Alien Among Us

An alien lurks in a tiny arctic town surrounding an archeological dig. The alien is jumping from host to host, turning the archeologists and locals into insidious spawn. Even the soldiers called in to contain the situation may already be infected. Will the town collapse into paranoia? Will the humans defeat the hostile alien threat? Earn each other's trust. Find the Alien. Don't act suspicious.

» Development Status: Dormant, but welcome to comments.
» Inspired by John Carpenter's The Thing and Werewolf/Mafia games
» Originally created as a part of the Luchacabra project.
» Resurrected by Luca Ricci's request.

Stuff You Need
A room with 15-25 players.
One person to be the moderator.
One role card per player.
Half the cards say "You are a LOCAL. You have one vote and one trust token."
One quarter say "You are a SOLDIER. You have two votes."
One quarter say "You are an ARCHEOLOGIST. You have two trust tokens."

Before play, the Moderator randomly and secretly selects one of the cards. That card is amended to also say, "...and you are the ALIEN AMONG US."
The Moderator reads the introduction above.
Each player draws a card at random to find out their role.
The Moderator guides the group through each round.

Step 1: The Alien chooses a new host.
The Moderator tells everyone to cover their eyes. The Moderator tells the Alien and any Spawns to wake up. As quietly as possible, the Alien walks around the room and chooses a host by tapping him on the shoulder. Spawns can help choose the host, but the final decision lies with the Alien. After being tapped, the Host keeps his eyes covered. In the next round, the Host will take on the role of the Alien. The Alien of the current round will revert to a Spawn in the next round.

Step 2: The Humans grow paranoid.
The Moderator tells the Aliens and Spawn to cover their eyes. The Moderator tells everyone to open their eyes. Accusations begin. After discussing each other's suspicious behavior, the LOCALS and SOLDIERS secretly cast their vote(s) for who they think is the Alien. The Moderator reads out the votes. If at this point half or more of the players are accused, the Alien wins the game.

Step 3: The Humans vouch for each other.
The LOCALS and ARCHEOLOGISTS may spend their trust token(s) on an accused players’ behalf to cancel out votes against them. One token cancels one vote. You are allowed to spend trust tokens on yourself, but that is very suspicious. The Moderator collects any spent tokens.

Step 4: The accused are tested.
Any accused player who has votes against him will reveal whether he is a Human, Spawn or the Alien. If tokens have canceled out all votes, the player(s) who got the most votes is tested. (Regardless of how many trust tokens were spent on his behalf.)

If the accused player is Human, anyone who spent trust tokens on his behalf gets those Trust tokens back plus an extra Trust token as a reward. The accused player chooses their own reward: A Trust token or a vote.

If the accused player is a Spawn, anyone who spent trust tokens on his behalf does not get them back and automatically gets an extra accusation against them in the next round.

After a Spawn is discovered, the humans take this opportunity to decide whether to eliminate him. If they decline, the Spawn can participate in discussions and help the humans find the Alien, but he gets no tokens or votes. He may, in fact, simply be trying to cover up for the Alien.

If the humans decide to eliminate him, he steps away and stands by the Moderator. He may still help the Alien choose its next host during Step 1.

Note: This is the only chance for the humans to eliminate a discovered Spawn. The Spawn cannot be eliminated after the round in which he was discovered.

If the accused player is the Alien, the humans win!

Otherwise, the next round continues from Step 1.

The Humans win if they discover the Alien in Step 4.
The Alien wins if half or more of the players get accused in Step 2.

Hoo boy! This is an old, old game from many years ago. Luca Ricci asked about it, so I decided to dust off the text, clean up the game terms and re-write some of the rules for clarity. This game is not in active development, but I'm happy to take comments.


  1. Hi, is similar to 'The werewolves of Miller's hollow', right?

  2. Yup, it's another entry in the very large family of mafia-style games. Here's a wikipedia article on the origins of Mafia games:

  3. This sounds really fun! I love this type of game but hardly ever hang around enough people at once to play it.

  4. Yeah, that's half the challenge. Maybe I'll tinker with making a playable version with multiple people some day. Perhaps something like Clue or Guess Who?

  5. This sounds really fun! I love this type of game but hardly ever hang around enough people at once to play it.

  6. This looks like an interesting take on the Mafia-style game, but I'm not entirely clear on the Spawns. I assume they win if the Alien wins, but what about the revealed and non-eliminated Spawns? Do they win if the Humans win? If not, why would the Humans ever trust a revealed Spawn?

    Perhaps a Spawn who's revealed and saved could rejoin the Humans. That way, that person could be chosen as the Alien and brought back to the dark side. Or not. PARANOIA GO! >:)

  7. Oooh, interesting ideas all. I'd love to see them playtested if you ever get a chance with your friends.

  8. So I'm thinking I'll just use playing cards. Reds will be the locals. Clubs will be Soldiers (club=weapon) and Spades will be Archaeologists (spade=dig). I'll use some colored chips for the accusations and trust tokens. Like the moderator will plop a black chip in front of you for every vote made against you, and everyone with trust tokens will have white chips to plop in front of you.


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