Agents
flickr:26204824173e
intermediate.png
players.png ~7-11
time.png 10 min
props.png cue-deck × 0 inspire-deck × 2 dice × 0 -

Decide if someone's music suits your picture or, if you are an Agent, try to say what two sounds don't suit together. What's easier?

Preparation

You will need two decks of Inspire Cards. If you can, provide also a third deck for reference, but this one will not have to be shuffled, it can even bu uncut printout of cards. For this game players should have some freedom of movement.

Set up

Not all cards should be used in one round. The "sub-deck" for use can be prepared beforehand by a person that doesn't play, or if you don't want to exclude anyone, cards can be prepared by two "Dealers". It can be done right before the game with the following method that doesn't give away any informational advantage.

Dealer #1: gather all the cards into pairs of the same image (you can see faces of cards but hide them before others) and put them in two-card piles face down.
Dealer #2: without the Dealer #1 present and without looking at card faces, choose piles (pairs) of cards until the amount of chosen cards exceeds the amount of players by 3 or 4. Keep these piles at the table. but rearrange them in an unrevealing way. Put the rest of the cards away - they will not be taken for the sub-deck, but you are not allowed to look at faces of discarded cards.
Dealer #1: take piles of your choice to the subdeck until only 4 piles are left. If the amount players is odd, put one more pile to the sub-deck.
From the remaining 3 or 4 piles take one card of each to the sub-deck.
The sub-deck should now be shuffled.

Now Dealer #2 (or Dealer #1, if Dealer #2 is the best shuffler ;) ) reveals Agent(s). There is one Agent if the amount of players is odd (reveal the face of 1 of 3 cards), and two Agents if the amount of players is even (reveal the face of 2 of 4 cards). Other two hidden cards will not be looked at until the end of the game.

Cards from the sub-deck should be delt to players one each. Player that has a card that is revealed is taking a role of an Agent.

Gameplay instructions

The aim is different for Agents and other players (you know you are an Agent if you have a card that is the same as revealed in a setup). But all the participants are now to head out to meet each other in small duets. While fluidly swapping pairs you should connect musically in some way with a person you meet.

Until you withdraw, you should play something all the time (of course some rests are allowed), but you are allowed play very quietly (for example to not let people outside of your pair hear you well). You can play anything you want, that depends on your strategy.

Agent: while acting like a regular player, and probably even trying to pose as one, you will need to find out which two players don't have their pair in the game (i. e. they have a card equal to one that stays at the table face down). You do that by careful listening to everybody around you, and sometimes by musical provocation.

Players: You play in the hopes of recognizing a person that has the same card as you. Two players of a pair can find each other by musically interpretting their cards when playing with each other. On the other hand, you'd rather not make it too obvious or you might regret it in the end if you happen to be a person without a pair. Body language of players should not be used to signal what card one has, but can be used to show if a playing pair thinks they have a same card or not.

At any point you can withdraw from further playing. You may signal it by stopping, facing a wall or sitting down, but don't leave the playing space, as you'll need to respond with some sounds if someone comes to form a pair with you. Withdrawing is a good thing to do if you already know who are you going to be pairing with. Be aware though, that if you and your supposed pair both withdraw suddenly and at the same time, that is a big informational advantage for an Agent. Do you really want to help an Agent? ;) If everyone around you is withdrawing, you'd better withdraw quickly too.

Game end

Agent is not allowed to withdraw, but when s/he has played a duet with every person in the game, s/he is allowed to end the game. You can also prolong it if there is more then one pair still playing and you need more information. You signal the end of the game by making (loud) noise on your instrument.

All the music then stops, but Players are not allowed to talk yet nor reveal their cards.

Agent(s) should now leave the room, count slowly to 10 and come back (knock three times slowly before entering). While Agents are absent, Players reveal two cards that show which two players were given cards without pairs. Now, still without speaking, Players form pairs.

When Agent(s) comes back they pick a pair of Players that according to their previous research does not have a card with the same image. Only then cards can be revealed to check if the guess is correct.

Variants

You can provide a theme for this game by selecting specific images for used cards. Halloween would be the first idea, but (as suggested in the comments below) countries of the world would suit great too, and probably many others.

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