This Meeting is a Trap - play-test #1

On Friday together with @nadia @ivan and @jolwalton (thanks again!) we play tested the first iteration of “This Meeting is a Trap”.
The game is a social deduction game with some improvisational aspect to it: everyone plays as a Covenant citizen, but one is in fact a SPY. The goal of the citizen is to find the spy, while the goal of the spy is to survive the game.

The game plays though turns in which one player had to ask a question to the others to test their knowledge of the Covenant.
Everyone has a folder with information about the Covenant except the SPY which has just few paragraph.

We played around 35 minutes (15 minutes of rules) and then we had a feedback session.

At the moment the game is easily breakable, everyone can open a new tab in their browser and find the Covenant Wiki to assess all the information about it, plus there was also a way to break the game coordinating accusations, (the number of rounds to play was big enough for the citizens to try out random answers without loosing).

4 players is the smallest size possible for this game, which we agreed will work better in larger group (5-6).

At the moment the questions are too vague compared to the contents that everyone has in their folder, the result is that at some point, everyone is just making things up, which in part is the goal of the game, to familiarize with the Covenant, but there was too much space, now moving forward one choice could be about free questions vs more “quiz” questions.

The accusation and voting system is also broken, there was confusion on how an accusation can be made, what was the procedure, what was the consequences of a not successful accusation and so on.

We tested a almost autonomous rule explaining (the website has the rule organized in steps that everyone could read) but this was very clunky and everyone’s agreed that a facilitator could read the rules.

There was a need for more scene immersion, we mentioned background sounds, a better description of the scenery/what are we doing, at the moment the character are just waiting to enter a meeting and chitchatting, so it was not really engaging.

Also the drive of the SPY was defined as weak, (why is the SPY spying? What are the consequences?)

The SPY also is very powerless, the only thing that they can do is to survive, while in other social deduction games, usually the werewolf (for example) will kill someone every round. Can something similar be added in here?

My feeling was that in general there was positive misunderstanding, everyone was accused at some point or another, which is what is fun about social deduction games, but the game it is still a little broken and needs more love.

I think the format is promising because: 1) social deduction it’s a mechanic that is familiar to a lot of people 2) there is an interesting feeling about the Covenant after playing 3) with some technical advancement can be re-playable (multiple cities/different dossier/etc…)

I’m leaving out a lot of comments that emerged about possible solutions just because I will incorporate them in the new variants so we can play-test them.