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Hidden mechanic suggestions (targeting a specific player)

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/20/2010


I've been working on a semi coop game but there is one mechanic im having problem solving.

A brief description about the game:
Players take control over one or more characters and work together to try and make it to the end of the game. But theres always one (only one) player that is a traitor.

Each game round the players move around different locations and at the end of each round the players have to play cards at each location they visited. Each locations deck is then shuffled and one by one they are revealed, so that no one knows who played which card. The normal cards just add or remove problems for the players.

So normally the players are attempting to play "good" cards but the traitor attempts to play "bad" cards. This all works fine, but theres one problem, the traitor should have access to one special card per other character in the game, that he can play to "kill off" the other characters, by playing them (instead of the normal cards) in locations that the other players are or have been in.

So how should the traitor aquire these without the other players knowibg who the traitor is. There can be up to 10 characters in the game, so he should have access to 10 cards.

If i add them to the normal deck, he might be unlucky and not draw any of them during the entire game.

If i add several copies of the cards to the deck, what should the other players do when they draw those cards?

If i give all of them to the traitor in the beginning of the game, then his entire hand will be huge, as he needs all of them and some normal cards. And every other player needs the same sized hand, so there isnt a difference in the amount of cards. And the other plsyers shouldnt get that many cards as it would be too easy for them then.

Preferably there wouldnt be 1 card per character, but how could the traitor pick out one specific character without it?

I tried a system where the was several of each char kill card in the deck, and each player drew 5 cards and discarded 3, this way the normal players would discard the kill cards but give the traitor a good chance of getting them. This was however not streamlined at aall and felt clunky.

Any help is really appreciated!


Joined: 01/26/2009
Location, Location, Location...

You say that players move around a board...

I'm not sure how the movement rules work or how the board is layed out, but it seems like the different "locations" (like "Conservatory", "Billliard Room", or "Hall" in Clue) could hold the key.

Perhaps you could have each card have 3 things that happen - about 1/3 of those cards would be 2/3 bad, and the renmaining 2/3 would be 2/3 good. You could also have some cards with 3 bad choices and some with 3 good choices, forcing players to sometimes play cards with bad effects, and forcing the traitor to ocasionally play cards with good effects.

The main idea behind 3 different things that happen is that only one of those things actually DOES happen, and it depends on the location.

Example of a card:

CONSERVATORY: each player discards a card
BILLIARD ROOM: [[player name]] may take an item
HALL: [[player name]] is killed by the traitor

**NOTE: I have no idea if your game needs items to accomplish things, or if players hold cards in their hand, these are just simple standard mechanics that illustrate the point of the mechanic behind structuring your cards in this way...

Now, that card has no effect UNLESS it is played in one of those 3 locations. If it is played by the traitor in the HALL, then the player listed in [[player name]] is killed by the traitor. Otherwise, if it is played in the CONSERVATORY (by any player), all players discard... and so on for all of the cards in the game.

The fact that each card has 3 locations on it should make it hard for a player to NOT be able to play a card (because none of his or her cards match locations they have visited), but it should work our okay - especially because players will be seeking to visit locations where they can play their cards with good benefits (such as in the above example - the player who could take an item if they were in the billiard room would want to go to the billiard room to play that card so that they could take an item). It will also make the traitor try to get players to go to certain rooms so that they can kill the other players.

The fact that each card will have 3 choices makes the card playable by both a regular player AND the traitor, but also makes the players (traitor included) CHOOSE which benefit they want from a card, and whether they will save it in favor of another card, hoping to get to another room before they are hindered or killed to reap a better benefit than the card could give them if they played it in the room they are currently in.

It wouldn't even necessarily require that you create more cards, just to repeat different effects for different players in different rooms, thereby increasing the potential number of cards (which will obviously be divided by three when you are finished).

Also, players continually drawing cards that say "kill [[the player holding the card]] in the CONSERVATORY" and the like, especially with cards like "[[player name]] steals a card at random from [[other player name]]'s hand" will give an ominous tension to the game - there will be a more obvious reminder that they could be the next victim at any moment!!

Joined: 09/20/2010
Thanks for the idea! This

Thanks for the idea!

This really seems like an idea I ought to try out, the biggest problem (i suppose) is that there would be a lot of information (even if you use simple icons) on the cards if there are different effects for several locations.

The way the good / bad cards work now is that each location is one of 4 colors, and if the card is of the same color its "good" else its "bad". If players would have a limited hand of cards, this would mean the players are forced to play bad cards every now and then, theyd just have to try and play it a location that hasent been affected by bad stuff earlier etc...

But as the cards now are simply only color coded, adding lots of icons would make it a bit more complex.

Ill try it out though as it sounds its better than earlier ways ive tried.


Joined: 01/26/2009
The color-coded locations

The color-coded locations might make it easier, actually - let me think about this for a minute - I may have something that won't make the cards more complex...

Joined: 01/26/2009
Color-coding the cards

What about if, instead of a specific location, the cards are color coded, with three colors on them, and you can play the card for a corresponding effect as long as ANY of the locations that have that color are populated.

The only thing you would have to modify is that if, say, the card had a green box (indicating the effect of the card when a green area is populated), for the traitor, it would need to say "if this area is the CONSERVATORY, [[player name]] is killed by the traitor". That would be only if there were more than 1 green area, of course.

I understand from the vague description of the ruleset that players can move through multiple areas, and they might not all be in the same area at the end of a turn when cards are played. In addition, players can not clarify which of the colored areas they wish to get the effect from, because doing so would compromise their identity (traitor or non-traitor) and negate the effect of hiding who played each card.

This can be fixed by giving certain locations or certain colors a priority or hierarchy.

For each card, list the effects in the CARD's hierarchy (for example, GREEN-RED-PURPLE on one card, but YELLOW-PURPLE-GREEN on another) according to which effect you would like to have priority if two effects are able to happen simultaneously when the card is played. Then, when cards resolve, if more than one effect CAN happen, the one listed FIRST is the one that DOES happen.

Then, establish a protocol for resolving card effects, such as:

1) Determine the color(s) of the location(s) on the board with the most players on it(them).
2) Resolve all card actions of those colors first and discard those cards.
3) If there is a tie for the most players in a location, resolve whichever color appears first on the card and discard the card.
4) repeat this process for the color(s) with the second most players in a location and so on until all cards have been resolved

That way, you could mask the traitor's card playing, and there would be subtle maneuvering strategies, since it will be easier for the traitor to kill players if they are in certain areas at certain times (just as in real life).

This will also give the traitor a sense of suspense and anticipation, waiting for the right moment to strike...

Joined: 09/20/2010
Thanks again, Yeah, I

Thanks again,

Yeah, I undestand it isn't easy when you don't have the entire description, but I left it out on purpose so that you aren't limited by my ideas (which probably still will change).

I'll try to explain again and more detailed this time (Sorry for the wall of text :) ) ;

The locations:

The board is made up with different locations (about 8 to 10 locations).
Each location represents a passanger car (called location from now on) of a train. This means that each location is connected in the front and the end with another location.
The locations have 1 of 4 colors, so the locations are either blue, green, yellow or red.
Each location also has a special location ability. (More on those later)

The last location in the line can be removed from the game in several ways:
Whenever a character is killed, the last location is removed.
Whenever there is X amount of cubes (explaining soon) in one location, those cubes and the last location is removed.

Because the 'board' gets smaller and smaller, it gets easier for the murderer to hide his tracks as the players cannot be so spread out.

The characters:

Each player controls 2 characters at the start of the game, and their hand limit is dependent on the number of characters alive.
The main reason players control 2 characters is how the player turn works, and the second reason is that players shouldn't be eliminated after the first kill card.

Theres also a character (officer or something) that no player control, but that the players can manipulate by using a location ability.
This character is also moved to the last location a character has been murdered in.
If a player loses all of his characters, he gains control of this character (which cannot be murdered).
Cards that are played in a location where this character is in, are not resolved.

The cards:

The cards are really simple, each card has a color and a number.
When resolved (more on that later) if the cards color is of the same as the location they are in, remove 1 cube from the location.
If the card color is NOT of the same color, add 1 cube to the location.

______ NEW ______

Thought about giving each character a number (for playtesting purposes) and if a card resolved is of the same COLOR as the location and a character (or cube, read further down) of that NUMBER is on the location, the character with that NUMBER is murdered.

Theres 1 exception, the Black cards, and these are used to activate the location ability.
So if there are 3 players on location A, and a black card is resolved, all those 3 players get to do that ability.

Playing on the board:

Each player takes turn and place 1 character specific token down on the location they are in, after that token is placed they may (if they want to) move to an adjacent location.
After all players have placed their tokens, the players place 1 card at a location per token they placed down in that location.
Theres also 1 card placed (from the draw deck) on each location per cube on that location.

When all the cards have been placed, the decks are shuffled and resolved 1 by 1.

So players can stand still and place several cards in one location, or run around and place 1 card in each location, or a combination of that.

Joined: 09/20/2010
The main problem (well at

The main problem (well at least what I can think off in my head) is that it might cause analysis paralysis;
if a player has to play 6 cards, they have to first check what color the location is, and then make sure there are no characters of that number on the location. So they don't kill off a character by mistake.

I'm going to have to try it out and see how it fares :)

Could reduce the amount of tokens available per player to 2 instead of 3

Joined: 12/17/2010
What about this...

Let's say you have 6 players. You divide the deck into 6 piles, but one pile has been specially designed to contain all of the killers cards (as well so some regular cards mixed in). Then, those piles are placed in 6 separate locations around the board. Each player draws from their own pile each time.

As long as you can figure out a way for whoever set up the deck to not know which deck was placed where (they turn their back and have another player place the piles)...then no one has any idea who is the killer. Everyone draws their hand...whoever has drawn killer cards now realizes they are the killer.

Make sense?

Joined: 04/18/2009
Hi SuperioR, I have an idea

Hi SuperioR,

I have an idea on how you could solv your problem without adding any more cards. Well actualy there is two variants of this that should work. First just have the players draw there caracter seacretly, this way it do not mater if we know that "Bob" is the evil one. Becaus we do not know what caracter Bob is playing.

The secons option is if you do like in the game "Jack". There the evil player draws one caracter so he knows who that is. In the game all players can move all caracters. So on the players turn he just choses one and moves them. This variant have the drawback in that the other players do not play one caracter but they play all of the,. But on the otherhand this can also be a good thing. If a player gets killed early, what do that player do for the rest of the game. He that player gets to keep playing.

Well that is my thought on how you can solve your problem.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
The "kill the character in

The "kill the character in location" has also been used by "hui clos"

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