We’re off on hol tomorrow with T’s sister et al, and I was thinking about a game idea to try out on them.
I wanted a game for four (or similar number) players with the same sort of vibe as the Mafia game (aka Are You a Werewolf?), ie played out via chatting, and with elements of pretence, detection, etc. And for it to use minimal materials, have very few rules, and be acceptable to “family” groups as well as to gamers.
This is what I’ve got so far: see what you think.
The initial scenario is set in Occupied France and is called “Resistance Is Useless!”, and a wide range of others can be devised as required.
There are four roles: the Resistance worker, the innocent Innkeeper, the German officer and the downed English airman. Each player is dealt one of these randomly as their secret identity. They are then also dealt one randomly as their pretended identity. So eg. you might secretly be the English airman, but pretending to be the German officer, etc. (At the moment I don’t think it matters if you’re pretending to be the same thing that you actually are, but that might be wrong.)
At the end of the game, each player has to write down who they think the others secretly are, and this is then compared with the truth to see who got what right. Each role has its own victory condition — to identify one of the other roles, and to in turn be identified by one of them. So if you’re secretly the English airman, you want to identify the German officer, and to be identified by the Resistance worker. If you succeed in both of those, you win. Ties are broken by guessing other characters correctly, and broken again by not being guessed yourself, etc.
Play is triggered by event cards. These are drawn randomly from a small deck and are just descriptions of situations, eg. “Important German general wants to stay in the inn”, “Valuable painting of the Fallen Madonna has been stolen”, etc. Three are drawn during the game, each launching an unstructured scene of improvisation around the event. When people feel they’ve had enough of that event, the next one is drawn. When the third event has been played out, the game finishes and the players must write down their guesses as to who’s who.
So the challenge of the game is to drop clues to your identity that will be picked up by one (unknown) other player but preferably not by the other two. This is the aspect I’m not sure about, as basically I don’t know if it’s really possible. But then that is true of Mafia as well, I suppose. My feeling is that as people relax into the game (ie. drink) they will let things slip, and it’ll still be enjoyable if they let too much go.
Any thoughts / ideas / hideous brokennesses?