Where is the Poison? [In the Lab]

Where is the Poison?
In my local game group, we have this running joke that pops up in most games. None of us has a really good poker face, so when we draw a good card or get a good roll, we'll be very obvious about it. Thus, someone will mockingly say, "I think I'll bluff!" I'm sure it's from a show or something, but I've forgotten the origins by now.

On that note, here's a bluffing game that seems too elegant to not have already been designed by someone. You tell me, okay?


PREMISE
Intrigue at a wine tasting! You and the other players each have two cups. One of your cups is poisoned. Only you know which of your cups is poisoned. You don't know which of the other player's cups is poisoned.


SETUP
A poison tracker with six spaces, a separate track for each player. Each player also has a white meeple and a black meeple. The white meeple tracks how many times you have been poisoned. The black meeple tracks how many players you have poisoned.

Deal a poison and non-poison cup card to each player face-down. One of these cups is poisoned. You may look at your cup cards, but keep them secret. Only you may know which of your cups is poisoned.

Give a supply of drink chips for each player. The number of chips you get is equal to the number of players, minus one.

Deal a role card for each player with specific victory conditions to achieve by the end of the game. These are randomly dealt to each player face down. You may look at your role card, but keep it secret.
  • ____ win by being the least poisoned player.
  • ____ win by poisoning the most players.
  • ____ win by poisoning the fewest players.
  • ____ win by being the most poisoned player.
  • ____ win by triggering the endgame.
  • ____ win by having your meeples in the same space.
  • ____ win by having the greatest distance between your meeples.
Victory conditions are not mutually exclusive. Some, none or all the roles may win at the end of the game.


Example Setup

PLAY
The player who was most recently poisoned takes the first turn. Subsequent turns proceeds clockwise.

On your turn, decide which of each player's cups you'll drink from. All the players may negotiate, coerce and otherwise debate with you regarding your choice. Bluffing is encouraged.

When you make a choice, put one of your chips down on the cup you choose. Then proceed to the next player's cups and repeat the process. Continue until you are out of chips.

The round ends when everyone has made their choices and placed their chips.

Example of players choosing their cups.


SCORING
At the end of each round, each player reveals their cup cards.

Move your white meeple forward as many spaces as you were poisoned this round.

Move your black meeple forward as many spaces as players you poisoned this round.

Example of scoring: Player A was poisoned three times and poisoned three players. Player B was poisoned once and poisoned two players. Player C was poisoned twice and poisoned one player. Player D was not poisoned and poisoned three players. Player E was poisoned three times and poisoned two players.


ENDGAME
When one or more players white meeples reaches the skull space, the game is over. Reveal your role cards and find out who won!


POSSIBLE VARIANTS
The chips can have heads/tails sides. There is a whole deck of poisoned and non-poisoned cup cards, each with special effects that are triggered for players who choose that cup with a head's up chip. These special effects are things like "Move your white meeple +1 space." "Move your black meeple -1 space." and so on.
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.