and it became the biggest directions fiasco I have ever had in my classroom. This one group literally sat there and just, like... silently protesting playing because we would not explain to them how to play. See... the point of the research phase is to 1) be exposed to game directions, 2) learn the pros and cons of direction writing, and 3) see what mechanics look like in-game. I am familiar with stubbornness, but that which was demonstrated on that day was beyond my comprehension. It's not a difficult game to play, but reading directions is something many, many people struggle with. The visual impact of 4 sulking pre-teens in the middle of a sea of joyous pre-teens engaging in games is seared into my mind. I did not use this game for the game unit this year. (We actually revamped this portion of the unit slightly, because you have to tailor the units to the students and it just needed some changes.)

My husband, though, brought the game in for my club and it was enjoyed. It, again, requires some thinking, which doesn't always seem to go over well in my club, but for the time it lit their fire, it was a joy! Recently on Daddy-Daughter-Tuesday-Game-Day, my daughter and husband played it. My 7-year-old won (again with support from my husband). My husband doesn't "let" people win, but it was her first time playing and he guided her through it. Her winning, though, was not a condition of teaching the game. Like me, my husband is very firm about character being built through winning and losing.

Tokaido is a beautiful game with a lovely premise and it has definitely found its way into my book of games that I developed a connection with.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 12 Days Until International Tabletop Day - Qwirkle & 12 Days

I took the opportunity to cover two games in this entry not only because it's a double of Tabletop, but because Qwirkle is a game I just wrote about for my Women Game Designers series this past February. You can read my article here.

12 Days (2011) I like to keep around of the holidays. It is a trick-taking, set collection card game based around the 12 Days of Christmas. My kids break it out for fun and I do enjoy having an occasionally play. I just really love the game, because I like theme games that fit into "events." If you've had any experience with my writing, you should know I love to theme out everything! I mean... goodness... I did 30 days of Star Wars Apparel counting down to the release of The Last Jedi. It makes me happy, so this is one of those games that does that for me. A good family game, too.

Original Episode

Extended Episode

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 13 Days Until International Tabletop Day - Fortune & Glory

"Fortune and glory, kid."

If that line doesn't immediately come to mind when you hear this title, then you were robbed of an amazing childhood! I can't say that, like so many others, didn't love the adventure of Indiana Jones. Even I wanted to adventure around the world looking for artifacts and defeating the bad guys, but like so many, that dream never came to fruition. But with Fortune & Glory I can play like I am living my dream (sort of).

The game itself was interesting to me, because of the artwork. I was intrigued by the use of these real-life images. It made the game feel slightly real, because who doesn't want to be Indiana Jones, even if it is just in a game? The other intriguing part about this game, which surprised me when I first sat down to game, was my husband asking if I wanted to play competitively OR cooperatively! WHAT?!?! I can play against you AND the game or the two of us can play against the game? Oh my! I, though, love cooperative, especially if it's the first time we play.

While time consuming, for me at least, I don't get to break it out often, but it stares at me every day of my life, since it sits on the shelf right next to my work space... taunting me... calling to me... just like it's doing right now! Willpower... so much willpower.

Yet, one of the things I love about this episode is not so much just the basic "woah, what is this game!", but the fact that this episode show the pitfalls of what many of us go through with games. We read the rules, we have someone run the game with us and we are so sold on playing it correctly and we show more people that's how it's played and so on and then, months later, we find out we're wrong about some major flaws. Awe geez. My nephew, in his condescending always arrogant way, could call all those games "false wins" and then be a jerk about it, assuming your misunderstandings were you just cheating to get ahead. Have I mentioned I hate that as well?

So really, if you're going to screw up, at least you played the game consistently with that screw up and you had fun, which really is the point of playing if I'm being completely honest. I screw up stuff all the time, but it's for fun. I'm not in a competition for money and if I'm getting something enjoyable out of the game, isn't that a win for everyone?

Besides... after running a unit on game design and part of the unit being reading rules books and figuring out the game on your own... I already know that direction booklets are the devil and developers really need to spend more time writing directions that can be understood by everyone. Sadly, we all see the world in different ways and that's what playtesting is for, but just trust me... we all have made this mistake and if following rules to the letter is what you find pleasure in, great for you, but for some of us... it's more than the rules.

Love this game!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Joy of Gaming - Ray's Rate a Shelf #9

At the beginning of this year, my husband started a Twitter feed, posting a different part of our game shelves and rating the games that are on them. I was so impressed by this activity, I thought it would be great to share it on my blog.

Click the Tweet to see the rankings and the games.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 20 Days Until International Tabletop Day - King of Tokyo

Our copy of King of Tokyo is so used. It is definitely one of the Top 5 more played games in my game vault for my club. The kids just love it to bits and pieces. I, personally, love the dice rolling, but am not as big a fan of being bombarded by damage in Tokyo. At an upcoming Con, one of my club kids will actually be hosting this game and it seems to still get a pretty decent draw to the game table.

My husband and daughter just played it together for the first time for Daddy-Daughter-Game-Night and it seemed to go over well. Might still be just a smidge above her focus, but give it another play or two.

In 2014, I briefly wrote about this game (and a few others I've mentioned or will be mentioning) for an article in my series called "Meet Me at the Table." It was a Halloween edition for the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club (IGGPPC or Iggles). I do think it is one of the better big monster games out there.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 21 Days Until International Tabletop Day - Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time was a game that I did see on Tabletop and I fell in love with it's storytelling ability. My teacher mind immediately went into all the different scenarios where it would be helpful for my classroom, even when thinking about the plot of a story. There are twists and turns and different shocking moments that come up. At the time we were also working through a unit about Fairy Tales and we were comparing the original horrific stories with more modern versions.

The other interesting part of the game is that you're working together, but you're also working against each other to come out of the story winner at the end. You want the story to end with your ending. So much fun!

It is a much more fun game with more people, so right now I'm hoping to make this a game I reintroduce to my students, because I think it has fallen by the wayside and it has so much exciting potential for what these kids want out of club right now.

As you can see from the episode, it does take a great deal of creative energy, but also paying attention. The point, though, is you're creating a collective story... duh! And you have to remember the details to keep your own story going. So much fun with so much potential and I think the game itself has somewhat fallen out of the limelight and might even be somewhat of a forgotten game, as I found while posting about it in a forum.

Really enjoy how it changed my perception of a cooperative, yet competitive game of storytelling.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: 22 Days Until International Tabletop Day - Pandemic

I don't really know what to say about Pandemic. It is one of my absolute favorite games. Each time you sit down the fate of the world is in your hands. Will you be able to save it? So many variables dictate what the outcome could become. Whether it's the combination of characters with their variable player powers to the way the deck is shuffled, you are crossing your fingers every time. Thank goodness it's cooperative.

My husband introduced me to this game and we played the goodness gracious out of it. Poor thing has seen some things. I have the dice version (Pandemic: The Cure), as well, and the expansions for the original. I have a tendency to pull either the dice or board game out every time there's an event that I'm part of. If I actually ranked games, Pandemic might be my #1 personal game.

We purchase Pandemic Legacy, but we have yet to break it out. Maybe this summer. We just introduced the game to my game club (actually for a, like 5th time) and they just loved it. Success was not in our future, though, but we'll try again. I feel like somewhere there's a secret cheerleader we have to save in order to finally save the world.