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CHALLENGE: How To Draw Hidden Starting Hands

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AnEvenWeirderMove
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Here's the setup: Players are dealt role cards randomly. Based on those role cards, they start with a specific set of starting cards... for example, the Mechanic might start with the toolbox and the elevator key, while the Researcher starts with the Laptop and the Specimen Jar, and the Security Guard starts with the Pistol and the Locker Key, let's say.

Assuming there is only one of each card, how can these cards be distributed without revealing who took what? Such that no player can somehow look through stacks of remaining cards, or watch who reaches where, and deduce who is playing what role? Are there any really elegant ways to do so?

MarkKreitler
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Maybe this?

Rather than deal the role card randomly and distribute the remaining cards, try this:

A designated dealer places all role cards face down on the table, then deals the appropriate starting cards into each pile.
-- At this time, there is one pile per role on the table, and each pile contains the role card and its starting cards.
-- Only the dealer knows which piles are where.

The dealer then turns his/her back.

The remaining players, in clockwise order, take 1 pile and blindly re-order the rest.

After all other players have taken their piles, the dealer turns around and takes a pile.

The dealer reinserts the remaining cards into the deck without looking at them and shuffles.

Would that work?

Traz
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lions and tigers and cards!

3 steps.

Step 1: secretly deal the role cards. Players then look at their role cards, keeping them secret from everybody else.

Step 2: now secretly deal all the rest of the cards to the other players.

Step 3: now have each player pass a card to the player on the left - a card they DON'T need for their deck. Soon everybody will have their decks exactly where they need to be as well as gaining just enough info to be dangerous!

MarkKreitler
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Nice!

Traz wrote:
3 steps.

Step 1: secretly deal the role cards. Players then look at their role cards, keeping them secret from everybody else.

Step 2: now secretly deal all the rest of the cards to the other players.

Step 3: now have each player pass a card to the player on the left - a card they DON'T need for their deck. Soon everybody will have their decks exactly where they need to be as well as gaining just enough info to be dangerous!

+1, definitely!

AnEvenWeirderMove
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this is very very

this is very very interesting!

munio
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well that doesnt sound like a

well that doesnt sound like a great idea
imagine player A is a researcher and player B is a politician

in the first scenario player A passes a "officer" card, to player B . Now player B knows something about player A namely that he is not an "officer"

now imagine the following, player B already has one of the two politician cards, player A passes a politician card to player B, and player B passes the other item card to another player.
Now player B has both the items and does not need to swap anymore, thus giving player A all the information he needs to figure out that player B is a politician

i prefer the idea with one dealer looking away

wouldnt it be easier to print the items on the character cards, or are they going to be exchanged?

Traz
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not so fast

munio wrote:
well that doesnt sound like a great idea
imagine player A is a researcher and player B is a politician
in the first scenario player A passes a "officer" card, to player B . Now player B knows something about player A namely that he is not an "officer"

Not so fast. What if I'm player B and holding one of the cards unique to the politician [it goes in my deck] at the beginning, and decide to pass it along, knowing that everybody will have to pass it back to me?

I've just given them false information - very valuable.

In a 2 player game, this would be useless - but then, in a 2 player game, it would be difficult NOT to know who the other player is.

I suspect that the smaller the number of players, the more cards you would pass. For example, 5 players could pass 1 card, 4 players could pass 2, etc.

Black Oak Games
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I like the idea, but see a flaw

Once any players have accepted their cards, everyone will have much more information about the remaining players.

Say player A receives both of his in the initial dealing. If he never passes them, the other players may never know anything about who might have them - if each other player retains 1 card and gets their final card soon. On the other hand, the players who each pass 1 card on will find out quickly where that card stops - unless you can pass cards that were yours in order to plant false information. But...

Once you get close to the end, say players A, B, and C all have their cards, and the one remaining card of player D goes all the way around the table before getting to D - everyone knows who player D is. Similar problems if both A and B have their cards, and C and D don't.

I like the idea of giving players a little information, but don't see how this method will work.

The first method I think will work, and doesn't even require the dealer to keep his back turned for more than a minute - after the cards are dealt out, the dealer can turn around for a moment, allowing another player to mix the stacks, and then the dealer can turn back and each player can take a stack.

PenteVPM
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Another idea

munio wrote:

wouldnt it be easier to print the items on the character cards, or are they going to be exchanged?

This was my initial thought also. If the starting items were outlined on the role cards themselfes, the role card could be used as a playing card also, without need to deal additional cards.

However, I thought about this some more, and I begun to think what is the reason for secret roles and related starting items? Whenever you use one of your starting items, everybody is going to know anyway which role you have. This led me to think inverse approach; this may not work with your game at all, I'm just throwing ideas here:

What if your role is determined by your starting items, not vice versa? You could be dealt for example two starting cards, and depending on the combination, you could look at a table which tells what your role actually is. Thereby playing one of these cards doesn't right away tell other players what your role really is.

The Chaz
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Joined: 11/20/2012
Yes.

PenteVPM wrote:

What if your role is determined by your starting items, not vice versa? You could be dealt for example two starting cards, and depending on the combination, you could look at a table which tells what your role actually is. Thereby playing one of these cards doesn't right away tell other players what your role really is.

That is a great idea, but might get a little complicated in the design process.

Let's say we need enough cards for seven players to each have two cards ... 14 cards total.
The number of 2-card "hands" is (14 choose 2) = 91. A table with 91 entries ??

Let's make half the deck "roles" and half the deck "items". With 7 players, there would be 49 combinations. Still a lot, but you could easily have a 7x2 grid with all the roles and item functions listed for easy reference.

If the mechanic is ALSO dealt the wrench (1/7 chance), then that could boost a stat or give a special ability. Not sure if this is a good fit for the game, but I much prefer a table that is
(#of players)*(#number of cards per player) than anything involving factorials. The numbers get high quickly!

AnEvenWeirderMove
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In the game, cards are

In the game, cards are placed/traded facedown, and revealed in groups, so nobody knows who played which card, just that those cards have been played.

additionally, more copies of those cards may exist, but certain players should start with a copy of certain cards?

The Chaz
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AnEvenWeirderMove

AnEvenWeirderMove wrote:

additionally, more copies of those cards may exist, but certain players should start with a copy of certain cards?

^^this is confusing. I'll just assume that the "?" is a typo...

The simplest solution is to put the Mechanic card and the Wrench card in an envelope. All envelopes look the same.

Let's say the Painter gets two cards: the brush and the canvas.
If you want everyone to also have the same number of cards, you can give the Mechanic two cards: Wrench and a blank card.

munio
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Traz wrote:munio wrote:well

Traz wrote:
munio wrote:
well that doesnt sound like a great idea
imagine player A is a researcher and player B is a politician
in the first scenario player A passes a "officer" card, to player B . Now player B knows something about player A namely that he is not an "officer"

Not so fast. What if I'm player B and holding one of the cards unique to the politician [it goes in my deck] at the beginning, and decide to pass it along, knowing that everybody will have to pass it back to me?

I've just given them false information - very valuable.

In a 2 player game, this would be useless - but then, in a 2 player game, it would be difficult NOT to know who the other player is.

I suspect that the smaller the number of players, the more cards you would pass. For example, 5 players could pass 1 card, 4 players could pass 2, etc.

right but what would be my incentive for passing the cards that do not belong to me? what prevents this part of the game from taking forever because no one wants to give themselve away

I'm a big fan of the items make the character idea but i see that gives some design difficulties

JustActCasual
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.

The envelope definitely seems the most practicable method as the game is currently described...and it's a really neat component for spy/investigation/secrets flavour. I always loved the envelope in Clue.

Personally I like the items make the role option, but it has the downside of not showing the role after initial cards are traded, and would probably require slimming the cards to categories like weapon/tool/key/information/social which would only require 15 possible roles. If you wanted to keep unique items, you could just make each role single item related (if you draw the toolbox OR the locker key during the 'role draw' you're the Mechanic).

Really we need a lot more specifics on the game, especially the target dynamics and aesthetics, if you want us to give educated feedback. A mechanic in a vacuum is useless. Why do players want to trade? How often? Why do they want to keep information secret? How are the role cards used if you can't reveal them? Is this role assignment once in a long game, or do you have to do it multiple times across short games/rounds? What's the theme? All of these answers will help us provide better advice.

From what I'm hearing right now, you might want to look at the Battlestar Galactica game's method: roles are public, and dictate what general kind/proportion of cards you draw. When you play cards in to defeat a challenge, once they are flipped up you get some information but it's sketchy. Obviously some card types are more likely to have come from specific players, but you can rarely be certain, and even then you have to decide whether they deliberately messed things up or just didn't have better cards...

Alumidon
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Joined: 11/07/2012
Another Option

Here's another option:

1. The dealer shuffles and hands out role cards randomly.
2. The dealer shuffles all item cards into one pile. Ex: Politician cards are mixed with Officer cards which are mixed with Mechanic cards.
3. The dealer placed the cards in the center and each player draws one (or more) and discards the card(s) face down that do not apply to their role. This way no one, not even the dealer, known which cards were drawn and which were discarded.
4. If the deck runs out before all players have their hand then rechuffle the discard pile and continue drawing.

The issues with the is that it may take a while for players to complete their hands if they have 5+ cards they need to find. However, if it is 2 cards per role, like The Chaz was discussing earlier, it would most likely work. Good luck, it's an interesting idea.

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