Gaming Gone Wild: Experiencing Games for Learning?!

Gaming Gone Wild – The Podcast That Was Meant To Be Four Episodes But Is Four Segments Because I’m An Idiot.

Card Thief

Card Thief is a Dungeon Pursuit themed game, gunning for adventure with the clear objective of the game being to get the treasure and get out unseen. The game is seemingly set as an older age castle conquest in which you as the card thief aims to exploit the riches of the castle. Card Thief is a amalgamation of both a card game and a dungeon crawling game, perfectly described by Jennifer Allen as “solitaire-meets dungeon game” (Allen, 2017). I am already a big fan of solitaire, so naturally I enjoyed playing this game. As discussed in the podcast, I enjoyed the strategic game although its long extensive yet not-quite in depth tutorial. Agreeing with this particular review, “Confused? Don’t sweat it. I’ve been playing the beta for over a month and I still can’t wrap my head around everything.” (Neumann, 2017) the game mechanics are quite extensive for such a little concept/layout. The art of the game is impeccable and makes playing the game all the more enjoyable to me as I am extensively interested in graphic design and illustration. The mechanics of the game were both simple with a twist, I enjoyed the handy pouch of card resources you could use to your discretion on whatever turn. As defined here, “I define game mechanics, using concepts from object-oriented programming, as methods invoked by agents, designed for interaction with the game state.”Sicart (2008) the asymmetric value of completing the action of whether or not you will be able to take the thief over every card in the 3×3 card grid was a game mechanic I particularly enjoyed.

Food Chain Island

Scott Almes solo PNP game was the perfect option for me that week for a game autoethnographic study, as I was unable to play an online game, unable to print a game however I was able to take the basic game mechanics of Food Chain Island and craft myself the necessary tools/resources to play the game. I enjoyed that your turns were ongoing with only the consequences to your previous actions as your concern, once more similar to solitaire in a sense. Food Chain Island seems to be a single player card elimination game concentrating on a theme of animal survival, or quite literally the food chain. The game itself was a little more challenging then it seems, “During my first game, I was pleasantly surprised at how long it took me to go through the game.”(The Meepling Blog, 2020) which indeed seems like the games biggest shared surprise. Although the game involved an amount of strategic elements in each turn, I didn’t enjoy the card game too much as I felt like an overgrown child playing it. It requires a level of systematic thinking however I personally felt like the game was a bland experience although the game mechanics seemed to stay true to the real-world logic of an animal food chain.

Selfish: Zombie Edition

I had a prefixed expectation for this game having seen so many good reviews and success stories about it from friends and media. The games set up was something we had to walk through as a family to fully understand. However, once we understood there was quick rivalries formed and strategies employed to selfishly succeed over the others, yet we all banned together against a player when they were close to the helicopter in order to try to prevent them from winning. The family card game’s theme was survivalist set in a zombie apocalypse. The game mechanics were unique in the layout of the game as discussed in the podcast, with the turns feeling quite similar to those in exploding kittens. The action specifically of flipping over a wasteland card once progressing forward in the game is an interesting inclusion of chance in the game mechanics as it’s outside of anyone’s manipulation/control. I believe Selfish comes under the Eurogames category particularly through this outline of game mechanics vs story, “European games (or Eurogames) tend
toward the highly abstract and focus more on accumulating points via game mechanics, story-making is central to numerous board games, particularly American productions – often called “Ameritrash” games” (Brown, A & Waterhouse-Watson D, 2016). Although its setting of a zombie apocalypse was creative, the game mechanics is much more thorough than an Amerietrash game would be.

Mafia

Mafia is a murder mystery role-playing game meaning that its setting was dependant on the imagination of the story-teller or host of the game. This game could be considered a ludification of the classic 52 card deck, or any amount of cards or objects that are different (e.g. I recall playing this game as a child with coloured pencils, led pencils villagers, red the mafia, green the doctor etc.) It is a strategic role-playing experience to solve a murder mystery that either you as the mafia or host knows or you as any other player is trying to figure out. The game mechanics are extremely flexible though subject to a basic framework of drawing a card and enacting your role as dependant on the chance of the card you get. I believe this game would be Amerietrash as its heavily influenced by story-telling, fitting to the description outlined by the above academic. The game narrator shapes the story and setting of the game itself which I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a unique form of party/family game evokes both a strategic and creative approach to experiencing the game. Here is an example of people playing Mafia and manipulating the game mechanics slightly to experience a different sort of game, something that I believe makes this game very unique.

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