Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Board Game Review: Bananagrams

To be fair, this isn't really a board game, as there's no board. The game equipment consists entirely of 144 letter tiles and a banana-shaped zipper bag in which they are all stored. Even so, it's a lot of fun, and I'm going to review it for you now.

For starters, we have the statistics: 
Strategy: 2
Randomness: 4
Complexity: 1
Humour: None
Attractiveness: Useful
Expected Length of Game Play: around fifteen minutes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Google Wave

Hello and welcome to another installment of the Game Dork's Gaming Corner. First, a quick note: I'm sorry it's been two months since I last updated this blog. I recently got a new job which has been taking up a large quantity of my time and the vast majority of my energy. Every time I sit at the computer, I think to myself, I should update my blog. But I just don't have the mental energy to think of something to say. So, for that reason, I'm going to change the way I update this. It's not going to be an 'every Sunday' activity. I will update this blog when I have something to say. Hopefully that will be roughly once a week, but probably not. Just be aware. It may be easier for you to use the RSS feed or to use your Google account to follow me. That way, when I update, you know, without having to come here to check for yourself.

Now, on to the actual post. I have recently been able to get on the test version of Google Wave. This excites me because I read an article about gaming on the Wave. I have managed to find some people who are interested in trying this with me, so hopefully once everyone has activated their Google account and shared their contact information, we can begin the preliminary details of deciding exactly which game we're playing, agreeing on ground rules, and character creation.

What really amazes me about this is how some people, especially some of the more hard-core gaming fanatics that I know, are opposed to the idea of gaming on Wave. I mentioned on Facebook that I was trying to get people to join me for a play-by-email game on Wave. This seems remarkably obvious to me, since Wave allows for easier organisation of the emails in the gaming thread, messages to specific people in the same thread, and simple and easy integration of images and other objects within the messages themselves.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Time Traveller's Wife

I saw The Time Traveller's Wife recently. I thought it was a good film. I'm hard pressed to decide if it was sci-fi, drama, or romance. But it was intelligent and well written. And it got me thinking. I recently wrote a post about playing characters with attachments to other characters. Never mind the story potential that exists simply in a character with uncontrollable psi powers (in case you don't know, the male lead in the Time Traveller's Wife is a timeporter, but can't control when he ports, or to what destination, or for how long), this plot made me consider the idea of running totally mundane characters who have to deal with their relationships with people who are always off doing something dangerous.

Just think of how many people are married to soldiers in active military duty. It's a hard life, but certainly it can be interesting to examine the dynamics of their relationship. Think about the scores of women who were constantly afraid that their husband would die in World War II. What about the drama of a joyful reunion when the soldiers returned home? Or even worse, the misery of a family who received a telegram informing them that their husband/son/father would never return home? Surely there's some story possibilities in these sorts of relationships?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dice

Few items are as representative of the hobby of gaming as a whole as dice. Apart from those few games that use diceless systems (such as Amber Diceless Roleplaying) or alternate systems (I've heard of a game based on playing cards, though I can't remember what it was called), every game requires the use of the SPRNGMs (Sacred Plastic Random Number Generation Modules, as a friend used to call them). The only other items needed are some books, paper, and pencil. None of which are unique to gaming. Some games require maps and miniatures, but most can get along fine without. So really, if there is to be a symbol of gaming, it should probably be those wonderful little polyhedrons.

Some have expressed surprise at my adoration of the little numerical blobs; as I am generally a proponent of story over combat, my friends seem to think that I would be anti-dice. But I'm not! I tend to love the look of them, and have a small collection (I tend to only add interesting or unusual dice, so it's nowhere near as impressive as the one detailed at The Dice Collector). I have a few d6s made from brass, some oversized ones, a small bag of twenty tiny (about 3mm across each) six siders, a d24, 2d7, two dice that are designed to be spun like tops rather than rolled (1d6 and 1d8), a d30, and a couple of dice-in-dice (one that is a small d6 inside a larger d6, one that is a small d10 inside a larger d10, and one that is two small d6 inside a larger d6).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tylenol

Something I used to do on occasion was to play in a "Tylenol" game. This gets its name from the premise that you'd find what appeared to be a bottle of Tylenol on the counter with a label that says, "Eat me." Upon taking one of the pills, you'd find yourself transported to a game world, transformed into one of the denizens. It is the ultimate form of the "If you were a character in (game x), what would you be?" Obviously, most games are played in D&D, but I've played tylenol games in a number of other settings, and most of them don't even require the bottle of tylenol to get there! For example, in Vampire, you can just be embraced. Any sort of game that involves a trasnfiguration like that can work just as well.

If you didn't already know and haven't figured it out yet, a Tylenol game is one in which you play yourself. Rather than creating a character as normal, you simply list those stats that you actually have. Then apply modifications to adjust for the in-game characteristics (for example, maybe you'd apply the elven racial template).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Favourite Characters

I was reading a blog today about "Awesome things I've done in a game." This got me to thinking about some awesome things I've done, and I realise that more than awesome things, I'm drawn to awesome characters. I say this because the vast majority of entries in my version of this list would have been "played Character X."

So I decided that for today's entry, I would post a list of my ten favourite characters. These aren't all characters that I've run, but they're characters that I really like and remember with some sort of fondness. We'll start with:
  1. Sarah Storm. Game: Changeling: The Dreaming. Player: Me. Overview: Piskie grump.
    This character was inspired by two simultaneous events. First, I read an entry on the White Wolf forum that was talking about how Changeling is a purely fantasy game. As I've mentioned here before, Changeling is as close as you can get to a universal-genre system without actually being a universal-genre system. So I wanted to disprove this statement. Secondly, a friend of mine complained that I am incapable of and/or unwilling to play combat capable characters. I wanted to prove him wrong too (for the record, I don't dislike combat-capable characters; I demand deep, well-rounded, dynamic characters, and so prefer to avoid gun bunnies). Anyway, so I made a cyberpunk piskie; her Chrysalis was triggered by William Gibson's Neuromancer, and her Dream Dance spawned TIM, the sentient chimerical cyberdeck. She has a chimerical cybereye through which she can interface both with TIM and with her treasure: a ray gun. She's smart, sassy, doesn't take any lip from anyone. Plus: Cyberpunk piskie! 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Loner

I am reminded of an article I read once (I don't remember where I read it) that was talking about the tendency of gaming characters to be loners. It's really not surprising that in games which emphasise the free-wheeling high powered adventure, characters are likely to be free-wheeling sort of people with no bonds to hold them down. After all, it's really not likely that a middle-age middle-class middle management corporate drone is able to just pick up at random and fly to Rome to help stop an international espionage plot. Better to have a young, fit, unmarried guy with no restrictions on his ability to plunge headlong into excitement.

But there's something to be said for breaking the mould a little. I once played in a rather non-standard game; it was a crossover of all the World of Darkness games, and though we started out as mortals, we soon ended up with the three main players running a Vampire, a Mage, and a Werewolf. My character, the vampire, was a teenager plagued with family issues resulting from a murder that he witnessed, so has had to move in with the other characters. The mage was a married guy, and after a couple of years of in-game time, he ended up with a daughter. I still remember the daughter, Alexis; she was a a very smart and capable kid.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Deities

Here's an interesting concept: gods. Most often, this shows up in fantasy gaming, where clerics have divine powers (often including the ability to cast certain magic spells) granted by their deities.

Most games don't give much thought to how exactly this works. Do these gods exist? If so, do they all exist, or do certain pantheons exist while others are simply the imagination of their followers? If more than one pantheon exists, how do they interact?

I think that the most elegant analysis of this conundrum is the cosmology created by Rich Burlew (ok, heavily borrowed by Rich Burlew from many already existing sources) for The Order of the Stick. If you read his entire oeuvre, you eventually learn that "in the beginning," so to speak, there were four pantheons of gods who created the world. Their inability to co-operate resulted in the slaying of the Gods of the West (based on real-world Greek gods; Zeus, Hera, Athena, Ares, &c.). The remaining pantheons (North, based on Norse mythology; Odin, Thor, Loki, &c. -- East, based on Babylonian mythology; Marduk, Isthar, Tiamat, &c. -- and South; based on Chinese mythology; the "twelve gods" include Dragon, Rat, Pig, Monkey, &c.) thus agreed to stay in their respective areas and not interfere directly in the regions of the other groups. This is why clerics are important; they can be the agent of their gods in other places. Later, the goblins and elves developed gods of their own too, who were grudgingly welcomed into the celestial realms.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Magic Systems

I often find myself thinking about magic systems in games. I've seen many. Just a couple:
  • D&D: Spells are divided into levels, with certain spells available at each level depending on your class. You can cast a number of spells of each level per day of game time, again based on your character's level.
  • GURPS: Spells are divided into colleges, which are really only important as organisational tools. You learn each spell individually in the same way as skills, using weaker spells as prerequisites for more powerful spells. Casting spells costs Fatigue Points, which are based on your character's Strength.
  • Shadowrun: There is a spell list. You can learn any spell you like. When you cast a spell, you have to roll (the exact roll depends on which spell you're casting) to determine the effects of "drain."
  • Ars Magica: There are five "verbs" and ten "nouns," with varying ratings in each. To cast a spell, you roll a number of dice equal to the verb + noun.
  • Mage: There are nine spheres that govern all possible magical effects. The higher your rating in a sphere, the more control you have over that realm. Spheres can be combined for more powerful effects. Roll your Arete (magical awareness) to cast spells.
  • Talislanta: there are twelve "modes," which cover different potential actions (such as Attack, Defend, Heal, Move, Illusion, &c.). Roll your rating in the appropriate mode to cast a spell.
There's a lot of variation there. I've even seen a book (Authentic Thaumaturgy) written by a man with a degree in Magic describing how to use "real world" magic systems as a basis for gaming magic.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Historical Gaming

You know, I have all these historical setting books for GURPS: Middle Ages, Aztecs, Ice Age, Celtic Myth... and as much as I really enjoy history, I can't for the life of me think of what to do with these settings. Perhaps part of the problem is that what interests me about history is the way that people used to live.

There's a museum near my home that has a gallery that is a series of exhibits showing how people cleaned in years prior. There's a section dedicated to laundry, another for vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping, and a section on toilets. This gallery is the most interesting part of the museum to me; seeing how people lived in the past is amazing. The day-to-day basics of things-you-take-for-granted activities, like food and accommodations, are what fascinate me. I've been working over this past month with another museum in town doing demonstrations of how the Romans cooked, and the sorts of food they would have eaten, from the poorest to the richest. There's also a replica Viking village not too far from here that allows people to rent the site for overnight excursions; twice now, I've been able to go out and be a Norseman for a night, and sleep in a Viking house.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fantasy

It all started with The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien wrote this epic saga, which captured the imagination of millions. Eventually, this lead to Dungeons and Dragons. Which, of course, spawned a great number of copycat games. Even today, when you use the word "fantasy," it conjures up images of a pseudo-medieval fantasy world populated not only by humans, but elves, dwarves, goblins, halflings, dragons, and a variety of other monsters.

But let's look at the definition of "fantasy:" The creative imagination; unrestrained fancy. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the concept of high fantasy, in a Tolkien-esque setting. I'm just saying that it's not true fantasy. There's no longer anything creative about the typical elves-and-dwarves setting. It was created almost a century ago. Very little has been added to it.

This is one of the reasons I'm so fond of The Dark Crystal. It was new; the world had never before seen Gelflings, Skeksis, or Podlings. This is what I call "True Fantasy," the result of creative imagination, and unrestrained fancy. Rather than reuse what already existed, the creators developed something new.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Live Action

As most of you probably know, table-top roleplaying is just one way of gaming. There's also LARP. This comes in many forms. The two most common are fantasy roleplay, through societies such as IFGS, and Vampire. There's no real reason to limit it to those sorts of games; I don't see why a live-action Wild West game is out of the question.

Of course, if you want to get technical, "Cops and Robbers" is a form of LARP. So is "playing house" and all the other make-believe games that kids play. Which reminds me of an essay I read in one of my Changeling books...

Steve Herman writes in an article entitled "Oh Boy! A Cat's Eye Shooter!" from the Changeling Player's Guide about how the imagination, the firm belief in things wondrous and magical, is the most precious gift that people have, and the loss of that belief as we grow to adulthood is a terrible tragedy. The author describes how he and his fellow gamers got out their old toys, action figures and the like. They tried to play with them, as they had when they were younger. It wasn't fun for them. They couldn't "create jungles from houseplants or deserts from carpet."

So they returned to the table. They played Changeling; they found that wonder again. They tried to steal a Wayne Gretsky rookie card, and chased a purple Snozzwanger through the alleys.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Film and Book

Hello, and welcome to another week of gaming essays. Sorry it's a day late; I was having all sorts of trouble thinking of a topic for this week. But I finally came up with one: gaming in the world of existing stories.

This has been done many times in the past; I'm sure some of us remember MERP (Middle Earth Role Playing) from I.C.E. Of course, there's since been the new system released around the time of the Lord of the Rings films. There's also the Star Wars and Star Trek games, and the Buffy game, and there's been an adaptation of Hellboy for GURPS, and so forth... and that's not even counting the countless unofficial fan adaptations floating around the internet (like the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere). But we all see movies and TV shows or read books or comics and think to ourselves, "I want to play in that world!"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Adult Gaming

Greetings! This week, I felt it might be a good idea to discuss sex in gaming. Some of you may wonder why sex needs to be included in your games. Well, strictly speaking, it doesn't need to be included. But why not? The point of gaming is to have fun, right? And sex is fun, right? So why not combine the two?

Ok, I'll admit it. Probably the only players that will want to include sex in their games will be method actors and storytellers. Butt-kickers don't like the idea of their cathartic violence being interrupted for non-violent activities, like sex. Power gamers aren't interested in sex in their games because it does nothing to contribute to their character's power level. Tacticians aren't interested in sex because it has nothing to do with their quest to out-think their enemies. Specialists could go either way, depending on what sort of character they've chosen as their specialty; ninjas aren't known as great lovers, but some other types may (I've known a couple people who really enjoy playing were-cats in the White Wolf shapechanger game, and the were-cats are supposedly extremely sensual creatures).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Alignment

Hello again. Today, I found myself thinking about alignments. Not all games use alignments (in fact, depending on how you define "alignment," I've only played two games that use an alignment system at all), but they tend to be a focal topic in many discussions of gaming. The most prominent example of this is, of course, D&D, with their system of "good versus evil" and "law versus chaos." I will assume that if you're reading this, you already know how that system works; if not, it's easy enough to google it. The only other system of alignment in the practical sense that I've played has been in Changeling: The Dreaming where your character belongs to either the Seelie or the Unseelie court.

In fact, it was in part the misunderstanding of Seelie vs. Unseelie that started me thinking about this subject. Many people who are unfamiliar with the Changeling system make the mistake of equating Seelie with good and Unseelie with evil, when that is not the case at all.

But how exactly does one define "good" and "evil?" This is a topic that I have discussed with friends in the past, and only one thing has become certain: there is no objective measure of good or evil. The terms are completely subjective; what one person thinks is evil, someone else will think of as good (or perhaps even as neither). But almost as important, the good/evil spectrum can be mapped out along many different lines.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Music

Have you ever used music in a game? I've seen it done. I've done it myself a few times. Get just the right track going for that good battle scene, or play some regional music to set the mood...

I think the best success I had at this was when I was running a Mage game set in 1945. The players were trying to acquire artifacts that had been distributed around the world as they attempt to prevent a doomsday device from falling into enemy hands... in the course of this game, they travelled to Australia, Uzbekistan, a tiny island nation called Nauru, France, Prague, and New Mexico. For each game session, I put on a CD of the music appropriate to the location. In Australia, I had a CD of aboriginal music in the background. I found the top ten radio tracks from the US in 1945, as well as the top ten radio hits in France the same year. And so forth.

But what I've always wanted to do was to create a "soundtrack." I'd like to have music appropriate to whatever scene is going on: rousing music for a battle scene, upbeat music for a travel scene, suspenseful music for a creepy scene, and so forth. I've tried a few times, but it's often quite difficult to achieve. For one, it's usually hard to switch CDs when you switch scenes (of course, with the advent of mp3 players, this is much easier now; just programme playlists for each type of mood). For another, what music do you choose?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Co-operation

Hello again! Here we go, off on another week of the Game Dork's diatribes essays! Today, I found myself thinking (don't ask me why) about a game I was in once. It was a GURPS Fantasy game, inspired in part by a previous GURPS Space game run by a different friend, where each player created his own alien race. There were some really neat species in that game... but one of the players liked the idea so much that he started a Fantasy game along the same lines. I still use two of the races from that game on occasion: my Staglings and John's Ængoa.

But enough about the irrelevant details. The thing I was remembering was a conflict that arose from a concession that the GM gave to me: I had asked that there be no "common" language. Since, after all, there's no such thing as a "common" language in the real world; why on earth would there be one in any other world? I liked the challenge of finding ways to communicate without being able to assume that we could talk to anyone we met.

So when it came time to create a PC party, we had to address the issue of linguistics. How would the party communicate? Would we all learn a single shared language? Would we carry magic telepathic artefacts? Would one party member learn everyone's languages and act as translator?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Board Game Review: Tara

Hello and welcome to another week of the Game Dork's rantings. Sorry it's a day late; yesterday was quite crazy.

Today, I will review the board game known by many different names (the box is labelled "Tara," but it also says "Project Kells." It's made by "Tailten Games." But if you open the box and read the rules, it claims the game is called "Sacred Hill," and suggests that you go to their websit eat projectkells.com but that redirects you to http://www.tailtengames.com, so who knows what to call this game?).
The board at the end of a game. The board is square, with the corners cut out so it forms a sort of cross shape. Along the edge of the board is complex celtic knotwork in an elaborate zoomorphic theme with birds entwined. The play area itself is filled with plastic pieces; these are rings in both blue and red which are joined to the pieces next to them with 'bridges' that combine the rings into a celtic knotwork pattern.

The game itself, according to the rules booklet, is just one variant possible with the equipment provided, and the website has rules for a second, called "High Kings of Tara." In fact, several of the game components aren't used in "Sacred Hill" at all.

Anyway, before we go any further, let's get the statistics up here:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

PC Group

Hello, and welcome to another fun-filled week of the Game Dork's gaming corner! This week, I'm going to talk about the adventuring party.

You all know the scenario: "You're in a tavern. There's a mysterious stranger sitting alone in a corner." Or, perhaps, "Someone comes over to your table." And before long, this character is recruited to join a party of people he has never met before to go off on some whirlwind adventure of killing monsters and taking their treasure, with the added benefit of some extra prize at the end of the story.

I used to run stories like that. That was all my gaming group would ever do, when we started a game. We'd each write up our individual characters, and then the GM would have to scramble to find some way to get the characters together. Often, he'd fail, and the characters would realise they have no reason to work together, and the game would fall apart.

The first time we tried to do it differently was our failed experiment in actually using the pack rules from Werewolf. But later, I decided to try a more cohesive approach, and it worked very well, actually. Now I do it every time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hack and Slash vs. Storytelling

For those who don't know, I haven't been able to do any gaming now for over two years. Moving to a new country can have that effect; I haven't yet been able to find anyone to game with over here. There's been talk about gaming via Skype, but that won't be for a while yet. It's kind of frustrating at times.

But it has given me plenty of time to analyse and think about gaming in more general, abstract terms. Especially since I recently acquired the second Order of the Stick prequel book, Start of Darkness. Reading that made me want to reread the entire series, which I've been doing. And as I read that story, I'm struck by the intense plotline.

For those that don't read it (and I highly recommend that you start), there's the good guys (the titular Order of the Stick), and then there are the main bad guys (the lich sorcerer Xykon and his goblin lackey Redcloak). But then there are the secondary bad guys, the Linear Guild. Then we have other key players, like the paladins of the Sapphire Guard, and the Thieves' Guild in Greysky City. Not to mention loads of bit players, like the oracle of Sunken Valley, the Cliffport City police force, and the bandits of Wooden Forest.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection

Welcome to another week of the Game Dork's Gaming Corner! Today is Easter, so I thought I'd talk about the "revolving door afterlife."

Specifically, I am thinking of games (most notably Dungeons and Dragons) in which a dead character can be brought back to life to continue adventuring. Often, this takes all the meaning out of death, since you just come right back again mere moments later and pick up as if nothing had ever happened.

I am particularly amused by a tiny detail (many people may even fail to notice it) in the book On the Origin of PCs, which is a prequel volume for The Order of the Stick. At one point, Roy is standing in a graveyard speaking to the tomb of his father. Off to the side is a plain tombstone labelled "Leeron the Unlucky: 1014-1041, 1041-1041, 1041-1041, 1041-1041."

But it just proves my point: What's the point of death if you just come right back? Oops, a minor inconvenience, the cleric must use on of his spell slots (and if your group is keeping track of these things, enough gold to cover the material components). Now, on with the game!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Realism

Welcome to another week of the Game Dork's Gaming Corner. Today, I'd like to talk about a realisation I had while rereading The Order of the Stick for about the 27th time.

Many of the jokes in that comic revolve around idiosyncracies in the rules. The characters frequently make fun of the Attack of Opportunity rules in Dungeons and Dragons. They have often poked fun at experience points and the level system. These jokes are common topics of humour and/or complaint amongst gamers. People often complain that the rules system isn't realistic.

And yet it occurs to me that they're playing a game in which you take on the roles of elves, dwarves, orcs, and gnomes, encountering goblins, trolls, dragons, and umber hulks, fighting them with swords, magic spells, magic rings, and arrows.

I've mentioned this before, but I still find it quite amusing that people can get so upset over what they perceive to be flaws in the rules, or variations in the rules, or deviations from the rules... and so forth.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jurgi Deathbringer

Last week, I mentioned Jurgi Deathbringer. I think this week, I'll describe him in more detail.

As I said, Jurgi was a Werewolf character. I wrote him when my gaming group tried to use the pack rules for the first time, but chose a pack totem without waiting for me to get home from work. In a fit of anger, I tried to show them how stupid it is to play combat monsters. So I wrote the most min-maxed character I could.

He was an ahroun (the warrior caste) from the Get of Fenris tribe (the most savage, bloodthirsty, and warlike tribe there is, as well as one of the most arrogant). I maxed out his physical stats, gave him the lowest possible intelligence score, and then put all his social points into his appearance. Then I took the flaw "Hideous," which reduced his appearance to zero, resulting in a socially inept monster.

All his skill points went to combat abilities. All his gifts were combat optimised. And I gave him a hatred of every other were-creature that existed. My hope was the other players would see how ridiculous a character like this actually was, and start playing more realistic characters in the future.

My plan backfired.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Surrogate Characters

Welcome to another week of the Game Dork's Gaming Corner! Today, I want to talk about an idea I had some years ago.

Some of you may remember that, when I described the different gamer types, I said that I was about 60% Storyteller and 40% Method Actor. This makes it hard for me when I'm in a gaming group that is mostly Butt-Kickers/Power Gamers/Tacticians. There was one occasion specifically when we were preparing to play a game of Werewolf. At that time, we were not using the pack rules (summary for those who need it: a gaming group in Werewolf: The Apocalypse is supposed to work together to create a pack of characters with a specific purpose, either long-term or short term, and each character should set aside some of their points to pool with the other players for the purpose of purchasing a "pack totem," a spirit that grants each pack member certain powers in exchange for following a particular code of behaviour). We would each just write up our individual characters, who would meet as normal and find themselves engaged in some adventure together.

I was excited by this, and was quite looking forward to the first session, where we were supposed to discuss the issue of pack totem and come to a consensus as to which spirit we would adopt as our patron. However, when I got home from work that evening, I was dismayed to hear that the other players had chosen a totem without my input. I was mostly upset that they had not bothered to include me in the discussions, but I was also upset that they had chosen Fenris, the most savage and warlike of the totems.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Board Game Review - Kill Dr. Lucky

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned the game Kill Dr. Lucky. I think the time has come for me to review that game. As always, we start with the numbers:
Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take.
Strategy: 2
Randomness: 4
Complexity: 2
Humour: Implicit
Attractiveness: Average
Expected Length of Game Play: one-half hour to one hour.