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Subject: Secret Information Problem rss

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Nate Bivins

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Hi, I'm looking for some help in solving a secret information problem for my game. I'll list the problem, but not my current solution (since I want fresh ideas), and if there's a novel answer to it, I'll give special thanks credit in the rulebook.

Problem: My game is a hidden traitor game with secret information about a terrorist attack target. How can you give the player and game the same piece of secret information, but still have it vary from game to game.

Possible targets are Red, Green, Blue, Orange, Purple.

The Traitor player is selected randomly by an initial hand of cards, one the cards tells the traitor his role.

The Traitor role card in the initial hand must tell the Traitor player the Target color without revealing it to other players.

At least two game mechanics rely on the "game" knowing the Target color as well.

The problem mechanic involves an "elimination ladder". For example, if you take a "ladder" action, each action narrows the potential target down:

First action possible targets: Green, Blue, Orange, Purple.
Second action possible targets: Green, Orange, Purple.
Third action possible targets: Green, Orange.
Fourth action possible targets: Orange. Orange is the Target!

The tricky part is that this needs to be tracked per player, and that this ladder needs to divulge the same Target information listed on the Traitor's card.

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Daniel Koepke
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My initial thought is to have the "game" be managed by a person, but not once that is playing as a "normal" one. So, for say a four player game, you'd have one player making plays on behalf of the "game" and the other three would be playing (with one of those three the hidden traitor).

I'm trying to also think of a workable way to deliver the game the secret piece of information without making it obvious how the traitor is...I'm almost thinking it would be easier to have the game mechanics work without knowing the target.

This is an interesting problem.
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Nate Bivins

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I should have stated that as another rule: The game must be able to run itself. This game is designed as a 3-5 player cooperative traitor game.
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Chris Morse
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There are five cards, one with each color.

There are fives spaces for these cards, numbered from 1 to 5 (or the reverse).

After choosing the traitor, he chooses a color card at random. After looking at it, he places it face down in space 5. The other 4 cards are shuffled and placed in spaces 1-4. (Unless the traitor needs to know the order, in which case he puts them in whatever order he wants.)

When a player takes the ladder action, they privately look at the card in space 1 and replace it. They then record increment their ladder position on a private track so they know which card they get to see next time. Perhaps there is a way to record the color, as well.

Am I interpreting "needs to be tracked per player" correctly?
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Jon M
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Some kind of punch card could work combined with card sleeves.

Take five cards in opaque sleeves with colour patterns on. When setting up the game select a traitor punch card and four loyal punch cards. ie cards with seemingly random holes in them. Place them at random into the sleeves so they cover the coloured cards, shuffle the sleeves and deal them out to the players.

One hole would line up with a certain colour indicating you are the traitor. The other punch cards would line up with white spaces on the backing card.

The punch cards could then be used to eliminate the colours using a similar mechanic. The traitor player would either have to not play his card or it could give a false result.

You would need quite a few punch cards so as you wouldn't "recognise" the traitor cards.
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Jon M
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Corrino22 wrote:
There are five cards, one with each color.

There are fives spaces for these cards, numbered from 1 to 5 (or the reverse).

After choosing the traitor, he chooses a color card at random. After looking at it, he places it face down in space 5. The other 4 cards are shuffled and placed in spaces 1-4. (Unless the traitor needs to know the order, in which case he puts them in whatever order he wants.)

When a player takes the ladder action, they privately look at the card in space 1 and replace it. They then record increment their ladder position on a private track so they know which card they get to see next time. Perhaps there is a way to record the color, as well.

Am I interpreting "needs to be tracked per player" correctly?


The traitor has immediately outed himself when placing the card. I presume the identity of the traitor is meant to be kept secret
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Chris Morse
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Ha! Good point!

You'd have to have everyone close their eyes, and the traitor would have to be very, very quiet.

Oh, well.
 
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Nick Reymann
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Have five traitor role cards - one for each color. Shuffle them up, and put one in the cards to be dealt without anyone looking at it. Put the other four face down in a row without anyone looking at them. After the cards are dealt, one player will have the traitor card with the target color. When taking a "ladder" action, a player looks at one of the four unchosen traitor cards and replaces it without showing anyone else. On subsequent actions, they choose a different card to look at, narrowing it down.

Does that work?
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Brendan Lapsley
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Corrino22 wrote:
There are five cards, one with each color.

There are fives spaces for these cards, numbered from 1 to 5 (or the reverse).

After choosing the traitor, he chooses a color card at random. After looking at it, he places it face down in space 5. The other 4 cards are shuffled and placed in spaces 1-4. (Unless the traitor needs to know the order, in which case he puts them in whatever order he wants.)

When a player takes the ladder action, they privately look at the card in space 1 and replace it. They then record increment their ladder position on a private track so they know which card they get to see next time. Perhaps there is a way to record the color, as well.

Am I interpreting "needs to be tracked per player" correctly?


What about using this but adding in a clue envelope.
(Warned, my theory has many unused cards.)

Each player is handed a role card (1 traitor and up to 4 non) and one card of each color. Each player then puts the colors face down in the order they want and put their role on top, then puts it in the envelope.
Inside each would be: Role (face up) - ladder 1 (face down) - ladder 2... ladder 5 (still face down).
These envelopes are then shuffled and carefully opened 1 by 1 and whichever has the traitor in it is the official one, filling out the board.
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Rob Harper
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Riffing on some of the other recent ideas...

There is a card for each possible colour, along with a bunch of blank ones, one fewer than the number of players. one of the colour cards is randomly shuffled in with the blank cards and the remaining ones are arranged in the ladder spaces. The mixed up cards are dealt out so that one player gets a colour and everyone else gets a blank. Then all of these cards, once looked at, are placed in the final space of the ladder (shuffling them so nobody knows who had which).

You'd end up with some blank cards in the last space, but it wouldn't be much additional clutter.
 
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Brian Fong
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since you want it to be an "AI" reaction, why not use event cards like pandemic...although I'm not sure how to incorporate this into your setup.
 
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Nate Bivins

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Mingy Jongo wrote:
Have five traitor role cards - one for each color. Shuffle them up, and put one in the cards to be dealt without anyone looking at it. Put the other four face down in a row without anyone looking at them. After the cards are dealt, one player will have the traitor card with the target color. When taking a "ladder" action, a player looks at one of the four unchosen traitor cards and replaces it without showing anyone else. On subsequent actions, they choose a different card to look at, narrowing it down.

Does that work?


This does work Nick but there are some issues with it. I didn't mention it specifically before, but I have two mechanics for finding the Target color. One is a "Target" deck that contains one card of each color that is not the Target, with the Target card removed during game setup (similar to dealt into the hand).

I was looking for something for that second "ladder" action mechanic that is different from this enough to give you an option. The above mechanic is cheaper to perform, but you aren't guaranteed a different result, and you get diminishing returns with each action. I'd like a second mechanic that guarantees progress towards deducing the Target.

I guess I could have two decks of one card of each color, pair up the color cards (you'd have two of each color), turn facedown, shuffle the piles, select a pile at random, put one card from the pile in the box facedown, put one card in the stack to be dealt to the players (shuffled), split the remaining piles and make one a deck, and make the other a ladder.

Not sure if I can convey that to make sense, but would be using my "Target deck" approach and your "cards in a row" ladder both at once.
 
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Nick Reymann
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Simple fix: assign numbers 1-4 to the four cards in a row depending on their position. Also make four additional cards with the numbers 1-4 on them. When choosing the less expensive action, shuffle the number cards and pick one at random; whatever number you get, you get to look at the card in that position. If you choose the more expensive action you can look at any card of your choosing. A four sided die would also work in place of the number cards.
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Drew NA
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Nick, doesn't your way either give away who the traitor is or allow the people picking to pick the traitor color? Maybe I'm just not understanding what you are saying or maybe I'm not understanding what the OP is looking for.
-Drew
 
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Nate Bivins

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No, I think Nick's way works. Here is how I see setup going:

Everything is facedown.

Shuffle the 5 cards (one of each color) and put 1 card into the pile to be dealt to players, the other 4 cards put into the spaces on the board labeled 1,2,3, and 4.

Shuffle the pile of cards (# of cards is now equal to 5X # of players) and deal them out. Now the Traitor is the person with the 1 color card, and she knows the Target color as well.

Now a player as an action can try to find out the Target color in one of two ways:
- Take a cheaper action, but roll a d4 dice to determine which Target card on the board you get to examine. You know that color is NOT the Target.
- Take the more expensive action, you get to pick which Target card to look at. You know that color is NOT the Target.

I can't see how this outs the Traitor in any way, but I believe it allows all the things I'm looking for. It does include a dice or extra set of cards, but I think I can live with that.
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Drew NA
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Wow. This is REALLY hard to follow. You really need to use more specific terms. Any time you say "this" or "that" or "other" you really need to define and name these things. What is this? What is that? Instead of deck and other deck why not Traitor Deck and Color Deck or something like that. When you said the deck had 5X players did you mean there's 25 cards in a 5 player game? Or was X referring to the amount of players as a variable?

Let me see if I can explain it how I perceive it:
There are 5 traitor cards. Shuffle them up and put 1 in a "pile". The other 4 traitor cards go face down in numbered slots.

Now take the 5 colored cards and add them to the pile with the 1 traitor card for a total of 6 cards. Deal them out and the traitor is the person with the color card.

So, won't the traitor have 2 cards while everybody else has 1? Where is my understanding of the process going wrong?
-Drew
 
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Nate Bivins

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Sorry Drew for the confusion, thanks for sticking with it.

You almost have it:
There are 5 traitor cards. Shuffle them up and put 1 in a "pile" with other cards (other cards have same back, other game effects, but are NOT Traitor cards). The other 4 traitor cards go face down in numbered slots.

Now take the "pile", shuffle, and deal it out to the players.

That's it for setup. The Traitor has the "Traitor card" and it tells him the Target color.
 
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Drew NA
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slackerb wrote:
Sorry Drew for the confusion, thanks for sticking with it.

You almost have it:
There are 5 traitor cards. Shuffle them up and put 1 in a "pile" with other cards (other cards have same back, other game effects, but are NOT Traitor cards). The other 4 traitor cards go face down in numbered slots.

Now take the "pile", shuffle, and deal it out to the players.

That's it for setup. The Traitor has the "Traitor card" and it tells him the Target color.


There are 5 colors, though, right? So say the traitor is blue. Isn't there a blue card in the "other" pile?
 
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