I have most of the rules hammered out for a traitor mechanic game called Xenophobia. This is a pure card game with no tokens, dice or boards. Currently the Xenophobia cards determine both the missions you can go on and the random event that occurs each night, so I'm working on how evil I want these events to be.
I'm a little worried because there will definitely be player elimination in this game (as well as adding to the ranks of the aliens). So that brings be to a question: how long a player would be ok with being dead and out of the game. 10 minutes? 20 minutes? I'm incorporating a mechanism to mitigate this with players taking control of another character (there will be nonplayer characters or "red shirts" to fill the ranks if you are playing with less than 8 players) if their character dies, but still there might be some elimination if the death toll rises.
Here's the summary of the game rules and components:
A Game of Intergalactic Paranoia
Number of Players: 1-8
Playing Time: 20-60 minutes
Start of game
• Draw 1 Researcher and 1 Covert Agenda card
• Determine Station Commander and Chief of Security from rank
• Deal 5 Mission cards and Pick Secret Mission cards from the deck.
• Determine if player Researchers sleep or stay awake (except 1st night)
• 1st cycle: player with worst rank draws a Xenophobia card and plays on self (or Station Commander draws if it is a “red shirt”); 2nd cycle onward the awake player with lowest hand size (worst rank wins ties) draws the card and plays it on someone.
• Resolve the effects of the Xenophobia card and the player who drew it keeps it face down until the end of the Work Cycle.
• Everyone else wakes up and the missions for the day are determined by the Xenophobia card.
• Station Commander forms Mission Teams
• Missions types include: Explore the planet, Lab/Autopsy a specimen and Interrogate a prisoner.
• Resolve the missions in order with each player on a mission playing 1 face down Mission card (of the Aid, Mishap or Sabotage type) and then the Mission Leader shuffling them and revealing the outcome.
• Players play Interrupt cards if triggered.
• At the end of the Work Cycle reveal the Xenophobia card if all missions successful otherwise apply success/failure game state changes.
Revealing the Xenomorph
• If a mission success or an Interrupt reveals that a player is the xenomorph then that player discards all Mission cards and draws a hand of 5 Xenos cards. These may be used to sabotage missions or as interrupts.
• Revealed xenomorph players draw 2 Xenophobia cards during the Sleep Cycle and play 1 card on the awake Researcher of their choice (which Researcher reads the card is still determined normally).
• A player may reveal infection by the xenomorph at any time, but in this case does not draw Xenos cards until a full cycle has passed (instead of immediately, effectively sitting out a full Sleep or Work Cycle).
Winning the Game
• After 4 Sleep/Work Cycles the rescue shuttle arrives and the game ends.
• Or the game ends when all of the player controlled Researchers are killed or infected by the xenomorph.
• When the shuttle arrives players reveal their Covert Agendas and any xenomorph infection and the xenomorph wins if there are any xenomorphs that have not been revealed while the Researchers win if there are not and there is at least one surviving Researcher. Researchers who fulfill their Covert Agenda win even if there is an unrevealed xenomorph.
Solo Play Variant
• You play both Station Commander and Chief of Security
• Each “red shirt” has 2 Mission cards, one face up and one face down, that refill when they sleep. If a “red shirt" goes on a mission the face down card is revealed and either used (if that mission type) or discarded.
• Play with 2 starting xenomorph Covert Agendas if you desire more of a challenge.
10 Researcher cards
20 Covert Agenda cards.
20 Secret Mission cards
10 Xenophobia cards
50 Mission cards:
• 6 Explore Aid
• 2 Explore Mishap
• 2 Explore Sabotage
• 6 Lab Aid
• 2 Lab Mishap
• 2 Lab Sabotage
• 6 Interrogate Aid
• 2 Interrogate Mishap
• 2 Interrogate Sabotage
• 20 Interrupt
20 Xenos cards