The Gossip Game

From Ludocity
The Gossip Game
Designer: Coney
Year: 2007
Players: Up to 25
Stuff required: Name badges, notepads, pencils. Optionally: hats, blindfolds and a PA system for the Town Crier.
Crew required: One
Preparation: Ten minutes.
Time required: One hour.
Place required: Any large area.
Activities: Writing, deduction, conspiracy.
This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

Like anyone who grew up in this small town anywhere, you have some filthy secrets. And you really need to dish the dirt on your childhood rival before someone outs you…


You are a citizen of a small town and receive a title badge: The Actress, The Bishop, The Carpenter, etc. In well-equipped games you will also receive a hat suitable for your role.

At the start of the game you receive a letter which informs you:

  • your secret LOVER in the town, with whom you are having a secret affair
  • your childhood RIVAL in the town, whom you want to denounce for their sins and have banished from the town
  • the filthy SECRET of someone else in the town (neither your LOVER nor your RIVAL)

You also receive a notebook and pencil (and a blindfold in those well-equipped games).

The main action of citizens is to gossip and swap secrets to try to dig the dirt on other citizens, especially their RIVAL.


You are the town crier of this small town. You have a little black book with everyone’s lovers, rivals and secrets listed. You may be assisted by a postman. In well-equipped games, you have a microphone connected to the PA and perhaps some music.


There are turns representing day and night. The game usually starts on ‘Monday morning’ and finishes on ‘Sunday morning’ if not before. Through each day, citizens gossip and swap secrets. At night, they rest and are silent (and may be asked to wear blindfolds). Letters can be written by citizens at any time and hand-delivered At the end of each day, letters can be posted via the Town Crier and Postman, which will be delivered to citizens the next morning. Letters of denunciation can be written to the Town Crier.

There may also be surprising events at the arbitrary discretion of the Town Crier.

Aim of the Game

To first denounce your RIVAL so they are forced to leave town and then to denounce the most other citizens by the end of the ‘week’, without being denounced yourself.

You can denounce citizens by writing a note to the Town Crier, which must be signed. You tell the Town Crier the title of the CITIZEN, the title of their secret LOVER, and their filthy SECRET – e.g. ‘Dear Town Crier, the Actress is having an affair with the Electrician, and not only that, but she is a Communist! Love from the Bishop’.

The first citizen any CITIZEN can denounce and have banished is their RIVAL. Thereafter, they are free to denounce and have banished whichever others they like. Of course, willy-nilly denouncers risk being identified by other players as tattlemouths and poison-tongues…

Every morning, the Town Crier reads out all the signed letters of denunciation. Any that are successful – eligible target (always the RIVAL for the first by any citizen), identifying their LOVER and their SECRET – result in the shameful banishment of the denounced citizen. No comment is given by the Town Crier on the truth of accusations unless they result in successful banishment.

Play history

The Gossip Game has been played at:-