These are the rules of my homebrew of The Thing, a party game based off the 1981 film John Carpenter's The Thing.
My main goal was to create an improved version of the popular party game Werewolf (also commonly known as Mafia) and I think I've created a game that fixes many of the problems the original game has. It's not vital that the players of The Thing are familar with Werewolf, but it certainly helps.
advantages over werewolf/mafia
Here are some very basic rules of The Thing, more details follow below, but if you're familiar with Werewolf this is mostly what you'll need to get started and begin to understand the core differences in this game.
The Thing consists of the players (5 - ∞) and the Gamemaster (GM). The GM can be called many different things; "God, Leader, John Carpenter, Kurt Russell," but in these rules I'll refer to him as the GM.
The game switches between the two times of play; DAY and NIGHT. During NIGHT the majority of the players are asleep (sitting with their eyes closed and silent.) During DAY the players are awake and can talk freely to each other.
On the first NIGHT of the game the GM will secretly select one player to become INFECTED. The INFECTED player will then immediately select another player to infect. (This is the key difference from Werewolf/Mafia. Instead of killing off other players, the INFECTED choose players to join them.)
All players who are not INFECTED are INNOCENT.
During the DAY the players select a player to be tested. If the player they select is INFECTED, that player is then killed off and leaves the game. However if that player is not, they then get to simply return to the game. If the players succesfully kill an INFECTED, they get to test another player. If they tested an INNOCENT player, the game returns to NIGHT.
Gameplay continues like this until the INFECTED that are aware (I'll explain this later) outnumber the INNOCENT, At that point the finale takes place.
setup/ first night
The players should be seated in a circle, on the floor or in seats if available. The GM needs to be able to walk 360 around the group.
The game begins in NIGHT with the players' eyes closed. The GM should setup the story and rules here. Even if the players are familiar a quick refresher never hurts.
The GM then selects a player to be the first INFECTED by tapping them on the head. This player then chooses the next INFECTED player by pointing at someone else in the group.
The newly selected player is tapped on the head by the GM, making them aware they are also INFECTED, but at this point they have no idea which player has infected them.
In the base game the first night ends here. If you've decided on more player modes, other selections are made here.
The players all awake as the GM announces DAY has arrived.
Some discussion should happen now. The players may start this by themselves or the GM may need to lead them into conversation.
After some amount of discussion has happened, the voting process can begin. The GM can choose any player to vote first (oldest player/ first name in the alphabet/ etc,) but the next day the vote should begin with the next player to the left, so throughout the game each player gets to be the first to vote.
The players vote on who they believe to be INFECTED. They may only say the name or the GM might press them for a reason. Once everyone has voted the player with the most votes is selected for testing.
There are two options for a tie.
- 1: Neither player is selected and the game immediately launches into night.
- 2: The two players close their eyes and everyone else must vote between the two players.
The selected player is then tested. There are also a number of ways to do this depending on the group you're playing with.
- 1: The GM announces whether the player was INFECTED or INNOCENT.
- 2: The player announces whether they were INFECTED or INNOCENT.
- 3: For the more dramatic/roleplay crowd, one of the other players volunteers to test the selected player. The volunteer taps the player on the head. If the selected player was INFECTED, they act the motions of turning into a deformed alien and dying. If they were INNOCENT they simply sit there with a smug look on their face.
If the player was proven INNOCENT they remain in the game, however the players won't trust them for long as they may become infected in the next round.
If the player was proven INFECTED then they are eliminated from the game and can cheer on the surviving INFECTED from the sideline. The players now get to test another player. This cycle can continue on until all INFECTED have been killed. However I recommend only allowing one test on the first day, to make sure the game doesn't end after one night (however I have yet to play a game where the players succesfully tested any INFECTED on the first day.)
the game continues
The game now launches back into NIGHT and the actions repeat. As the INFECTED players awake the newly selected player will learn the identities of the others. They will then choose another player to infect.
The cycle continues between DAY and NIGHT until...
There are 2 ways for the game to end.
1. The INFECTED are killed: This ending happens once there are no more INFECTED players left. The players should be constantly aware of how many INFECTED players remaining so they will be instantly aware when they win. The players will naturally always need to test at least 2 INFECTED players in a row to win, as there will always be a minimum of 2 INFECTED at the beginning of the day.
2. The INFECTED outnumber the INNOCENT: On the DAY after half or the majority of the remaining players are INFECTED, (4/8, 4/9, 5/10, etc) the group must successfully test an INFECTED person. (This is only possible on the basis that the newly INFECTED player will accidentally vote for one of their own, since at this point they won't be aware of who's who.)
If the players succesfully kill an INFECTED then the game continues as normal.
If they don't then the game enters finale mode. It's now up to the player who was tested (and the only player all players know is INNOCENT) to end the game. They must stand up and walk around the circle, tapping the players who they believe to be INFECTED.
If they tap any INNOCENT, then the INFECTED win the game. If they succesfully tap all of the INFECTED, the INNOCENT win.
tips for GMs
last updated on the 4th of september, 2018