Monday, December 30, 2013

Gaming Materials: Divinare

I don't how I found this quick game, but I did.  And I suck at it.  Therefore, I find myself addicted to it.

Divinare is a frighteningly easy game to learn.  Its theme and art is suburb, which is always a plus for me.  It looks and feels like you are playing a game of mediums, especially with the simple mechanic of just counting and predicting the number of cards.

But it has a deeper level than that; it feels deep.  There is a deeper, more complicated sort of bluff game going on underneath the hood.  As the game goes along, you try to make predictions- you try and guess by the end of the round how many of each color there will be.  You have to change predictions each time you play a card.  During the round, there are times you have to pass cards to other players.

Simple.  Other people have done good descriptions of how to play the game, let me more precise here in summarizing what I love about it.

Divinare is deep enough that its got a hook in the back of my head.  I find it fascinating, and never frustrating.  Its also all skill- luck really has little to do with.  Actions determine cards.  Counts are set, you just have to be able to get the correct numbers figured out before other players.

And I have tied, but never really won a game of it solidly yet.

Its challenge I hope remains there for awhile.

A brief aside: challenges are what we want out of our gaming.  Gaming should feel like its challenge of some sort, mental or otherwise.  The nature of that challenge- how do I defeat the dragon or how we succeed at Eldritch Horror, determines our real interest in it.

To really enjoy and figure out what kinds of games you want to run as a GM or a player, you really need to recognize the sort of thing that you like in a challenge.  The hard thing that gets your gears churning.  The one thing whose rush drives you to go at it again and again.

This changes over time.  Sometimes old challenges change or you get tired of them.  Its a quest you never quite have a solid answer for, what kind of challenge you enjoy.  But knowing it can make somethings easier.

I know I like intrigues and bluffing more and more than I do straight forward conflict.  I prefer the sneak attack, the blatant covert series of lies and deceptions that get a goal accomplished without causing any physical harm.  I like clever or sneaky a lot more than I do physical.

I think that is why Divinare appeals to me.  Its deep potential for complicated unseen bluffing of cards and numbers digs into my head and makes me eager for more.  I like being fooled, if only to be able to learn how to never fall for it again- or better yet, to use it to fool another.