Transneptune Games

warm games, cold nights

Secret Lovers: a half-baked game

Our recent radio silence has been the result of real-life busy and game-design busy. Apologies.

I mentioned over on G+ that I’d write up the Werewolf/Mafia game I half-baked the other night, and here it is. It’s untested, so play it and tell me whether it needs more salt:

Secret Lovers: a game of fucked-up sexual expectations

This is a game like Mafia, or Werewolf, where a group of people try to find who among them has a secret. In Mafia, a small group of people are killing off everyone else, and everyone else has to stop them before it’s too late. Here, two people are secretly fucking at night, when they shouldn’t be, and everyone else has to punish them through loveless marriages.

First, you need a bunch of people. There are three special roles, and you need a pile of other people to fill the generic role. There’s the arbitrator, who runs things and is not, as such, part of the game. They distribute playing cards to everyone, which are used to assign everyone else roles. They’re all generic villagers, except the 2♥ and 2♦. Make sure those cards are distributed, even if you have fewer than 52 players (good lord, 52 players!?) Those are the secret lovers.

Now, for whatever reasons, the lovers can’t be wed. Maybe they’re Montagues and Capulets. Maybe they’re Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist. The town wins if both the secret lovers are married off to someone else, not-lovers. But if the secret lovers can trick the town intomaking them get married, well, they win.

The game follows the familiar day/night cycle of such games. During the day phase, people move about, talk, discuss among themselves, and then come together for a vote and choose 2 people to force to get married. (People propose pairings, and then those pairings are voted on.) Once you’re married, you can’t get married to anyone else. You and your spouse must spend the night cycle in physical contact of some sort, though you are free to—and encouraged to—wander about during the day.

Now, during the night phase, no one is killed. Rather, the lovers get to open their eyes and must sneakily and stealthily move towards each other, make some kind of physical contact, and then get back to wherever they feel comfortable, give the all-clear by an eye-contact nod to the arbitrator, and then end the night.

Now, one problem I immediately see is that the town just has to marry off one of the lovers to win—because it’s just a matter of time until the second is married, and escape is inevitable. So I suspect that there has to be a secondary win condition for the lovers, something like a timer count-down until they can elope. Maybe it’s saving up money to head to the big city. Or maybe it’s a timer until one is visibly pregnant. Whatever. Let’s say, after 10 weddings, if they’re not both married off, the lovers win.

Start with a day phase, and have people mingle and talk, but don’t force a wedding on that first day.

When both lovers are married, they should reveal themselves and let the game end.

Sounds good? Try it, let me know.