Wormhole: group game

This is a team exercise based on the social deduction game known as Werewolf or Mafia. If you’re running a workshop over two days, this game could be an excellent wind-down session for the end of the first day. It’s also a good team-building exercise – although two or more people will be working against the team, so it may not be suitable for all groups.

  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Number of people: 9 to 20
  • Best used: at the end of the day
  • Purpose: team building, getting to know people, just for fun

Preparing:

One person is the Narrator. If you’re facilitating the group, it should probably be you.

Before starting the game, cut out enough small pieces of paper for one per person. On one piece of paper write “human – force field hacker”. Write “alien” on two pieces of paper if there are 9, 10 or 11 players. Write “alien” on three pieces of paper if there are 12 or more players. Write “human” on the remaining pieces of paper. Don’t hand them out just yet.

Explaining the game:

The Narrator introduces the other players to the story by reading and acting out the text below. Feel free to embellish with imaginative details…

Narrator says:

Hello, and thank you for joining this briefing! As you know, we are the crew of a space ship. I am your ship’s computer, and will lead you through the game. Our ship has encountered a mysterious wormhole, and has found itself trapped here by strange forces. We have been studying this situation, and it has become clear that two/three of us have been taken over by alien forces from beyond the wormhole. let me just make that clear – two/three of this group are not, in fact, normal human crew members, but are aliens.

In a moment I will hand out pieces of paper. what is on your paper is a secret, so do not show it to anyone else! Two/three of you will have “alien” written on your paper. Most of you will have “human” written on your paper. One person will have “human – force field hacker”. The hacker is a human, and has a special task which I will explain later.

The aim of the humans is to send the aliens through the wormhole. The aim of the aliens is to send the humans through the wormhole. This game has day and night phases, which I will lead you through. During the day, the entire crew – humans, and unfortunately two/three secret aliens – discuss who is most likely to be an alien. At the end of the day, the crew picks a person, and that person is put in a space shuttle and sent through the wormhole. I will not tell you whether the person thus exiled was alien or human. During the night, the humans sleep, but the aliens pick a person and send them through the wormhole using alien technology.

The only thing which can stop the aliens getting their chosen person off the ship is a special force field which shields them. There is one member of the human crew who has discovered the code to activate the force field, and that is the hacker. Every night the hacker gets a chance to activate the force field over one person and one person alone. It can be a different person every night, and it can be yourself.

Once people go through the wormhole, they cannot come back. However, they can send messages back to the rest of the crew. Every night, I will ask the people on the other side of the wormhole to send a single word. The only trouble is, you don’t know for sure whether they are aliens or humans.

I will begin the game by handing out the pieces of paper. Look at them secretly, and do not reveal yours to any other player. I’m going to ask everyone to close their eyes now, so that I can find out who you all are. Everyone close your eyes. Aliens only open your eyes, look at me, and look at each other. Aliens close your eyes. Force field hacker, open your eyes. Force field hacker close your eyes. Let’s start the game.

Starting the game:

Narrator says:

We start in the day time. Well, crew, you know that two/three of you are secretly aliens. What would you like to do? Perhaps you could each say “I’m a human” and see who can keep a straight face? Or find some other way to trip up the aliens?

The crew discuss who might be an alien. Eventually the Narrator says:

It’s time for you to collectively decide who is going to be sent in the space shuttle. Let’s vote – in favour of sending so-and-so…(etc) Ah ha, and so-and-so goes off in a space shuttle, through the wormhole.

It turns to night. Can the entire crew please close their eyes? If you have gone through the wormhole then you do not need to close your eyes – you can see everything. Now, can the two/three aliens please open their eyes? While making no noise or doing too much movement which might give you away, please indicate which person you wish to send through the wormhole. Aliens, please close your eyes.

Can the force field hacker please open their eyes? Can you indicate who you wish to protect with the force field? It can be yourself, or someone else. Thank you. Force field hacker, now close your eyes.

People through the wormhole, can you write one word on a piece of paper? It cannot be the name of a player. Thank you. That word is “[whatever they wrote]”.

Morning comes. You all wake up – except so-and-so, who has mysteriously vanished in the middle of the night and appears on your ship’s scanners as having gone through the wormhole! [If the hacker picked the same person as the aliens, then no one has vanished.]

Repeat the day and night phases.

When the game ends:

The game ends when one of two things happen.

All the aliens have been sent through the wormhole. The humans win.

There are more aliens on the ship than humans. The aliens win.

This exercise does involve the participants accusing each other of being traitors. With a strong team it is an excellent way of bonding and having fun. It may not be a good game for all groups, particularly if there is a team member who may feel that the others are ganging up on them.

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