UNO, Bitch!

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about a board game based on an MMO*. On the one hand, it’s social interaction with other human beings. On the other, it’s a board game based on an MMO. I’m all for board and card games. When I used to live in a house, UNO ruled the roost, with Street Puzzle Fighter II Turbo coming in a close second.

I enjoy analog games (I’m referring to board and card games, in this case) quite a bit. There’s nothing wrong with breaking out a box and getting some friends together and playing. Although the “getting some friends together” seems to be the hardest part. That’s why it was so much fun in the house. You already had the two to eight players necessary for a round of whatever you wanted to play.

Then there was the rampant cheating, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The house rule for UNO was, “If you get caught cheating, eight card penalty.” The operative word in that rule being, “caught.” I remember one time we finished playing UNO and we ended up with more cards than when we started. I couldn’t fit the cards back in the box, I think we had three decks instead of two.

The game isn’t important at that point, it’s the socialization. Which is why a version of World of WarCraft bothers me so much. The computer takes care of so many rules behind the scenes that you can socialize through chat without having to do anything other than have fun. When you’re rolling dice and following the rules outlined in a game manual that is forty pages long, I’m not sure you’ll have enough time to socialize when you’re not playing the undocumented super secret elite class, “Rules Lawyer.”

I’ve skimmed through the manual and it looks very tedious. I’m sure that there is a market for people that will buy this game, people who have level 60 characters, have all epic equipment, and are rabid fans of Blizzard. For me, that eighty dollars (Yes, eight-zero.) is better spent on my monthly fees.

Some may argue that pen and paper roleplaying games have rules, books and books of them. I argue that these games have Game or Dungeon Masters. Their role is to streamline games. The good ones bend rules when necessary, make judgment calls, and arbitrate conflicts between players. I’d like to take this time to point out an example from a friend of mine, I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting part of her story here.

Two characters (and naturally, the players) were having an argument over a ring which may or may not have been magical. Their bickering was holding up the game, and making people uncomfortable. It escalated to the point where one character actually swallowed the ring to keep it from the other character. In order to keep the game moving, she made a decision:

“You pass the ring in 1d4** days.”

I don’t see that in the WoW rulebook.

* Massively Multiplayer Online (Game)
** One die four. A pen and paper role playing game term that means, “Roll one four sided die.” 2d10, 4d8, 6d6, 1d20, etc.