I've always wanted to do something weird. Well, not just something generally weird (yes, that too)... but instead I've had the specifically odd concept of creating a game that plays during other games, or even alongside other games. It's not the most original idea, but it's always been a challenge that I wanted to tackle. I've thought of games where you do things in-between turns and in-between other games, but nothing ever felt natural. And I think the key to a weird idea is making it look and feel more natural.
Pretense is an extension of the "game that you play during other games" idea. Only made to look and feel a lot more natural. At a glance, you'll see the art style LOOKS very familiar. In that "hey I know that guy" kind of way. My art direction was simply "1970's dinner party portraits" and I think the wonderful Fabrice Weiss nailed it.
The way it FEELS more natural is instead of trading this piece, moving this meeple, reading rules, and anything else that you might do to take the focus away from the current game, you are simply trying to achieve a simple goal. And it's usually a very social goal like "When someone hands you food or drink, you may take their role card."
I'm calling this a "Game Night Social Metagame". It's something you do during your ENTIRE game night, that's both social AND gamey. At the beginning of the night you get two cards, and choose one. The other is removed from play. Your card has a character, their nickname, and a secret goal. You keep the card face down and start playing games. And at some point, you will achieve your goal... if you are slick.
When you meet the goal on your card, you announce your character, flip it face up and take a card from another player (as described on your card). You now have one point and a new role! The other player is out of the game, but Player Elimination Haters guess what? The other player is still playing games! Just not this one, that takes place during the other games.
And there's one more thing. Players can try to call out another player if they think they've seen them leaning a bit in one direction. If they are correct, they'll steal your card and place it face up in front of them as a point, and YOU are out of the game. If they are incorrect, they'll lose their own card and THEY are out of the game.
End of the night, points are tallied and somebody has won the game night. Not the games, but the entire night. Someone has been sneaky enough to get you to sit in their chair without being obvious enough about it to get called out as the King.
Or someone setup an elaborate ring of texts to get you to make a phone call between games.
That's a typical night of Pretense. A regular game night, with just one extra element.... a sinister plot happening behind the scenes.
Pretense is the next game in the Button Shy wallet line. It's coming to Kickstarter in Mid January for just $10 and will ship by the end of February. Want to play it RIGHT NOW?? Download the Print and Play version here: http://buttonshy.com/bs/Pretense-PNP.pdf