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It seems quite a few people are struggling with the Mystery Challenge (https://www.thegamecrafter.com/contests/mystery-challenge) at The Game Crafter. On one hand they’re having trouble coming up with mechanics to be used in it. And on the other, they’re having trouble coming up with an original theme. It might be best to forget the word “mystery” as you work on your game and instead use the words “hidden” or “undiscovered”. Allow us to provide a bit of inspiration.
Mechanically there are lots of things to choose from. Here are a few:
* From a deck of cards, leave a few out at the beginning of the game and then have the players try to figure out which ones are missing. Basically your mechanic here is imperfect information like that used in the classic game clue.
* You could use the mechanic of memory, like the classic game of Memory. However it need not be so simple. Instead of starting the game with a bunch of cards on the table, develop mechanics for discarding, looking at, and retrieving cards from the grid.
* You can use logic puzzles like those found in circuit design, or more human oriented logic puzzles like those found in Mind Trap.
* You can use a traitor mechanic, where one or two players are the bad guy and all the other players are trying to discover who the bad guy is. This will revolve around all the players attempting to complete some objective and the traitor sabotaging that objective while not looking like he or she is doing that.
From a theme perspective you could do many things. Here are a few:
* Obviously you could use “mystery” to inspire you and figure out “who done it”.
* You could also go more toward the discovery angle and have the players attempting to cure cancer.
* You could go more of a horror motif and attempt to collect the components necessary to bring the Frankenstein monster back to life.
* You could do it as a treasure hunt, where players are an an epic journey around the globe following clue after clue to find accent gold and artifacts.
These are just a few ideas that may inspire you. Good luck!
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