It's time for another board game review. This week, I've decided to cover Captain Sonar. It's a fun little game that captures the suspense of submarine warfare. We'll start as we always do, with the ratings:
Average Length of Game Play: 30 minutes
Gamer Profile Ratings:
Social Manipulation: Low
We continue our reposting of my PinkFae articles with this item, which was originally posted on 9 January, 2016.
Why do we play games? Sure, we all have our reasons. For some, it's about spending time with people they love. Other people see it as an exercise in creativity, or practising various mental skills (or, let's be honest, physical skills; not all games are played around a table or in front of a television set).
For me, there are many reasons: some games are enjoyable because they indulge a particular love I have (dare I say, a fetish?), such as the original Balderdash, which caters to my lexophilia. Other games force me to think, and I love to give my brain some exercise on occasion; Dominant Species and Clans are two excellent examples of these types of games. Some games are fun for me because they facilitate social interaction that I otherwise find difficult to attain (The Resistance: Avalon falls in this category). Others appeal to my love of a certain fandom, such as Star Trek: Road Trip or Firefly: The Game). As a Storyteller, I also tend to be drawn to games that facilitate the telling of stories (thus my love of tabletop roleplaying games like Changeling: the Dreaming, as well as Fiasco and Gloom).
I recently read an article about Sandbox Gaming. In case you're not familiar with that term, it comes from video game designs, in which players are given free reign to go where they want and do what they please. This is in contrast to the linear structure of most early video games.
At first glance, you might think that traditional tabletop roleplaying games are a perfect example of sandbox gaming. Whereas a computer game only has so many possible actions programmed into it, so many objectives for players to try to attain, in tabletop RPGs, players can do whatever they want. They don't need the game to have been preprogrammed to allow them to go to certain places or offer them certain options. They have a GM who can improvise to accommodate anything the may think to do. They don't need to wait for a programmer to make something available; the GM can do it for them on the fly.
However, the article in question isn't about sandbox games in that sense. Instead, the author describes whether or not the players are given objectives, or must decide on objectives for themselves. In other words, does the GM tell them, 'You have been hired by the ruler of the Shallukar Empire to find and deliver to her the Canopic Chest of Solitude,' or does the GM say, 'You are standing in the main plaza of the capital of the Shallukar Empire. What do you do?'
I've been able to play Blood Rage twice now, and I enjoyed it both times, so the time has come for me to write a review of it. Guess what? We start with the ratings.
Average Length of Game Play: 2 Hours
Gamer Profile Ratings:
Social Manipulation: Low
As I mentioned previously, the PinkFae site is essentially defunct. This makes me very sad, not just because it was a pretty neat site that had the potential to offer a lot in the way of a gaming blog, but because it had about a year worth of articles that I had written. I was quite proud of and pleased with those articles, and it would be a shame if they just vanished.
So starting today, I'm going to intersperse my normal articles with reprints of the ones I wrote for PinkFae. We start, today, with an article entitled 'Lawsian Gamer Types,' which was originally published on 3 Januay 2016. Robin Laws, an experienced author of roleplaying books, has written an invaluable tool for GMs. It's invaluable for all gamers, although it was targeted at the GM. In it, he includes a great deal of advice on how to make your games as enjoyable as possible for all participants. It's not the stuff you'd normally find in the 'For the Game Master' section of the core rulebook or supplements like the Dungeons Master's Guide. It's more fundamental information, such as campaign design (are you running a dungeon crawl, a set-piece story, a branching story, an episodic story, etc?), suggestions on how to be spontaneous (have a list of appropriate names for when you need to ad-lib an NPC, have a box of index cards with stats for random NPCs that the players may encounter, etc), how to deal with different player types (what emotional kick is each player looking to get from the game, and how can you deliver it to them?).
One of the most important issues that he addresses in this book is the topic of Gamer Types.
I love tabletop games. Almost any kind. Changeling: The Dreaming is my favourite, but I also like Fate, Little Fears, Shadowrun, and Paranoia. I believe that every human being is worthy of being treated with respect and dignity. I believe that games allow us to interact inclusively, and that EVERYONE is welcome at the gaming table.