by Mike Young
Originally published in Metagame, Volume 2, No 1.
|This a good game for a party as it can take place in the
background. Each player is a member of one or more secret societies.
Each secret society has a secret phrase. The object for each player
is to figure out the most secret phrases by observing the other party members
and trying to blend into the different secret societies.
Before the game, you must make up secret phrases for each society.
The length of each phrase should be the same. A good rule of thumb
for length is to take the number of players and divide it by the number
of societies, so if you have thirty players and five societies, each phrase
should be six words long. Examples might be: THE RED DOG BARKS
AT MIDNIGHT or MY FRIEND MELVIN ATE THE BEANS. The best phrases have
an obvious sentence structure and seem like they might be coded instructions
or information of some kind.
Next, you have to make up your secret societies. Each society
needs three things: a recognition code, a clever concept, and a spiffy
name. Here are a few I came up with, but you should make up your
own. After all, they are supposed to be secret.
Your final bit of setup business is to take each code phrase and write
each word on a small piece of paper or index card. Also write the
description of the secret society on the card. I suggest typing up
the descriptions, photocopying them, cutting them up, and then writing
the words on the copies.
The Handmaiden's Society: Made up of those who secretly worship
unmarried women. When shaking hands, touch thumbs of the opposing
The Vanishing Wombat: A society from a prestigious New England
university. Must leave the room whenever “wombat” is spoken.
Small's Club: A fraternal order. When you say the word “tiny,”
you must scratch your nose. If someone does this in conversation
to you, you must use the word “little” in your next sentence.
The Yellow Shoelace Society: Desires world domination through
footwear. If someone mentions the word “shoes” to you, you must touch
your foot to that person's foot.
Tippler's Boys: A collection of barflies. Always carry
a drink with you. Toast someone upon introduction.
Running the Game
Now you are ready for the party, either read the words in the box labeled
Game of Secret Socieites: The Rules" to the players at the start of
the party, or copy the box and hand it out to your party guests along with
the slip of paper. Then just sit back and watch the chaos as your
players not only try to guess the phrases for their secret society, but
try to figure out the pass codes for the other societies.
You'll want to collect code phrases at the end of the party and maybe
even have a prize or two for best guesses and most humorous attempts.
cut 'em out,
and give them to players.
A Game of Secret Societies: The Rules
This party is more than just a gathering of friends. Oh no, there
are a number of secret societies meeting tonight, each with its own agenda.
Your mission as a society member is twofold. You must determine
who the other members of your society are. You will be given a recognition
code which will explain how to identify members of your society.
You will also be given a word which is part of a secret phrase for your
society. Your first task is to collect all the words for your secret
phrase by identifying and talking with other members of your secret society.
Your second task is to observe the other people at the party and determine
the recognition codes for their societies. Infiltrate their societies
and puzzle out their code phrases.
When you have determined that someone is a member of your society, you
must include your code word as the first or last word of your next sentence.
If you have infiltrated the society, you have no such limitations of speech.
Good luck agents. Your society is counting on you.
Example Handout for Players:
|Your Society Info:
The Yellow Shoelace Society: Desires world domination
through footwear. If someone mentions the word “shoes” to you, you
must touch your foot to that person's foot.
Your Word: FRIEND