30 December 2017

Resolution: Failed.

Welcome to the 200th post on the Game Dork's Gaming Corner! I've got to say, it's kind of amazing to me that I've come this far.

Enough woolgathering. Let's get to the issue at hand.

Some of you may know that I made a new year's resolution to play 80 of the games on the top 100 list over at Board Game Geek. Tomorrow is the last day of 2017, so I think it's safe to call it. I did not meet that goal.

Here's how the numbers ended up: the most games that I had played that were in the top 100 list at any one time was 31. This is a shame, as four of the games I had played that were at one point on the top 100 dropped to 101 or lower at some point over the course of the year. In fact, if we were to expand our criteria to include anything in the top 200, that would add another 16 games to my list, for a total of 47. Still thirty three games shy of my goal, but a good deal closer...

23 December 2017

Board Game Review: Skull

I recently played a fun game. It's called Skull (though from what I understand, it was originally called Skull and Roses), and it's super simple, but super fun. You can buy the set from Asmodee Games, or you could make your own with some pieces of cardboard and a marker.

Let's get started!

Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take. Gamer Profile Ratings measures how strongly a game will appeal to players based on their interest in one of four areas. These areas are measured as High, Medium, or Low. Strategy describes how much a game involves cognitive challenges, thinking and planning, and making sound decisions. Conflict describes how much direct hostile action there is between players, from destroying units to stealing resources. Social Manipulation describes how much bluffing, deceiving, and persuading there is between players. Fantasy describes how much a game immerses players in another world, another time.
Strategy: 2
Randomness: 1
Complexity: 1
Humour: None
Attractiveness: Useful*
Average Length of Game Play: 20 minutes
Gamer Profile Ratings:
  Strategy: Low
  Conflict: Medium
  Social Manipulation: High
  Fantasy: Low

16 December 2017

PinkFae Archive #6: Social Stigma in Roleplaying Games

The time has come to repost another PinkFae article. As a reminder, or for those who are new to this blog, the PinkFae Archives are repostings of the articles I wrote for the trans-inclusive gaming blog pinkfae.com, before that site became defunct. Since I don't want all those articles I wrote to be lost, I am reposting them here on my personal blog. Today's entry was originally published on 7 February 2016. I hope you enjoy it!

A photo from the side of seven board game pawns, six in various shades of red together on one side, and one black by itself on the other side, alone due to its social stigma

I was introduced to GURPS (the Generic Universal Role Playing System, published by Steve Jackson Games) in 1991. I admired the flexibility and adaptability of the system, as well as its realism and the fact that it encouraged rounded, dynamic characters. It didn't limit possible character traits to attributes and skills, but had mental, emotional, and social advantages and disadvantages. This allowed players to emulate a personality more fully than in games like Dungeons and Dragons. But there was one disadvantage that I have never given a character: Social Stigma. It provides an in-game mechanic for simulating a character that belongs to a group that is deemed by his or her society to be inferior. In looking back on it, I realise that I didn't fully grasp the possibilities of this disadvantage. Now, I have learned much, and I would love the opportunity to play a character with this disadvantage.

09 December 2017

Roleplaying Games Besides Dungeons and Dragons

Six roleplaying game rule books displayed on a wooden table: Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu, Vampire: The Masquerade, GURPS, Paranoia, and Traveller.

I was playing Say Anything with some friends recently. The basic idea behind this game, for those who don't already know, is that the players take turns being the judge, and the judge reads a question off one of the cards in the deck (the questions always refer to the judge; for example, 'What is my favourite brand of beer?' or 'Where in the world would I like to travel that I haven't already been?'). The other players write down possible answers on small dry-erase boards. The judge decides and secretly records which answer best applies. The players then vote on which answer they think the judge chose. They get points for voting for the answer chosen by the judge, and the person who wrote the answer chosen by the judge gets points as well.

On one of John's turns, he read the question, 'What game do I think is most overrated?' There were several good answers, but the one he chose was Dungeons and Dragons. The reason he gave is because there are many roleplaying games (of varying levels of quality) in existence, but so many people (even many gamers) have never heard of any of them apart from D&D (or, these days, Pathfinder, which was based on D&D so may as well count as D&D anyway).

John went on to describe how whenever he talks to people and tells them that he enjoys playing roleplaying games, they always respond with, 'Oh, you mean like Dungeons and Dragons?'

He went on to describe how annoying it always is to have to explain, 'Well, yes, it is like Dungeons and Dragons, but it's not like Dungeons and Dragons because the system is different, the setting is different, the object is different...' Because of that, because of how tired he gets having to tell people that he doesn't play D&D because there are so many other and (in his opinion) better RPGs out there, he ranks D&D as the most overrated game.

02 December 2017

Board Game Review: Conspire

Ok, let's be totally honest. This is not a board game. It really fits into the category of a roleplaying game. But, much like Fiasco, Conspire does not fit into the traditional roleplaying game format. It's not intended for long-form stories that take multiple sessions to complete. There's no GM, no character sheets, it doesn't even use any dice.

But although it technically is a roleplaying game, in that players create a role and play the part of that role in free-form storytelling, it is much better suited to the sort of settings in which one would be likely to play a board game.

Besides, I enjoyed the heck out of this game, and I really wanted to write a review for it. So I'm going to.

The Conspire Deluxe Set. A flat black box, propped open to reveal the Conspire rulebook, with artwork depicting a typical conspiracy theorist's bulletin board, showing the conspire logo, an eye in a triangle, in the centre. Also in the box is a tube containing poker chips in several different colours, a bundle of dry-erase markers, laminated role sheets, and a Cherry Picked Games business card.