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My Crazy 8s game journal entry...

~Thursday~ As part of my Games & Learning Design class, 20% of our grade comes from our Game Journal, in which we are required to make six entries. Here's how it's described in the syllabus:

Game Journal … 20%

You are required to play games this semester—the more, the better, and as often as possible. Six game journals will be submitted, with three submissions scheduled and three flexible. One journal submission must be completed for the following genres:

  • Video game

  • Board game

  • Training/Educational game

Your other journal submissions can come from any other genre including, for example

  • Social/Party game (e.g., Charades)

  • Role-playing game (e.g., Dungeons & Dragons)

  • Alternate reality game (e.g., I love Bees)

  • Card games (e.g., Poker)

  • Physical game/sport (e.g., Hockey)

  • No genre/cross-genre (e.g., Rummoli)

Although, I played this Crazy 8s game in class, which means it can't count as one of my six entries for a grade, I ran through the journal template to make sure I could answer the questions about the game, and to make me more aware of the things I should keep in mind when I'm playing a game that I'll write up that will count for a grade.

Game Journal

Your name: John Martin
Date played: 01/07/13

General
  • Game name: Crazy 8s
  • Genre: Cards
  • Four-word description: 8s are wild.
  • Describe winning condition: First player to play all cards.

People
  • How many people are needed? 2 or more
  • How many are optimal? Two is fun, but I think four might be optimal.
  • How many did you play with? Two
  • Who were they and how were they related? Jen Riehle and John Martin. Friends and work colleagues.
  • How many people knew the game? Both had played years ago, but needed to be refreshed on the rules.

Roles
  • Are there teams? No.
  • How many people per team? N/A
  • How many teams? N/A
  • Did any single person take a “master” or leadership role? N/A

Communication Patterns
  • What are the key social interactions (e.g., direct competition, collaboration, deceit, alliances, trading, parallel personal achievement, etc.)?
    • Direct competition
    • “Sarcastic verbal jousting” (because of our level of familiarity)
    • Yelling (excitement)
  • Was communication mediated? How? Perhaps by the speed of the game, and by how close to the end of the game we were perceived to be.
  • Was there (non-deliberate) miscommunication? No.

Time
  • How long did you play the game? We played for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Do you take turns? Yes.
  • How long does it take to play a full game? It probably took 3-5 minutes to play each game.
  • How long did a turn take? A second if you could play. Several seconds if you had to draw more cards until you could play.
  • How many full games did you play? We played three or four games.
  • How do you know the game is over? When a player “went out,” which in this case means had no cards left in his or her hand.
  • Did you pause during play? No.

Space
  • How much room does the game require? Enough table surface to accommodate the number of players; we had two players, so we used a small table surface area.
  • What level of physical activity is necessary? We were pretty much sedentary.
  • Is the game mobile? Do you end in the same space you begin? No. Well, I suppose we could play it in a car or other moving vehicle as long as we had a flat surface on which to place the cards. We, however, stayed in the same place while we played.
  • Are there environmental needs? Yes. A windy environment would wreak havoc.

Resources
  • What equipment is involved (pieces, board, console, etc.)? We used one deck of cards.
  • Are resources equally available? Yes. We each got the same number of cards to begin with and had the same chance of being able to play a card or having to draw one.
  • Are players eliminated before a winning condition is met? No.
  • Is anything physical produced? A discard pile.
  • Is anything physical depleted? Cards in hand. And the loser’s pride.

Rules
  • How long did it take for a shared understanding of the rules? Two or three minutes.
  • How does the game compare to the rules description? I found it comparable, especially since the rules said up front that there are lots of variations on them.
  • Did you change any rules? At the beginning of the third game, I think it was, we added that if you draw a four you have to pick up four cards before you could play even if you could already play.
  • Was a shared understanding of the game required of everyone? Yes, to the extent of the rules. Not so, with regards to strategies.
  • Were there any disagreements or arguments over the rules as the game proceeded? Well,I wouldn’t call it an argument, but we did discuss whether the requirement of calling “last card,” was a Crazy 8s rule or a Uno rule.
  • Did anyone cheat? No.

Affect
  • How did you feel playing the game? I had fun. It was fun to win whenever I did, but winning is a bonus for me. I mean I like to win, but when I don’t I’m totally satisfied for having had the social time together.
  • How engaging was the game? Marginally. Not enough that we couldn’t play more than two games without adding some “spice” to it with the “4-card” rule.
  • How did other players feel? I think Jen wanted to win a little more than I did. :-) She expressed more dismay whenever she had to pick up a whole slew of cards due to not being able to play, than I did in the same situation.
  • Did winners and losers have significantly different reactions to the game? I wouldn’t say so.
  • Was there interest in playing again? Not today. Well, it was either play more or go home. :-)

Learning
  • What did you learn
    • about the game
      • After the second or third round I realized it was more important to order the cars in my hand by suit rather than numerically when I started.
      • Eventually I remembered that holding an 8 for your last card if you can is a great strategy.
    • about the people you played with I know Jen pretty well; I don’t think I really learned anything knew about her; well, perhaps that she’s a decent shuffler, which makes me think she played a lot of cards growing up.
    • that is transferable to other situations Well, that strategy of keeping an 8 (or whatever the Uno equivalent of an 8 is) as a last card if possible, and to sort my cards by suit instead of number, also to Uno.
  • New content [e.g., about Shakespeare or Biology] knowledge: We didn’t learn anything outside of the domain of the game.
  • Strategy and Tactics that can transfer: None other than the ones I noted above about the game.

Brief Narrative
Write a brief narrative about your experience. Describe any notable issues that came up
during the game structure (mediating, group, materials) and playing the game (cheating,
confusion, quitting).

It was interesting to play Crazy 8s after not playing it for years and years. I found myself trying to correlate it with Uno, which I also haven’t played in many years, although not as many.

As I always have, with regards to the name of the game, I spent too much time thinking about whether it should really be called “Crazy 8,” instead of “Crazy 8s,” because if you say that the 8 is crazy without any other qualification, then it would imply that they’re all crazy.
But I pedantically digress...

We didn’t have any issues playing, but we did get bored enough after two games to introduce a variation of the rules to the game. It was fun, but not challenging enough that I would pick it up again without being invited, or coerced, to play, or without it introducing some kind of drinking element to it.

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