Sunday, November 23, 2008

Run Away! (RPing in non-RPG games, and other fun from yesterday)

Gwen and Andy invited us (and many others) over for gaming yestay, and we had a ton of fun. I came in distant second in a 4-player game of Settlers. I was inundated by siege engines and betrayed by victorious traitors in Shadows. 4 games of "Time's Up!" was enough to melt my brain (Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin, Yuri Andropov, Margaret Thatcher and Janet Reno walk into a bar - now differentiate between them via charades and sound effects). I died a lot at werewolf, but I also did a really good job in my first ever time as Seer, and was on the winning side in all but 2 of the 5 or 6 villages. It was like a one-day mini-GwenCon.

About the new Merlin's Company expansion for Shadows Over Camelot:
Somehow, our 8-player game ended up with 2 traitors, which stunned us all when they won. They may be part of what lead to my feeling the expansion made things much harder than normal. The travel cards trounced us, and that flighty Merlin abandoned the Excaliber quest just when we needed him most. Even without the 12th Seige Engine, we could have lost by black swords.

It was also hard parsing all the new character powers simultaneous to the new rules. Some (including mine) went underused. If I buy the expansion, and I probably will, I'll want to play 3 or 4 times with the old characters and the new rules before adding the new characters in. Or perhaps vice-versa.

One thing I didn't like about the new expansion: The Python quotes. If you're an Arthurian purist, this could ruffle your feathers.
To me, the best games of Shadows are when people play in-character, it's not only fun, it helps make the mystery and bluffing elements of the game work better. I'm really uncertain whether the Monty Python and the Holy Grail references on the new Travel cards would help or hinder that. Will it enhance the fun, or make it harder to stay in character? There was so much new to learn, that we didn't get much in-character anyway, so it had no real impact. Long-term, though, I expect it's a mistake to have gone there. Time will tell.

About Werewolf: We used flavorful non-secret roles this time (in addition to the normal secret teams/roles), such as the Village Idiot, the Butcher, the Serving Wench, The Blacksmith (and his Apprentice), etc. These were just for flavor, to add RolePlaying to the game of mystery and mob-rule. Doing so favors the werewolves (because it becomes much harder for the Sherriff to keep the village on task), but man does it ever breathe new life into the game. On the drive home, Sarah agreed it was the most fun we've ever had playing Werewolf, and that's saying something.

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