Clockwork Ghosts

Clockwork Ghosts

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Clockwork Ghosts
Designer: David Overend
Players: 10-20
Stuff required: -
Crew required: 1
Preparation: Nomination of two murderers and the wandering exorcist in secret before the game starts
Time required: Half an hour.
Place required: A circular street route in a small area of a city, ideally with shops, cafes, etc.
Activities: Sneaking, chasing, deduction.
This is an untested game. Its rules are written, but it hasn't been tested out yet.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

This is a game for a busy circular route in a city. For half an hour players move clockwise round a designated area, avoiding the murderers in their midst. If they fail to stay alive they turn into ghosts and return to the graveyard in an anticlockwise direction.


Clockwork Ghosts is a battle between citizens and murderers, much like Mafia. But this game moves the action into the busy streets of a city and players have to blend into the everyday life of the city to avoid being found and turned into ghosts.

Instructions for Players

The game starts at a meeting point (the Cemetery) and uses a circular street route, which 'alive' players (citizens and murderers) circumnavigate for 30 minutes, only moving clockwise, and blending into the everyday life of the city. When the game starts, everyone is alive but amongst them are two murderers and an exorcist whose identities are kept secret.

The aim of the game is for all the players to make it to the end of the allocated time and return to the graveyard without being murdered and becoming a ghost. The murderers' aim is to turn all the players into ghosts by murdering them. This is done by simply asking them for the time. Whenever a player is murdered they have to return to the graveyard following an anticlockwise direction. Ghosts may not speak and have to return immediately to the graveyard.

They can only be freed by an alive person making it safely back to the cemetery, then one ghost is freed.

The wandering exorcist can go anywhere they like and has the ability to free a ghost once every two minutes. They do this by asking them the way to the cemetery (or to the site that has been nominated as the cemetery if a real one is not used). The exorcist is immortal.

The intention is that this game will lead to a certain level of uncertainty about who is playing the game and who is an ordinary member of the public. Ideally, therefore, players will arrive at the cemetery to 'check in' with the game organiser at a designated time, without knowing who else is playing. At this stage the two murderers and the exorcist are nominated in secret.

However, if players know each other or have to meet somewhere beforehand, then the game will still work.


Designed for the Hide & Seek day at the Forest Fringe in Edinburgh, August 2009.

Tested on 26th August, and updated rules to be added shortly after.