Archives for posts with tag: werewolves

Never Before Has Grammar Been This Annoying
As an English Major (as can be observed in the tagline at the top of this page), I don’t mind working with grammar. Honestly, I love it. Syntax, grammar, and word-choice are each a fun game I like to engage in — though I maybe less than fantastic any of these things, and I may stumble over my words with frightening regularity.

I think it goes without saying at this point that I do certainly love games.

As a result, there is a frequent form of common ground between my many distracting hobbies (besides being linked frequently on this blog), and that is: rule books. Interpreting dangling participles and garden path sentences is the rule of the day when I first crack open the box of any given game and start digging in.

I know that doesn’t sound awfully exciting. It really isn’t.

When I get the opportunity to read through something or write something for class, I can enjoy perusing the piece and dissecting it to ascertain its inner-workings; examining the ways the sounds and the bits of the sentence play off of one another. It’s play, and it’s fun. When I get the opportunity to play a game or make one up for myself, I can enjoy messing around with the bits of ideas and mechanics; seeing how rules interact or play off of one another. It also is play, and fun. When I am reading a rule book however, it is a strange no-man’s land between the two: I am not reading for leisure, necessarily. I am certainly not playing. I am preparing myself — arming myself! Trying to figure out how to make a given game work like clockwork, and wring every drop of entertainment out of it that I can. I’m a busy college student with papers to write, a fraternity to participate in, classes to get behind in…

I do not have the time to wrestle with rule books at the table. 10 minutes of silence when someone tries to do something and I don’t know how the game handles such a situation is unacceptable — by that point, the others have already checked out and it’s an endeavor to get everyone on track again. Now, imagine this situation expanded to encompass the life of a married couple, a family with children, or a family worried about its car payments, etc. There is no time for trying to understand whether or not you meant the game piece on this side or on that side of the board, especially not in games of social complexity that rely on deception or in-depth interaction.

Diplomacy
On that note, I found a new game this week! It’s called Diplomacy and it’s a war game simulating the conditions of European powers on the bring of World War I. In a lot of ways, it seems like Risk but it differs in a lot of ways. To start, if you’ve ever played Risk then you know that it is a standard board game through and through — by which I mean, there is almost no player to player communication whatsoever through the game. This isn’t necessarily an attack on that game… lots of games fit this model. Connect 4 can be played with no communication, Battleship involves one-way communication and process of elimination (curiously very similar to Guess Who?). Risk consists solely of rolling dice, moving pieces, and occasionally pointing to whomever the territory you’re invading belongs.

Diplomacy, meanwhile, is a highly complex game of social maneuvering as players take on the roles of Generals and Party Leaders in 1901 and build up their nations territories and capital immediately before war breaks out. Sounds about identical to Risk, right? Except that everyone’s turns are performed simultaneously (unlike Risk’s turn structure) and in secret (not in the open for everyone to see). Furthermore, before every round, players allot time to meet and mingle with fellow players to coordinate and plan their actions this turn — to betray friends and support enemies! Tricking players into hating one another, and feigning victim to garner support.

Not dissimilar to the social psychology angle of Werewolves, Diplomacy approaches the tension in a different way. It’s not that you don’t know who to trust (as in Mafia or Werewolves), but that you know you can’t trust any of the players — everyone is trying to manipulate everyone against everyone else. It’s a beautiful pile-up of plans gone horribly awry.

And really complex, you can imagine.

So, you’d hope they’d keep the instructions in the rule book simple and clearly written.

Yeah, about that… This is just a reminder to myself to be more clear and well-spoken in my writings so that one day, long down the road I won’t be the guy being written about for his rule book’s bad examples.

When I finish cutting through all of the poorly rendered grammar and understand this game, I’ll give it a play and write about it! As always, I can be reached at alfred_rudzki[at]yahoo[dot]com with any comments or questions! Please feel free to leave a comment below with a board or role-playing game suggestion for me to check out some time! Feel free to tell me about your nightmare time trying to understand some party game, etc.


After my last post regarding going silent for a while, I of course did the mature thing and didn’t post for a while. Good excuse this time! I flew out of my hometown on Thursday evening, arriving in Atlanta that same night — and through a carefully orchestrated escapade of breaking speed limits, stalling a birthday party, and sneaking into a game of Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow I surprised my girlfriend with an unannounced visit meant to alleviate the soulcrushing job she is stuck in this summer. I stayed in town for the weekend and enjoyed some fantastic times including…

  • playing Werewolves with the friends
  • sitting outside of a pub on a warm night and talking game theory as it relates to independent publishing and Children Who Play With Monsters with her and our mutual friends
  • going boating/swimming on Lake Lanier with the friends
  • seeing Georgia Shakespeare’s The Tempest with the friends
  • enjoying some simple Amazon/NetFlix relaxation with the friends
  • playing Crow’s Hoard with the friends
  • playing Kemps with the friends
  • reading Sorcerer while the friends were cooking
  • eating delicious lasagna made by the girlfriend
  • playing L.A. Noire with the friends
  • getting drowned by surprise midnight sprinklers like a true hero
  • discussing with the girlfriend her upcoming staging of Of Dice and Men

Overall, it was a really fantastic and amazing weekend. I had fun! And that is why I have nothing to say about games today.

Okay, No, Not Really
So I was reading Ron Edward’s Sorcerer for a few reasons while I was down there. For one, it could be argued that Edwards’ game of Faustian bargains  is as critical to the entire concept of “independent publishing” as Dungeons & Dragons is to role-playing in general. Obviously, not everyone will agree with this — and that’s fine — but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Edwards went from an unformatted ASCII file that he would e-mail out to people upon request for free, to receiving $5 bills in the mail for the quality of the game, to now being (arguably) the figurehead/idol of “indie” role-playing games and their designers. So, it would behoove me to have a passing knowledge of the games that some may argue “defined” or at least instigated a generation. The other reason is that after a cursory glance, I saw some elements that could very well help me out in my work on Children Who Play With Monsters! I’m going to continue reading through and seeing what I can glean from it that might patch some holes.

Sorcerer is an RPG that revolves around protagonist who have begun to master the abilities to contact, summon, and bind demons to the physical plane. They may be commanded, directed, chided, persuaded, or whatever method your sorcerer thinks appropriate — all to get them to perform as you desire, to accomplish your aims in this life. As a sorcerer, you are definitively arrogant; self-absorbed to the point that no amount of harm or injury short of death itself can keep you from acting to accomplish your designs. However, you must beware — as every step you take is no doubt beset by the legions on all sides, and they will lie and manipulate with every trick they possess to hold sway over you or abandon you for one greater. And this does not even address the risk posed to your Humanity by tampering with things best left untouched.

It’s like World of Darkness but I feel like I could actually play it without a degree in gothic literature.

Specifically, it’s impossible to ignore the central concept of “person who is bound to a monster” that resonates between Sorcerer and CWPWM. The works are different enough, though — there is always a level of enmity between the protagonists’ and their bound demons in Sorcerer, an element that is intentionally absent overall from CWPWM… also, note the plurality of demons, and the intentional decision for the Child to only have one Monster ever. This isn’t Pokémon. But yeah… the demon and sorcerer are created together, they’re critical to one another, there’s a stat tracking the end game, and the game is system lite. It’s comparable enough that it is good reading to at least see how someone else addressed the parameters.