Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Ethics of F2P Games

Here’s an interesting article on the ethics of free-to-play games from Gamasutra.

I don’t quite think of gambling with money as “immoral” but I have to put it in quotes to indicate my intricate discomfort with it. Mostly it seems to prey on people with poor impulse control, and maybe you’re not supposed to prey on people at all?

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Shadows in the Woods

Saw this game mentioned on Boing Boing this week, and wanted to put it somewhere I wouldn’t forget about it.

waldschattenspiel

The hook for this game is that an adult plays with kids, and the adult uses a tealight to move around the board and trap the kid players in shadows. Here’s what that looks like with the lights down:

waldschattenspielDark

I don’t know if this game is as fun as I hope it is, but I bet adding children funs it up a good deal.

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Circle Games July Recap

I think I meant to write about June’s Circle Games, but the month got away from me. So let’s talk July.

KeyflowerImage
This is a classic-style complicated Eurogame which has several hundred pieces, 50,000 variables, and three dozen ways to score points, so that you have a vague idea who’s going to win, but can’t tell until you’re piling up wooden pieces 2 hours later.

For being one of those kinds of games, it was fine. I’d play again. But I probably wouldn’t pick it to play again.

Love Letterlove letter
Introduced this game to a couple of people, and it is as fun as it ever was.

I’m looking forward to AEG’s other tiny card games this summer. I’d like to find more of these gems.

Ultimate Werewolf: InquisitionImage
I have a hate-hate relationship with Werewolf. I don’t enjoy games where the primary fun is deception. I can handle games with bluffing and screwage. But lying and puzzling out lying is more work than play for me. I end these kinds of games cranky and wired, win or lose.

But I sort of had Werewolf in my head on Saturday, so when Jay produced this Werewolf variant, I played. This game is really, seriously, meta-werewolf — you are inquisitors choosing which villagers get lynched every night instead of playing as the villagers yourself. Except some of the inquisitors are werewolves too OMG! There’s also no elimination, which is interesting.

But “no elimination” has a dark side. Because of a quirk of the game (which I suspect happens more often than anyone likes to admit), I never got a meaningful turn. The werewolf players were numerous (40% of the players), played well, and got lucky. So they pretty much ran the game. Meanwhile, non-werewolves like me got to make arbitrary decisions and argue. And without elimination, I couldn’t even get myself killed  and go play another game.

I have to remember not to play Werewolf variants any more… they’re not fun for me, and I wind up stealing fun from other players in the process.

Unpublished Flicky Game
The night grew late and most people had gone home, which meant it was time for the diehards to do something kooky. This game isn’t finished, or even really all that well defined yet, but the designer brought it and we played it. Since I still love flicky games, I was all in. We flicked discs at a thing in the center of the table trying to knock it over at just the right time. I hope to see this game again.

All in all, another successful night! Hooray for using games to love people!

We’ll do this again August 10, 7:00 pm @ 1125 S. Broad. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, come on out and ask for Jeff!

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Kickstarters I Have Known

Three Kickstarter projects I backed in the last month have closed, and the money has gone from my credit card into the ether. Some time in the next year or so, some games will show up, probably.

Anybody who decries the fickle nature of the consumer hasn’t fully considered the effect of Kickstarter. It is delayed gratification on parade, the elemental opposite of I-want-it-now. Jay Treat said that he forgets about Kickstarter projects, and occasionally a little present to himself shows up. When he said this to me, I thought “He is in the grip of madness.”

But I just gave CMON $100 to get a game maybe some time early next year. I’m not going to stare out the window all dreamy eyed for eight months. Player 3 will arrive later this year and the Earth will rotate and then some time in February perhaps a great box of unpainted miniatures will arrive and I will think, “Who sent me a late Christmas present?” The answer will be: me.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve backed lately:

Eight-Minute Empire: LegendseightMinuteEmpireLegends
I played EME a while back, and liked it ok. When I saw the project for EME:L, I bit. After backing it, I put together the print and play version given to backers and tried it with my gaming group. They were pretty meh on the game and told me to revoke my pledge. But the joke was on them because the funding period had already closed!

I’m not sure there’s a ton of replayability in this game for us, but it is supermodel pretty and the price was decent. I’ll get some play out of it.

Armikrogarmikrog
I buy pretty much everything Doug Tennapel does. His art style and sensibility punch all the right kidneys for me. So when I was informed that he was doing a spiritual successor to Neverhood–a claymation-animated puzzle game, with Terry Taylor doing a new soundtrack–I ran to the computer. If this is your first exposure to the idea and you want to get in, you still can at the Armikrog site.

Kaosballkaosball
Name dropping time! Eric M. Lang is a friend o’ mine, so when I heard that “Project Chaos” would be Kickstartered I said to him, “Eric, you tell me the time and the place and I will back your miniatures fighting game project.” And then it was like a hunderd bucks and I was like, “Man, I don’t even like painting miniatures.”

But would I turn my back on a friend? No I would not! Not when turning a back on my friend would mean I also wouldn’t get to own a cool game.

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