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Subject: The Thing: a Werewolf Variant. rss

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We're trying to get data on this variant. The tantalizing blurb is as follows:
Quote:
Thing is much like Mafia, except that the scene is an isolated Antarctic research station. The game starts with one Thing, a shape-shifter who looks and acts exactly like one of the scientists. Each night, if the Thing (soon to be Things) aren't caught, they make a new Thing, until the Things outnumber the scientists, and the game is over and the Things win. (If the scientists manage to identify all the Things, the game is also over and the scientists win.) Every day the scientists can test two of their number. If the second one they test is a Thing, they can test a third. If that one is a Thing, they can test a fourth, and so on.

From this, I would deduce the following rules:

Possible Rules for "The Thing"
1. All scientists go to sleep.
2. All scientists who are Things infect a victim (who is secretly notified)
3. If over half of the living scientists are infected, the game ends, otherwise everyone wake up.
4. One scientist is chosen for testing: if positive, he dies, else he continues playing
5. A bonus test is tried on another scientist: if positive, he dies and another bonus test is tried.
6. Bonus tests continue until either all infected scientists are killed or a negative result is obtained.
7. On a negative result, bonus tests end, the last tested scientist continues playing, and everyone goes back to step one.

Searching the net, I find a description of some sort of chat or PBEM version:
https://www.conquerclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=213&t=6988...

Quote:

The Thing (1+ player): This is similar to the mafia role in other games, when night roles around you have the ability to pick 1 player to kill, The Twist to this is, much like the movie, you have a chance to assimilate the person, but each night that passes your chances grow smaller (Note: when you have more then 1 thing, you still only pick a single player, you may PM each other to talk between yourselves as to who you pick) (Note2: you also play everything else out as a normal civilian durring the day) (Note3: If you attack a player who is under the watchfull eye of the doctor, your turn is wasted and noone dies from your hand)
--1st night 100% chance Turn into a 'thing', 0% chance the player dies
--2nd night 50% chance Turn into a 'thing', 50% chance the player dies
--3rd night 25% chance Turn into a 'thing', 75% chance the player dies
--4th night 12.5% chance Turn into a 'thing', 87.5% chance the player dies
--5th night (and all following nights) 10% chance Turn into a 'thing', 90% chance the player dies
GOAL: To kill/assimilate all other players

Rogue (1 player): This player will pick 1 person per night to kill, this is off of his/her own judgment as to who 'the thing' is, but if you make your actions known, your fellow people will kill you for taking the lives without trial (Note: you also play everything else out as a normal civilian durring the day)
GOAL: to kill the Thing by any means

Doctor (1 player): Has the ability to save the life of one player every night (Cannot choose himself) by 'staying the night' with someone, the thing will be forced to avoid them. However you do not wish to make your possision known, or else the thing will certainly attempt to take you down right away! (Note: you also play everything else out as a normal civilian durring the day)
GOAL: to kill the

The Researchers (everyone else): You play the part of the civilians, Durring the day time you will attempt to proove to your fellows that you are NOT the thing in desguise, while at the same time trying to choose another to kill
GOAL: to kill the Thing through popular vote

Does anyone has more information or ideas on this? Thanks!
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Re: The Thing: Werewolf Variant.
For completeness, here are the verbose rules I referred to before at
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/005581.html#59...

Quote:

#110 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2004, 04:44 PM:

how to play Thing.

get a referee and a group of players.
referee counts players, say 20. referee then takes a deck of cards and pulls out 3 black cards and 17 red cards. referee secretly hands out one card to each player, lets the player view them, and secretly collects them.

If player got a red card, they are a scientist.
if player got a black card, they are a thing.

Start of turn:

Daytime:

A player calls for a vote to test another player to see if they are a thing, and the rest of the players vote. if a majority vote is reached, the referee tests the player.

If the player is a thing, the player dies a horrible death.

if the player is a scientist, no harm is done.

The group as a whole gets to test two people per turn at a minimum. If the second person tested turns out to be a thing, they get to keep testing for things until they miss and test a scientist. (note this makes the game highly unstable)

Nighttime:

At night, all the players "go to sleep", which means they put their heads down, close their eyes, and hit their legs with their hands to make noise.

The referee then announces "all the things wake up".

The things lift their heads, open their eyes, and vote on which scientist to turn into a thing. The referee has to do this with no verbal cues from the things so as to keep the identity of the things secret. one approach is for the referee to run around the circle of players, and when the ref is behind the play to be thinged, the things all nod their head.

The referee then has to secretly inform the new thing that it has been turned into a thing. This is done by the referee running around in a circle and quietly nudging the player.

The referee then announces "morning comes and everyone wakes up".

End of turn.

At this point you have one more thing than you did during the previous turn. The players then have to decide who to test for thingedness.

Turns repeat until either all things are dead (scientists win), or things outnumber the scientests (things win).
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Re: The Thing: Werewolf Variant.
Rainbow Snake wrote:
For completeness, here are the verbose rules I referred to before at
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/005581.html#59...

Woo Hoo! I think my rules guess was correct! I'll try this at first opportunity and tell you what happens.
 
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Re: The Thing: Werewolf Variant.
I found this page a couple of years ago, and I thought it might come in handy. It's not exactly a werewolf variant, but it might give you some ideas if you're trying to come up with something:

http://kevan.org/games/things.html
 
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Re: The Thing: Werewolf Variant.
kifty wrote:
I found this page a couple of years ago, and I thought it might come in handy. It's not exactly a werewolf variant, but it might give you some ideas if you're trying to come up with something:

http://kevan.org/games/things.html
Very interesting. I'll give it a careful reading.
 
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Re: The Thing: Werewolf Variant.
sightreader wrote:
Rainbow Snake wrote:
For completeness, here are the verbose rules I referred to before at
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/005581.html#59...

Woo Hoo! I think my rules guess was correct! I'll try this at first opportunity and tell you what happens.


I had posted this in the other thread too, but it wasn't noticed!

kifty wrote:
I found this page a couple of years ago, and I thought it might come in handy. It's not exactly a werewolf variant, but it might give you some ideas if you're trying to come up with something:

http://kevan.org/games/things.html


Intriguing ... definitely different to Werewolf: essentially a card game, no moderator, no day-night phases, no voting.
Players are dealt a hand of cards and use those cards to attack each other or trade cards, sneakily infecting each other through trade. Rules a little confusing though.
 
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Re: The Thing: Werewolf Variant.
Rainbow Snake wrote:
I had posted this in the other thread too, but it wasn't noticed!

Aha... now I see it. I think I mistook it for one of my previous posts, as my computer sometimes jumps a bit while scrolling. It'll probably be a couple weeks before I get to try this with all the holiday stuff and people traveling.
 
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Well, we finally got a chance to try this one!

With 7 and 8 players, it immediately became apparent that the original rules - testing two players a turn - was not only too complex, but favored humans heavily. Perhaps we misunderstood the rules or the game was designed for more players, but we instead went with much simpler rules:

0. The player who draws the only Joker is infected by Thing before the game starts.
1. Everyone then votes on who will be tested for infection by The Thing.
2. If the person tested is a Thing, he/she is killed and everyone get a bonus test - go back to step 1!
3. If the person tested was human, no more bonus tests are given.
4. When testing is complete, everyone closes their eyes and The Thing secretly infects someone new to join its ranks.

This variant plays much faster than Werewolf. Eyes are closed for a short time, as the only night event is the choice of a new Thing. I'm sure this will change once we start creating special roles.


The game organically comes to an end if The Thing infects over half the population. At that point, there are enough Things to form a voting bloc that can override humans and ensure victory.

Of course, it's quite possible for humans to simply get lucky on their first guess and kill the Original Thing right away. With 7 and 8 players, this happened twice, which was a pretty accurate reflection of how many times we played the game.

Many of our players were experienced Werewolf players. The difference in strategy, however, made them easy prey for The Thing. In addition, people aren't often eliminated in this game (negative tests do not kill anyone). As a result, there wasn't a population of players who got to observe and learn Thing tactics from the grave.

Effective tactics were much more apparent to The Thing than they were to humans. The Thing noticed that Werewolf players tended to write off players who tested clean, so It simply made a habit of infecting players who were last tested.

Humans were also slow to understand was how quickly the voting bloc grows for Things. As a result, the natural tendency to vote with the consensus proved disastrous once the Thing controlled three players or so.

As a moderator (which may not be necessary, but I needed to observe stuff to make this report) I decided to even the odds by warning the Humans of Thing tactics I was seeing. This eventually led to more interesting games.


In our final game, the Original Thing, who had NO experience with Werewolf, successfully sensed where popular sentiment was heading and chose his recruits skillfully to avoid detection. Thus, he had infected 4 of the 8 players and had victory assured.

Original Thing realized that all the Things had to do was convince a single Human to test the wrong person, at which point The Thing voting bloc would be able to gang up on the faulty choice and win the game.

His schemes depended on a crack Werewolf player on the other side of the room recognizing this fact. Unfortunately, this player misunderstood his signals did not fully grasp this advantage - instead, he sought to sow confusion by using the old Werewolf tactic of turning on his own. The result of this excessively subtle betrayal was that the Original Thing was killed.

At this point, a talented Human (who also had never played Werewolf before) took over, recognizing who was in the "voting bloc" formed by the Original Thing. In quick succession (despite the feeble protests of the remaining Things), they eliminated two more Things.


However, Original Thing had chosen his allies wisely. His final ally was a girl so occupied with a toy that she wasn't really paying attention to the game at all. This made it very easy for her to continue acting innocent by obsessing over the toy while the remaining 3 turned on each other.

Unfortunately, the last surviving Thing could not maintain her indifference with only 4 players. The Thing she infected was eliminated, and the remaining two killed her, resulting in a spectacular turnaround victory for Humanity!
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OK, our Werewolf group tried The Thing variant again, using special roles based on the earlier suggestion.

It all actually worked quite well. We tried both the vanilla version and our modified version and found that the special roles slowed down the spread of The Thing enough to make even a six player game play pretty well, and the variety created by the roles resulted in much more interesting discussion.


Here are the roles we used:

Quote:
Bodyguard: choose one person to protect from Thing attack each night

Pharmacist: survive one attack from The Thing, but not a second

Pathologist: dies if tested, but immediately chooses next person to test

Cook: dies if attacked by The Thing, but may choose someone to poison (and kill) immediately after

Friendless: Choose someone at night. Their vote must agree with that person the next day.

Sapper: dies if attacked by The Thing, but Things must select one of their own to die as well.

Supply Chief: once per game, may resume testing after a negative result

Jailor: each night, choose a player to "silence". They may not speak nor vote, but may still be tested.

Demagogue: Once per game, play to have your vote count double.

Note: Only Things are aware if an attempted infection attack fails. All powers are lost if the holder is infected by The Thing


I learned some critical lessons in this trial run:

The current set of roles are a little too loaded against The Thing (at least if there are only six players). I may have to add some Thing friendly roles (assuming that can be done without causing players to beg to be infected or tested)

With only six players, it was way too common to kill The Thing on the first day (especially in absence of good poker faces). To remedy this, I think I'll add a Sleeper Agent role, which is a human who will become The Thing if all other Things die. This provides a backup for the instant kill case that keeps the game going and gives The Thing a sympathetic human on the first day.


It is far more important to have CLEAR role names than it is to have thematic ones. Failure to do so results in some serious moderator confusion - even from the guy who invented the roles! Thus, a name like Suicide Bomber (someone who takes a Thing with them if attacked) is much easier to play, even if it makes no sense to have a Suicide Bomber lurking about in a tiny Antarctic research station.

For clarity, we had all roles lose their special function if the owner gets turned into The Thing. Having simple rules that affect everything is much easier than having tons of exceptions that you have to explain to everyone but the card owner.
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Woo Hoo! Another successful Thing night with six and seven players!


Here are the rules we used:

Quote:
The Thing: Version 1.0

The Moderator gives each player a card with a role. At least one player is a Thing.

Day:
Players vote to test someone by pointing at them. The player with the majority of votes is tested.
• If the tested person is a Thing, he/she dies and a new test begins immediately.
• If he/she is NOT a Thing testing ends immediately. No one dies, but Night begins.

Night:
All players close their eyes.
Things open their eyes and secretly select someone to infect.
• All players close their eyes and hold out their cards. The Moderator grabs the hands of the person infected.


The infected player loses all special powers and becomes a Thing.
Things open their eyes again so the newly infected can identify other Things.
• All players open their eyes and Day begins.

End of Game:
The game ends if all players are Things or all Things are dead. Other endings depend on special cards.

Roles:
Here is the current list of cards. Remember, all powers are lost when the holder is infected by The Thing. Some require extra steps to be added in the Night phase or Moderator enforcement during the Day phase.

Thing: Infect one person every night
Sleeper Cell: Becomes infected if all other Things die.
Bodyguard: choose a different person to protect from Thing infection every night
Tough: survive one infection from The Thing, but not a second
Vengeance Test: dies if tested, but immediately chooses another person to test
Poison: dies if attacked by The Thing, but chooses someone to poison the next day
Groupie: Choose someone at night. They must support that player's arguments during the day.
Booby Trap: dies if attacked by The Thing, but Things must select one of their own to die as well.
Extra Test: once per game, use card to force an extra test vote
Jailor: each night, choose a player to "silence". They may not speak nor vote, but may still be tested.
Tie Breaker: Your vote breaks any ties.

Of course, these rules are a work in progress. Nevertheless, how did it all play out with six players?

Without exception, very well - I may even try this game with FIVE players! Unfortunately, I only remember details about the final game which, of course, is the one game I don't have pictures for. This is because we took a break to eat and play dexterity games like Bamboleo then suddenly decided to hurriedly squeeze in one more Thing game before everyone had to go.


Because we had played a lot of games earlier and were in a hurry, I did not explain the rules fully to the sole new arrival who ended up with the critical Sleeper Cell role. Although experienced in Werewolf, she was completely lost and simply stared at the TV for the whole game.

The only two men ended up dominating the debate. After being consistently wrong in every earlier game, my roommate suddenly found his rhythm with the Tough role and was deadly accurate in his arguments. The other guy, however, had the intensely unsettling Bodyguard role (nothing gives you more of a guilt trip than protecting someone who turns out to be a Thing) and as a result carried uncertain body language that made him suspicious.


The Original Thing (the "OT") got one recruit before Bodyguard learned to anticipate and blocked her attempts to expand. Tough's arguments quickly eliminated her only recruit and deduced the roles of most remaining players. To stop this, Thing attempted to infect him but, since he was Tough, failed. The guys now had a 50/50 chance but just missed killing OT. There were now 5 players left.

In a desperate attempt to frustrate Bodyguard's blocking, Thing tried to be unpredictable and walked into the Booby Trap. There was a BOOM! and she died. Now it was pretty much a wrap: both Tough and Bodyguard had already deduced each other's identities and knew the only Thing left had blown up.

Everyone woke up with only 3 players left and wondered why I hadn't ended the game. Tough and Bodyguard exchanged theories about a possible Sleeper Cell then asked me if that was the case, but I coyly replied that I could not end the game at this time. At that point Sleeper Cell blinked, as if waking up to suddenly realize that 2+2=4, and said, "Oh, then it's him" (pointing at Bodyguard). She did this so nonchalantly that Tough actually froze in mid-sentence. Bodyguard protested violently ("SHE'S IT!!! SHE'S IT!!! CAN'T YOU TELL!?!") but she just looked back at him blankly. That single sentence convinced Tough more than all of Bodyguard's protestations and logic, so naturally the test on Bodyguard failed and we moved on to the night.

Furious about being tricked, the men resolved to use Bodyguard's powers to block the Thing's spread but Sleeper Cell pulled double-negative on them and infected Tough instead, who was now out of lives. With Things in the majority I declared the game to be a Thing victory, to which both Bodyguard and Tough broke out into applause for the seemingly sweet, innocent and clueless Sleeper Cell who actually turned out to be a psycho-murdering-LIAR!!


We did notice that once Things got the majority they no longer had to stay secret, making the rest of the game pointless. Although the game still works fine, I'm considering adding the following role to add a little more suspense:

Self Destruct: Gain consent of one other player to blow everyone up and force a draw.

This would create a conundrum similar to the conclusion of the John Carpenter film, but hasn't been tested yet.
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Still haven't tried The Thing yet!

My werewolf mob tends to go fairly well with no special roles - usually just werewolf, villager and seer (but lots of debate and intrigue). How well do you think The Thing would go with no special roles and perhaps 20 people?
 
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Q: Does the sleeper cell test negative, if she is still dormant?

Could you have a seperate test for dormant sleeper cell, it would still count as your one test for that round...


SUGGESTED VARIANTS:

Stronger Humans. Maybe more than one in the game. If any stronger human is alive it counts as two votes. So if the game was tied 3-3 and the human side had at least one strong human, they could vote as 4-3 humans and get one more test. The strong humans dont add, so if you have two on the human side, they only count as one more vote.

Ignorant thing. When infected it doesnt know the identity of the other things.
 
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sundaysilence wrote:
Q: Does the sleeper cell test negative, if she is still dormant?

Yes, very much so!

Keep in mind the nature of Thing testing. If a Thing tests positive, you get a potentially infinite stream of further tests... all of which kill Things! This means it's very dangerous for Things when they're close to winning, because that's when it is most probable that the person chosen for testing really is a Thing, which may allow the Humans to go on a killing spree and eliminate several Things in a row.


After killing a whole mess of Things, the very fact that the game is not over usually tells people that a Sleeper cell has been activated because people can calculate the maximal possible spread of The Thing.
 
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this also leads to the next suggestion:

Resistant Thing: like all things he dies when tested, however the testing/killing takes so long that his death ends the turn and everyone goes back to sleep.

It could also be a role that is not an individual per se, but like: "the last person infected by thing is the resistant thing." So that the resistant thing is always changing each turn.

Another idea:

self test. He can override the group vote by declaring his role and then he tests himself. If he's positive, instead of dying he recovers, and the scientists go again (or maybe dont go again). I would guess this power is so strong that it can only be used once (or maybe twice say), and of course he has to time it carefully. this role would also keep the game alive even after the thing has reached half of the scientists since the power might be used even if the scientists cant get a majority.

VARIANT: maybe this one is better, the role is called HEALER and once per game, after a thing is identified, he declares himself the healer and converts an identified thing back to human instead of dying. He would have to time this carefully so as to use up the role early. There could be another role like that, SLEEPER-TESTER, he declares himself the S-T and he gets to test one or maybe two players for sleeper cell.


related idea, what if the players dont learn the identity of one player during the game? E.g. take the role of the weak one who dies when tested. When tested, the GM says he was weak he dies, he does not reveal whether he was infected or not. Now the group cannnot be sure how many infected there are. So one can be sure when the thing has won.

Another role. basically a SEER , who gets the status (infected or not) of one scientist each night. Since the infected are always changing the role would not be that powerful. He keeps his power regardless of what side he is on..
 
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sundaysilence wrote:
Resistant Thing: like all things he dies when tested, however the testing/killing takes so long that his death ends the turn and everyone goes back to sleep.

Great ideas! Keep them coming!

One important "thing" to keep in mind, though, is that Things spread very fast. In a 6 or 7 player game, you only get 2 or 3 turns before Things have the voting majority and the game is over. Starting with more than one of them would require in the neighborhood of a 9+ player game.

The idea behind Sleeper Cell is that it tries to reduce the number of active Things while protecting the game from ending on a lucky first turn guess. Also, any roles that slow the growth of the Thing (Bodyguard and so forth) are helpful in allowing more time for deduction, opening the game up to groups with fewer players.


Another possibility is have something happen before the first turn so there's some deduction that would make discovery of a solitary Thing more rewarding. Haven't thought it through at all, though...
 
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instead of resistant thing it should be better to call it "chain terminating" thing because in chemistry these stop the chain of reactions from continuing. It might be better if the chain terminator can pass this trait on; so the original thing infects him, then he infects another and that third player is now the chain terminator.

Still, it is very strong but with stronger human roles maybe okay.

I think the healer power is the strongest for the humans since it delays the game longer. Would it be possible to give out more than one of these? Could you do that by handing out two roles to each player. Give everyone two cards, some might be blank but other players might get both a "healer" and a "second test". This would strenghten humans so then you could have more sleepers/chain terminators. I guess.

Maybe once each turn, you can test one human to see if he has either "weak human" (dies when tested ) or sleeper cell. This is an additional test.

I think on the other idea, the self tester itself makes no sense. it should be he has the ability to test one other person on his own. Or perhaps he only needs one other vote to do it. So even if the thing is ahead say 4-3 the humans still have a chance to win. I think that helps the game some...

how many turns are your games averaging?
 
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sundaysilence wrote:
instead of resistant thing it should be better to call it "chain terminating" thing because in chemistry these stop the chain of reactions from continuing.

Well, at least in our games, chains don't occur until the humans are utterly desperate and rarely nab all the Things. It could be because we're not the brightest players around, but usually after a chain the odds evened up from hopeless to interesting.

sundaysilence wrote:
I think the healer power is the strongest for the humans since it delays the game longer.

Wait a sec... you'll have to remind me. What's the Healer power again?

sundaysilence wrote:
Maybe once each turn, you can test one human to see if he has either "weak human" (dies when tested ) or sleeper cell. This is an additional test.

Interesting idea. Like I said, we're not the brightest gamers, so I'm worried about introducing too much procedural complexity. Lately we've been playing more Werewolf and The Resistance anyway...


sundaysilence wrote:
how many turns are your games averaging?

About 3 or 4 turns. There are two events that can ruin a game:

1. The Thing is nailed right away on the first turn on a lucky guess.

2. No Things are killed after about 2 turns, quickly making the situation hopeless for humans as Things form a big voting block in addition to muddying the waters.

The Sleeper Cell was introduced to fight problem 1. Chains are nice for problem 2, in that there's always hope for a desperate comeback. It would also help to have delaying roles, of course...
 
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The Healer is the one that instead of: when thing is found it dies, the thing turns back to human. So e.g. when game is say 4-4, the humans find a thing, then it becomes 3-5 humans rather than 3-4.

In fact maybe the healer is better than chaining. so you dont get to do both on the same turn you cant chain as well as heal. So it's 4-4, you pull out the Healer, he heals it goes back to 3-5, everyone goes back to sleep.

EDIT:

Thing with 2 cards for each person.

You construct a deck with the following roles:

Human cards:

Healer, 2 votes (he gets two votes in a vote);
Renegade Tester (he gets one test any time he wants, no vote needed);

Chain (once this card is in play the humans have the ability to chain successful tests);

Resistant (does not get infected);
Bodyguard (protects one at night)

Most of these are one time use, the Chain stays in play until/unless chain terminating comes up.

So you make 2 or 3 of these human cards


Thing or thing favorable cards:

The Thing;
Weak/Vengeance (he auto dies when tested);
Sleeper
Chain termination (ends the chain power)

There only one thing card and 1 sleeper card, but there might be 1 or 2 of chain termination/weak.

SHUFFLE/DEAL: Place the thing card in the deck and then make sure there's enuf for everyone to get 2 cards. Deal everyone two.

PLAY:

If you are the thing, you wont use your second card. if you have sleeper card you only use if all things are dead.

Weak card, you would hold onto this as your second card.
Chain termination, only used if you are a thing/are tested.

the human cards are basically played before or after a vote; most are one shot use; the chain stays in play until chain termination.
 
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sundaysilence wrote:
The Healer is the one that instead of: when thing is found it dies, the thing turns back to human.

Odd... in our games, all the Things know who each other are. If a Thing becomes human, then it would know exactly who to kill. Did I miss something?

sundaysilence wrote:
Thing with 2 cards for each person.

That's an interesting idea that may be worth playing with: a public card and a private card.

sundaysilence wrote:
Chain (once this card is in play the humans have the ability to chain successful tests)

Don't forget that Things grow in number every night, so only being able to kill one a day means you'll never catch up to the one being added every night. Chaining (or some other multiple Thing killer) is the only way humans can overcome the Thing's growth of one per night.

Something else that occurs to me: what if you start out with zero Things but everyone has to do a task which is destined to start an infection?
 
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"..all the Things know who each other are. If a Thing becomes human, then it would know exactly who to kill. Did I miss something?

NO you didnt. I guess that will not work.

" Chaining (or some other multiple Thing killer) is the only way humans can overcome the Thing's growth of one per night

Unless you have the role that prevents infection at night, but still I guess without chaining the humans are up against it huh? .
 
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sundaysilence wrote:
Unless you have the role that prevents infection at night, but still I guess without chaining the humans are up against it huh? .

Yeah. Even if you kill one every day, the Things will still win. That's why there's my big interest in infection prevention or delayed starts.

Also don't forget the corrosive effect of a lot of people advocating for the Thing, especially after the 2nd night or so. Things like to pick the last person tested for infection...
 
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Well there's also Renegade tester as well. He can do a test any time he likes irrespective of a vote, I guess. There could be several of these roles in a game where people hold hands of cards.

How would the idea of one public/one private card work? Arent the roles normally secret?
 
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Following up on a previous idea...

What if the things dont know who they all are? One way to do this would be to have whoever was last infected; that person then infects on the next night. The other things remain with eyes closed. This would lead to several dynamics:

Since the things dont all know who they are; they could achieve a majority at some pt. in the game and still not vote as a group. Thus the humans could still win even if they are behind in the game. This might draw the game out but the game seems short enuf as it is. Also I have another idea on the game duration, see below.

2. which ever thing has the infecting power, the latest thing, he might infect an already infected thing. This is more likely as the thing gets bigger, so there is a small built in limit on the thing's growth, as it gets bigger it is also more likely to infect one of it's own and therefore slow it's growth. This means that neither side will know what the exact balance of power is and may lead to interesting strategy choices.

3. "chaining" would no longer be such an absolute necessary human power, this opens the game up to more varied human roles. Chaining would no longer be a game rule, but rather just another human power that they can choose to use if they have it or not use.

4. A moderator might still be necessary in the event the "last thing" is detected then the moderator might have to indicate to the penultimate thing that he is the one in charge of infecting. Presumably the next to last thing, should know that but he still might forget...

Because neither humans nor things know the true balance of power, both sides will operate in the dark. it is possible that the things might achieve a majority for a short time, but the humans make a comeback. Comebacks make for more excitement.

Say for instance, the things achieve a vast majority 6 vs 3. Now the things have the same problem as the humans there are too many of them. There is a call for a vote. The things dont know they have majority, there is no auto victory. So a person is nominated and things dont want to draw attention to themselves so they might vote yes. They might still vote to kill their own kind; so one guy is tested and he's a thing Now its 5 vs 3 But a human pulls out his card "Chaining: test one more" So they test another and it a thing. Then a human pulls out his card "AUtomatic test: no vote needed. Player chooses one to test." So he's been watching the voting and he bangs another thing. Now its back down to 3 vs 3.

this possibility gets more likely as the things multiply. Another dynamic that would keep the game in balance..

Now another idea:

DRAW DECk. At the start of the game each player is dealt one card as originally envisioned. Most of the cards are human powers: chaining, extra test w/o a vote, quarantine whatever. One card is the thing. The sleeper cell may be dealt out initially or may not; no one knows if the sleeper exists.

OKAY, now the rest of the cards are put into a deck, and if you are tested and found negative, you discard your card, and draw a new one. So there would be a tendency to "use it or lose it" if you have a good card, e.g. a chaining card. And if you do hold a good card you might tell the group: "Dont test me, I have chaining power that can win us the game but I will lose it if you test me." More chances for bluffing.

If you have the sleeper card, then the moderator would have to indicate that at night by announcing all things are dead "Sleeper cell arise." or some such. There could be more than one sleeper cell in the deck since cards are constantly draw and discarded, this card might be discarded several times. No one will even know if the sleeper is in play or not.

GAME END. With the powers presumably balanced, the things could achieve a majority and the game is still not over because A. the last thing doesnt know who to infect next B. They are not sure they should vote no as they dont know the score; and they dont wish to call attention to themsleves and C. a human might still hold one or several Automatic Test w/o need for a vote" cards. In which case, the humans could still kill many things even though they are in the minority.

So how does the game end? it might end when the deck of cards runs out. Or no human holds anymore cards. At that pt. I think the thing wins if it has majority, but not sure if that is balanced or not.

But I think with the tension of the deck as a Count Down feature would add to the tension. With every test, one more card is drawn and the humans gets closer to game end. The game takes longer but is likely to be more interesting with the idea that majority doesnt automatically win it.
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An interesting mechanic has come up in Werewolf discussions that could be very useful in The Thing. It's methods for selecting Werewolf "kills" when the Werewolves don't know each other.

Things get prioritized, then starting from Top Thing down to the Bottom Thing, they choose to infect, defer (to the next Thing in line), or decline. Since they don't know each other, they can end up infecting already infected Things.
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How exactly is this process done? I guess you need a moderator which is Ok. But how time consuming is it? what if everyone defers? Is there any reason to defer?
 
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