The team that designed the game in the #BTS Run episodes 145-7 deserves an award in game design. It is like escape room meets LARPing/social deception and is a wonderful example of hybrid gaming that is fun for both players and spectators. Let me break it down:
The basic design is a social deception (or social deduction) game where players are given different roles. Players must find pieces of a broken artifact but one or more are thieves and they do not know who the thieves are aside from their own identity. From the beginning you have both collaborative and cooperative going on which I think is the golden egg of game design.
The context is Joseon dynasty and takes place in a recreated historic park/ folk village. The roles of the players are actual ones that existed in that period. The characters allow players to engage in role play which is fun to watch but also provide hints to thief’s identity.
Clues are hidden in the park on pieces of paper or scrolls so there is a basic legwork/ luck aspect. This levels the playing field so the game is not purely cerebral. Clues lead to an artifact piece, which unlocks new areas, or provide info about the thief.
The clues are riddles or number/word puzzles and some require some knowledge of Korean culture/ language to solve. Some are quite literal while others require deciphering or combination with other clues. Sharing clues with others has pros and cons of course. Some will not make sense until later in the game.
Each member also has individual missions to find items unique to their character (like picking up colored scarves) which if completed they can trade in for special skills. Each character has different skills so the clues they can obtain are unique to their character.
There is also police who is chasing them because all players are suspects and trying to tag them throughout like cops and robbers. In round 1, if caught, they lose time by having to perform an individual challenge.
Aside from the game design, was really impressed by the production for spectators, which included multiple fixed cameras on site as well as multiple handheld camera crew following each player. Also features players discussing over lunch, which was a great mukbang.
This also probably played a huge role in promoting historic Korean culture as viewers get an extensive tour of the folk village. As recently named presidential envoys, this seems quite fitting (although this was filmed before the appointment).
Can’t wait to see how the game ends, potential twists, and all the arguing/ denying that comes with social deception games.