This started as an idea for a company party game (which I am TOTALLY going to do), and rapidly developed into a computer-based ARG for parties, like ARTEMIS Spaceship Bridge Simulator.
Infiltrator is designed to be a fun party game, and requires observation, awareness, and stealth to win. One must be careful of interceptions, try to read cues to detect the Infiltrator and anticipate good interception opportunities. A Team Variant can be played, in order to leverage it as a competitive team-building activity as well.
As such, I'll build it for our company party, and release it as open-source on #labs.
Infiltrator only requires a single computer, and not a powerful one at that. It does require some manual pen-and-paper setup on the part of the party host, but someone may eventually add a printing feature to the game (g0, p0).
Every player recipes an "agent ID number" that they need to keep secret - it is how they log into the spy database. Each player also receives a deck of cards with unique codes. The ID card and the code cards are put into an envelope, along with a piece of paper that says either "agent" or, in one case, "infiltrator".
Ideally, "decommissioned" name tag stickers should also be available if you get eliminated.
One player is the "infiltrator", a double agent with special codes. Infiltrator codes will "deactivate" an agent when entered, meaning the agent is out of the game until the Infiltrator is caught.
Ideally, there should be a jar or box next to the computer for used codes to be placed.
There are two winners in Infiltrator.
The Codebreaker is the agent who makes the most "connections", ideally without becoming decommissioned. Usually, this is the first person to get codes from ALL agents safely and avoid the infiltrator. Secondarily, it comes down to whoever got the most codes first without being decommissioned. A decommissioned agent can only win Codebreaker if the Infiltrator has won Spycatcher.
The Spycatcher is the agent who first identifies the Infiltrator. If the Infiltrator manages to deactivate all of the other agents (but one, obviously), he or she must "accuse" him- or herself before the other remaining agent does the accusing.
The game interface is simple - the player enters his or her agent ID to log in.
- The secret agent ID. This is to promote secrecy with the computer, and thus prolong the game. (If the Infiltrator got the agent ID, he or she could enter an Infiltrator code manually and decommission the agent.)
- The agent's team information.
- A list of agents he or she has connected with (but NOT who connected with him or her.)
- A searchable list of all the codes redeemed by any player so far (but not whether they were Infiltrator codes.) This will help keep playable codes in circulation, and ensure redeemed codes are discarded.
Codes may be redeemed on the interface. Also, a player can "accuse" another player of being the infiltrator through the interface, or create interceptions. Each agent can also see a list of the agents they have connected with (but cannot see who connected with THEM.)
All the codes are hashed from the player name, and each individual code is unique. One may not enter their own code, nor may they redeem more than one code from the same player.
To make things even trickier, a player may only log into the system once per a pre-set time period, and may only redeem a limited number of codes during that time period.
Throughout the evening, the agents must collect codes from one another. This involves some good espionage in and of itself, as the goal is to collect the MOST codes. Every time a code is entered, that agent is now "in contact" with the other agent. Each "contact" is worth a point.
However, one must be careful - if they enter a code from the Infiltrator, they will be deactivated and must sit out of the game. They cannot collect any more codes, though they may continue to give out their own. Like in Clue, one absolutely must NOT disclose the identity of the Infiltrator, as that ruins the game for everyone!
An agent may make an accusation that another agent is the Infiltrator by clicking "Accuse" on the computer and selecting the agent to accuse. If they are incorrect, they are decommissioned. If they are correct, the double agent is decommissioned.
Of course, this would be an incredibly short game if everyone just chatted and traded codes freely. Secrecy makes it more fun, so all agents have a certain number of minutes of "interception" assigned to them.
An interception can be created one-way between any two other agents, in which the intercepting agent anonymously receives the outcome of a code redemption, good or bad. The interception only works if the first agent enters a code from the second agent within the selected time limit. The time limit starts once the agent being intercepted is able to log in again (the time lockout is over).
For example, if each agent gets four minutes of interception, Bill may choose to create a one-minute interception between Melissa and Fred. If Melissa enters a code from Fred within that time period, she will see "the code has been intercepted!" and she must go and get another code from Fred.
Bill, meanwhile, would get the point for the connection to Fred (or would be decommissioned if Fred were the Infiltrator.) Bill has used one minute of his interception time, so now he only has three minutes worth of interceptions left.
Now, if Melissa had not entered a code from Fred within that time limit, the interception would expire - Bill would be out a minute of interception time, and Melissa would get to redeem her code.
The Team Variant secretly divides players onto teams, and the Infiltrator remains without a team (though who can say?). Even the host doesn't know who is on whose team, as the computer does this randomly.
Each team is given a cool logo, name, color, and a secret cue (i.e. a hand signal) for identifying other agents on that team. Obviously, the secret cue should be kept secret, lest the Infiltrator find it and use it to trick another agent into entering a code.
The following changes are made to gameplay.
- No one knows who their teammates are until they redeem a code from him or her. This is one-way. If Bill redeems a code from Melissa, he knows that Melissa is his teammate. Now he must give her his code so they can cooperate, otherwise, no team actions can be made between them.
- Time lockouts apply to all teammates, not only individuals.
- Known teammates may transfer interception time to one another.
- A player may choose to "protect" a teammate. This is subtle - the protected player can enter the codes, but all of them look safe (even the Infiltrator code increases the score until the end!) The other player will discover the decommissioning later. Thus, using this to identify the Infiltrator would be tricky, given the team lockouts.