Opening Ceremonies at the Summer of Victory III

June 1, 2010

It was Jason, one of the hosts of the Point 2 Point podcast, that started it. A few years ago, having wrapped up another year of teaching, he declared a “summer of victory,” promising to win more board games than he lost. It did not go well, turning into a summer of defeat, but at least it wasn’t a summer of obliteration or anything. It became something of a joke on the podcast, with co-host Scott sarcastically asking him every episode how the summer of victory was going.

Two years ago, I declared my own personal summer of victory. Ah, the halcyon days of 2008: one year into my new board gaming hobby, I played 40 games between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, which would become the official start and end times of all future summers of victory. I won 23 of those games, batting a respectable .575. Last year, however, 2009, was a much different time. I don’t really like to remember that summer, in which I played 54 games for only 22 wins, a measly .407 average. It was the World Boardgaming Championships that did it, which dashed my hopes of ever being a world champion (it turned out I was just a local champion). I went only 2 for 16 in that hateful week in August.

But hope springs eternal! Memorial Day weekend just wrapped up, the official opening ceremonies of the 2010 summer of victory (in my head anyway). I hummed the Olympic Theme throughout, although I only won one of the four games I played while camping with the in-laws. As it turns out, cribbage is not my strong suit. However, the entire summer is stretched out before me, one glorious, sun-drenched time in which to…crush my opponents whenever, wherever, and however they oppose me. To victory!

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Game Day Achievements

March 25, 2010

Previously, I wrote about introducing achievements to our Metro Game Day. I’m pleased to report, the reception was great. Even among those who aren’t video gamers and the concept was new to them got into the fun of trying to earn achievements and making sure their achievement list was up to date.

Karate Kid Achievement

The Karate Kid Achievement

The achievements were created using the using the website http://www.says-it.com/achievement/steam.php. The website works rather well, but there are a few limitation. There is no ability to upload and use your own images and use of the site is throttled. In the middle of some achievement making marathons, I was forced to take a break and let the bandwidth limit refresh.

The achievements created were designed to reward play, embarrass, and give people something to brag about. The complete list of achievements is as follows:

  • A Dish Best Served Cold – Beat someone who beat you
  • A Series of Tubes – Reference the internet for more information on a game
  • And So It Begins… – Play the first game of the game day
  • Boom, Headshot – Make a video game reference
  • Card Shark – Play and win a card game
  • Cobra’s Worst Enemy – Roll “snake eyes” twice
  • Cornucopia – Bring food to the game day
  • Do Not Go In There – Hold up a game for a bathroom break
  • Do Or Do Not – Learn a new game at the game day and win at that game
  • Don’t Get Cocky, Kid – Win three games
  • Got Me Some Edjukashun – Learn a new game
  • Film Buff – Quote a line from a movie
  • Grain Sales to Soviets – Make a “Twilight Struggle” joke
  • Heartbroken – Fail to win a single game
  • Hobo – Roll “boxcars” twice
  • It’s a Trap! – Lose a game by being betrayed
  • Karate Kid – Knock, spill, or otherwise disrupt the game board due to animated movements
  • Life of the Party – Bring three or more games to the game day
  • Long Haul – Play in a game that lasts over two hours
  • Lush – Bring alcohol to the game day
  • Ninja – Win three games in a row
  • No One Suspects the Spanish Inquisition – Make a “Here I Stand” joke
  • Pity the Fool – Win every game played
  • Power to the People – Teach a game to someone
  • Return to Sender – RSVP for the game day
  • Rival – Beat or be beaten by the same person twice
  • Sonic – Finish an entire game in less than 15 minutes
  • The Hoff – Play a board game that won German award
  • There’s No I In Team – Play a cooperative board game
  • Those Things Cause Cancer – Hold up a game for a phone call
  • War Monger – Play and win a war game
  • Zombie – Stick around to play the last game of the game day

The original idea was to print all these out and have a large board where we could write everyone’s name and tape the achievements underneath. But time was short and arts and crafts isn’t my forte. So, instead I created a TiddlyWiki with tiddlers for each player and linked the achievement images into their tiddler. This was all displayed on a 23 inch monitor.

Long Haul Achievement

The Long Haul Achievement

The TiddlyWiki worked, but because so many people were unfamiliar with wiki editing and how I was linking the images, it ended up be a user unfriendly situation. In the future, I’d either go with the low tech solution and print everything off or go even more high tech with a custom written application and a 42 inch HDTV display.

So, for next time, TiddlyWiki is out and a custom built Flex app is in. The goal will be to have check boxes to easily update and unlock achievements and statistical view where you can compare two player’s achievements or see how many people have unlocked each achievement. Maybe by Game Day IX I’ll figure out how to get social network integration working so everyone can log in with their facebook account and we can embarrass them in front of their friends by posting their board game achievements.


Achievement Unlocked

March 12, 2010

Tomorrow is Metro Game Day II, as opposed to Rural Game Day I which is what it would be if I hosted. The game day was created to share our love of gaming with friends and acquaintances; a chance to try to new games, get people excited about gaming, and flaunt our vast collection of games that aren’t found on the shelves of Walmart.

At the inaugural game day, a rudimentary scoring system was introduced at the last minute. You earn a number of points equal to the number of people you beat. So, first place in a four player game gets three points, second place get two, and third gets one. It was simple enough, but deeply flawed. A two hour slug-fest of a Twilight Struggle game would only get you one point. In that same amount of time, another player could play a variety of party games and rack up a double-digit score.

For Game Day II, we went to work trying to develop a new scoring system. While a system that takes into account complexity, time, and number of players is very much possible, the tracking would have had to be done on a spreadsheet and arbitrary decisions to create weighted values for complexity would only lead to problems.

Borderlands: My Muse

Borderlands: My Muse

But in every dark situation, great men shine. I thought back to how I kept jumping off of cliffs trying to land on an enemy in the video game Borderlands just to get an achievement. (Let me tell you, it’s harder than you’d think, especially when you are targeting midget bandit ravagers.) But, if a little meta game reward could keep me doing stupid stuff like this, just imagine what I could instill in my friends!

That’s right, Metro Game Day II brings achievements! Perform certain tasks at the game day and participants will earn achievements.

Here’s a complete list of achievements. Except for the embedded examples, how to earn them will be kept secret until after the game day.

  • A Dish Best Served Cold
  • A Series of Tubes
  • And So It Begins…
  • Boom, Headshot
  • Card Shark
  • Cobra’s Worst Enemy
  • Cornucopia
  • Do Not Go In There
  • Do Or Do Not
  • Don't Get Cocky, Kid 1/3 Achievement

    The Don't Get Cocky, Kid Achievement With Partial Credit

  • Don’t Get Cocky, Kid
  • Got Me Some Edjukashun
  • Film Buff
  • Grain Sales to Soviets
  • Heartbroken
  • Hobo
  • It’s a Trap!
  • Karate Kid
  • Life of the Party
  • Long Haul
  • Lush
  • Ninja
  • No One Suspects the Spanish Inquisition
  • Pity the Fool
  • Power to the People Achievement

    The Power to the People Achievement

  • Power to the People
  • Return to Sender
  • Rival
  • Sonic
  • The Hoff
  • There’s No I In Team
  • Those Things Cause Cancer
  • War Monger
  • Zombie

Next week, I’ll describe how I made the achievements, how we gave them out, and the lessons learned from the game day.  In the mean time, feel free to speculate on how they are earned.