Open Thread: Games

(by chris the cynic)

In one sense games have existed since before human beings, in another we don’t know when they came about because by the time we have some kind of record they were already being played.

What games do you like, if any?

What kind of games do you like, if any?


16 thoughts on “Open Thread: Games

  1. depizan January 14, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I’m a big fan of table top roleplaying games. I’ve mostly played D&D (mainly 2nd and 3rd edition) and d20 Star Wars, but I’ve also played: 4th edition D&D, West End Games Star Wars, Shadowrun (at least two editions thereof), Stargate, two different Star Trek games, Vampire, Werewolf, at least two superhero games, Warhammer 400K, the Indiana Jones Masterbook RPG, and Call of Cthulhu. (Oddly enough Call of Cthulhu was the first rpg I ever played, at the first convention I ever went to. I’m not a big horror fan, generally, but it was a new gamer friendly game, and it turned out to be more fun than expected.)

    I like gaming so well that I’ve actually played Vampire more than once, despite the fact that I don’t like it at all and have been known to call it High School: the Role Playing game. A game all about maneuvering through hostile, snooty social circles is just _not_ my cup of tea. Nor is one in which you play evil. (I may have just had horrible experiences with Vampire groups, which, combined with the fact that I cannot read White Wolf sourcebooks without feeling like they’re written by people who suck the fun out of _everything_ landed Vampire in the “least liked rpg” category.)

    My preference is for roleplay heavy groups, both because I prefer role play to hack and slash and because my dice _hate me_. One D&D group’s gamemaster invented a “mad alchemist” class for me after watching me go through several games with characters who almost never landed a blow due to my inability to roll a two digit number on a 20 sided dice. I rolled up random potions on the fly and then had to figure out how to use them. The character’s catch phrase very quickly became “Here! Drink this!”

    I do somewhat better with dice outside of D&D, but I outside of D&D I don’t build combat oriented characters anyway – I build the comic relief. Particularly in Star Wars (various editions), where I’ve played a ship mechanic (who had hilarious arguments with the ship’s pilot over who owned the ship because they both stole it at exactly the same time), a bartender (he was in the wrong place at the wrong time), and a ditsy gambler whose shining moment was disguising himself (accidentally) as another member of the group who was an Imperial defector.

    Though my unlucky, slightly sticky-fingered Starfleet Engineering officer ranks up there, too.

    (I should note that my characters’ disastrous escapades are egged on by the other players. I’m not ruining serious games with silliness.)

    I also like MMOs and am getting into other computer RPGs, but I’m not sure those really count for this. (They lack the social aspect.)

  2. Firedrake January 15, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Yeah, I play the occasional game.

    I mostly play (tabletop) RPGs (GURPS is my system of choice, because it supports the stuff I want to do while getting out of the way when I want to get inventive). Will play any genre, but I tend to prefer modern or SF over fantasy games.

    I also do quite a bit of boardgaming (recently lots of Flash Point Fire Rescue and a bit of Firefly). And a little bit of wargaming (used to be BattleTech in my seedy youth, now I’m going more historical, but I haven’t settled on a single period so I don’t keep miniatures or terrain — and I don’t have space for them anyway). Chain of Command is a revelation.

    Haven’t been into computer gaming for a while. I don’t have the reflexes of an 18-year-old any more, and I’m not really interested in most of the games that come out. Played a bit of Oolite last year. Orbiter is always great (a realistic space flight simulator).

  3. Lonespark January 15, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I love to play board games. Pretty much all of them, but I don’t think I tend to really grasp strategies that much? I get into the roleplaying aspects, especially in games that include a fair amount of that. (Like, if you are playing Twilight Imperium, and it takes four hours just to lose, you might as well enjoy your technological and diplomatic achievements and lovely space fleet and whatnot. And the same for games where you build towns of empires or whatever…)

    I might like computer games that are similar, like ones where you build civilizations… But I really like the tactile 3D aspect of board games… The challenge is getting a group together to play them. I wonder how well it would work to play on a video call? Maybe something very simple…

    My other favorite thing is fully participatory games and competitions. Like, fencing tournaments, soccer, wrestling, martial arts… and also arcade games where you actually hit something or fire a gun. So probably there are lots of things on the Wii and WiiU I would enjoy, but electronic games were never a thing I did as a kid, so I’m not used to it.

  4. Lonespark January 15, 2014 at 9:38 am

    And road trip games you play in the car. That’s less “like” and more “play to preserve Sanity points.” I went on a lot of long car trips as a kid. Sometimes my mom read books, and sometimes we played alphabet games or I Spy, etc. I mostly don’t have the reading option since it’s just me driving the kids around. And we can’t do books on CD because the CD player has one CD stuck in it for all time. The kids have had DVD players for trips, but after several were destroyed (in one memorable incident, LammasBaby poured a cup of water on/into one) we gave up. They do have a Kindle, but we collectively usually lose or forget the charger…

  5. Lonespark January 15, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Later I can mention specific games I like. I do think we may be included custody of board games in the divorce settlement. Those are important!

  6. christhecynic January 15, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Mostly a computer game person, often outdated ones. Greatest game of all time is 13, turns 14 this year, Dark Forces is old enough to vote. Monkey Island is how old now?

    Tend to do First person, generally shooter, RPG elements can be nice, but I’ve recently become enamored of Long Live the Queen which about as far from that as you can get without going full text adventure. (Still has RPG elements.)

  7. Firedrake January 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Yes, I’m also inclined to leaven the numerical exercise with a bit of role-playing. There’s some play-by-forum on BoardGameGeek, but for a video link I think you’d have to pick your game carefully — for a start, one where there’s no hidden information.

    Chris, The Secret of Monkey Island was released in October 1990.

  8. froborr January 16, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I have WAY less time to play games than I used to, but I used to be very much into video games, particularly JRPGs and the big Nintendo franchises (not so much Mario, but Zelda, Metroid, and Kirby definitely). I am currently sort of playing the most recent Fire Emblem, which is a lot of fun. I am definitely a crotchety old man when it comes to video games; as far as I’m concerned the medium peaked with the SNES. My favorite video games by genre:

    Platformer: Yoshi’s Island, unless the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl counts, in which case that.
    Adventure: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    RPG: My *favorite* is the Xeno[gears/saga] series, but I am aware that for all I love them they are also kind of crap. The actual *best* RPG is Chronotrigger.
    Strategy RPG: Fire Emblem: Whatever the Gamecube one was called, though I retain a soft spot for Final Fantasy Tactics. (The first one only, the GBA ones are awful.)
    Metroidvania: Super Metroid
    First-Person Shooter: Metroid Prime, unless Portal counts.
    Survival Horror: Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

    My favorite game ever, however, is Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters. It is basically perfect and you will never convince me otherwise. Gah, I think it’s turning 20 this year? 1994 sounds about right.

    (Also as I type this I am listening to the almost-seven-hour-long Final Fantasy VI OC Remix album. It is thus far about 90% amazing and about 10% obnoxious techno beats that go nowhere, which is way higher than the usual ratio for OC Remix.)

    I’m also a fan of the tabletop roleplaying, although lack of time and playmates has interfered severely with that. I run an annual BESM at Anime USA in the fall, where up en characters from various animated shows team up to fight evil in a setting connected with that year’s AUSA theme (for example, the theme last year was Edo Japan, so the setting was a town on the great Tokyo-Kyoto post road). The gimmick is that the game changes depending on what characters the players pick–for example, in last year’s game, if one of the players picked Doctor Whooves than everything that happened would be the result of a scheme by the Marester to steal the Doctor’s regenerations, but if no one did then the Marester wouldn’t exist. I run the game (which is about 4 hours long) multiple times over the weekend, and every year get the best compliment possible: repeat players who want to see what happens if they take different character combinations.

    Despite that the BESM game is my big yearly roleplaying event, my actual favorite system is FATE. I am actually in a weekly game for the first time in years, and having a blast. I’m playing Henrietta “Mintaka” Smith, basically genderswapped Indiana Jones IN SPACE! with a very little bit of Han Solo mixed in.

    I also play some board and card games. I like deckbuilding games–Dominion is probably my favorite. I also really like Ticket to Ride. For card games, I like the Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity/Channel A genre, of which the last is probably my favorite.

  9. froborr January 16, 2014 at 8:37 am

    depizan, if you like roleplay-heavy, dice-light games you should consider giving FATE a try.

  10. froborr January 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

    also arcade games where you actually hit something or fire a gun

    At MagFest a couple of weeks ago I saw the Fist of the North Star rhythm game. You put on boxing gloves and punched targets in time with prompts. It was kind of amazing.

  11. depizan January 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm


    depizan, if you like roleplay-heavy, dice-light games you should consider giving FATE a try.

    This is probably a weird and unpopular opinion (and based both on my having spent the most time playing very structured systems and having had some really terrible gaming experiences), but FATE and other more loosely structured systems seem like they’d be a paradise for min-maxing rules lawyers… and a complete confusing nightmare for someone like me. (Seriously, just trying to read the one version of the rules I found on line made me feel kind of sick to my stomach with anxiety.)

    Or maybe it’s just that I really, really, really, really hate selling things. Really. Hate. It.

    I don’t want to have to justify anything. I just want to make a nice, normal character sheet, and roll specific clear skills when I have to. That my average roll on a 20 sider is probably a 7 doesn’t impact my fun that much. Having to justify/sell/whatever you want to call it anything I want to do and what things I use to do it is so far into negative fun it makes Vampire sound appealing.


  12. christhecynic January 17, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I’m what’s apparently known as an RPG reader, I read source books, I like the world building and back story and possibilities, but I don’t play them.

    Also chess. I’ve not had an opportunity to play chess in ages, and I was never that good to begin with, but I like chess and the many variations thereof.

  13. Firedrake January 17, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I’m not a big fan of FATE. I realise it works for other people, but it just isn’t compatible with me. But then I run GURPS for people who say “I hate GURPS, but this is the only game that was still open” and they go away enjoying it.

  14. froborr January 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Hmm, I guess I was mentally equating dice-light with rule-light, but they’re not really the same thing, are they? I strongly prefer games with simple, even vague rules.

    I have not played GURPS; I have looked at the rules and come to the conclusion that it is something I would definitely not enjoy. It falls much too heavily on the strategy game side of roleplaying, where you have to analyze the situation and compare it to your defined moveset and figure out probable outcomes for each move and then select the best one and yuck this is why I hate chess. I vastly, vastly prefer games that fall more on the improv theater side.

    I’ve never had to “sell” anything in FATE, but the groups I game with tend to have a good understanding of the “yes and” principle of improv. I can see how even one person pulling a lot of “no but” could turn a FATE game exceedingly unpleasant by forcing everyone to justify their actions all the time.

  15. depizan January 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    That’s the odd thing about roleplaying systems – they strike people very differently. _I_ see FATE as much more like chess and strategy games because everything is all nebulous and vague and you have to spend all this time figuring out how you can justify doing things, whereas more structured systems I have an understanding of what my character _can_ do and the system fades into the background where I don’t have to think about it too much. So I see FATE pretty much exactly like you see GURPS only with some stomach knotting anxiety thrown in for good measure.

    I prefer the improv theater side of things, too. Just with very different systems.

  16. Firedrake January 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    One certainly can play GURPS as a mechanistic exercise; the way I usually play it is “what do you want to do next”, with a bit of “OK, roll against your X skill”. Then again, I don’t get on with loose improv-style games that force the player to be constantly putting himself forward in the group or nothing happens; I’m an introvert by nature, and doing that is work for me, not play. In a more conventional system, rotation of spotlight happens with a well-run session because the GM is rotating the skills and abilities that are needed, and I find that much less stressful.

    (As always, “what works for you”.)

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