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Cheater's Game

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InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008

Two days ago, a friend of mine posited a way to encourage whistle-blowing as a way of preventing the kinds of financial crimes we've seen lately. On that same day, my wife told me about an interesting psychological experiment in fairness. Yesterday, these two ideas turned into the following game (it came to me as I woke up):

Cheater’s Game
A game for 3 to 5 would-be Wall Street barons
by Jonathan Leistiko
inspired by comments from Leif Brown and Sharon Cichelli

End the game with the most points. Points come in two “flavors”: honest and cheater. Cheater points are easier to acquire, but have risks associated with them.

You Need:
About 10 six-sided dice
An honest score track with one score pawn for each player.
A ten-turn tracker with a turn pawn on it.
A cheater’s score track with five sets of alliance pawns. Each set of alliance pawns has one tracker pawn, one leader pawn, and four member pawns.

Put the tracks, dice, and alliance pawn sets where everyone can reach them.
Give each player a score pawn. Put your score pawn at zero on the honest score track.
Put the turn pawn at zero on the turn tracker.
Pick a player to go first. Put the turn tracker to the right of the first player.

On your turn, you can roll one die, then advance your honest score marker that far.

Alternately, you can form a cheater’s alliance with one or more other players. Put a cheater’s alliance leader pawn in front of you and a cheater’s alliance member pawn in front of each willing member of the alliance. Put a cheater’s alliance tracker pawn at zero on the cheater’s score track. If you’re the leader of one or more alliances, you roll one die for each member in the alliance. Sum the dice, then move the alliance tracker pawn that far on the cheater’s score track. You get to roll alliance dice on the turn you form an alliance.

If you roll dice and get duplicated results, sum all duplicated dice. This is a bonus pool. Split this pool in to two parts and offer one part to another player. If that player accepts the offer, they add the offer to their score and you add the part you kept to your honest score.

If you are in an alliance, you can pass your turn to turn your companions in (whistleblow). If you do, add all the points the alliance made to your honest score. The other members of the alliance must subtract the same number from their honest score and must pass their next turn. Return all pawns for that alliance to the pool of pawns.

At the end of your turn, play passes to the left. When play passes over the turn tracker, advance the turn pawn one step. If the turn pawn lands on the space marked “end” (after the space marked “10”), the game ends.

Add your honest score to your cheater’s score. The player with the highest total score wins.

Origin & Credits:
Wrote the game up on Dec 18, 2008. Got the ideas for the game from Sharon and Leif on Dec. 17, 2008.

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
This would be an edit, but I'm too late...

Hi All,

I'd edit the original post, but I took too long to get back to it...

Instead of the rules above, please refer to the rules at:

They're mostly the same, but there are some changes and additional case-specific rules.

Best Regards,


MatthewF's picture
Joined: 07/22/2008
Very clever, Jon! (As

Very clever, Jon! (As usual!)

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
Danke. I re-read it and

Danke. I re-read it and realized that I forgot to say that if your bonus point split offer is refused, the points disappear.

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