Author: John Koller

Moderator’s Debut

I had proposed it to a friend and colleague, who in turn, presented it to the Social Committee and it came to fruition, my first Game Night at work. Many games were brought and played; Ticket to Ride, Fluxx, and Unstable Unicorns among others, but I was not only excited to introduce my coworkers to my favorite of games, Carcassonne, but also present the showstopper for the evening. I had based the structure of game night after the common way my board game club would run one of their events; a variety of tables playing several light and mid-weight games, then bringing the group together at the end for a game group social deduction or party game. The game of choice at this event, Ultimate Werewolf, and it would be my first time moderating.

I had played versions of Werewolf numerous time before and had experienced a variety of roles, but I was never comfortable lying, making accusations of attempting to defend myself from elimination; it just was never my style. I built it up in my head, this time would be drastically different, I would be moderating the game. Considering my past experience, I was both excited and terrified of this role. I didn’t have to be a villager or werewolf, I didn’t have to defend myself, but I was responsible for the setup and ultimately the experience of those that were playing. I did not take my role lightly.

I scoured write-ups and videos with tips for new moderators; cards to include and to avoid. I consulted my board game group for their experience. Through all the tips, recommendations, guides, videos and experiences, I built and refined a build of roles. I toiled over the balance and necessity to accommodate an approximate but not definite quantity of players. Not only was my build needing to be interesting, and attempt to limit the heavy actions / roles, but be flexible in the case of a fluctuating size of the group. I continued editing the lineup even up to the start of the event.

Games went well and, as expected, it was difficult to get all the varying tables to align on when their games concluded to easily move the group to playing Werewolf, but we eventually got there.

We had set up a semi-circle of chairs and a moderator’s table to easily transition people from their small group games to Werewolf. Players took their seats, I randomly passed out roles. I hurriedly tried using a moderator app for tracking players and roles to help streamline the night / day cycle and potentially avoid rookie moderator mistakes. Unfortunately, it did not help. The very first round, the werewolves chose a victim and I unceremoniously noted them to have been killed upon open of the day; they were the Cursed and should have become a Werewolf. I did not disclose the role to the group to avoid derailing the flow of the game. I did profusely apologize to the player I relegated to an observer far too early.

The remainder of the game flowed smoothly. Players developed a variety of theories of who was a werewolf and who was playing to other particular roles. In the end, to my surprise, no only did the villagers win, but only the Masons were left standing. Overall, the players expressed a very positive response to playing and many asked when we could play again. I am thrilled with the outcome from my first outing as moderator. While I do need to pay better attention to roles and their functions, I am quite pleased directing the game rather than playing in it – I have found the role best suited to me and it is the one I would have least expected.

Retrocoin Gen4 has been my home on the internet since 2003. Over the ages it has served as a individual outlets for my musings, coin-op game collection and adventures, my photographic work, tabletop games as well as console and pc video games. Over this 4th evolution of the site, I am aiming to bring it back to a focused continuity; this is my diary of hobbies and adventures, showcase for art and soapbox for opinion covering: Classic Coin-Op games, Console and Handheld games, Tabletop Games, 3d Design and Printing, and Photography.

I am the Retro Coin-Op Collector – my gaming interests go back to the days of the Atari 2600 (VCS). My family had 2 of the console, a myriad of games and regular competition for top scores. I then spent a lengthy time as a PC gamer; this was the mid 80s through the mid 90s. I played all the greats from ID, 3D Realms, Apogee, Westwood Studios, Origin, Lucas Film Games, Sierra, microprose, Infocom, Looing Glass, Team 17 and plenty of others I can’t think of at the moment. I saw the staggering jumps in quality, interactivity and depth as technology leapt over itself each year.

For Christmas of 1991 I was gifted a Sega Genesis along with Sonic the Hedgehog, and a slew of games that quickly became favorites. This spawned a continuing interest in consoles and handheld gaming that has become a collection with more than 45 systems spanning the Atari 2600 to the Xbox Series X. My console exploits has also generated a steadfast enjoyment of modern tabletop gaming. It was the Xbox 360 Arcade game of Carcassonne that piqued my interest. Soon after my wife gifted me a Big Box copy of Carcassonne and like my video games, it has rapidly expanded into a tabletop collection spanning more than 245 titles.

The late 90s and early 2000s and my interest of classic arcade games brought me round to spend volumes of time on MAME, the Multi Arcade Machine Emulator. During this phase, the big project was taking a classic arcade cabinet and converting it to a MAME machine. I was immediately enthralled with a project like this and ventured out with a friend to pester coin-op vendors in the area with the hops of buying a couple of old cabinets that we could convert. I was lucky enough to get a Pac-Man upright, my friend got a Street Fighter machine. Before gutting my cabinet, I tested the system… The game board powered up and there was audio response just no video, we tested the monitor from the Street Fighter cabinet as it had ben the same series display and to my dismay, it worked perfectly. I bought the monitor from my friend and had a completely working Ms. Pac-Man game in a Pac-Man cabinet for less than $100. The feel of playing Ms on original hardware was just too great a draw for me, I had to have more. I continued to get more coin-op systems… upright Asteroids, Battlezone, Gaplus (Galaga 3), a cocktail Pac-Man cabinet that had been converted to Arkanoid and an empty Taito cabinet I intended to transplant Arkanoid into.

My gaming adventures continue with new games, systems, and projects. I have designed and printed my own 3D components for video and tabletop gaming projects and take pride in photographing those games, projects; documenting the hobbies that have dominated my life.