Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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15 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    The lovely Natasha Likko invited over some of her colleagues last week for dinner and drinks and games, and one bought a nifty little game called “The Resistance.” I forget if you’ve written about it before.

    I was taken by the simplicity of the game mechanics and the complexity of the resulting game. You’re all members of “The Resistance,” which seeks to overthrow an oppressive regime. Only the regime has sent spies to infiltrate the Resistance. Each player begins as either a regime spy or a true resistance operative. Then the players rotate and form “missions,” selecting some but not all of the players to undertake them. Everyone on the mission must do something for the mission to succeed. So if a spy is on a mission, the spy can (but is not required to) cause the mission to fail. There are five missions, and if three succeed, the resistance wins; if three fail, the spies win.

    The trick is, the spies know who each other are. The resistance operatives do not know who is who.

    So the fun comes as missions are put together and people try to figure out and persuade one another who is a spy and who isn’t, and why. Clever spies will participate in these arguments to cause confusion, throwing actual resistance operatives under the bus. Add in several pints of Burt Likko’s homebrew, and this exercise in low-trust, unequally-distributed-information democracy becomes quite raucous and entertaining.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

      That sounds really awesome. It’s always a tightrope to play “one of you people is a betrayer” games, though. It’s far too easy to have “this is like the time I bought you lunch and you never paid me back!” leak into the game.

      “That was in 1997.”Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

        Try Masquerade (card game). It’s one of those games where, five turns in, you don’t know who anyone else is — and you rarely know who you are!

        Gameplay is simple. Everyone has a role (a card) face down on the table. King, Baron, Bishop, Guard, etc. — you can do one of three things on your turn. Look at your card, switch cards with someone else (you don’t have to switch. You put your card and theirs under the table, then hand one back. Neither of you can look at your card. People screw that up all the time), or activate your card’s special ability.

        Like the King can demand a gold coin (the counters) from everyone at the table. If no one objects, you get whatever the ability is.

        The thing is, activating your ability means anyone can call you — claiming they’re the King (if that’s what you were claiming). You both have to turn your cards face up. Things happen at that point depending on who (if anyone) is actually right.

        So the game is, basically, trying to remember who YOU are, trying to figure out who actually knows who they are (and if they’re lying) and deciding when to upset someone’s apple cart by swapping cards with them (when they don’t even know if you swapped at all!) — and verifying what your card is wastes your turn.

        All while trying to amass enough cold coins for the win.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Jaybird says:

        The nice thing about games like resistance, avalon, and one-night werewolf (which is another one i recommend), is that they’re short enough and strategic enough that personal politics doesn’t have a way to enter in to it.

        A lot of that defaulting back to something that happened in 1997 is because the players don’t have anything better to go on. I know the local werewolf games around here start by lynching whoever is wearing a red shirt, because you have to start somewhere, right? Not really a problem with resistance.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The Resistance is fun, but I’ve heard the Avalon variant of it (King Arthur and such) is the best version.

      I’ve got Masquerade waiting to play (I love bluff games). And I really want to play Werewolf, but haven’t had a large enough group to justify it yet. It seems like the most fun with 10+ people.Report

  2. Zac says:

    Just got paid, and I finally broke down and bought XCOM 2. Haven’t started playing it yet, but…soon.Report

  3. Alan Scott says:

    So the game you’re looking for, the one you wish the Ghostbusters game was? It exists. It’s called Ghost Stories and is published in the US by Asmodee.

    It’s like Ghostbusters except you’re taoist monks in china instead of washed-up scientists in New York. I’ve played it a few times and it’s quite good.Report

  4. Morat20 says:

    We had our pen and paper game last night, and I have to congratulate the GM.

    I don’t know HOW he did it, but when trying to deal with a cursed and desecrated temple — he somehow cursed our dice. I have NEVER seen so many fumbles in a single fight. We had quit right before a big fight the time before, so we basically started what should have been a medium difficult fight.

    We ended on the verge of a TPK, with our mages and clerics utterly drained and half our fighters crippled and near death. (The GM happily pulled a ‘refresh you all due to the grace of the God whose temple you restored’ thing so we could continue the “finish off this evil business for good!” and move onto the main player thing without “And we rest three days and try to find a cleric who can cast regenerate””).

    In terms of utter failures: One of the two primary fighters got feared off the bat, then when recovered fumbled so badly he cost himself a third of his hit points. The cleric got hit with some poison and ended up with a strength of about 2. One of our primary rogues (optimized for damage) managed to fumble so badly he ripped the leg off our paladin. (This was in a fight with a cleric and a fighter-clercic prior to the Grand Cleric and his major Bone Devil minion).

    The only one to walk away without a scratch was the bard, which figures. Who couldn’t ever get close enough to use bardic music, so had to resort to summoning monsters and spamming one sonic damage spell she had. The mage, of course, was an enchantress speciailizing in spells with will saving throws (against clerics…) and who resolutely refused to roll higher than 5 when trying to overcome spell resistance.

    We saw not one but TWO back to back “1” rolls (fumble plus fumble — so special failures/success table. Hence the lost leg).

    Crazy, but fun. It ended with having to run a complicated bluff on the town guards (we had to get into the keep while the city was on lockdown and our cleric suddenly a member of a “Kill on Sight” order) to somehow explain the footless hobbit paladin riding a panther because he couldn’t get OFF it. It’s not like he had a peg-leg.

    The GM, on the other hand, was rolling so hot he could have made a fortune in Vegas.

    And we’re all levels 6 to 8, so it’s not like anyone can cast Regenerate. We just got done clearing out the main church (desecrated, everyone dead, insane, or incapacitated) so the most likely source for “Regeneration” (to regrow his foot and my character’s EYE — that was just a critical hit) is dead or insane, and the only other potential source is frail and sickly. She MIGHT be able to pull it off, once we finish cleansing the city.

    That church fight was brutal. (OTOH, on the way to the keep, we got jumped by an ethereal lion. Who bit the cleric, who had recovered from his strength loss. He hit it so hard it’s head exploded. Ambush turned into a fight where two people got actions. One person trying to get to the lion while it had it’s teeth buried in the cleric, and then the cleric expressing his dislike for the situation via mace.)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

      When I first read this comment, I thought it was “Maribou” and not “Morat20” and so I was reading and nodding along and then thought “that’s an overstatement” and then “WAIT THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED!!!” and then I noticed that it wasn’t the person I thought was writing the comment.

      In any case: dude. Last night we had something similarly awesome happen.

      And on the last roll of the night, the Ranger (played by Maribou) saved the bacon of the Paladin, Cleric, Rogue, and Sorceror.

      As we were talking and walking out the door, the DM shared that he figured that it’d be a TPK and we could figure out some other thing to do next week.

      As it is, we had the last PC kill the last enemy on the last roll of the night.

      It was aweseom. Sic.

      It reminded me why I do this stuff every other Saturday.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

        We had some people play via Skype this time — an interesting experiment. It worked out pretty well with just an iPad on some books (facing the GM and with a view of the mat) and the occasional emailed or texted picture of the battle mat from overhead.

        FATE probably would have worked better than D20 (there’s less need for the fun “am I flanking him, am I exactly 10 feet away, etc which necessitated better views of the action) but it was surprisingly workable.

        The DM did declare text messages as “far more readable” for sidebars than passed notes.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

          Have you explored any virtual table software?Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

            We’ve looked at it.

            One of our players does a regular game that’s done entirely electronically and I think he recommended something the GM is currently looking at. We dipped our toe in by using Skype this week, and our GM has taken to running “side missions” with players who miss a session (we play about once a month) to get them XP so they don’t fall too far behind (and to actually let them do whatever it was they were supposedly doing when not with the main group) and has been doing that using email and I think playing with one of those virtual tabletop systems.Report