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