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Smash Up: Ninja Faction Fan

I play this most with teenagers at camps or retreats, and try my best to keep it PG (or at least PG-13). “Lynching” is comical sometimes, but on the whole, I try to circumvent some of the violence inherent in the game. So, to add a level of reality and order, for one game, I adapted the officer role(s) to give them more power and play.

I invited the “Detective(s)” out during the Day phase and allowed them to approach witnesses and interrogate suspects. They effectively led the Day phase by hearing citizens’ testimonies and suspicions, and then publicly arresting the player who the public saw to be the greatest threat, Mafia or otherwise. After the arrest, it was my job as the narrator to creatively provide a revelation of that character’s affiliation, and, if a Mafia or otherwise nefarious character, a denouement for that character’s trial and sentencing.

Why I prefer this house rule:
Instead of the clamor and chaos of public outcries, the Detectives (I assigned two to work together as partners or rivals, as they chose) were operating by the will of the people and their own hunches in an orderly (not to mention a highly entertaining and often suspenseful) manner.

Also, by bringing the Detectives out from the Night round, this house rule frees them to work publicly under the authority of their role, rather than have to creatively and subversively manipulate the citizen’s opinions.

Where this house rule can fall flat:
If new players unfamiliar with play or shy players uncertain of the group dynamic are given the “Detective” card, this house rule can make for a long, awkward game. To fix this, I allow players to quickly swap cards back to the remaining pool as it’s being distributed, and take another card. This usually addresses a number of issues before they come up.

Also, and this is more of a problem, a public Detective is an obvious target for the Mafia. I didn’t address this in gameplay as such, but in the one game where we used this house rule, we found that the Mafia, still operating in secret, were more eager to kill their citizen accusers than the Detectives, and the Doctors more effectively protected the Detectives and had more clarity in their work.

Give it a try! As a narrator, I think it makes the play experience a whole lot more fun.

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