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I'm thinking about a deduction board game idea for at least five players where there are two Spies who don't know each other (Spy A and Spy B).

Their mission is to accomplish mutual identification during the night phase (when other players closes their eyes) but totally secretly. After the identification attempt only the following outcomes are possible (publicly known by all players):

  1. Both Spies failed identification
  2. Spy A successfully identified Spy B (Spy B doesn't know who identified him)
  3. Spy B successfully identified Spy A (Spy A doesn't know who identified him)
  4. Both Spies successfully identified each other

In case of an unsuccessful attempt, they can try again to identify each other in next rounds, but all other information should stay hidden (e.g. which civilian(s) they tried to identify).

I had a lot of ideas for the mechanism, but none of them worked with easy setup.

It would be easy with a game master, but I want to make it an everyone-can-play type. What kind of a mechanism which uses cards or items might make this work?

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Hmmm... the best I can come up with would be need 4 types of tokens: 2 that everybody has in front of them to tell whether they are a spy or not, and 2 that are in the center of the table and tell whether each of the spies found his target.

Everybody has two tokens (blue for spy, red for not spy) with the same background. Before the night phase, they place the fitting token in front of them (face down, ofc). Spy A awakes, looks at one of the tokens of another player. If that player was the other spy, he flips over the "spy B found" token in the center of the table. Then spy B wakes up and does the same.

There are some drawbacks: -) you might be able to see whether tokens were moved. You can handle that the same way one night werewolf does.

-) people need to sit very closely, so it does not work for larger groups.

If you want larger groups you will need smartphone support or a solution that includes the spies walking around, which will very likely be very obvious.

Ps: what keeps the spies from just being very obvious about being the spies during daytime? ;)

  • Thank you for your idea. It needs some token which is very silent :) And I want to make it good for large groups too... App is a solution, My best own version is so far was everyone puts their hands in the middle of the table. Eyes closed. First spy opens his eyes touches someones hand. If he is a spy he shows thumbs up. After that Spy 1 sleeps back, then Spy 2 does the same. Spy 2 then knows if it was mutual identification. But problems are civilians will know they were touched, they can say "hey, he touched me in the night." maybe its not a problem as lies are common things in these games. – mue114 Nov 19 '18 at 13:23
  • Hands out will also only work when you are a small group, since otherwise you cannot reach all hands (and, as you said, it gives more information). If everyone places their tokens very far in the center ot the table, you will not be able to hear which of the tokens was revealed. Then the sound is no problem. – Lot Nov 19 '18 at 13:59
  • you are right, you gave a very nice idea! It is also important that after the night noone should know who were investigated. Thats why Ii thought tokens should be turned back to down position after checking, but something needs to tell Spy2 if his was identified or not by Spy1. Maybe a ringbell (spy hits it 2 times if he was successful, once if not), or some other tokens on center marking zero/partial or full success. – mue114 Nov 19 '18 at 15:36
  • Thats what i used the tokens in the middle of the table for. After the night, if one of those was flipped by an agent, he identified one of the others. I will highlight that in the text. – Lot Nov 19 '18 at 16:48
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If you trust everyone to not cheat (or mess up accidentally), you can take a regular deck of cards, take out two red cards and a suitable number of black cards, and shuffle them hand them out, every player looks at theirs, and then they put them back in order. Every night, each player takes the pile of cards, holds them for a set amount of time (you don't want people to know who's a spy by how long they hold them), and if they're a spy, looks at one of the cards (the position of the card in the pile tells them which player it refers to), then passes them on. You can also have a card represent whether a spy has been identified.

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