Winter is Coming
Welcome to Unscripted–a lighthearted, unrehearsed, and sometimes silly Q&A series with Rose Gauntlet Entertainment founders and tabletop game designers Isaac Vega and Lindsey Rode.
In this edition of Unscripted, we're talking family fights, life-sized boardgames, playing Magic in the basement – yep, you guessed it, it’s the holidays.
Let’s start with an easy one – what are your plans this holiday season?
Lindsey: My plan first is to have a lot of fun this holiday season. I plan on enjoying myself with a lot of good food and drink, and hopefully I'll be able to go out to Philadelphia and visit my family. However, I'm not 100 percent on that. If I'm not able to do that, then I will probably be playing D&D the entire holiday. So, loose plans on my end.
Isaac: Nice. This one is still up in the air for me. My family kinda has a lot of stuff going on. My sister just started a business a little bit ago. My brother moved to Portland. So, everybody's gonna be in different places this holiday. So, it's going to be a very like chill holiday season for me – just meeting up with friends, not necessarily big expectations on anyone's part.
But yeah, I'm excited to just have a good time. Take a little break, play some video games and relax this holiday season because it doesn't seem like there's going to be a big central party that I'm responsible for this Christmas.
What games are you looking forward to playing over the holidays?
Lindsey: I'm definitely going to be playing Marvel Crisis Protocol. I got the X-Men pack on a Black Friday sale, which was really cool. So, me and my husband are gonna be painting and playing a lot of that. We're super enjoying that game right now. It's probably the first miniature game that I've gotten this into this much. We're also playing the Shattered Obelisk for D&D, so we'll probably keep running sessions throughout December.
And if I visit my family, I'm hoping to teach them like one new game. Probably something cooperative, but I haven't really decided what that is. Forbidden Jungle would be really cool. I think my family would love Forbidden Jungle, but I have to find a copy of it first, and it's been kind of hard to track down.
Isaac: I have a winter edition of Patchwork that I haven’t been able to get to the table yet, but I really want to. So, I really want to play that this holiday season. I also have the Carcassonne Winter Edition that I think would be really fun that I haven't even touched yet. Also, I don't really ever play Catan, but I did happen to pick up a copy of the Game of Thrones version with my Asmodee work credits. I still haven't played, but kind of want to since it's, you know, very wintery themed as well.
Basically, I just want to break out all these winter games this season and actually get them to the table and then figure out if I want them on my shelf for the rest of the year. It's either you stay in or you leave!
We implore the same cutthroat tactics when we have people over to game.
Isaac: Yea, we've been doing it lately. The holidays are a good time for culling your collection.
Lindsey: Don’t tell me if one of the games I designed are in that death match – I couldn’t handle that.
We're gonna wrap things up this month with a blitz round of quick hit questions where you will be matching games to typical family scenarios.
What’s a game you would play with overly competitive cousins?
Isaac: If I'm going to do that, I really want to play something that is going to be heavy and crunchy, and I would love. I always love getting Lost Ruins of Arnak to the table, so I think that's a good one if you want to something crunchy and you want to be competitive. It’s also not super long for a crunchy euro.
Lindsey: I would take it in the complete opposite direction. I would play a cooperative game and I would not allow them to compete! We'd probably play one of the Forbidden games, especially Forbidden Desert if you really want to get crunchy and exert all that mental energy without destroying another person.
What about a game to play with your aunts and uncles that “just don't get it”?
Isaac: I think Splendor is a great game for folks that just aren't necessarily connecting with games. So far it's been pretty successful for me. Another suggestion would be anything that has to do with a regular deck of cards, because they do typically get that.
Lindsey: Yeah. I've had a lot of success with The Crew, especially the one that's underwater. That edition has some updated rules that are even easier. A lot of times they understand trick taking games because they grew up playing them, so you don't have to teach them how to play a whole new concept, you just have to teach them how to play this new trick taking game.
The other one is Rhino Hero – it’s been a hit at my house for years. It's just a deck of folded cards and you have a little wooden rhino that you move around, and you keep the building from falling over and anyone can play that game.
Isaac: Yeah, when I was at BGGCon, I saw the XL version of Rhino Hero and people were like getting up on ladders in order to play!
Lindsey: Yeah, I heard that got discontinued for exactly that reason.
Isaac: I was like, what is going on? This is huge!
What about a two-player game that you can sneak away from the craziness of a huge family gathering and play with your sibling?
Lindsey: Me and my brothers have a long history of running away to the basement and playing Magic the Gathering together. We each have decks that we bring and when things get a bit too intense upstairs we just go downstairs and play Magic.
Isaac: Yeah, I was gonna go straight to a CCG (collectible card game) as well. My partner David has been getting into the One Piece Card Game, so that's probably our go-away-and-play game. Just make some decks and enjoy!
Also, Seven Wonders Duel. I pull that one out a lot.
Lindsey: That's probably one of the greatest two player games of all time.
Isaac: So good.
Ok, what about the opposite – a game to play WITH the crazy, huge gathering of family that you can't escape from?
Isaac: Okay, so if they get it, and they understand it, it’s Wavelength. However, this has been such a game for me that can go really negative with people that aren't really gamers, but I still love playing it. Realistically, I feel like Codenames always works better.
Lindsey: Yeah, I'm also thinking of Codenames. I'd say Wavelength is probably the greatest Christmas disaster I've ever been responsible for. Like, Wavelength literally ended Christmas for us. Christmas was called early, because no one could handle Wavelength and people got too angry. So yeah, that game has been forbidden from my family now.
Isaac: It's so interesting. That game, I feel like, is made for anybody who knows what a game show is or has ever seen one. And yet it feels like it only works for gamers, but I do still really enjoy it.
Another one that's like been pulled out a lot in bigger groups recently has been Left Right Dilemma. The entire concept of that game is that you're trying to figure out which door to knock on at the bottom of the ski slope, and the ski slope is made up of cards with two directions that contain interesting scenarios choose between as they slide down the slope in that direction. Everybody's arguing about what scenario they think the person is going to choose and what direction they're going to go. I think that's pretty fun. It's kind of a nice icebreaker too and still really good with people you know pretty well because it can add to a lot of hilarity and funniness too.
Final question: what’s a game you always bring to play, but never actually do?
Lindsey: Ooh. Probably Ticket to Ride for me. I really want my family to know what Ticket to Ride is. It's so foundational to my industry and board games as a whole. And every time, we'll play a party game like Wavelength, and it'll be a bit rough. And then I'll look at Ticket to Ride and be like, not yet. They're not ready yet. They need something simpler.
Isaac: I feel like I'm gonna cheat and, and pretty much give you a category. It's whatever the latest Kickstarter game that finally showed up at my door. It's like, “Oh yay, now I have it! I'm gonna bring it to this gathering.” We never touch it. Like, it never happens.
Do you get overwhelmed with the concept of having to learn it in real time while you're also teaching it to people?
Isaac: Yeah, I think, I think that's part of it, but even when I've come prepared, it's like, no, let's grab this or let's grab that instead. I think sometimes it’s just that the new thing was interesting two years ago and now it's finally here and now it’s just not the thing anybody's wanting to play.
On the other hand, an honorable mention of just a game that works with everyone is Riff Raff. It doesn't matter what event I bring that to, it's always a success. People absolutely love that game.
A special thanks to you, the reader, for checking out our blog of foolishness. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!