We’ve all been there: invited to a distant uncle’s mansion situated on a remote island with 11 other strangers, only to be told you will inherit the house and everything inside if you can last the night as the sole survivor.
That’s the premise of I’m Sure You’re All Wondering Why I’ve Gathered You Here This Evening, a murder mystery tabletop RPG from designer Logan Jenkins that draws heavily from Cluedo and social deduction games but translates all of the board elements into one deck of cards.
Two to six players take up positions around a matrix of nine cards that compose your deceased relative’s stately manor. Each draws two facedown cards that represent a secret and a belonging and then gather in the foyer where they will mingle with the other would-be lords and ladies of the house.
The suits and numbers on the cards denote all of the information players need to understand both themselves and the layout of the manor. Secrets will assign extra goals to pursue during the course of the night while also providing the foundation for roleplay and your relation to both the deceased and the gaggle of cousins, aunts and old friends also vying for the deed.
Some characters may want to round up their extended family and try to survive the night as a team, regardless of The Deceased’s demands. Others might seize this opportunity to conveniently remove a jilted lover or bitter rival who made your life hell as a child. Roleplay is an important part of understanding who to keep an eye on and who might need to taste steel.
Exploring the manor can lead to new resources to protect oneself against murder attempts or information that can be bartered in an alliance. It might also reveal the perfect spot to hide the evidence of a heinous act done in secret. Keeping your cards literally close to your chest and playing your role well is key to holding on to life until dawn.
The game continues until only one person remains to clean up the bloody mess or the sun rises on a group who get to leave with their life and nothing more. Afterwards, each player will write an epilogue for their character and reveal their secret goals. Depending on how the game developed, victories may turn pyrrhic in the face of one last hidden betrayal.
I’m Sure You’re All Wondering Why I’ve Gathered You Here This Evening will be crowdfunding on Kickstarter until March 12th. Backers can pick up a print copy for $10 (£7.23) and expect shipping to begin in August of this year.