Ceremony of Surprise

Picking Ceremony of Surprise party items at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

Picking Ceremony of Surprise party items at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

What if a party game leads to an actual party? That’s the ques­tion we posed ourselves at the start of 2012. We had decided to set apart some time for a self com­mis­sioned game. Something that could be shared with the world, and could also be run at game festivals.

Voting on Ceremony of Surprise party items at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

Voting on Ceremony of Surprise party items at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

The res­ult is Ceremony of Surprise—a per­form­at­ive party game. The premise: you are organ­iz­ing a sur­prise party for one of the play­ers. The catch: at the start of the game none knows who that is. Your goal: find out who it is, without giv­ing it away to the other play­ers. It’s a sur­prise party, after all. At the end of the game, you all shout “sur­prise” and point to the player you think is it. Whoever guesses cor­rectly gets a share of the cake. We’re talk­ing actual cake. If the ‘sur­prisee’ guesses her­self, the whole cake goes to her.

Playing Ceremony of Surprise action cards at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

Playing Ceremony of Surprise action cards at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

Throughout the game, you use action cards to gather inform­a­tion. New cards are earned by pick­ing a party item from the pool and hav­ing it voted into the party. This is a demo­cracy after all. Just as there is actual cake, these are actual party items brought to the game by players—or the game’s organ­izer in the case of a festival.

Ceremony of Surprise at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012 from Hubbub on Vimeo.

We’ve played this game numer­ous times with friends and strangers at our stu­dio, events at the Dutch Game Garden and best of all as part of the Hide&Seek Weekender. Wether play­ers know each other or not, the end res­ult is usu­ally a group of people in a fest­ive mood and a pleas­ant mess of bunt­ing, party hats, music, snacks and whatever else people bring to the game. The cake is an added bonus of course. Any excuse to eat cake is a good one.

Ceremony of Surprise cake being cut at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

Ceremony of Surprise cake being cut at Hide&Seek Weekender 2012

We invite you to play the game your­self, or if you like invite us to run a game for you. We’ve pub­lished the com­plete rules, includ­ing all the files you need to pro­duce your own set of game cards.

Ceremony of Surprise cards