Sunday, July 7, 2013

Board Games and Personalities

I know, bad monkey for not posting every day. things have been hectic here, gonna be doing some double posts till I catch back up.

So, I like to game. I do table top gaming such as Dungeons and Dragons, I play video games like Mario or Skyrim and often times I play card and board games. Poker and Monopoly are played, this is true, but I find my taste in games to be a bit more geeky and eccentric. I love games like Cosmic Encounters, Gloom, Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders and a whole host more. These are part of a wave of "geek" games, systems based on geeky/nerdy concepts or unique rule system that I find absolutely adorable and cool.

Over the last few years, I have played many games. Now that I have a decent paying job, I can actually afford many of these games myself, and get to enjoy them on a far more regular basis. I have found with my friend and I, our personalities and even our attitudes tend to shift and change depending on the game we're in. I find it amusing and also fascinating to watch a normally quiet and simple person go to a frothing rage monster once they get a set of Cosmic cards in their hands, or see the inner goth bloom with a good game of Gloom.

I'm gonna do a simple review of two of my favorite games here, and some amusing notions on how we tend to suddenly act and change while playing them.

Cosmic Encounters - This is the original geeky game for me, the one that drew me into the world of board gaming and fun. The premise of the game is that you are one of over a hundred alien species (or 2 aliens together, if you use the variant rules) trying to conquer the galaxy. You have your own home system of planets, and you must use your alien powers and various cards drawn from a deck to conquer your enemies home systems. The first person to 5 foreign victories wins.

This game is difficult, I admit, but so much fun to play. Picking an alien can be daunting, and it takes several games to really get a firm grasp and understanding of the rules. It took me 4 or 5, and there are STILL some aliens I have never played and thus don't truly understand the rules for. If you get a game of experienced players however, watch out for some awesome fun times. The game can get very aggressive and heated at times, make sure to take breaks after the game is over to avoid issues.

We tend to get very aggressive and violent during this game, for some reason the concept of galactic conquest just makes people violent. We tend to get loud, lots of arm flailing and cursing happens. Even those of us not normally aggressive will become very dominant and headstrong, and its almost comical the bloodthirstiness that will radiate from Sarah's eyes. We can't play this game too much though, we've given it the nickname "the game that ruins friendships" for a good reason.

Skytraders - This was actually a random purchase, recommended to Jake by a game store owner, and I have found it incredibly awesome and fun. Its a long game though, so be prepared to play this for the long haul. The premise of this game is that you are one of 5 airship captains in a steampunk world, and you are attempting to gain control of the Skytraders guild. You do this by buying and selling goods, earning gold, influencing the market value of said goods and buying guild influence. The first person to the center of the guild influence tracker wins!

This is a game that once you sort all the pieces is actually really simple. You have limited movement, you must buy goods and sell them in other cities, and later you must roll dice to see which market goods you control. The buying and selling is straight forward, and I find the market phase rather exciting. So, you take your 3 dice and roll them. The numbers they land on correspond with a specific good. You now have the ability to make the price go up (thus more expensive to buy or sell) or make the price go down (thus cheaper to buy and sell). You have two minute to negotiate with your fellow captain on who will back what, and its always intense and a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, we regularly forget to buy guild influence while playing!

Now you'd think with an aggressive game like stock market control we'd be just as ruthless as Cosmic, but you would be surprisingly wrong. When we sit down to play I always insist of drinking tea (because were civilized captains) and we all take on an air of sophistication. We have to work together at times to push the goods up or down as we need, and that need to find common ground and agreements makes us much more careful about being ruthless to another. There is a combat mechanic for fighting each other, but we so rarely do it I often don't even bother getting the ship combat upgrades in favor of ship crew that helps me buy/sell better. We act like proper steampunk airship captains the entire time, which causes no end of eyerolling from Lana or Sarah.