November Writing Challenge Day 22: Court of the Dead: Mourners Call

I’m blogging every day this month. Some will be game-related, but this challenge is different than my most recent play-a-game-and-blog-about-it challenge. I’m writing a single post every day: no topic guidelines, with some posts being a collection of random thoughts. Click here to read yesterday’s post.

Thanks to the good people at The Op, I was able to play a pre-release copy of Court of the Dead: Mourners Call earlier this year (I also wrote about it for Geek & Sundry). It was a terrific game; basically, it’s a next-step Blood Rage. There’s this whole back story about the ongoing war between heaven-and-hell and how you’re trying to restore balance to the universe.

Sideshow Collectibles did an amazing job with the artwork and components. The cards are beautifully designed and check out the player board trackers in the photo above: they’re these cool skulls that fit right into the theme of the game.

Along with the box art and the rulebook, this is a fantasy game that reminds me of the summers I spent hanging out with my friend Dave. We were teenagers with nothing to do during the summertime except listen to heavy metal, play games, and talk about girls. It was a lifetime ago, but we’re still friends to this day and while we don’t really listen to heavy metal or talk about girls now, we recently started playing games again.

In fact, we played Blood Rage on his birthday this year and I’m looking forward to introducing him to Court of the Dead: Mourners Call. I’ve already got the soundtrack ready for our game.

November Writing Challenge Day 19: Party Games

I’m blogging every day this month. Some will be game-related, but this challenge is different than my most recent play-a-game-and-blog-about-it challenge. I’m writing a single post every day: no topic guidelines, with some posts being a collection of random thoughts. Click here to read yesterday’s post.

I love me a good party game. At last night’s gaming event, I played two of my favorites: Just One and Blank Slate. Both are easy to learn and both are not easy to win. Just One is a cooperative game that gives you a ranking based on how many cards out of 13 you answer correctly. Our group last night did well and scored 9. I always play our one house rule, which is that there is no passing when it’s your turn to guess. If you answer incorrectly, you still lose two cards.

For me, the “let’s pass so we don’t lose another card” goes against the spirit of the game. What’s the point of everyone writing down clues if the guesser is just going to pass? I’d rather have them take a stab in the dark and risk losing two cards than playing it safe and losing only one card.

Blank Slate is another word game that’s been well received with my main gaming group and everyone I’ve played it with. The last two Mondays it’s hit the table with a lot of new and casual gamers.

For a competitive word game, Blank Slate is outstanding. It’s easy to learn and it’s perfect for a casual game night. Game play is simultaneous so there’s not much wasted time: reveal a card, which has a word and a blank, then everybody secretly writes a word to fill in the blank. For example, the clue may be “salt [blank].” See the photo above for what I wrote.

After all players have written an answer, they all reveal them. If your answer matches with exactly one person, then you each get three points. If your answer matches with two or more people, all the matching players get one point each. If nobody matches you, then you get zero points. The first player to collect 25 points is the winner.

I love the Dixit-style scoring in Blank Slate. It creates this fun dynamic of trying to be original in your answers, but not so original or obscure that nobody matches with you.

Games usually take 20 minutes to play and it’s also an excellent icebreaker. The group I played it with last night are new-ish gamers and they absolutely loved it. One of them messaged me tonight to say that one of their friends went out and bought it today!

Nothing makes me happier than hearing someone bought a great game. Whether they decide to dive deep into the hobby or not, we’ll see. But it’s always nice to see them take that first step.