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A ludic spin on the surprise party

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!

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