Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TIMELY TOPICS - Getting it Wrong - Traps Game Explainers Can Fall Into

The other day I found out I've been playing a rule wrong in Troyes. Not horribly wrong as I don't think it would have impacted our games too much, but it also might have opened up the possibility of the game being played differently.

In this case, it was actually the ABSENCE of a rule - empty spots in buildings aren't filled in with gray citizens unless an event causes them to be placed (or when you place them during setup)! I had assumed all dice should be in the game and, therefore, all the spots should be filled in the buildings when 'Assembling the Workforce'. DRAT! I HATE getting rules wrong.... :(  It really bothers me, even if I know it might not have impacted the game much. I know some people might write these off as unintentional 'variants' (ok, sometimes you do this and end up with a better way to play, or at least a different interesting way to play) but it just irks me to get it wrong from the original rules. The absence of the rule along with an assumption is what trapped me here.

So, it got me thinking about some of the traps that Game Explainers might fall into.

Here are some common traps that I have (or seen others) fallen into:

TRAP: Forgetting to teach important rules.
Danger of the trap: Well, this one is fairly obvious - if you forget a rule you can completely change the game, perhaps even breaking it. Also, when you remember it later and let everyone know, they can think you were holding it back on purpose until the moment you 'remember' it and it's to your benefit. Or worse, it can completely ruin someone's strategy and take them out of the game. I have been on the receiving end of this before where I thought one thing and it turned out to not be allowed or something due to a neglected rule.

Example: CaylusIn a 2-player game I played a while ago, the rule not taught to me was where the worker in the Inn can be removed voluntarily the next turn when the Inn is activated or be left there if the other player has not pushed him out. Actually, this doesn't apply just to 2-player. I didn't realize I could remove that worker on subsequent turns - I thought it had to be forced out. I mentioned this and the person I was playing with seemed to confirm it would stay. On the first turn I had placed a worker there and NEVER got him back for the rest of the game as the other player never used the Inn to force me out. So, I was basically 1 guy short the ENTIRE game. The plus side was I never had to pay more than 1 Denier after the other player at least I had some benefit from it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

CONVENTIONS - GAMESTORM 13 Gaming Report (SUNDAY, Mar 27th)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

This is Part 4 of 4 of my gaming report of Gamestorm 13. If you made it this far - thanks for reading! I enjoy writing these convention reports up, but they sure do take a lot of time to write them. Hopefully they are helpful and perhaps a wee bit interesting to you as you read through them.


Sunday morning I woke up and my roommate, Peter, reminded me that we had to check out today! Ugh! Somehow I forgot about that! He noted checkout was 12pm - ok, not too bad (it was about 8:30am then). He headed out and I got up and got ready, then spent a bunch of time re-organizing my games and Wes's games (I was his proxy for the Gamestorm Math Trade) among the 5 totes we had. I decided his totes were too big to fit both in the cab of my pickup, but I had brought an extra 3rd one that I knew would fit (I had tested 3 of my totes before I left and they fit with apparent room for a 4th). 

I have a small Ford Ranger without a King Cab or canopy. I had brought tarps, plastic, tape and bungies in case I had to load some into the bed of the truck (to prevent them from getting wet or falling out) but I only wanted to do that as a last resort. So, I was hoping to get it down to 4 large totes along with my two smaller totes and the rest of my junk so I could maybe cram it all inside.

So, I managed to get it all packed into 4 totes with even a bit of room to spare. Inventory: 4 large totes, 2 small totes, 2 cloth shopping bags, one with my computer, sweat shirt, large can of peanuts, and a few misc items, the other with a couple of games, my jacket, water cup and snacks. Plus my small bag for clothes. (It's funny when you travel and have more non-clothes/personal stuff than other stuff because usually it's the other way around. Gamers --- we're such geeks when we go to conventions :) )

Once I was settled on my packing solution I stacked everything and took down some of my personal gear to the pickup but left the games in the room for now. Then I headed back to the main gaming room to see where everyone was and what kind of gaming was happening. I couldn't find Chris anywhere (I guess we were up a bit late and he's not a morning person :) :) ). But, I DID find Tom and he was ready for a game. Doug was ready as well and he suggested Navegador. I hadn't played and was looking forward to learning some new stuff for my last day. I'm in! Mike joined us to round it out to 4.

(Later, I got a text during while playing Navegador that Chris had been working on getting out of the room and packing his van and they found out the van was DEAD! Luckily he found someone with jumpers that got the van going again. Which in turn let him drive around a bit to recharge the battery and get HIMSELF going again with a large Starbuck's coffee)