Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Showing posts with label Resistance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Resistance. Show all posts

Saturday, March 29, 2014

PrezCon 2014 Part 5: Finals

(c) Rio Grande Games
Used by permission
Saturday of PrezCon was a wonderfully full day of gaming.  It started at 9:00 AM with a game of Power Grid (designer Friedemann Friese; artists Antonio Dessi, Lars-Arne "Maura" Kalusky, and Harald Lieske; publisher Rio Grande), which I love but really don't play well.  We played on the original map of Germany, and I started in the north, where I found myself immediately in competition with Henry Ho.  I think the two of us beat each other down pretty aggressively, stealing cheap connections and forcing each other to leap-frog one another in order to expand, so we both ended up finishing poorly.  James Henderson, against whom I'd also played Acquire earlier in the week, narrowly won our game over Joe Rudmin in second.  I placed third powering 12 cities.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Years gaming

The holiday season continues with more socializing around boardgames.  On New Years Eve, our friend Sheila D. hosted Glenn W., Jeff W., Kathy and me for dinner and games.  After a wonderful Mexican rice bowl dinner with shredded beef, we sat down to spend the last six hours of 2013 playing games.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Latest micro-game addition - Council of Verona

(c) Crash Games.  Used by permission
Earlier this week I received my Kickstarter reward copy of Council of Verona (designer Michael Eskue, artists Darrell Louder and Adam P. McIver, publisher Crash Games).  I was intrigued by the description of this game as soon as I read it, both for the Shakespearean theme and for the apparently tactical gameplay in such a small package.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

PrezCon 2013 - Friday

(c) Meridae Games
Used by permission
Garden Dice
Glenn and I met Doug Bass of Meridae Games for a demo of Garden Dice (designer Doug Bass, artist Joshua Cappel, publisher Meridae), which I'd seen on Kickstarter and which is now available.  Garden Dice is an interesting game of dice allocation in which players use a roll of four dice to acquire seeds of various values, plant them in a garden based on grid coordinates from two of the dice, and subsequently water and harvest them for points.  There are run and set-collection bonus scores at the end of the game.  The most interesting part is the geographic element.  Watering higher-value plants benefits adjacent lower-value plants, regardless of who owns them, so there is an opportunity to take advantage of an opponent's placement to get watering and harvesting actions for free.  Players also can add a sundial to the garden to modify the grid coordinate dice rolls or a garden gnome to improve rolls for acquiring seed, watering plants, and harvesting vegetables.  Players can further introduce a bird to the garden to eat other players' seed or a rabbit to eat vegetables before they are harvested, although seed can be protected by an upgrade of the sundial to a scarecrow.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maybe Werewolf beats Resistance after all

I'd earlier blogged about my recent discovery of The Resistance and my initial impression that it must be better than Are You a Werewolf?  Well, now I'm not so sure, based on two days of family reunion gaming in which I introduced siblings, nieces, and nephews to both games and got some very unexpected reactions.

Image used by permission
of Indie Boards and Cards
First we tried two games of The Resistance (designer Don Eskridge, publisher Indie Boards and Cards), a social deduction game that I'd never played before but which I was convinced would be better than the more familiar Werewolf, particularly for the new crowd.  We found that the secret ballot process was a little clumsy, since we'd be constantly turning in votes, then turning in the unused vote cards, then redistributing them again, once or twice for every mission assignment.  But more to the point, in two games, the Resistance never successfully completed a mission.  In both games, the spies successfully sabotaged three consecutive missions.  Now, I don't know if that's a function of the experience of the players, in which we were invariably approving mission teams with spies in them, or a function of the play balance of the game itself.  So my intention later this week is to research what others have written about play balance in Resistance.

So then at my 15-year-old son's insistence, we switched to Werewolf (derived from the Dimitri Davidov designed Mafia, publisher Looney Labs).  I was worried about how the younger kids would react to the elimination aspect of the game, the killing theme, etc.  Oh, but that was not a problem.  Everybody jumped right into the spirit of the game.  My brother Pete was particularly enthusiastic.  I lost count of how many games of Werewolf we played over the two days.  The games were quite varied, too.  Sometimes we would leap right on the werewolves and eliminate them quickly.  Sometimes the wolves would make short work of the village.  And sometimes there would be long, convoluted debates over who was a wolf, or a seer, and why.  But I think everybody who played had a great time and kept asking to play again.  We even drew something of an audience at the picnic ground at one point.

(c) Looney Labs
Used by permission
So this experience begs the question:  Why did Werewolf turn out to be so much more popular with the family than Resistance?  Frankly, I think that there are two reasons: (1) We had an unfortunate early experience with Resistance appearing to be so lopsided after just two games, and (2) Werewolf really is an engaging, exciting game in its own right.  First, I do want to make sure we got the rules right; if so, I should revisit the play balance in Resistance, because that just seems so unlikely to be a common experience with a game that was so well-reviewed the first time I researched it.

How popular was this game with the family?  Well, my brother Brenden wants me to order a copy for him, and my brother Pete plans to order two copies - one for himself and one for his girlfriend, whose family apparently enjoys playing games.  I feel as though I should get some kind of discount from Looney Labs on my next order from them for all the business we generated...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Poor Man's Resistance

I stumbled upon a review of The Resistance and immediately thought two things:
(1) this game of hidden identity and "social deduction" should beat Are You a Werewolf? hands down (no small feat, since I'm a huge Werewolf fan) and
(2) this game can be played easily with a small subset of a normal deck of cards.

The game is designed for five to ten players.  Players secretly determine their identities as rebels (attempting to conduct missions) or spies (attempting to sabotage the rebels' efforts) as follows:  From a normal deck of cards, select a number of face cards equal to the number of players such that a third of the cards (rounded up) are red face cards and the remainder are black face cards.  Shuffle the selected face cards and deal them face down, one to each player.  Each player looks at his or her face card to determine whether he or she is a rebel (black) or spy (red).  These secret identity cards remain face down in front of the players for the remainder of the game.

One player is randomly selected as the leader.  Players shield their eyes so that no one can see any of the others.  The leader announces, "spies reveal," and the spies (only) open their eyes and look to see who their fellow spies are.  The leader announces, "spies hide," and the spies close their eyes.  The leader announces "everyone open," and all players open their eyes and begin the game.  By this procedure, all spies should know who all the spies are (and therefore who all the rebels are), whereas each rebel knows only his own identity.  Unlike Werewolf, this is the only occasion in the game when it will be necessary for players to cover their eyes.

The remainder of the game consists of a series of missions.  For each mission, the leader assigns several players to participate in the mission.  The number of people that the leader assigns depends on both the number of players in the game and the mission number to be executed; it varies from two to three players (in the first attempted mission) to three to five players (in the fifth attempted mission) and can be discerned in the table appearing in an image of the gameboard posted on boardgamegeek.

Once the mission team has been selected, players vote openly whether to approve or disapprove the selected mission team.  [Edited for correctness.  In my original post, I mistakenly indicated that the vote to approve or disapprove the mission team was done by secret ballot. - PDO]

If the mission team has been disapproved, the mission is aborted, the role of leader rotates one player to the left, and play resumes as above with the new leader assigning a new mission team to be voted on again by all the players.  (Note that the aborted mission does not "count" as an attempted mission, so the number of players on the mission team does not change.)  If five consecutive missions are aborted, then the game is over, and the spies win.

If the mission team has been approved, then the mission team members (only) each get one red non-face card and one black non-face card.  From these two cards, each mission team member secretly selects a card to execute (black) or sabotage (red) the mission.  Each mission team member turns in his vote face-down to the leader, who shuffles the votes and then turns them face up to determine whether the mission succeeds (all black) or fails (at least one red).  There is an exception to the requirements for a successful mission:  In games of at least seven players, on the fourth mission only, at least two sabotage (red) votes are required to cause a mission to fail.

If this was the third successful mission, then the game is over, and the rebels win.  If this was the third failed mission, then the game is over, and the spies win.  Otherwise, the role of leader rotates one player to the left, and play resumes as above with the new leader assigning a new mission team to be voted on by all the players.

The brilliance of this game relative to Werewolf is that it requires no referee (i.e. everybody gets to play) and - most important to me - does not eliminate players over the course of the game.  Also nice is that it is only necessary for players to cover their eyes once at the beginning of the game to allow spies to identify one another (unlike Werewolf, which requires players to close their eyes in every round).

The reviews I have read and seen are quite exciting, and I look forward to trying this game out with a decent-sized group.

I should add that the original game comes with a small expansion set of cards that provide the leader with some additional "powers" to make the game more interesting, so there's motivation for buying the game regardless.