Game title: Conspirator
Game description: The kingdom is threatened, and the enemy is invisible and inside your ranks! Will the Monarch consider the people's evidence and root out the traitors? Or will the conspirators eliminate those loyal to the crown and instate their coup?
Conspirator is a social deception game in very much the same vein as Werewolf, Mafia, and the like. It has a few new roles that can bring some interest, but can prove difficult for more experienced social deception groups.
Portable– fits in a poker tuck box
The minimalist art is nice It has fairly simple mechanics that people new to social deception can pick up easily
Doesn’t bring much new to the social deception genre for experienced players
Rules are a bit unclear in some places
Some roles don’t work quite as well in practice
Full Conspirator Review
Conspirator is a social deception game created and designed by Alejandro Diaz. If your gaming group is anything like mine, social deception games have been on the menu for a long time. From Werewolf, to One Night, to Secret Hitler and beyond, social deception is a genre of game that has become a bit saturated with content in the past few years. And for games attempting to break into the genre, it presents a fairly high bar for impressing groups.
Conspirator is, in the words of the creator, “an alternative to Werewolf,” and in that regard the game certainly meets its goal. The game functions very closely to Werewolf– individuals have secret roles, and team “good guy” (the citizenry and Monarch) are attempting to root out “team bad guy” (the conspirators). And many of the roles function very similarly to their Werewolf counterparts.
Conspirator does bring some new mechanics that bring a little interest. For example, the introduction as the Monarch as the only person who decides whether a person is “killed” during the day phase streamlines the game a little bit because the Monarch does not need to wait to make their decision. They can make it at any time. The Guardian (the bodyguard equivalent) has a one time success on their special ability. Once they save a person from the Conspirators, they quite literally guard the other person and are “killed” themselves. It becomes a much more interesting tactical decision from there.
However, there are a couple roles that do not work as well. The Conjuror is a role that works much like the Spellcaster in Werewolf– they silence another player for the next day phase. Our group found this power was a bigger impediment than it was a tactical choice, and it often lends itself to just silencing someone in the group to mess with them. The other role that was a hard pill for me to swallow was the Lunatic– a role that requires the person to speak only in nonsense or they are automatically killed. This has two large issues for me. One, it ensures one play isn’t going to actually get to play the game– they either speak nonsense and can’t contribute meaningfully, or they do and die. Second, it’s not a meaningful role for the conspirator to hide behind. The Monarch might be inclined to kill off both individuals because the Lunatic won’t contribute to the conversation. And three, the name “Lunatic” is a little problematic in terms of an inappropriate depiction of mental illness. Games need to be careful when using any sort of disability in their game, and this did not appear to be done in a respectful or mindful way.
In addition, while the rules fit nicely on a series of cards, it does contribute to the rules being somewhat difficult to follow, and some nuances in the roles are not fully explained in the cards. Those with experience in social deception games may have disagreements among the players as to how particular roles should function.
On a positive note, the minimalist style of the art is nice, and the game fits nearly into one small tuck box, making it portable if you want to bring it with you to events, cons, etc.
Overall, the game is a decent re-skinning of the classic Werewolf social deception game, but if you’re looking for something new in the genre that brings some interesting mechanics or ideas, this may not be the game for you.
Mike is creative arts therapist and tabletop enthusiast from the Seattle area. While he loves all forms of tabletop games, his particular interests are in roleplaying games, story based games, as well as discussing diversity and visibility in the gaming community.