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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.

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