Besides our work for clients we enjoy making small odd games as experiments. Today we’re publishing one such experiment for your enjoyment. It’s a party game, similar to classics such as Mafia, Werewolf and The Resistance. But we’ve tried to explore the notion of performative games too. As the game progresses, players make actual preparations for a surprise party. When the game ends, the party is all set.
This game also marks the first collaboration between myself and Tim Bosje. Tim is an independent designer of roleplaying games, social games, pervasive games and so on. We share a lot of common interests so it seemed natural to see what we might come up with together. Working together was a lot of fun so I’m pretty sure we’ll give it another go some time.
Here’s Tim’s rundown of what the game is like:
‘The Ceremony of Surprise’ is our ludic spin on the ‘surprise party’. This game tasks you to organise a surprise party for one of your fellow players. The problem is that at the start, no one knows who that player is. All you know is one name of a person who isn’t “it”.
But this game is also about building a real party. Throughout the game you have to decide which ingredients – real ones, brought to the game by the players – are used in the party. Proposing that perfect accessory – that one perfect party song, your favorite drink or decoration – and getting it into the party, will reward you with new opportunities to retrieve information from your fellow players.
No party is complete without a delicious cake. In this game, you will have to earn your piece of cake by surprising the correct player. But don’t spoil the surprise, because if the player who is “it” guesses right, the whole cake goes to him.
If that has wet your appetite, head over to the rules page for all the details. If you decide to run a game don’t hesitate to share your experiences with us. Enjoy!