Episode 16: Eminent Domain, Group Think in Gaming and Getting Started in Hobby Gaming

In episode 16, the founders check out the deckbuilding, imperial science fiction card game, Eminent Domain from Tasty Minstrel Games.  Tony brings you all the juicy news stories from the gaming industry. Then the founders begin their series including listener submitted topics.  Today's giveaway winners suggested we discuss GroupThink and how it affects gaming groups and how to get started in hobby gaming.

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Episode Timeline

  • Eminent Domain Walkthrough: 00:39
  • Eminent Domain Review: 00:53
  • Gaming News with Tony Topper: 01:14 
  • Group Think and How it Manifests in a Gaming Group: 01:33
  • How to Get Into the Hobby: 01:58

Opening Banter Topics:

  • The founders are planning their trip to Origins in Columbus, Ohio! If you're going to be there and want to join us for a game, feel free to let us know.
  • Felicia Day and Will Wheaton will be at Origins promoting Geek and Sundry.
  • The founders reminisce about Origins and their favorite restaurant, Barley's right across from the Con center.
  • Jamie shares his review of Tabletop by Will Wheaton, Chris shares his review of The Flog by Felicia Day.
  • Tony is excited that he got an iPad and can play all the iOS games we talk about, they've wet his appetite to play Tigres and Euphrates, Caylus, and Puerto Rico, games that we haven't broken out in a while
  • Jamie picked up Food Fight by Cryptazoic and Nightfall by AEG for iOS, which we we discuss. Food Fight is a lighthearted mildly entertaining game. Nightfall really impressed Jamie and Chris, though it was difficult to get into without knowing the rules.
  • Brian shares that he's addicted to Malifaux, after his first game he went out and bought everything he could to fill out his army. He found a good deal, 25% off, at MiniatureMarket.com. He shares his experience painting the models and fielding them in a very late night game.
  • The founders discuss an MMA board game (Mixed Martial Arts) that popped up on Kickstarter recently. Watch the following video at your own discretion.
  • Chris shares his excitement about the Kickstarter for a 2 player Eaten By Zombies, which he backed at a level that rewards 2 copies of the game. When it releases, he wants to have a give-away for the second copy.

Walkthrough and Review: Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain is a civilization-building game in which your civilization's abilities are based on a deck of Role cards. At the beginning of the game each player has the same deck of cards, with just two cards for each Role in it. Every turn you must choose a Role to execute (and like Glory to Rome or Puerto Rico, your opponents will get a chance to follow suit), and in doing so you will add one of those Role cards to your deck. When executing a Role, you can boost its effect by playing cards out of your hand matching the Role you have chosen. For example, the more you Research, the better you get at Researching (because you'll have more Research cards in your deck).

Gaming News with Tony Topper

Product Announcements
Multiple Wizards of the Coast releases! Kaijudo Trading Card Game, will include a TV series, similar to Pokemon, MTG style mechanics Dungeon Command: Sting of Lloth a miniatures game, release date July 17th Rise of the Underdark, set in Forgotten Realms, bringing organized play and new sourcebooks!
Space Cadet, designed by the Englesteins, will premiere at Essen 2012, a cooperative game where 3-6 players take on the rolls of bridge officers on a starship.
Kickstarter Projects Ending Soon
  •  Edo: Players take the role of a daimyo in mid-second millennium Japan who are trying to serve their shogun. Use your shogun to construct castles, markets, and houses in Tokyo and surrounding areas.
  • Garden Dice: A a dice rolling, tile-laying, and set collection board game for 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up. Players take turns rolling dice to buy, plant, water, and harvest five different vegetables with differing point values.
  • PennyGems: Upgrade almost any board game by replacing the player markers or tokens that came in the box with PennyGems.
  • Fleet: Build a fleet and master the high seas! This was picked up by Griffon Games.
  • Eaten By Zombies! In Cahoots Deckbuilding to Die For: Designed as a 2 player standalone, but can be played as an expansion to the original More cool EbZ art too!
  • A Las Barricadas: A board game about conflict between opposing social forces, namely that of the state and of anti-authoritarian demonstrators. A two player game with each player representing one of these social forces, the theater of this conflict being that of a street demonstration.
  • Shadowrun Returns: At $660,000 in funding at the time of the recording, the original developer is making a 2D RPG for iOS and PC, with a level editor. $15 gets you a digital download of the PC version of the game. In the Kickstarter video the developers jokingly apologize for the XBox version of Shadowrun.
Product Releases Awards & Contests

Group Think and how it Manifests in a Gaming Group

As a suggestion from one of our listeners, Nicholas Rowe, we decided to tackle the topic of Group Think in Gaming. To start off, Group Think is a psychological state in a group where the desire to be in cohesive thoughts with the group impacts people's ability to develop successful strategies because of their desire not to cause conflict. People in a group tend to make decisions that have proven to be at least marginally successful, instead of trying new things that may be better. The idea was coined by William White in Fortune magazine in 1952, he discussed it in more of a business context where people ignore market factors without truly considering the implications. Interestingly enough, studies in group think often use games to emulate a business environment. The founders discuss how group think starts in a gaming group, citing examples where the first time a group plays someone develops a strategy that leads to success, then in further plays people emulate that specific strategy instead of trying to find other successful strategies. An example in tabletop is where people have the perception that something could annoy other players, even if it actually wouldn't, and instead of following through with that particular roleplay, they avoid it to ensure everyone is happy with the game. The more insulated a group is, the easier it is to develop group think. The difficulty making a decision in a game can often impact the players, where instead of taking the time to make a good, sound decision the players fall into copying other player's actions. Rushing through turns because someone is anxious about the time they are taking offending other players can also result in group think. One of the easiest ways to combat group think is to introduce more people to the game, whether it's tabletop or board games. Another great way is to go to a comic or game store and play with other players. Learn how other people play games. Encouraging players to be vocal, particularly ones who are staying silent in group discussions during cooperative gaming, can also eliminate groupthink. Playing games multiple times over and trying different strategies without stressing about whether that strategy will result in success or not. This is better for shorter duration games (one to one and a half hour games). For tabletop, try to create characters to play that are noticeably different than previous characters played. In the end, groupthink in a gaming group may not be a bad thing, even though it's typically a term used in a negative context. If everyone is in their comfort zone and having fun while being overly optimistic about chances of success, that's not a terrible thing. Simply step back and take a look at your gaming habits, evaluate whether groupthink is having a negative impact on your gaming group, and if you feel it is there are a plethora of options to address it.

How to get into Hobby Gaming

Jamie Pyne recommended a discussion on how to get into the gaming hobby. If you've played one type of game and are looking to branch into other areas this discussion is the one for you. To start, you have to evaluate yourself as a gamer. You have to figure out what is important to you, your gaming group, and how much time you're all willing to invest. When just stepping into hobby board games, you're going to want to take a look at a category of games called Gateway Games. They will ease you into the genre, with lighter rules and shorter play times. If you enjoy gateway games, you can transition to some of the heavier games of the genre. When stepping into tabletop, D&D is a relatively easy system to get into. The mechanics are moderately difficult, but there are per-constructed adventures available as well as D&D Essentials which is the light approach to getting into tabletop. Chris disagrees with us there. There are a lot of great resources out there to browse over to get a good bit of information. BoardGameGeek.com is a great source of information. The layout is a little complex for a novice, but it provides a variety of rating systems for families and heavy experienced gamers. The forums are also an excellent source of information and are very newbie friendly. Local game stores are another excellent resource to get into a variety of game types. It's common for comic/game stores to host game nights where they play card games, board games, miniatures, and tabletop games. The owners of these stores are typically very friendly to people looking to get into any particular variant of the gaming hobby and can point inexperienced players in a direction that will suit their needs. Don't presume that your friends aren't going to be interested in trying games. Invite them over for dinner and drinks and pull out a game. Tony says to just trick them and don't tell them you're doing something geeky! Gateway Eurogames Recommendations: Settlers of Catan the quintessential Gateway game (Brian), Puerto Rico was our groups second Gateway (Jamie), At the Gates of Loyang is a very simplistic theme that's easy to get (Chris), Agricola the family variant(Tony), Ticket To Ride (Jamie) Gateway Ameritrash Games Recommendations: Betrayal at House on the Hill (Chris), Small World (Tony), Survive: Escape from Atlantis (Jamie), Wiz War is great for people who are into fantasy (Jamie) Cooperative Game Recommendations: Pandemic (Brian), Flashpoint Fire Rescue (Jamie), Battlestar Gallactica is a great geek game with a traitor mechanic (Jamie), Forbidden Island is a good game to play with younger children (Jamie), Werewolves of Millers Hollow is a great party game that's good for folks who wouldn't necessarily get into board games (Brian) Gateway Card Game: Bang! (Jamie), Munchkin has a lot of different themes that's easy to play (Brian), Gloom has an excellent storytelling aspect (Jamie), I Dark Overlord is another great storytelling game (Tony) Good Starting RPG Recommendation: D&D (Jamie), Pathfinder has an starter set (Tony), Mouseguard is a good lighter fare style RPG (Jamie), Savage Worlds uses a pretty easy mechanic set and can be used in any setting (Brian) Miniature War Game Recommendations: HeroClix is highly supported by gaming communities (Chris), Dusk: Tactics by Fantasy Flight has a great starter kit which is expandable to Dusk: Warfare (Jamie), Malifaux is a great skirmish style game that doesn't require a huge monetary investment (Brian), Puppet Wars is a board game version of Malifaux (Jamie)

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