17 Feb Card games in the sun
At Krillbite Studio we want people to be great at what they do, and have a great time while doing it. That’s two of the reasons we do activities together outside of work. We go on trips, go out and eat, game jams, play games, etc.
Card games and mind games
A weekend in January, we went on a cabin trip to Spain! It was the perfect get-away from the dreadful cold Norwegian weather, and it was an opportunity to bond within the company. We recently hired a couple of new people (say welcome to Alexanna and Torstein!) and there’s nothing better to create bonds between people than the old Norwegian traditions of card games at a cabin! No, seriously, it is a thing.
First, we played a card game named ‘Skulls or Flowers’. To play we used a regular card deck and made use of three regular cards, and one picture card (knight, queen, king) for each player. The regular cards are known as safe cards, and the picture card is a killer card.
First round starts with everyone laying a card face down on the table. A randomly picked person starts by either placing another card on the table or betting how many cards they can turn around without finding a killer card. You can bet as many cards as you like, but you need to be aware of how many cards are actually active on the table – and betting the same number as cards on the table is over the top risky.
If the first player lays down a card the second player has the same choice; either put down a card or start betting. Once the betting has started, no more cards can be added to the table, and the players can only bet higher and higher numbers, or say “pass”. Once everyone has passed to go higher than the current bet the player that placed the bet has to start turning the cards.
And then the mind games begin.
The eyes are a well-known way to tell what a person is really saying. While flipping cards, hoping to get X number of safe ones, there are lots of tactics and psychology to be utilised. Facial expressions and other subtle clues are key! You also quickly need to pick up on how other people usually play, trying to pick up patterns.
It took a while to get the hang of the game, some jumped right into it and bet high numbers, some excelled and some crashed and burned. If you can’t find the number of safe cards that you have betted you lose one of your cards. Which one is picked randomly by the person’s which card “killed you”. If you lose your own killer card you will basically be harmless in all rounds that follow so it’s important to hide which card you lost.
Adrian, our game designer, eventually won our game of Skulls and Flowers. He managed to pick seven safe cards. How? Well, some have had their cover blown by only having one card left and that card being a safe card. So those he knew was safe. The others he used luck and observation of the other players. For the last card Adrian said he knew it would be safe because when he looked at Rob, who held the card, Rob would not look him in the eyes. The eyes are a typical way of interpreting feelings, honesty, and meanings. Avoiding gaze would psychologically be interpreted as hiding something. Having a so-called “poker face” isn’t easy, and it can be used in more card games than poker!
Playing games are a great way to get to know people, a player tactic can say a lot about a person, but you have to pay attention to find out about it.
We also played a game called several names, like ‘The Name Game’, ‘Forehead Detective’, and ‘Who Am I?’. The rules are that everyone gets a note with a name on it which they can’t know or see themselves. Through questions where you can only get “yes” or “no” answers the players has to collect information to be able to guess who they have been labelled as.
Everyone wrote a name on a note to the person to the left of them. To get this game to work properly the name on the note should be someone both the writer and the receiver know of. A few guessed the note pretty fast, and some took ages. It is an interesting game to see how people work with the information they receive!
Bottom line, play games with your co-workers. A studio we know even jam and create the game they play themselves. You don’t have to be that hardcore, but big or small, we recommend it!