Monday, July 4, 2016

The Pros of Cons

First, let me start by apologizing for my absence these past few weeks. My old computer broke and I had to wait for a new one. But I'm back, baby!

Second, I had the privilege of going to Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH. It was only for one day, but it was a great day! As with any fandom, gaming conventions are designed to advertise the best in the business and to appeal to a broad spectrum of players. For new comers, this is an opportunity to meet fellow players and learn more about your favorite games. For veterans, this is your chance to shine in tournaments and meet the people who have built your community. I'd like to discuss some of the highlights from the con, even though I did not participate in all of them. As someone who has never gone to a gaming con before, Origins let me redefine what it means to be a part of he gaming community and how to engage with various players.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Game Night Picks: Coup

Politics seem to be on everyone's mind, so lets talk about a game that's heavily drenched in all the tension and drama of international affairs!
At one some point in our childhoods, we are given a standard, 52 deck of cards. Inevitably, someone teaches us the ultimate game of luck and bluffing-  everyone has a name for it, but I grew up calling it Bullshit. The cards are placed in chronological order, face-down, as players declare how many cards of that value they can play. If you are caught lying about what cards you placed or if you mistakenly accuse someone of lying, you pick up the discarded pile. Whoever runs out of cards first, wins. B.S. is a simple game, but it teaches players the art of bluffing. A more adult version of this game was made in 2012 by independent gaming company, Lone Oak Games. It has its own style and doesn't rely on the same statistics as a regular 52 card deck. But the game is still the game- only this time, it's called Coup.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Games from the Abyss: An interview with Call of Cthulhu Champion Tom Capor (Part Two)

In Part One, Tom Capor and I discussed the Living Card Game (LCG) Call of Cthulhu. We got to know about Tom's history with the game, his influence on the community, and why we should all respect the Black Dog. Here is were things get a little emotional, as we discuss the discontinuation and the baggage that came along.

(CF) The game was discontinued last September. Was it an emotional change for you?

(Tom) "Definitely. After my first championship win in 2009 and being able to insert a piece of myself into the game, I was attached to the game. As my success continued, the game defined me as much as I began to define it. It became a major part of my life and I would accredit it for a lot of the relationships I hold today. So, now that it’s over, I feel lost. Tried playing other games and I’ve yet to find a game that offers the same level of play that Cthulhu had. So for now, I’m not gaming too seriously. Despite my intentions to compete in up to several games later this year. It should do wonders for my health though."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Games from the Abyss: An interview with Call of Cthulhu Champion Tom Capor (Part One)

In the fall of 2014 I was introduced to Call of Cthulhu: the Card Game. In the fall of 2015, the game was discontinued after ten plus years. It was one of the few games in which I played tournaments and was pretty upset when it came to an end. As a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan, I could appreciate how this game had mechanics that perfectly matched elements from the books... not to mention the art on the cards was captivating. I met some pretty amazing people through this game, including multi-World Champion winner, Tom Capor. He has the experience of play-testing for Fantasy Flight Games, creating customized lists for expansions, and even has his face featured on a few cards. More than any other player, he has helped shape the community and is so strongly tied to the game. I recently had the chance to talk with him about his love of the game and wanted to ask if there is any reason to play a dead Living Card game. 

Just a heads up, this goes into game play on a much more intricate level than usual. Tom goes into just enough detail for those who haven't played before that you can follow along. I, for one, recommend checking out Call of Cthulhu: the Card Game, but I'll get to that in Part Two.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Game Night Picks 1: Galaxy Trucker

This is Jack Burton on the Pork Chop Express, talking to whoever's listening out there. Like I told my ex-wife, "Honey, I never drive faster than I can see. And besides, it's all in the reflexes."
- Kurt Russell, "Big Trouble in Little China"

Imagine you are a trucker. You have to build your own truck from parts found in a junk yard. You have to select each piece individually, hoping you can connect everything and have enough power for the equipment needed to keep you and your cargo safe. You need to focus on the time, otherwise other truckers gain advantage over cargo found on the journey. If, when time runs out, your truck isn't put together properly, parts become dislodged and you drive with whatever crew and parts are left around the engine. Imagine leaving with your malformed truck, picking up whatever scraps you can carry, and trying to avoid further damage. Imagine doing all this again, trying to build a more complex truck each time. Also, imagine this is in space.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Game Night Picks Intro

Party games come in different flavors, from unnecessarily challenging to downright silly. Because they require less devotion than tournament/living games, casual gamers gravitate toward party games. I'd like to start talking about a few of my favorite choices for game nights, and a few odd finds I've encountered. Here are a few scales and examples used to determine if the games discussed on the page will be appropriate for your game night.

Easy:Anyone can play it, no experience required. (Apples to Apples)
Approachable: Anyone can play it, but it helps to have experience with other games.(Monopoly)
Moderate: Better for older/more experienced player, may be a little more strategic. (Settlers of Catan)
Hard: Strategic games, usually longer. A longer attention span helps. (Twilight Imperium)
Challenging: Very strategic, tends to be less casual. (Chess)

Depending on the difficulty of the game, it may last 20 minutes or the whole night. When possible, I'll try to give an estimate on how long each game takes.

Sobriety Check Point
I don't have an actual scale for this, but I'm putting it here because a lot of game nights involve booze. Some games are best played sober, some games require drinking, and some games are so long you can witness an evolution as people get drunk. I'll give you my two cents when I can.

Friendship Integrity
 A good friend described Settlers of Catan to me this way: "It's a good game, but it ruins friendships". So, for fun, I'd love to include a scale used to measure competitive tendencies.

Solid: not very competitive
Breakable: somewhat competitive
Fragile:You are playing Settlers of Catan
Irreconcilable: You are playing Diplomacy

Hope this helps with future posts. And, as always, have fun playing!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Void and The Rubik's Cube: Playing RPG's with Mixed Skill Levels

Expect the unexpected; this is the law of game masters and character players. No one knows what devious plots the GM concocts, and the GM can't always predict how the players will react. I could probably start an entire blog based on DnD games gone horribly wrong, and I'm sure a few of you can, too. For now, let's focus on my first campaign ever and how the GM was able to maintain interest in a game where everyone was divided - in and out of character.