Welcome to the Bookish Games, a variation of the game Mafia (aka Werewolf) that was previously hosted at A Bookish Heart and is now hosted at Oh, the Books! For each game, a popular YA book is chosen to be the theme and players are assigned different character roles and powers. Their end goal is to ensure that their team is the last one standing, even if they don’t know who their other teammates are.
THE GAME IS NOW OVER!
- [DAY] Mel @ The Daily Prophecy as Eric, Team Erudite, Neighbor (can communicate with other neighbors anytime)
- [NIGHT] NO NIGHT ELIMINATION
After eight grueling Days, Team Dauntless shocked us all by eliminating the last Team Erudite member, Mel, to secure their win. Congratulations to the surviving Team Dauntless members: Nadia, Lauren, Emily, and Charley! It was a close call, but you somehow managed to pull it together in the end.
Some of you may have noticed Asti’s Evil Mastermind t-shirt back in March, which was actually a test run for one more addition we wanted to make to the Bookish Games. We’ve chosen two players who played hard and well throughout the entire game, and their actions had a big impact on the way things played out.
- Mel @ The Daily Prophecy – We loved Mel’s ballsy moves when it came to the game. While her Mason lie ended up backfiring when Charlotte/Sana was eliminated during Night Seven, securing her own deathly fate, it was still a bold move that helped Team Erudite survive longer than it might have.
- Emily @ Constellation Chronicles – One of the keys to winning when it comes to Townies is active participation, and Emily was a shining example. Even when she should have been revising (tsk, tsk) she contributed to the game, and even figured out some of our twists early on (whether she realized it or not)!
But what about everyone else who survived — especially those players who ultimately ended the game and won the day for Team Dauntless?
Each one helped contribute to Team Dauntless’s success in some pivotal way – whether by role blocking an important move (Charley), killing off a major baddie (Nadia), or revealing a secret that helped secure the deadly fate of another baddie (Lauren).
Don’t worry, you guys get prizes too! We’ll be sending each of you some official Bookish Games swag, so be on the lookout for an email from Kelley or Asti very soon!
THE GAME SET-UP
This game contains major twists that were inspired by the book Divergent. As mentioned when players signed up for the game, the game contains some spoiler-y aspects, and while it is not necessary to read the book to play the game, playing the game with knowledge of the book can really help (or hinder) the experience. If you haven’t read the books and are super paranoid about spoilers, you may want to skip over this bit.
Twist One: Cultafia
The first twist was that Team Erudite was a Cultafia. As a Cultafia, Team Erudite could choose to either kill or recruit a player each Night. There was no limitation or restriction attached to either for Team Erudite; it was up to them each Night to decide which option they wanted to use.
If Team Erudite chose to kill someone, the kill would be carried out like usual (with it only being stopped due to bulletproofing, role blocking, etc.). Team Erudite could send anyone to complete the kills (either full Team Erudite members or their recruitments).
If Team Erudite chose to recruit someone, that player would become a Dauntless Traitor. They would still technically be aligned with Team Dauntless, but they would lose their Dauntless powers and instead have the end goal of helping Team Erudite win. In order words, they were still pretty much Townies, but with no knowledge of who the baddies were and no ability to speak on any private pages they would mainly just have to try and sabotage their Townie teammates as much as they possible to help Team Erudite win. (Only Team Erudite players could be sent out to complete recruitments.)
As you will see if you visit the wiki, this type of mafia is often not recommended for game play because it may be difficult to balance. We wanted to give it a go though, especially since it fit the book so well, so we implemented the Cultafia but added another twist (one that they didn’t know about)…
Twist Two: Divergent Characters
Inspired by the book, we decided to include Divergent characters who were non-recruitable, and if targeted by an Erudite for recruitment would kill the recruiter instead. In the books, Divergent players are immune to the serums that are used throughout the factions. We carried this over to the game, making it so the recruitment was in effect a result of a serum which wouldn’t work on Divergent players. Our thought was if a Divergent player was targeted for recruitment, the recruitment wouldn’t work and instead the Divergent player could kill off the recruiter in retaliation.
No players in the game were made aware of this Divergent ability. Team Erudite was not informed that their recruitments could backfire, and Team Dauntless wasn’t told anything about possible Divergence. Those players who were given any information about it were those who were Divergent (Emily, Lauren, and Jenn), and even then they were only told that they had the power but not what it actually meant.
We thought that the inclusion of non-recruitable Divergent would help keep the Cultafia’s power in check. Team Erudite could recruit every Night, but if they did there was a small chance it would backfire, hurting their team instead. Their recruitments also did not have any further information than what they started with, so couldn’t really cause as much damage as the full-fledged members.
Was It Balanced?
Now, throughout the game there were arguments about the existence of these types of roles and some were quite adamant that they could not exist because it would not be fair. We apologize if some felt that this was the case, but really this game seemed fairly balanced and its results were largely based off the players of the game and not the set up. Looking back, there were a few areas were things could have went either way:
- An Erudite team member was eliminated Night One trying to recruit Jenn, a Divergent player. Team Erudite didn’t know that this was a result of their target being Divergent and assumed another team or serial killer must have targeted them. They almost considered targeting Jenn for recruitment the next Night, but ended up changing their minds.
- During Day Two, Charlotte (later replaced by Sana) was one of the few people who were being targeted for elimination during the Day. If she would have received majority vote, the game would have probably ended the next day. As we now know, Mel lied to her fellow Neighbors by saying she was a Mason with Charlotte. If Charlotte had been eliminated Day Two, Lauren and Laura would have revealed Mel’s lie during Day Three and pushed for her elimination.
- Nadia was almost eliminated during Day Seven. If her elimination occurred (which I’m sure Mel is kicking herself for, since she wanted to change her vote to her but missed the deadline), then she would not have been able to kill Sana during Night Seven which led to Mel’s elimination during Day Eight. Team Erudite would have likely won since both Mel and Sana were on many trust lists, if Nadia was voted off.
There are multiple instances were things could have turned either way, but in the end it worked in Team Dauntless’s favor. Both teams played smart, making major moves when needed, and I think we can all agree that it was a super close game that no one could predict!
What About the Book?
It was also mentioned at one point in the game that the recruitment twist couldn’t exist because the book isn’t required to be read before playing the game. Yes, this is true. A player can play the game without reading the book. But, we did state loud and clear when signing up for the game that this set up included a SPOILER for the book and players were warned to join at their own risk. Players should have taken that as a sign that this game was indeed deeply inspired by the book in an important way and that having read the book would have probably helped.
Of course, that same help can also hurt. Kelley and I are not fans of name-claiming. Basing someone’s innocence off their character name can be a cheap way out of playing the game. Just because someone is given a big name doesn’t mean they should coast off it and not participate. This Divergent twist meant that those who read the book would have the benefit of possibly figuring the recruitment twist out, but would also be hindered by their understanding of the alliance of certain characters within the story. Sure, those characters may be good within the book, but under the serum who can you really trust? We’re hoping that based off this game players can start to see how name-claims should not hold as much value in determining how people are aligned.
Behind the Scenes
As always, here is the information for the secret pages and access to the master sheet where Kelley and I kept track of each Day/Night actions. If you have questions about anything, don’t hesitate to ask!
- GoogleDocs – Master Sheet – Spreadsheet that contains information about each Day’s votes, each Night’s actions, and all eliminations. Just click on the tabs at the bottom of the sheet to see what went down.
- Page N – Neighbors Page (password: howdyneighbor) – The Neighbors consisted of three players who could communicate anytime, Day or Night, on a private page. The main difference between Neighbors and Masons (which I used in the past), is that Neighbors don’t actually know the alliance of each other.
- Page DP – Dead Player Page (password: imaghost) – Dead Players (or spectators who were interested) could gain access to this page to discuss the game outside of the main posts.
- Page EHQ – Erudite Headquarters Page (password: thebrains) – Team Erudite were allowed to discuss each Night which players they want to recruit and/or kill. Note: only those who were full Team Erudite members, and not Dauntless Traitors, could access this page.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…
Bookish Games: Divergent Edition was a lot of fun. Kelley’s addition and help made the game that much better, and I personally enjoyed the added twists. I had no clue who was going to win (though I was rooting for Team Erudite. Darn it, the baddies never win)!
But of course, it’s not over yet. Another edition of Bookish Games is in the works, and this time, thanks to Kelley, we’re going outside of the hugely popular YA novels to include a manga: Death Note. We’ve been working hard on it, and can’t wait to share it with you. Sign-ups will be open on June 21st, so mark your calendars if you’re interested in joining!