I attended the City of Play event on Saturday from 4 – 8pm, during the social games session. It was interesting to see all the different types of games being played, but the game that interested me the most was Witness Protection Program.
The game is sort of a Werewolf/Hide and Seek hybrid meant for 5-25 people, where each person have different goals depending on what character they are. Before the game starts, we are dealt cards that determine our role. You cannot reveal your role to another person unless you have a specific ability that lets you do so. It is best played in huge space with lots of good hiding spots, like a park, because being able to hide well is a pretty major part of the game. There are three main groups in the game: Townspeople, murderers and law enforcers. The main character is the witness, which must be kept hidden in order for the townspeople and law enforcers to win. When game begins, the law enforcers will get together in a group and decide where to hide the witness, while the townspeople were led away to wait until the witness is hidden.
If you’re a townsperson: Find the witness and hide with him
If you’re the murderer: Murder the witness.
If you’re a law enforcer: Protect the witness
There are a few conditions for the game to end:
If 1/3rds of the townspeople manage to find and hide with the witness, or if the time limit(10 minutes or so depending on how many people are playing) runs out, then the townspeople and law enforcers win.
If the witness get killed by a murderer, the murderer wins.
There were about 30 people playing in my game, and we played it in a park somewhere in town. I wasn’t in a very exciting role even though I was part of the law enforcers, I was a dependent, which meant that my so called special ability was if I ever ended up alone I die. I wasn’t really sure what “alone” specifically meant, did it mean I should keep like least 5 feet from somebody else? I just ended up sticking to anybody that walked past me, which probably looked a little silly to them.
So as the law enforcers, we split our group into half, one half would hide the witness, and the other half would pretend to be hiding the witness somewhere else.
Some interesting things that happened during the game were:
One character, called the Kamikaze, had the ability to kill somebody else and himself by hugging them. He used this to kill the Traitor, and the Doctor(who had the ability to heal people) revived both of them. The Traitor had the ability to kill people who revealed their identity to him, and so used this to kill the doctor. The witness himself hid pretty well, one person one townperson managed to find and hide with him, he still got found by a murderer in the end.
It was pretty funny watching everyone trying to roleplay, staring at each other suspiciously and trying to look innocent, although we fumbled through it a bit because the rules weren’t made very clear in the beginning. It could be a pretty fun game for older kids if the rules were refined more.