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[GDS] February 2017 "Scattered audience challenge"

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richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

This challenge is part of the 2017 Annual Game Design Showdown to create the future of party games. You can read more about the Game Design Showdown in general here.

This month, your challenge involves how players sit during game-time. Often it's around a table - or if there's a big group game, in a circle. In this challenge, you must design a game where your players may have irregular seating. This can mean many things. You should focus on one or more of these with your design:

  • Players may be standing
  • Players might be sitting in various couches or chairs, but not in a circle.
  • Their may be players in separate rooms, or otherwise not be able to see or hear each other.
  • Some mix of these.

Your game can be any style, any theme, but it must involve one of the above non-standard player arrangement. The number of players is up to you.


Deadline: Entries must be posted by the end of Monday, 13 February.

Word Limit: Write a response with a 500 word limit. Post the response as a comment to this thread. (GDS entries no longer need to be anonymous).

Restriction: Game must involve one of the above non-standard player arrangement. The number of players is up to you.

Other rules: The normal rules for entries apply, as outlined in the Annual GDS description,. with the exception that **this month you may include a linked image with a diagram illustrating how players are arranged during play. This is the only purpose of the image, as it pertains directly to the challenge restriction.

Voting: Will take place during the week after submissions are due. A poll will be linked at that time for users to vote.

Joined: 01/27/2017
Suspect Pool

Still very new here, but here is my try:

Can you figure out the profile used to round up suspects? If you are one of the suspects, can you create reasonable doubt?

This game for 6+ players will test your memory and your skills of perception. You need sheets of paper, a way to track scores, a timer, and two distinct spaces that would keep groups of players from seeing or hearing one another.

First, determine the ground rules about what can and cannot be in a profile. By default, any visible trait is fair game. People who know each other well may wish to include names, hometowns, relationship status, etc. For anything ambiguous, players can write things on nametags (favorite movie, college major, etc.) so that they become “visible” traits. Depending on your friends, ground rules can get NSFW.

Next, randomly select an Investigator for the first round.

The Investigator has two minutes to determine a suspect profile, which is a list of traits that identify one-third to two-thirds of the remaining players. These traits are written down secretly for checking later. The Investigator tells the other players to “Freeze” and at that moment all traits are set. Anyone holding something will be expected to keep holding it, because that just might be part of the profile. Skillful Investigators will time the “Freeze” to when someone is pouring a drink, or lifting a couch to look for dropped keys. The Investigator identifies the Suspects, who are then rounded up and moved to the alternate space. Anything they are wearing, holding, etc. goes with them. The Investigator must reveal how many traits are in the profile, but not what they are.

  • Optional rule: The Investigator may include one player who does not fit the profile as an Accomplice. The Accomplice is identified just like any other Suspect; the purpose is to make unraveling the profile harder.

For those still in the main space, their task is to identify the traits in the profile, based on their memory of the Suspects who are no longer there (and traits discussed in previous rounds). For the Suspects, their task is to cast suspicion on someone in the other group. This is accomplished by constructing a valid profile -- with the same number of traits -- that includes all of them plus one person from the other group. The Suspects can see each other, but must use memory to include the “real culprit.” If Accomplices are allowed, one Suspect can be excluded from this reasonable doubt profile (but does not have to be the actual Accomplice).

If one of the groups delivers a correct profile within five minutes then each member gets one point, and no one else gets points. If neither group scores, the Investigator gets three points. The Investigator picks the next round’s Investigator, and play proceeds until each player has been the Investigator once.

Example profile: Wearing a belt AND wearing something blue AND holding a red cup that definitely doesn’t have beer in it since we’re under 21.

bluesea's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
The Smokey Room (February 2017 GDS)

The Smokey Room

Six to twenty-four players play elite members of noted Secret Societies. They conspire or clash to gain dominance in the name of their organization.


[24] Secret Society Tokens: 6 of each.

[96] Resource Tokens: 24 of each: POWER (red), WEALTH (green), INFLUENCE (black), and PRESTIGE (white)

[1] Bag

[6] Voting Vessels (3 YEA & 3 NAY)

[1] Conspiracy Deck

[1] Scoring Track


Place the Voting Vessels and Conspiracy Deck on a table. Place in to the bag an equal distribution of Society tokens for the number of players. Each player draws one Society token. Based on Society token, players take four starting resources each round:

ILLUMINATI = 2 Power, 2 Wealth

FREE MASON = 2 Influence, 2 Prestige

SKULL & BONES = 2 Power, 2 Prestige

TEMPLAR = 2 Prestige, 2 Wealth

BLACK CLAW = 2 Influence, 2 Power

BILDERBERG = 2 Wealth, 2 Influence


The game is played in six rounds with 5-10 minutes allowed for negotiation, followed by voting via resource allocation.


Turn over three cards from the Conspiracy Deck. Players review the cards and then begin negotiations.

All the events on the cards have two pieces of information: the required number of resources (Power, Wealth, Influence, and Prestige) for the event to be successful and the types of Victory Points awarded. VPs are also in the form of Power, Wealth, Influence, and Prestige, but are limited to one or two types per card.

Each Society can only score VPs that match their starting resource types. For example, the Illuminati only score with Power and Wealth and Free Masons only score with Influence and Prestige.

Everything is negotiable during the game. Players may even swap societies with a player! Any form of communication is allowed. Players may, for example, walk around house, text, sit in groups, or take a stroll around the block with a conspirator. Diplomacy and Deception are everywhere! Trust no one!

Sample card: (note: each card is assigned both a yea and nay voting vessel.) “Bring the global futures market to its knees!” INPUTS for Success: Required Majority YEA Votes: POWER + WEALTH + INFLUENCE OUTPUT: VP categories Awarded: PRESTIGE (Two VPs if Yea vote wins) or WEALTH (One VP if Nay vote wins). In this example, only Societies that have Prestige or Wealth as a resource may potentially score.


After the negotiation phase ends, players go to the table, one at a time, to allocate secretly their four resources. Players must cast all four resources when voting, in any manner.

To resolve an event, count the resources in each vessel. If the card has a majority in all inputs required for success, the Yea votes win, else, the Nay vote wins.

After all three cards are resolved, mark the scores for the Societies, restock player resources, and reveal three new cards and start a new round.


After six rounds, the Society with most VPs dominates and players reveal their allegiance.

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