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Rob Tudero
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Several years ago, there was a great reality tv show called The Mole. As a kid, I thought that this show would make an awesome board game!
The premise of this reality tv show was that you had a group of contestants, working together to build a pool of money that one of them may ultimately win. Among them is the unidentified Mole, and any money that was not gained by the group through challenges would be gained by the Mole at the end. The tricky thing was that end of every episode (and day of challenges,) there was a quiz that would ask questions about what the mole did that day. For example, one of the questions could be "How many apples did the mole eat during the apple eating challenge?"
The person with the least number correct would be booted from the show. Contestants would have to spread out their answers to avoid getting eliminated. Some crafty contestants would also throw games, to appear to be the mole, and cause others to get more questions wrong during the quiz.
I have been trying to think of a board game mechanic that would fit together a lot of these features for YEARS, but without much luck.
So, BGG community, can you help me think of a board game mechanic that has:

1) Semi-cooperative game, where people are looking out for themselves first but MUST work together to avoid losing.
2) Has a hidden traitor
2) No accusation system, but correct knowledge of who the mole is should be beneficial to you. It is in your best interest to keep the mole's identity to yourself if you figured it out.
3) Incorrect knowledge of who the traitor is detrimental to you.
4) Due to 1) and 3), you can do things that are detrimental to you, and the whole group, but may be worth it if you can fool others into assuming you are the traitor
5) You shouldn't have to reveal the mole. If a player was considerably better at deducing, he/she should just win significantly more. Though you might tack on a reveal, just because players would be dying to know.


I've looked through other games with a Hidden Traitor mechanic (Shadow Hunters, BSG, Shadows over camelot, Mafia/werewolf), but I haven't really found anything that fits.

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One Armed Bandit
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ruderobot wrote:
It is in your best interest to keep the mole's identity to yourself if you figured it out.

may be worth it if you can fool others into assuming you are the traitor


Those points are the hardest ones to actually get.
In general, knowing the traitor is good, and being wrong is bad.

The real problem is that Traitor games are ultimately team games - traitors vs everyone else.

What you're proposing is an everyone for themselves game with hidden roles, and knowledge of those roles gives power.
I'm really not sure how to accomplish that
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Nathan Moore
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A large problem with what you propose is it requires 3 groups, not just 2.

1 group(or person) HAS to know who the mole is to judge the results.
1 group(or person) HAS to be the mole and know they are the mole.
1 group(or person) HAS to be the one guessing at who the mole is.

Due to all of these requirements the type of game you are talking about would require about 4 players, 1 mole, and one DM type to really be fun. Not exactly an easy thing to do....
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Jim §
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What about secret and random (?) role selection at the start of each set of X rounds, i.e. not for the whole game. After the rounds are over, there is a reveal of the roles. Points are awarded based on the correct actions/answers by the players in relation to the mole role's actions, and the mole receives points for incorrect actions/answers by other players.

The rounds can have two phases: 1 phase where players give/get correct/incorrect clues as to the mole's identity, and the 2nd phase, where players act/bet on that knowledge and who they think is the mole. These phases can have a cooperative feel to them.

Person who has the most points at the end wins. You can even boot people who have the least points gained at the end of each reveal.

Does this sound like the right idea to you?

Jim
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Rob Tudero
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I had thought of this 'solution' with 3 groups, and already decided that that wasn't fun. The format of the gameshow is essentially that, since the gameshow producers or whoever would be the ones grading the quiz
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Sam Phillips Beckerman
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seems like it would have to be somekind of electronic game/app. to keep players from having to be a judge.
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Rob Tudero
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jimwithatwist wrote:
What about secret and random (?) role selection at the start of each set of X rounds, i.e. not for the whole game. After the rounds are over, there is a reveal of the roles. Points are awarded based on the correct actions/answers by the players in relation to the mole role's actions, and the mole receives points for incorrect actions/answers by other players.

The rounds can have two phases: 1 phase where players give/get correct/incorrect clues as to the mole's identity, and the 2nd phase, where players act/bet on that knowledge and who they think is the mole. These phases can have a cooperative feel to them.

Person who has the most points at the end wins. You can even boot people who have the least points gained at the end of each reveal.

Does this sound like the right idea to you?

Jim


The idea works, and is one I have thought of before too, but it feels ineloquent and forced.

Knowledge of who the traitor is essentially puts you ahead of the curve because you are alone in knowing that he/she should not be trusted. One of the ideas I toyed with was having people contribute unidentified stuff (money/cards/whatever), and that you could exclude people (via some mechanism). However, using that mechanism would have to take too many rounds before the traitor had any effect, and it would be pretty obvious who you thought was the traitor if you repeatedly excluded them. And if you adjust it such that you can exclude more people, the game changes to just trusting the same guy over and over, rather than deducing who the traitor is.

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Erik Rodriguez
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aielman wrote:
A large problem with what you propose is it requires 3 groups, not just 2.

1 group(or person) HAS to know who the mole is to judge the results.
1 group(or person) HAS to be the mole and know they are the mole.
1 group(or person) HAS to be the one guessing at who the mole is.

Due to all of these requirements the type of game you are talking about would require about 4 players, 1 mole, and one DM type to really be fun. Not exactly an easy thing to do....


Not true. You could eliminate the "DM" position by having a betting mechanism that is tallied at the end of the game.

For example:

At the end of every round, players place an accusation token of his/her color in front of target opponent who they think is the mole. At the end of the game you get +X points for each correct accusation and -Y points for each incorrect accusation.
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Rob Tudero
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I added on

5) You shouldn't have to reveal the mole. If a player was considerably better at deducing, he/she should just win significantly more. Though you might tack on a reveal, just because players would be dying to know.
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Dan C
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I too have struggled to come up with a Mole concept. My wife (who doesn't really game) had a strange fondness for the show so I was hoping the theme would pull her in.

foxtrot2620 wrote:

Not true. You could eliminate the "DM" position by having a betting mechanism that is tallied at the end of the game.

For example:

At the end of every round, players place an accusation token of his/her color in front of target opponent who they think is the mole. At the end of the game you get +X points for each correct accusation and -Y points for each incorrect accusation.


I think you might have something here! I think the OP and myself were thinking we'd need player elimination but a cumulative score would accomplish the same thing and keep everyone playing.

I think 2 tweaks would make it even better:
- increase the tokens each round so that some lucky guesses early on don't give the game away
- hidden voting : give each player 1 pouch/bucket for each other player where they place their voting tokens

The use of voting tokens adds a little more of a wagering component as well since you could choose to split your votes among a few players if you weren't sure.
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Dan C
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Couple of other ideas to throw out there beyond the role/voting mechanics.

- Each round would be some kind of challenge that each player competes : the simplest implementation would be something along the lines of the BSG game where players secretly play numbers towards some community goal
- Each player has some special skills that help them in particular challenges, e.g. strong and athletic, good at puzzles, charismatic salesperson

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The Joker
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foxtrot2620 wrote:

Not true. You could eliminate the "DM" position by having a betting mechanism that is tallied at the end of the game.

For example:

At the end of every round, players place an accusation token of his/her color in front of target opponent who they think is the mole. At the end of the game you get +X points for each correct accusation and -Y points for each incorrect accusation.


If you place the tokens "in front of target opponent" then everybody will see, whom you accuse. I would also make a hidden accusation … but I'd also think of something where one doesn't need literally 1.000 tokens (rounds x players x multiple tokens x players)…
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Bruce Nettleton
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Hmmm.. the problem with the token betting idea is that players get no feedback about the accuracy of their guesses until the game is over. On the other hand, player elimination is kind of yucky, unless the game is really short.

I'd like to help you come up with something that can be used during the course of the game, perhaps to "eliminate" a player from scoring in the current round?

What if each player filled out a ballot with their answers to multiple choice questions? The Mole secretly fills out a second ballot which becomes the scoring key for the ballots. The Mole drops the key into a bag/box/envelope that's passed around beneath the table, and have the active player / team captain read off the correct answers as players grade their own ballots and report their final scores. Low score on the ballot does not score whatever points the team has earned for that turn (or perhaps the next couple of turns?)
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The Joker
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I read your post again and I must admit i imagined this gameshow completely wrong (as I don't know it, ans english isn't my mother language or I just read it sloppily in the first place.)
All the players have a goal, but what's the moles goal/mission? Can he win, Does he play?

ruderobot wrote:
"How many apples did the mole eat during the apple eating challenge?"

The following sprang to my mind: Every player gets a card deck with 1-10 and the moles one is marked specially (with a mole?). If there's a question … everybody can guess and play a card secretely, the mole has to play the correct card. All of them are shuffled and revealed.
Ummm,
a) Would this fit the game show?
b) but it would be difficult to deploy (extra)points for the right answers. Every player would have to keep the colors of his deck secret and each stack of all the answers of a round must be kept seperately (layed beside for end-game dissolving)
c) How to create the Questions to be solvable? How could they be answerable with the remaining cards in the players hands?
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Andreas Krüger
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jkrenner wrote:
I read your post again and I must admit i imagined this gameshow completely wrong (as I don't know it, ans english isn't my mother language or I just read it sloppily in the first place.)
All the players have a goal, but what's the moles goal/mission? Can he win, Does he play?

ruderobot wrote:
"How many apples did the mole eat during the apple eating challenge?"

The following sprang to my mind: Every player gets a card deck with 1-10 and the moles one is marked specially (with a mole?). If there's a question … everybody can guess and play a card secretely, the mole has to play the correct card. All of them are shuffled and revealed.
Ummm,
a) Would this fit the game show?
b) but it would be difficult to deploy (extra)points for the right answers. Every player would have to keep the colors of his deck secret and each stack of all the answers of a round must be kept seperately (layed beside for end-game dissolving)
c) How to create the Questions to be solvable? How could they be answerable with the remaining cards in the players hands?


Like this?

1. Challenge like BSG: Play cards (hidden).
2. Ask/ Vote on Mole question ("What did the mole contribute", open)
3. All players vote on whose guess was most wrong. Only Mole has "valid" cards to vote, other players have blank cards. (Hidden, of course).
4. Worst player is eliminated or loses points.

Looks a little bit too complicated to execute every game turn. But if step 1 would be repeated a few times until the more complicated Mole Quiz takes places, it may work.
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Rob Tudero
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jkrenner wrote:
I read your post again and I must admit i imagined this gameshow completely wrong (as I don't know it, ans english isn't my mother language or I just read it sloppily in the first place.)
All the players have a goal, but what's the moles goal/mission? Can he win, Does he play?

ruderobot wrote:
"How many apples did the mole eat during the apple eating challenge?"

The following sprang to my mind: Every player gets a card deck with 1-10 and the moles one is marked specially (with a mole?). If there's a question … everybody can guess and play a card secretely, the mole has to play the correct card. All of them are shuffled and revealed.
Ummm,
a) Would this fit the game show?
b) but it would be difficult to deploy (extra)points for the right answers. Every player would have to keep the colors of his deck secret and each stack of all the answers of a round must be kept seperately (layed beside for end-game dissolving)
c) How to create the Questions to be solvable? How could they be answerable with the remaining cards in the players hands?


For the purposes of this Mechanics challenge thread, the mechanic doesn't have to fit the gameshow exactly! It just has to fit the 5 criterion

In the gameshow, any money that the contestants don't get for the winner's pool at the end of the game goes to the mole. So, in this hypothetical apple eating challenge, up to 100,000 can be gained for the pool. If the contestants only make 40,000 , then the other 60,000 will go to the mole.
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Mat Nowak
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Funny you should bring up the Mole, as I'm just in the process of testing my prototype print and play Mole game I designed recently since I'm a huge fan of the series (in multiple countries) and my game group loves the hidden traitor mechanic.

My design goals were as follows:
- Have one player be a hidden mole, everyone else is a contestant
- Be Werewolf/Mafia like, playable in a short amount of time.
- No moderator. Everyone is a player.
- Include the possibility of exemptions.
- Have a pot that gets filled with money/points
- And of course, player elimination based on the lack of knowledge of the Mole's identity

Now, I haven't tested the following yet so feel free to point out any glaring mistakes in its design. Also, I haven't written it up formally in simplified rules speak yet, so this is coming from my head.

Setup:
- Every player receives a specially made player shield that contains two halves. My prototype shields looks like this (topdown view: /|\)
- Every player receives wooden cubes of one color (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Purple, White, Tan, Teal, Grey, etc.). This is their own personal color that identifies them.
- Additionally, every player receives wooden cubes of the Black color.
- There is one cloth draw bag which is empty at the beginning and one opaque container to keep cubes in which will be added to it during the game (known as the pot or the kitty, depending on which tv version of the Mole you favour).
- Finally, everyone receives an identity card. All but one say "You are a Contestant", the other says "You are the Mole".

Gameplay:
- Each round of the game has 2 phases.
- In the first phase (The Challenge Phase), players have the opportunity to add money to the pot or be selfish and go for an exemption
- One by one each player adds 2 cubes into the draw bag without showing what kind of cubes they are adding. Players may add either a black cube which is worth money/points OR add in a cube of their own color for a potential to win an exemption. (A player may add 2 black cubes, 2 cubes of their own color, or 1 of each)
- After every player has added 2 cubes into the bag, the bag is passed around one more time. This time however each player will reach into the bag and pull out a single cube, revealing it immediately.
- If they pull out their own colored cube, they have won an exemption and will not participate in the next phase of this round, which is elimination.
- If they pull out a black colored cube, nothing happens. Place the cube into the Pot/Kitty container. It will be worth points at the end of the game.
- If they pull out another players's color, that player cannot receive an exemption this round (even if that player also happened to pull out their own colored cube. In that case they lose their exemption)
- Only one player can win an exemption. If multiple people win one, resolve the tie(s) by drawing cubes one by one from the draw bag. The first cube of one of the tied player's cubes that is drawn wins the exemption. If no cubes show up, throw one of each tied player's cubes into the drawbag and draw one cube. That player wins the exemption.
- After everyone has pulled out a cube, reveal the other cubes from the drawbag and place all black cubes into the pot. Return the colored cubes back to their respective players.
- The exemption phase is no longer played when there are only 3 players left in the game.

The Elimination Phase
- Everyone without an exemption participates in this phase.
- At the beginning of the phase count how many players are still in the game and subtract 3. Every player places that many of their own colored cubes into their hand. Additionally, every player adds one black cube into their hand and puts one black cube into the left section of their player shield (/x|\).
- One by one players secretly select one cube from their hand and pass it to another player of their choice. The player they pass it to may look at the cube they were passed, and then that player places that cube into the left section of their player shield
- By passing a player a cube of your own color you are telling them that you trust them and do not believe that they are the Mole. (Colored cubes = Trust cubes)
- By passing a player a black cube, you are telling them that you suspect them of being the Mole. (Black cubes = Suspect cubes)
- You cannot pass a player more than one cube per elimination phase
- Keep going around in a circle until all the cubes from the players' hands have been given out.
- Next everyone looks at all the cubes in the left section of their player shield, and selects a black cube if they are a contestant, or selects one colored cube if they are the Mole. Every player adds their selected cube into the draw bag without showing anyone what cube they added.
- Reveal the contents of the draw bag. The player whose colored cube is revealed is eliminated from the game.
- In the small chance that no one gave the Mole any trust cubes, the Mole automatically reveals themselves and loses the game, with everyone else being the winner. (I know, this is impossible in the show, but unfortunately it is a possibility with this mechanic).
- Every remaining player now takes all the cubes from the left section of their player shield and puts it into the right section (/->|x\)
- Start the next round of the game.

Once there are 3 Players left:
- There is no Challenge phase. Proceed to the Elimination phase where this time every player gives out one Trust cube and one black Suspect cube.

Determining the winner:
- If one player gave the trust cube to the Mole, and the other player didn't, the Mole reveals themselves and declares the player who didn't give them a trust cube this round as the winner.
- If both players trusted the Mole or both players suspected him, the Mole looks at the right section of their player shield and counts the coloured cubes of both remaining players. The player who trusted him the least during the entire game is declared the winner. If there is still a tie, the Mole determines the winner by whomever they like more.
- The winner sees how many points they won with by counting the contents of the pot/kitty
- The mole can count their own points by giving himself one point for every trust cube he received during the game subtracting one point for every black Mole cube he received.

Play multiple games in one sitting to determine who the best contestant and/or Mole are.

Notes:
- Initially I had only designed the Elimination phase as the entire game, but then I wanted to add the possibility of exemptions to the game and a pot to determine the final score of the winner.
- Since you are giving everyone a cube BUT one player during the Elimination phase, a savy player with a good memory can eliminate one suspect each round by crossing off the player who the eliminated player didn't give a cube to. Since cubes are given one by one by everyone, this will be hard to do initially.
- The first round is a crapshoot, but then again, this also occurs in Mafia/Werewolf and the Resistance, so I figure this isn't such a big deal.
- Players can tell or lie about what cubes they received if they want to.

Let me know what you think. I'm hoping to play test this with my game group soon.

Quote:
In the gameshow, any money that the contestants don't get for the winner's pool at the end of the game goes to the mole.

I watched the Mole in various countries and I don't think I've seen this ever stated from the producers. In fact, most countries pay their Mole an unspecified amount of money as a salary, irregardless of how well they sabotage the game's challenges. A lot of the show's fans have suggested this idea, which appears to be a good idea at first glance, but really it would just lead to the Mole being super obvious and bombing every single challenge since they would have no incentive of being sneaky about it. The show would be boring to watch as well.

But I guess if you wanted to have the game emulate this concept, you could add the colored cubes players throw in during the Challenge phase into the pot instead of returning them to the players. The total number of colored cubes at the end of the game would be the Mole's score instead.
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Jake Staines
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Mateui wrote:

Let me know what you think.


I've just had a read through, not tried it, but the first thing that jumps to mind is that there seems to be no way for the Mole to win the game, only to score better than other Moles in other games? Couldn't (shouldn't?) the Mole win if it gets down to three players and both the other players trust him? If nothing else, if you continued down the same route one of the other players would be eliminated and were it possible to keep playing, you'd end up in the should-be-a-stalemate situation where neither of the players is willing to trust the other, which is the best the Mole can ever hope for.

(This is certainly the way it resolves in traditional Werewolf/Mafia - if the bad guys reach parity with the good guys, the bad guys win.)
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Mat Nowak
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Bichatse wrote:
Mateui wrote:

Let me know what you think.


I've just had a read through, not tried it, but the first thing that jumps to mind is that there seems to be no way for the Mole to win the game, only to score better than other Moles in other games? Couldn't (shouldn't?) the Mole win if it gets down to three players and both the other players trust him? If nothing else, if you continued down the same route one of the other players would be eliminated and were it possible to keep playing, you'd end up in the should-be-a-stalemate situation where neither of the players is willing to trust the other, which is the best the Mole can ever hope for.

(This is certainly the way it resolves in traditional Werewolf/Mafia - if the bad guys reach parity with the good guys, the bad guys win.)

Yeah, I suppose you could have the Mole win if both the remaining players end up trusting him. The only reason why I didn't resolve it that way is because in the show the Mole never wins, but I suppose some incentive to play well should occur in a board game version.
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