Why Not Games




High School Gossip

Idea

The game is basically Cluedo, but instead of being a murder mystery, it is set in a high school and you have to find out who hooked up with whom.

Setting

The game takes place in your high school. The principal has just called an assembly to warn all of you of the dangers of teenage sex. So, now you know that someone was caught hooking up. At this point, there are really only two questions, who was involved and can you break the news before your rival does?

The game is pretty simple, you and your rival both have a lot of information about who was occupied where, but there's one pair of people and one place that neither of you can account for. By carefully asking questions of your rival, you must deduce what they know and eliminate possibilities until finally you can reveal to the entire school

Mechanics

The categories of cards are going to be boys, girls and locations. [1]

Besides this, the theme and mechanics seem to work together well and the nostalgia factor of Cluedo is a part of the appeal. I don't think that any innovation on the base is necessary at this point. Playtesting may of course reveal this to be false.

Key Features

Facebook integration: I believe that a number of people who play this game would appreciate the ability to replace the people in the game with their acquaintances. I think that doing this will add more personality to the game pieces.[2]

Conversation snippets about clues: I want to sell the theme a little harder than Cluedo does, so I need to set up conversation snippets about the clues. For instance, when shooting down someone's theory involving the geography room, the player character can state that they had a class there at that time.

Questions

  • What is the correct tone? Is it more Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble? Is it more Mean Girls? How much of the narrative should be left implied? I'm not the best judge of this, and I think that I would need to experiment with it a little first.
  • What is the optimal way to play Cluedo? Does it work as a two player game, or do I need to add more people? Also, how much of the bookkeeping should I automate?

Concerns

  • [1] I default to keeping things like the sexuality of the characters in my games ambiguous so that players can insert whatever they want into the story. For this game however, I need to break people up into two groups and allow for relationships between them. I don't want to make the groups arbitrary and make the characters all potentially bisexual because I expect that people in a high school would have a solid idea of what their schoolmates are interested in and representing that would add a lot of complexity. Another option would be to make it an all boys school or an all girls school and commit to that like Dream Dads. I actually think that could be done really well, especially if you can add a little bit about the suppressed history of homosexuality in single-gender schools. That's unfortunately not a game that I feel that I personally could write well. However, what I can do is make the game open source and easy to remix in case anyone else wants to take a crack at it.
  • [2] I do worry that this integrating this with Facebook will make it ripe for abuse though. This is exactly the kind of tool that people can use to bully each other, to harass people, or just to be inappropriate with. That can be alleviated by requiring the permission of the people named in the screenshots, but that may be insufficient. I'll have to keep an eye on this.

- @murthynikhil

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