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Old 10-30-2012, 01:36 AM   #51
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Has anyone run a game of Paranoia? I'm curious and wanna try it, but I can't find anyone around me who knows anything about it.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:11 AM   #52
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Shadows Over Camelot: played this game for the first time with a group of friends last night. It was very intimidating at first but by around the fourth or fifth turn it really clicked and I realized just how smooth and not so complex or scary it was. In fact, I had a really fun time playing. I played as King Arthur, and we kept the traitor card in the deck of loyalty cards and sure enough I happened to be dealt that one as well. So I played as a traitorous King Arthur who kept his traitorous intentions a secret by playing juuuuust ahead of everybody else in terms of cooperative performance and coordinating accomplishment of missions ... yet in the end the group only ever (ever) accomplished two things: one friend defeated the Black Knight in one jousting match ... and the table let me defeat Sir Lancelot and win Lancelot's Armor. At the end of the game, when I revealed who I was in the very act of dealing the killing blow, the table went all "Oh I knew it was you all along! I just didn't say anything!" full of horseshit. They had no idea. For starters, why would they have let me have Lancelot's Armor? Especially when I had (understandably!) suggested that I go fight the Picts because I had the cards to accomplish that mission (true!) but not the cards to accomplish the Lancelot mission (ALSO TRUE! ). Second through fifth, other signs. Suffice to say, they had no idea it was me. I didn't really have to play evil to win because the game is already sufficiently difficult for the heroes even in the absence of a traitor. ^_^; TBH, that was more or less what defeated them: not me, but the board game itself.

That stated, I can tell you that it was not the least bit discouraging or anything to lose that way. And I can say that because, as per how I stayed incognito and as per just the sort of player I am (very much a Light Side of the Force person, for all you Star Wars fans out there ), I was actually cheering my teammates on quite a lot early on (like when I was supporting this one other player to try and get Lancelot's Armor! A player who ended up doing most of the work! ) and was playing "for reals" as a hero early thru mid game because I figured it'd be the best way to keep them off my tail while I allowed the game board to grow. (I didn't want to lose Arthur's ability to exchange white cards for other players' white cards just because of a conversion of my coat of arms to the traitor side. It was a very, very handy way to basically aggregate all of the Fight cards in the game. )

I wanted to play a second game immediately but my friends are all partypoopers my friends said they "[didn't] want to ruin the game by overplaying it" or something. -_-; (IT WAS OUR FIRST TIME EVER PLAYING IT!) It took around 90-120 minutes for us to play the first time but that was with us literally reading the rules as we played and stumbling through a lot of the early turns. I imagine it'd easily be a 45-60 minute game in nearly all future playthroughs.

Would highly recommend if you have a group of friends to play with. We played with four people (me + three others) and it worked really well. I imagine three would feel kind of light but doable. Conversely I imagine five might feel a little crowded and might make you too frustrated as you wait for your own turn to return. The game theoretically supports up to seven players, but considering the sizes of the decks, the statistical likelihood of a traitor showing up, and the generous hand size rules, I imagine that seven players would be like a Nightmare Mode. Basically, you want more than two players. Three works, four is probably ideal.

If I had to give one warning, it would be to avoid purchasing the game if you or someone in your core circle of gamer friends is really moody when it comes to losing -OR- when it comes to playing Players vs. the Game boardgames. A new player joined our circle recently (a new friend of one of the long-time members of the group) and the new person seems to fit this bill pretty strongly. Which isn't really good for our group at all since we all enjoy playing games with significant challenge and in which we team up to beat the game. Whenever it was this person's turn, you could feel the enthusiasm in the room drop a little, contagious from just how little fun that player seemed to be having. Things ramped right back up again when that player's turn would end, but that's no way to have a game night. Not for them, not for your other guests. So yeah, if you are that person or if someone in your core group is, then I guess I'd say avoid the game. It's made to be challenging. It's made to fit the theme that King Arthur, try as he might, was really up against impossible odds to make the Camelot experiment work.

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Old 11-15-2013, 06:27 PM   #53
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So I've actually been playing some of these now. Current regulars at the place I do so are Eclipse, Lords of Water Deep, Thurn and Taxis, Pandemic, Cargo Noir and Fury of Dracula. Learning more all the time. Also something about a wizards tower but I forget its name.

It's pretty fun, if incredibly geeky.
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Old 11-15-2013, 06:43 PM   #54
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Of your list, I've played Pandemic, seen Lords of Waterdeep played, and know none of the others. ^^;

Tabletop games our circle regularly play:
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights (affectionately renamed by us Arabian Assholes)
  • Mansions of Madness
  • Shadows Over Camelot
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Tanto Cuore (it's Dominion but with otakudom maids)
  • Pandemic
Other tabletop games our circle has played:
  • Puerto Rico
  • Zombie Dice
  • Gubs
  • We Didn't Playtest This
  • Fluxx (including some expansions or side decks)
  • Apples to Apples
  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Arkham Horror
  • The Resistance
  • Takenoko
  • others, I'm sure
Traditional parlor games:
  • mahjong (Japanese rules)
  • hanafuda (koi koi)
Would recommend Shadows Over Camelot if you and your group do not mind games deliberately designed to have low odds of winning. Would recommend Arabian Assholes if you have a good sense of humor, love Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, and don't mind games where the fun is 99% in the journey, not the destination, i.e. you play to play, you don't play to win.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:38 AM   #55
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Is hanfuda easy to teach/learn? I've always wanted to play it but I'd have to recruit people to play with me.
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:32 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerichi View Post
Is hanfuda easy to teach/learn? I've always wanted to play it but I'd have to recruit people to play with me.
Yeah. I could try to teach you it on Skype some time if you want to. (Even today.) TBH, you could probably easily self-teach through trial and error and just ask me for questions here or in a Hanafuda thread in Clubs & Social. Whatever works for you.

When people like me say they like "hanafuda", what they're usually talking about is Koi Koi, a specific game that can be played with hanafuda cards. Wikipedia; picture showing what a typical game looks like at the start of the round

Mooooooooooore details!

Spoiler: show
This Flash applet was where I first played Koi Koi. I ended up gravitating away from it because (at least back when I was first learning) I felt that it was too difficult of an A.I. and I also disliked how it didn't use some house rules that most other Hanafuda apps (I would later discover) enable as standard. For example, it's a pretty standard rule that if you get seven or more points in one round, then all point values double. (So in other words, your possible winnings are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and then 14, 16, 18, etc.) As another example, a very common house rule in Koi Koi is that if you get the Sake Cup card and combine it with either the Moon or the Sakura Curtain, that is an automatic five points; however, the Flash applet I linked you to ignores this rule. (See: Yaku listings on Wikipedia.) What all of this means, in effect, is that it's harder for a human to win and maintain a commanding lead in this Flash applet version of Koi Koi than it is for a cheatey A.I.

However, I'm playing it right now for the first time in well over a year (the Flash applet, I mean, not Koi Koi; I play Koi Koi probably at least once every other day ), and I've gotta say: I am destroying this app so far. I think part of the reason is experience, but more specifically part of it is the nature of my experience: y'see, the app I got on my iPhone for playing Koi Koi has a funny idea for how to make difficulty levels. The higher you set the difficulty ... the more the A.I. gets to peek at the cards. It doesn't say this, but I've played enough games to know that (given the A.I.'s behavior examined in hindsight with numerous hands) that's what's going on. First it gets to peak at the next card; then maybe it gets to peek as far into the deck's future as it likes; then it gets to flat out see your hand. So I've basically been training in Koi Koi over the past year or two under the severest conditions. And now I come back to this Flash applet and it's like "YOU CAN'T STOP ME!" Example:



lol

Oh, and there's one other thing I forgot to mention which is really stupid about this Flash applet. In fact, it runs counter to the very notion of Koi Koi itself! And that's the fact that the app doesn't actually ante up when you koi koi. What I mean by that is this: in Koi Koi, once you have put together a winning hand (i.e. you've gotten even at least one point), you're presented with an option every time you do: continue playing for more points or cash in your winnings now. If you cash in now, that ends the round. If you instead koi koi, hungry for more points, you give your opponent a 2x modifier on his own winnings should he obtain any. So to explain what I mean ... say we're playing, you don't have a winning hand yet, and I make one that is worth 2 points. I then koi koi because I believe I can obtain more points before you can even get your first one. Then, three draws later, you've beaten me to the punch. What happens now is that you have the same choice I did (cash in or koi koi) but if you choose to cash in right now you're going to get double what you normally would have. So for example, if I'm sitting over here with 2 points and you just made a hand that's worth 5 points, it's actually going to be worth 10 points because of my avarice. Now, this modifier is only applied once per player per round (so I can give you the 2x and you can give me the 2x but neither of us can give 4x, 8x, 16x, etc. via subsequent koi kois), but still: it's a huge part of the game. I mean, it's embedded right there in the game's very name. The whole idea is "Do I risk losing everything but gun for the gold? Or do I play it safe and stop while I'm ahead?" And the Flash applet I linked you is devoid of this entirely. How do I know? Because there was one hand I played just now where the A.I. completed a hand before I did (bastard!) and chose to koi koi, and then I completed a hand and chose to cash out, but my winnings were not doubled like they ordinarily would have been.

So yeah, this app basically "cheats" by virtue of the fact that it not only ignores a ton of classic house rules but it even ignores the very core element which lent the game its name. Kiiiiiiiiiiinda dumb. ^^; BUT IT'S STILL A GOOD PLACE FOR A NEWBIE TO START! ^^; You can at least learn the basic hand combinations there before moving on to a Hanafuda app for your Android or iOS smartphone.

OH WOW, YEAH. It also cheats with draws. In most of the games I've played, the onus is on the dealer to win (because the dealer has a HUGE advantage in Koi Koi); thus, if neither player completes a hand before the end of the round, neither players is awarded points and dealership passes to the other player. However, this app apparently has invented some bullshit about "Dealer's Privilege" which awards the dealer SIX FREE POINTS (which is enormous in this variant since there's no 2x modifier for koi koiing nor are there the Cup Moon or Cup Cherry easy 5-pointers) and allows the dealer to retain dealership. Crazy.

Anyway, I ended up "beating it" by completing the December round in the lead (by 14 points), but the game apparently is designed to do two things:
  1. not end until it crushes the player's spirit by bringing them back down to 0 points (lovely -_-; )
  2. cheat increasingly severely as play continues
These past few hands, the game has been dealing itself perfect hands very early on while dealing me completely shit hands. It's done it four times in a row now so I don't think it's easily chalked up to being a statistical anomaly. I think it's just how whoever coded this app coded it. To try and inject some sort of challenge for players or something. (Dumb way of doing it. ) Will see how far I can get before I lose, but I'll go ahead and post for now.

If you'd like to dive in with a better app, there are a number of apps for iOS and Android. I don't know how the app I have compares with others -- when window shopping, most of the apps I've seen look like shitty "digital casino"-esque apps so I've been happy to stick with the one I have instead -- but the one I have is this one. Don't try to play online with others with it; its online mode is pretty buggy and there are ways for malicious players to abuse the penalty system (in place to deter people from ditching matches they're losing) such that you will be auto-disconnected before the game's even begun and penalized 100 points. If you find an app you like better, be sure to let me know.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:03 PM   #57
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I tried to play with an online game but it just confused me. I'll find an app and try to learn the basic rules. Maybe we can try to make a Hanafuda/Koi Koi thread if a few of us learn to play it.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:44 PM   #58
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If you do decide to give the Flash applet I linked you a look, I'd discourage you from spending too much time with it. The more I think on it, the more I simply can't stand how many rules it does differently from what I'm used to ... some of which just feel like they're plum wrong. Like what it does with koi koiing or what it does with rounds where it's a draw. It doesn't mean you can't use it at all. Like I said, I started there, and I think my understanding of the game turned out fine enough. But I also don't think I played on that site for more than a week or two before moving on to the phone app that I've since played for the past year or two. (And my phone up matches up with Wikipedia's article on Koi Koi a hell of a lot better than the Flash applet does. )

Looking for another place for you to play, I found this site, but man if they don't mess things up too. Or at least this sure isn't Koi Koi. Because they ... well, they just tally cards' individual points values (rather than making actual hands) and they keep on having the deck deal out cards (and players taking turns) until every last card in the center pond is picked up. That's not how Koi Koi works. Even if nobody has earned a point since a) the start of the game or b) the last time koi koi was declared, the round will end automatically once both players have exhausted their hands. But not this game! This game is like, "Let's keep on topdecking! " It's got to be some other game that one can play with hanafuda cards that isn't Koi Koi. ^^;

Yeah, if you happen to have an iOS or Android device (mobile phone or tablet), that would probably be your best option. I know that they have many Koi Koi apps to choose from. Finding a good one online is proving difficult. (I need to know where the Koi Koi equivalent of mahjong's Tenhou is! )
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:48 PM   #59
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I downloaded the iOS app and I'll fool with it sometime soon.
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:13 PM   #60
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Took me four tries. But I finally beat that fucking cheatey Koi Koi app. Good God, that was one of the most aggressively calculating games I have ever had to play in my life. Not aggressive -- aggressively calculating. Not only was it like a Spanish stage actor delivering Shakespeare in Portuguese, what with how I had to adjust my brain to the "similar yet different" rules (more on that below), but I had to really, really play a taxingly calculative game. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I don't know if you can really appreciate it from that chart, but I had to claw my way through each and every single one of those wins. Good God does this A.I. cheat once it decides its time for you to lose. (Which seems to happen at nearly the same point every game -- that first dip of straight losses you see in the chart.)

One of the things which made the game so challenging was the different rule set. At times, I felt like a professional Japanese mahjong player who had a seat in a Chinese mahjong tournament. To quote Master Yoda, I had to "unlearn what [I had] learned", placing new priorities on old cards. And it covered the whole gamut, from old silver being promoted to today's gold (blue ribbons, red script ribbons, boar-deer-butterfly) to old gold being demoted to new silver (Cherry Curtain, Moon) to old gold being demoted to new bronze (sake cup). I felt like one of the Apollo 13 astronauts, having to think and double think and triple think my actions in the short span of like 5 seconds. "Am I sure I should hit Button A34 and not button B22?" It felt like that. It was a very strange game for me that was very heavily focused on the ribbons and animals rather than on the brights.

Other things which made the game challenging have been discussed previously (lack of 2x modifier when anteing, lack of 2x modifier when scoring 7 points or more in a single hand, etc). But man oh man was this tough.

You may notice something if you look at the picture: the text isn't in English. That's because I was looking for resources for Jeri, one thing led to another, and from Wikipedia to Nintendo.co.jp to Google, I wound up on the Japanese portal of the very same link I gave Jeri earlier today. I was curious to see if they had changed anything. From what I could tell, everything was the same as with the English app. Just as hard, same rule changes discussed all day today, so on and so forth.

============================================

In other news, the points system I'm used to playing by is apparently (according to Japanese Wikipedia) the official Nintendo scoring rules. The most common alternative points system I've seen (e.g. Three Brights are worth 6 points instead of 5) appears to be some hanafuda organization's points system. I find it kind of amusing that, unlike with mahjong, there's no consensus about scoring which predates the 20th century. This is sort of like if the rules for soccer had two variants -- one being EA rules and the other being FIFA rules. It's like, we don't have a set of rules which predates either of these two bodies? ^^; But yeah, here's Nintendo's page. (As you can see, Nintendo considers Cup Cherry and Cup Moon to be standard combos.) Here are some of their decks currently on sale. Apparently their Pokémon deck goes on sale November 29 for Ľ2500 plus tax.
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