Here's How It Happened

Here's How It Happened is a social, storytelling card game in which a group of friends have been accused of murder! Tell the most convincing cover up story to prove yourself innocent by any means necessary, even if it means throwing your friends under the bus! But you would never ACTUALLY throw someone under a bus, because you're not a murderer..... right?

My role: Game Designer

This game started as a student design project where we were tasked with creating a social game and given a piece of poetry as a prompt. Our poem contained some wonderful descriptions of brains so our team began discussing a game concept where the player collaboratively unravel a deceased person’s memories to tell their story. While it was a cool concept, our prototypes were more assembly puzzles than gameplay based around social interaction. We already had this (hypothetical) dead body lying around so we thought, “Hey, you know what makes everything more exciting? MURDER!”. From there the project quickly evolved from a reasoning puzzle to a game where players just had to make some sh*t up about how the body came to be. Was it murder? A horrible accident? Did the player to your left stab the victim three hundred times with a chopstick?

Materials

‚Äč

  • 3-5 players

  • Victim Cards - Used to Identify the victim with name and picture.

  • Biography Cards - Provides player with information about the victim.

  • Location Cards  - Where the victim was found.

  • Narrative Cards - Action cards used to piece together the cover up story. 

  • Evidence Cards - Cards with objects related to the crime. Used by the Detective.



Rules and Gameplay

 

Set-up

  1. Shuffle the victim deck, biography deck, and location deck. Place them face down in separate piles.

  2. At the start of a game, draw one card from each of these face down decks (victim deck, biography deck, and location deck) and place them at the center face up for all players to see. These will act as the prompts.

  3. Choose a player to assume the role of the detective.

  4. The detective shuffles the narrative deck and without showing other players hands out five cards to each player. These cards act as the narratives.

  5. The detective draws five cards from the evidence deck. These cards will act as interjections during a player’s cover up.

 

Rules

  • At the start, the face up victim, biography, and location cards that were drawn during set-up are the story context for each player. Each player then chooses three of the five narrative cards in their hand to create a cover up.

    • Example: “Toni (Victim Card), who wanted to be a movie star (Biography Card), was found dead in a public restroom (Location Card). Here’s how it happened (Narrative Cards)…”

  • The detective chooses a player to go first. Each player tells the cover up they created. Players use the narrative cards as main plot points and their imagination to fill in the events in between. Players must reveal their narrative cards as they use them in their cover up.

  • Once during each player’s cover up, the detective uses an evidence card from their hand to interject. The player telling their cover up must then incorporate the object on the evidence card into their story. The evidence card must be used at any time before the player reveals their third narrative card.

    • Example: “Player A, this water bottle (Evidence Card) was found at the public restroom (Location Card).”

 

Ending the Game

  • After each player tells a cover up, the detective picks the player who told the best, funniest, or most coherent story and they are deemed innocent of the crime.

  • When the game ends, players choose a new detective for the next game. Everyone draws narrative cards until they have five in their hand. The new detective draws five evidence cards.

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© 2019 by Francesca Carletto-Leon

 

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