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Double Agent / Watch Your Back

Double Agent / Watch Your Back

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Double Agent / Watch Your Back
Watchyourback.png
Designer: Celine Llewellyn-Jones
Players: 9+
Stuff required: 6+ coloured stickers per player. "Behaviour sheet" handouts. A siren, whistle or other noisemaker.
Crew required: One
Preparation: None.
Time required: 20+ minutes.
Place required: Connected rooms of a building, or a small outdoor area.
Activities: Deduction, bluffing, teamwork.
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This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
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This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

A game of deductive backstabbing and calculated trust.

Setup

The game requires 3-4 spy teams with each team having a minimum of 3 players (agents) and assigned a colour. Each players is randomly assigned one of 4 kinds of agent behaviour sheets. In this way players are (secretly) assigned to a team. They know the team that they are on but do not know which other players have been assigned to their team. Players are not allowed to share information about which team they are on at any point during game-play.

Each player is given two different types of stickers.

  1. Bullet wound stickers (as many as there are members of opposing teams)
  2. Lock and Key stickers (as many as there are other members of their own team)

Stickers are coloured in order to identify the team to which each sticker belongs.

Game-play

The aim of the game is to identify your own and rival team members and tag each accordingly by sticking either a black mark (for rivals) or a coloured sticker (for fellow team members) onto the back of each player. The team with collectively the least number of black marks and the most coloured stickers is the winner.

The behaviour sheets determine certain aspects of a player's behaviour. Each team has its own particular set. For example members of team code blue must always look over their shoulder before passing through a door, and change direction if passed by a member of the public or another player, members of team 2 must scratch their eyebrow after every person they pass, and must put their back to the wall before passing through a door, team 3 cannot move for more than 5 steps in a single direction and must wipe their brow before changing direction. No player is allowed to stop moving at any time. Players can carry out these behaviours in as subtle or hammy way as they wish, they may make up other 'suspicious' behaviours and even copy the behaviours of other spies as long as they stick to their own rules. Players are not allowed to speak at any time.

Players must observe the activities of other spies as they move and attempt to ascertain the behaviour which distinguishes the behaviour of rival teams as well as identify members of their own team.

The game finishes when all the stickers have been placed on backs.

Strategy

Whilst players wish to bluff their rivals and convince them they're part of the rival team, they must also take care to persuade members of their own team that they are indeed part of their team. For example this may involve identifying a behaviour that is very specific to a players' own team, but which can be carried out subtley enough for rivals to miss it. Players may decide to take note of the stickers players have placed on other players' backs, and even track another player, especially if they think they have successfully identified and trust a member of their own team.

Smiling or winking at your enemies may be another way to confuse them.

Video

The game being played at Sandpit #9, at the Barbican.

Play history

This game ran as Watch Your Back at Sandpit #9 at the Barbican in March 2009, and again at Sandpit #11 in May 2009. Steel City Games ran a variant called "DoubleCross" in August 2010.