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Boardgames in the Boardroom - Entry #1

Dan Scott
Port Perry
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"Boardgames in the Boardroom" will be a series of blogs I'll be writing as a kind of game summary. Yeah, I could throw those in the respective game summary sections of the games we've played, but I think that writing them out into the RBGB blog will help to keep the records together, and I hope that as more of these events take place the RBGB blog will be a good way to look back and reflect on these game events.

But first, some context.

I work in the Human Resources department of a large consulting firm in Canada. I'm actually a recruiter, and I've been with this organization for about 3 1/2 years. During this time I've brought on board well over 200 people into the organization and I enjoy interacting with my new colleagues whenever I can. While we don't always work in the same office, I stay in touch with the colleagues I've recruited as well as those I haven't.

It came to be that early in 2010 I was attending the University Career Fair circuit, going from University to University, spreading the word that our organization was hiring and looking to meet some smart university grads who may be interested in joining us. I met a lot of different folks, and making a long story short we hired a couple of new grads - one to join our interactive department, and another to join our Management Consulting practice - we'll call this fellow John.

A few months down the road I disclosed to John that I was a board game collector, and shared with him why I liked boardgames, why I collected boardgames, and what kinds of games were in my collection; if I recall correctly, I shared my BGG game list with him to get a sense of the games I enjoyed and how I rated them. After sharing this with him, he let me know that he's also a Board game Geek - but while he is one, his background is in Magic - the Gathering and various Collectible Miniatures games (..like WH40k). He and I decided that we should get together sometime to play some games.. it was a great idea, but we lived in different cities and both worked long hours - so how would it happen?

We parked the idea for a little while, but then John shared my interest in boardgames with other folks in the Management Consulting practice - many of whom I had also recruited into the company years before. It turned out that many of them were also interested in board games, and though they didn't have expansive game libraries they were very interested in learning more about the available games and how they worked. I was keen to share it with all of these folks at large because, on one hand, I had an attentive audience and in another, I couldn't wait to match wits with folks who were a hell of a lot more intelligent than I am.

In about the summer of 2010 we agreed to meet after work to start to play some games.. the first task was to try and find a date that worked for everyone (some folks had family obligations, some folks had work obligations) and the second task was to try and find a place where we could all meet up. We were able to knock off the dates that worked (basically set days in the week where the consultants weren't on billable hours) and I was able to come up with the solution for location - the main boardroom in our workplace. It was pretty simple, really.. I got in touch with the contacts that I knew within the organization to reserve the boardroom after hours (provided there wasn't already some serious business going on) to "meet with the Management Consulting team". Perfect. We only reserved the room for 2 hours, though, (due to family obligations of my colleagues) so we had to try and find games that could play fast and were relatively easy to teach..

And so, "Boardgames in the Boardroom" was born.

The fist time we got together we played my copy of 'Quo Vadis', and the second time we go together we played 'Smallword'.

After quite a hiatus (we played Smallworld in August), we decided in December to start it up again - as the word was spreading that this even was going on, and more and more interest was being created with colleagues.

John had picked up a copy of Cutthroat Caverns and was looking forward to sharing it with the BGitBR group.

So we finally got to playing it today.

At first, we had to wait for a conference meeting to shuffle out before we took over the room, so during this time John took the shrink off of the box (yes, he had not even opened the box up after about 4 weeks of purchase! Such restraint..!) and went over the rules. He was going to be the teacher.

My other colleague went to see if he could wrangle up the originally interested parties, but unfortunately they weren't available. I had shared the BGitBR word with one of my colleagues in recruitment and he couldn't wait to get started.

So, after getting together, we started to go over the rules.

I had two other colleagues of mine in HR poke their heads in - "..wow, you guys REALLY ARE playing board games in the board room!"

"Yeah, you're damn straight!"

They were invited to join, and maybe they will in the future, but they both had family obligations that took them away.

So John went through the rules with the rest of us (there were four players total) and we got cracking.

On the first round, and first play, I already screwed my HR colleague over..he couldn't believe it but he was a very good sport about it..(always laughing) ... I figured the word "Cutthroat" is in the title so I should be cuttin' throats! .. It sorta bit me in the butt later..

As we played monsters and ultimately destroyed them, there were some rules of play that weren't being strictly adhered to immediately.. like, "Seriously, you have to choose an action BEFORE we start revealing ours".. but it didn't take long for everyone to 'get it'.

As we played, John's colleague in the MC practice was slowly coming up ahead, as he had helped me in previous rounds so I helped him. John was being a bit cutthroat'y himself by hindering us all, slightly, wherever it made the most tactical sense... (eh, it's basically called "playing smart" in game like this) but because the other three of us were playing a little more cooperative, John sorta found himself on the bad side of a slight 3 vs 1 gang-up. That is, we all wanted to kill the monsters, but we wanted to do it in a way that didn't really benefit John.

So, for the 8th monster we drew "Hate".

Basically, "Hate" can be either very simple, or very deadly.. Hate will have X health were X is the total amount of damage that each player puts on the board (1 card). X is also the amount of damage Hate will deal to the unlucky player 1, if he survives the first round. The caveats are a) if all values are zero, hate is destroyed but no one gets the victory points (IIRC) and b) whoever adds the highest value card to the table will be able to be player one, and will have the first shot of killing him... and, as such, the first shot at getting A LOT of points - provided they CAN kill him.

So I threw down a '5', my HR colleague threw down a '0', John threw down a '30', and John's MC colleague threw down a '100'. Hate would have 135HP and could do damage of 135 - if he had the chance.

Long story short, we let the first player kill Hate and take the big reward... and he went from 'a contender to win' to 'the highly probable winner'.

In the last and final round (vs. "Fear"), I ended up delivering the deathblow and gained 10 VP immediately - the biggest prize to date.

Final scores - (approx) 18, 15, 13, 8. I was second, John was third.

I think that we all enjoyed the game, but perhaps most importantly we enjoyed the ability to play games with our colleagues in a very interesting environment. We've agreed to keep this up, so I'm hoping it won't be another 8 months until we meet again.

Good times. If you're interested in seeing how the BGitBR develops, watch this space!
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