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Off With Your Head

Off With Your Head

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Off With Your Head
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Designer: Minkette
Players: 6-12 (?)
Stuff required: A standard deck of poker cards. Name stickers for each player.
Crew required: One Queen of Hearts.
Preparation: None.
Time required: Half an hour.
Place required: Any location with a table or flat surface.
Activities: Bluffing, deduction.
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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 deductive, social card game with sharp edges.

Organiser instructions

Give each player a sticker, and ask them to write their name on it and stick it about their person.

Remove the jokers and the Queen of Hearts from a deck of cards, and shuffle it. You, the game organiser, are the Queen of Hearts.

Going around the players in order, deal off a card, secretly look at it and note down its value next to the player's name, then give the card to that player. Only you and the player must see the value of their card.

After you've given a card to everyone, go back around and collect all the cards, shuffle them together, then deal them out on a table in the middle, to show everyone which cards exist.

Player instructions

You were given a card. You are now that card. Remember it well. You can tell other people what that card was, and other people will tell you what theirs was, but there's no guarantee that anybody is telling the truth.

Off With Your Head is played over a number of rounds. Each round has a particular goal, and you must pair yourself with another player such that - as a pair of cards - you achieve that goal. Any pair that fails to achieve it risks the Queen calling for their head, eliminating them from the game.

When there is an odd number of players in a round, the leftover player is counted as a pair by themselves. In some cases, they may still be able to achieve that round's goal as a single card.

Aces are low. Jacks are worth 11, Queens worth 12 and Kings 13.

Round One: High Cards

Pair up into high values, in an attempt to get the highest total. You all have a couple of minutes to talk to one another and agree on pairings; when the time is up, you must all be in pairs.

The Queen of Hearts will announce - without revealing exact totals - the highest pair (or pairs, if tied), and the lowest pair (or pairs). All the cards must vote as to which member of the lowest pair will lose their head - that player is eliminated from the game.

Whenever a player is eliminated from the game, their card on the table is turned face-down.

Round Two: Low Cards

As round one, except that cards must pair themselves into low-scoring totals. The lowest pair is congratulated, the highest pair (or pairs) are put up for voting, and one will be eliminated. There will be an odd number of players this round so one 'pair' will have only one person in it.

Important note: All dead players get to vote for who is eliminated, so if you're dead and have an axe to grind...

Round Three: Face Cards

In this round, each pair must have at least one face card in it. All non-face cards who are not paired up with a face card will be up for elimination voting at the end of this round.

Round Four: Red Cards

As round three, except that each pair must have at least one red card in it. (Or black, at the Queen's discretion.)

Round Five: Sudden Death

Starting with a player of the Queen of Hearts' choice (and continuing around the table), each surviving player must point to another player and say what card they represent. If they are wrong, the guessing player is eliminated. If they are correct, they survive.

The last player left standing is the winner.

Play history

Off With Your Head was played at Sandpit #3 and again at Sandpit #4.