Disguise strategy: analysis of the game about classified information

    Let's talk about how we analyze game mechanics.

    There is such a card:

    2-6 players know which word was made from it, but one does not know. You need to name one association so that everyone else understands that you are among those who know the word. Then, when everyone calls by the word, there will be a discussion. The task is to find someone who does not know what that word was. That is a hare.

    A safe strategy for a player who knows the word is to pick out some exclusionary attribute that will help to clearly cut off only one word in this group. For example, the word "Doctor" in this situation quite successfully finishes the game. Because the words of masculine and neuter gender are hardly suitable here - that is, only doctor pizza, doctor sausage, doctor fish and doctor chicken remain.

    Unfortunately, a 100% safe strategy is also a way to lose.

    Why limit hypotheses to one word - the way to lose?

    Because the hare wins in two cases:

    1. He was not found (that is, during the discussion they chose another player with a hare)
    2. Or, at the end of the discussion, the hare names the hidden word.

    That is, the task of the players is to show that they know the word, but not to name it.
    The task of the hare is to first show that he knows the word, and then, if it doesn’t work out, to recognize it.

    In our example, the first player said "doctoral." Then he almost certainly gave the hare a victory by method 2, but he covered his ass.

    If the first player did so, all players except the first are suspicious. He removed suspicions from himself, but he didn’t help to win. That is, in the general case, the search for an exclusive descriptor for each word is not a strategy that should be used if the goal is to win.

    What happens if you try to use a wider range? For example, "flour". This is pizza, pasta, pie, bread. Will this help other players? Yes, this will clearly show that you know the word (well, or you are lucky with a probability of 25%, because here 4 out of 16), but at the same time you will not indicate this word clearly.

    What will happen if you name a wide range with different strength associations? For example, "boiled". Boiled fish, boiled sausage and boiled chicken. It seems that it fits the logic of all three, but in our cultural code it will be a slightly stronger indication of chicken and a slightly weaker indication of sausage. So you can mislead a hare.

    We write: a good strategy is to call an association that is relevant to the word, but not obvious.

    What else do we have? Joint context. That is, you can use associations that not everyone understands, but only one or two players. For example, for someone, “Italy” is a row of pizza and pasta. I know that in the test group ice cream still gets there, because I did Sophie's quest to pick a pickpocket near the ice cream shop in the square, where angry policemen knocked the Chinese off the fountain. This means that the Italy Association will mislead the hare, and at the next discussion, Sophie will confirm that I knew about ice cream. Well, or I can remind her with the word “pickpocket”, transmitting additional information after the fact in the discussion (that is, no longer affecting the course of the hare).

    That is, there are three strategies left:

    • Indicate a group of words, but not exactly one word, “covering” association.
    • If there are good ideas, it is advisable to use implicit associations or associations with different strengths.
    • If possible, actively use the general context between the players, which can be revealed during the discussion.

    What to do a hare?

    If he goes first - choose the widest possible conceptual series on the card (but not completely covering it) and find a descriptor that describes everything in this series. It is advisable to quickly, focusing on the time the word was called the first player in previous games.

    Here is a card, what can be called here?

    The hare calls it “flasher” - it indicates an ambulance, the police and the fire truck, but then in the discussion it can argue that in fact even on the paver there should be a flashing beacon according to SDA 3.4.

    He can say "captain" that he will definitely point to construction equipment and other things, where in the city they are accustomed to see migrant workers. Here it relies on the cultural code: it is very convenient, because it creates blurred borders of the region. For example, a garbage truck is suitable or not - this is the subject of discussion.

    Etc. It is not very beneficial for him to narrow the area.

    Accordingly, if he goes second, then he must understand what area the first player covered with his association - and try to cover it with his own (maybe without one or the other word) his broad.

    let's try


    The player says: "Wind." This is immediately such an area:

    In the sense that there are two explicit words and a bunch that can be pulled into the discussion by the ears. The next player says "thread." Hoba:

    The third says: "top-bottom." So it seems we have a hare. Because everything has a top and bottom, and then it can be pulled to a discussion.

    Fourth: "Invasion." Oops Another candidate for a hare.

    Fifth: China. Also a too general category, because all this can be done in China. By the way, if it was a hare, then a damn good move, because the word "China" can be pulled out in any direction during the discussion.

    Discussion when choosing a hare

    So, in the worst scenario, the hare walked first, covered the association with most of the words on the card, but did not hit (because there was something rare). Then he received several sets of sets with words, crossed them, and realized that either 2-3 words were output or some of the sets did not intersect, that is, someone used associations that were not available to him.

    In a good scenario, the hare himself walked closer to the end and was able to name something ambiguous, but covering the intersection of areas.

    The purpose of the hare is to get away or learn the word. To do this, he is silent and listens to the arguments of other players. It is possible that some of the sets will be reduced, and then he will have a solution.

    If he already knows the word, it means that he has not lost. But it makes sense for him to try to win, that is, to make someone else be called a hare. Now his strategy is to use other people's mistakes. Accordingly, he selects the weakest or widest association and attacks it.

    In our case, it is obvious that the players with the thread and the wind knew that a flying kite was envisioned. There are versions of "top-bottom", "Invasion" and "China". Players ask: why, in fact, the Invasion? Answer:
    - Well, you remember what we did there when we drove the tent in 2012.
    2012 is far away, and we did just about everything there. Clarification comes:
    “Well, when we still had the Twister.”
    Yeah, one of them has an association in the company:

    And then player 2 intervenes for player 4: “I remember what was there. Yes, it does. ” Since player 2 is not under suspicion, it is worth believing. Probably.

    Remains the "top-bottom" and "China." We continue to find out. With China, too, everyone understands: “This is what they often do there in the squares”:

    Player 3 (“top-bottom”) begins to dig into player 4 (“Invasion”) about the weakness of association.

    We pass to the finale.

    Catching a hare

    So we know that:

    1. The hare association will cover at least the entire set of words that were not excluded by past associations.
    2. The hare will not speak at the beginning of the discussion.
    3. The hare will try to actively attack the other player in the late discussion.

    Factor (3) is inaccurate, because any player who is suspected of hare will do exactly the same. Because his task is to win, and he will attack the one whom he suspects. Because firmly convinced of his innocence.

    Factors (1) and (2) relate to the first layer of the logic of rational players.

    And then it all depends on associations and hacks. Someone in the discussion can show that they deliberately replaced the genus in the first association. Someone turned to another player’s experience (context). Someone gave an association to an association and so on. The hare can safely vouch for someone, then they will believe him that he knows the word.

    In our case, the hare is clearly the one who said “top-down,” but the link with the local experience “Invasion = snakes” could play a bad joke if a player who could confirm an alibi would be a hare. In general, the round of the mini-mafia is over.


    Will we try a couple more times?


    1. Hammock
    2. A vampire
    3. We only dream
    4. Silence
    5. Drooping

    Here and further we played according to the tournament rules, that is, we took 3 minutes to read the cards and think over, but did not give a pause between the words for more than 10 seconds. Obviously, the hare did not get in a row with No. 5, but the third player burned the hare association. The discussion will lead to almost nothing, because the hare already knows the word.

    Conflict: by the way, in theory, by the way, one can even repeat the word for someone, “because I had made such a plan in advance,” but this is already a tough fawn. Therefore, a good player should think over another second word. Like a real paranoid.


    1. Gun
    2. Key
    3. Pluripotent stem cells
    4. Borjomi
    5. Dead man

    Since it was the “Rejuvenating Apple,” the hare stupidly did not fall into the category of going first. In a discussion, the best strategy is to say nothing and vote right away. So he will decrease the probability of guessing the word.


    1. Mint
    2. Granny
    3. Collection
    4. In contact with
    5. Country house

    The word "gardening." I was a hare. He called the “Collection” as a general marker to almost everything, and almost even shoved the honorable right to be a hare for a Vkontakte player, but he had a common context with another young player. I did not understand him and did not guess the word.


    What was it

    So, we just walked around the game and looked at which optimal strategies for which of the players work. In general, arming ourselves with a roughly similar apparatus, we approach each game we play: someone consciously, and someone is already semi-automatic based on experience. This must be done not only for victory, but also for the ability to balance games.

    This is similar to reverse engineering.

    The result is a rather unpredictable discussion with many variables and a very good pumping of both logic and the negotiation layer. The closest analogue (simpler) to the Hare is the beautiful “ Code Names”". The question was whether to take the Chameleon (rabbit mechanic) license - or is Codenames better. So, I can say that the Hare is many times more saturated, funnier and brighter. Analysis was needed to understand the potential of mechanics. In the end, we decided to take a license and publish the game in Russia. Actually, what happened, you can see here .

    Well, from the development point of view, the auto-balancing algorithm is very good here (feel the developer’s steps behind it):

    • Players cannot name absolutely exact associations, otherwise they will pass the word to the hare. But they must show somehow that they know this word, possibly revealing the second layer of logic (up to association to association).
    • This creates enough desire to find out what was meant, and sets the stage for discussion, where the hare can "talk" to the players.
    • He can also vouch for someone or on the fly to come up with an explanation of his word, in general, break other hacks and play a psychological game.
    • Players can use psychology tips to watch others answer questions.

    In tests, we tried to make masks for those who slept like a hare. They brought to the next batch a healthy suspicion for the same person (since it is more difficult to read facial expressions) and a bunch of selfies. Entered the final box.

    Now you know roughly how to play, and if you want to play on the road with a piece of paper and a pen - here is another idea that you can do atypical. You will need matrices of words on one topic and leaflets with a hidden word (and one without it) for distribution to players.

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