After a few weak attempts at decent meta games for our board game retreats (on my part, Chris B is quite good at this sort of thing), it seems I finally hit the money. The last time I had what I considered a successful meta game was at the very first Sunriver retreat, 20 years ago this November, where we played a Lost Cities tournament, with five or six games going on simultaneously at the same table.
I’ve already discussed what my meta game goals were, things like letting people play what they wanted to, not affecting the organic outcome of any games, and, of course, having people interested. I think I’ve come up with good ideas in the past couple of years, just not anything that worked well with this specific group.
For us, the Jackbox Party Pack games were perfect, internet access issues aside. They didn’t take a lot of time, they were fun for everyone to watch (just like some Olympic events), and they were light enough that people didn’t take them terribly seriously. The addition of “countries” to give people teams was a big part of the success, with a couple of the teams taking it to the next level, with motivational posters (OK, a notepad sheet on the fridge telling the Gildurians what the word of the day was) and even a couple of press releases from the Decaphlagians or whatever the f*K they were called.
The best part, though, was that everyone agreed we should do this again next year. I’m just glad we found a meta game that works!
So, without delay, here are the results from the various events.
Monday – Fibbage 3
- Alex R, Decaphlagia
- Matt R, Gildur
- Chris, Wookietopia
Tuesday – Tee KO (the one I’d get rid of for next year, use Drawful instead)
- Harry, Coolandia
- Alex R, Decaphlagia
- Yori, Wookietopia
Wednesday – Fakin’ It
- Rita, Ramatia
- Greg, Wookietopia
Thursday – Guesspionnage
- Ken R, Decophlagia
- Tai, Olympic Athletes of Tailand (late addition, only there for two nights, but represented!)
- Bryann, Coolandia
Friday – Murder Trivia Party
- Doug C, Coolandia
- Matt R, Gildur
- KC, Decophlagia (now Nonophlagia since Alex R had gone home by now)
Scoring worked as follows:
For both player and country:
5 points for Gold
3 points for Silver
1 point for Bronze
High player scores allowed earlier prize table picks, ties broken by overall country score, then randomized.
Here are the country scores:
- Decophlangia – 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze for 14 points
- Coolandia – 2 Gold, 1 Bronze for 11 points
- Gildur – 3 silver for 9 points
- Ramatia – 1 Gold for 5 points
- Wookietopia – 3 Bronze for 3 points
- OAT – 1 Silver for 3 points
Here are the personal scores including the tiebreakers:
- Alex R
- Doug C
- Ken R
- Matt R
- Doug W
After that it was by country if you hadn’t gotten a game, so anyone who hadn’t gotten a medal from Decophlangia went next, then from Coolandia. We didn’t really need to randomize this bit, it just happened organically, although drawing names would have worked well.
Considering we had 20 people over the course of the week, having 13 medal was awesome.
A couple of things I’d do differently –
- Use real names in all games played for medals. Too many times I had no idea who was even playing, and with Fakin’ It, it’s a necessity.
- Really press the cellular data thing. By far the biggest stressor for me as well as, I suspect, anyone who had issues. I lost a game because I never got a screen for Fakin’ It when I was the faker, and so everyone was pointing while I was frantically trying to get my phone to work correctly. Which, of course, it did the second I said the phone wasn’t working.
- Encourage more flavor, like national anthems, flags, a medal count board, etc. Maybe even actual medals if I can find a good source, 3d printing seems like too much work for this.
Thanks to everyone for participating, it was very rewarding to finally find something that seemed to hit all the right notes. I fear the day when we’ve burned out on Jackbox, though…