So, on the trip home from Erie, I found myself thinking about a game to play at my upcoming birthday party. Something similar to Mafia, but with a little more time to play and a little more than just simple social cues to work with.
This is what I came up with. I’d be interested in thoughts and feedback.
At some point, I might write some flavor text here. But right now, I can’t be bothered.
You randomly and secretly distribute roles to the players.
One player is Spy One, the super-spy. He has a special passphrase that he must give to his handler.
One player is the Handler, who is trying to contact Spy One and get the passphrase from him.
One player is the Counter-Intelligence Agent. He is trying to trick Spy One into telling him the passphrase.
Everyone else is divided between Loyalist Citizens and Dissident Citizens. The Loyalist Citizens are on the Counter-Intelligence Agent’s team, and the Dissident Citizens are on the Spy team.
Once roles are distributed and Spy One has his passphrase, the game begins. Ideally, you play this game superimposed over another event, like a birthday party or something, where people have reasons to duck off into corners and have conversations.
For the Spy team (Spy One, the Handler, and the Dissidents) to win, the Handler must declare himself and state the passphrase correctly.
For the Counter-Intelligence team (the Counter-Intelligence Agent and the Loyalists) to win, either the event must end without a Spy team victory or the Counter-Intelligence Agent must declare himself and state the passphrase correctly.
Stating the passphrase incorrectly costs your team the game.
No, you’re not allowed to show the card with your role on it.
And that’s it!
One adjustment I’ve been contemplating is adding a role called the Bartender. He gets to know the role assignments for everyone. Each player can ask him the role assignment of one other player, and he has to answer truthfully. Additionally, each player can find out from him who asked about his role, and he has to answer truthfully.
I’m torn on the Bartender. It’s really more of a game moderator role, truth be told, and not everyone wants to be in that position. (On the other hand, some people like being above the fray.) On the other hand, it does provide a starting point for the players to try to make contact with other players, and it’s very much in theme to have a quiet conversation with the bartender before sitting down at a shadowy table in the corner….