Secret Partners is an alternate way to play competitive multiplayer games (of fantasy card games). It changes how the game is played. I think it’s a good option for Crazier Eights. It’s a good option for certain fantasy card games in particular. (It was originally developed by people who play Magic: the Gathering.)
What is it?
The main idea is that there are two allied teams, and each team only has one player who is known to be on the team. The other players are on a team in secret, or a lone wolf.
What’s the point? Secret Partners adds a new layer of strategy, politics, and mind games to whatever game you can use it for. The players with a revealed team alliance are more vulnerable because they are a target to their opponents.
How to play
1. Win condition
If anyone on a team wins, everyone on that team wins. The game is over. Everyone on a team has to lose for their team to lose. So, even if you personally lose the game, if your team wins, you also win.
If you are the lone wolf, you have to win on your own.
Also note that even though some players are on the same team, the main game rules should treat everyone as an opponent. For example, if you play a card that says, “each opponent draws a card,” then all other players will draw a card.
2. Team cards
Get a pile of cards with one card per player. There are two teams. You need matching cards for each team, such as sharing a color or suit. Each team also needs one unique card, such as an Ace. The number of players will determine what cards are needed for the pile:
- Four players – If you have four players, you need two cards with the same color or suit for each team. For example, two red and two blue cards.
- Five players – If you have five players, you need the same cards as a four player game plus a lone wolf card. The lone wolf should have a different color or suit than the cards used for a team, and the lone wolf has no team.
- Six players – If you have six players, you need three matching cards for each team.
- Seven players – If you have seven players, use the same cards as a six player game plus a lone wolf card.
3. Assign teams
Randomly distribute one card to each player, face down. You are on the same team as the other player(s) who get a card with the same suit or color, or you are a lone wolf.
Each player who gets the unique card for a team (such as the Ace) reveals their card. Everyone knows what team those two players are on. (One player for each team).
All other cards should stay face down. If your card is face down, you look at your card, but do not show anyone else what it is.
When the game is over, everyone should reveal what their card is.
- For a game with six or more players, you can use three teams rather than two.
- For a game with six or more players, you can use two lone wolves rather than three people on each team. The lone wolves could also play as an entirely secret team.
- When a secret partner is eliminated, they reveal their card/team.
- You can change how the Lone Wolf functions. For example, the lone wolf could be on the team of everyone with a revealed card.
- You can give each card a special ability, and let people reveal the card to use the ability.