In Guest of Honour, three to five associates have a conversation about a fellow criminal who has had a hit put on them, and who will arrive soon. Your goal—and likewise the goal of your fellow associates—is to decide what you will do when the Guest of Honour arrives. Whether you decide to end them, save them—or even end another associate—will be decided through the conversation around which this game revolves.
There is no consistent setting for Guest of Honour; it is up to your group to decide whether this is a film-noir back alley, a high fantasy tavern, or even just a game of poker. While setting helps give guidance to your conversation and the answers found therein, the more important question for you is, “who is the Guest?”
- Are they an inhuman monster, where killing them would be a boon to your community;
- Are they a lovable rogue, whose actions have finally caught up with them; or
- Are they the justice-loving leader of a rebellion, in need of safe passage away from imminent death? You’ll decide as you play together.
The conversation in waiting
To play this game, you need two coins and fifteen tokens of any kind per associate.
In Guest of Honour, there are five rounds of conversation, each answering specific questions about aspects of the Guest and the associates’ relationship to them. Within each round, each associate will have a turn to answer the round’s primary question, and the other associates will build out the thread until everyone is satisfied. To help shape each associate’s responses, everyone will flip two coins in secret every turn: a tone coin and a truth coin.
The tone coin dictates whether your part of the conversation for that turn makes the guest look good (heads) or bad (tails) in the eyes of the group.
The truth coin will dictate 2 aspects:
- If it is your turn, it will dictate if you are (heads) telling a truth about the Guest, or if (tails) you are telling a lie.
- If it is not your turn, it will dictate whether you (heads) accept the story told, building upon its truths through additional details or affirming that it rings true of what you know about the Guest, or (tails) are skeptical, trying to poke holes in the story by offering contradictory details of your own.
One your turn, you flip heads for tone and tails for truth. You tell a happy story that you know isn’t true or isn’t the whole story.
When the next associate speaks, you flip tails for tone and heads for truth, so you believe their story, but find some darker aspect to it.
Each turn ends when a suitable break in conversation occurs, allowing the next associate to take up the conversational torch.
Ending turns and ending the game
At the end of each turn, you and your fellow associates will give at least one token to the associate(s) you feel added the most to the conversation. If you want to give more than one token to more than one person, please do—there’s no need to keep tokens by the end of the game. Start the game with five tokens. Start each round by adding two extra tokens to your pool.
Once all five questions have been answered by everyone, the game moves to its final act: everyone will have the chance to perform one action, in order of whoever has the greatest familiarity to the Guest as determined by token count.
Playing the game
Starting the conversation
Determine your setting and location. Where are you? Who are you? What do you have to act with at the end of the conversation? (This last thing can be kept secret until you act if you choose to do so, write it down at the start.) Once that’s ironed out, begin the conversation. Have someone start with a introductory greeting to the group, (like on page one) and have them roll into round one. As each turn in the round ends, another associate picks up the question until everyone has answered.
- How did you first meet the Guest?
- What makes them memorable?
- What was your most intimate moment with the Guest?
- What happened the last time you saw the Guest?
- Reveal a secret
Once all questions have been answered, the Guest arrives. Each associate will count their familiarity tokens and the most familiar associate will have the chance to perform one action, followed in turn by every other associate in order of familiarity. For your action, you can do anything, but it must be focused to one person in the room—whether that’s the guest, another associate, or yourself—you simply don’t have time to do anything else. If you attempt to kill another associate, their turn moves up in the order, as the last act of a dying person.
When everyone has performed one action, it’s time to turn out the lights and go home…feel free to epilogue your encounter, if you lived to tell the tale.