Astute observers have noticed our social media posts about the Conspire Dinner Party variant. With much of the design and playtesting under our belt, we want to publically share our methodology. Follow along, dear conspirators, so you may go forth and host your own conspiracy-themed parties.
The Dinner Party’s basic idea is taking the rapid plot and character development found in Conspire and stretching it out over an evening. Here, we want players to have more developed characters and more complex interpersonal relations. People have more opportunities to talk and plot before committing to a course of action. There is more poking and prodding about goals. As a side effect, this is accompanied by more questions about the character’s life and the surrounding world.
To actualize this shift, players need to feel that success is not something to be quickly pounced upon. Merely extending the timeframe gives people this impression. In practice, players use most of the allotted time. The Dinner Party variant also gives players new goals mid-game. This adds another challenge, as well as another bargaining chip others can exploit. Finally, Influence Tokens (the tools to create truths mid-game) are meted out with the dinner courses. Players cannot quickly exhaust their influence and, thus, are less encouraged to shape the world before their competitors. Everything leads to more late-game power and a need to exploit that power.
Furthering this shift from the immediate to the end are Bribery Tokens and the toasts. Every player begins with two Bribery Tokens. The two players with the most at the end get points (just like when they achieve goals). Players can spend and trade these tokens at will. Their only mechanical value, aside from the point bonus, is to tweak the end-game toasts. At the end of the game, each player gives an in-character toast. This toast touches upon one small topic and dictates that topic’s future. Bribery Tokens are spent to either extend your own toast or pile on to someone else’s. Since these toasts canonically define the story’s conclusion, altering them is a powerful tool.
Normal Conspire is about snap decisions, shocking reveals, and an unpredictable universe. It is intense, quick, and immediately rewarding. You finish and game and begin a new world to either prolong your success or redeem your failures. The Dinner Party is about methodical planning, constant backroom dealings, and deep character relations. It is a weightier play experience with more story as the payoff. The base experience is the one we want from Conspire. It is something you can play a game or two of every game night and have a different game each time. The Dinner Party is a surprisingly fun twist. It is an event worth planning and organizing. It is a special treat for Conspire enthusiasts to periodically luxuriate in.