Game Buzz: Two Rooms and a Boom

I really like social deduction as a genre.  There’s not a whole lot out there – Werewolf is the classic example, but has player elimination and too many blind shots in the dark.  The Resistance is another title, and does better about the deduction aspect.  Shadow Hunters is my favorite, mostly because it adds neutral parties to the two-team model.  And now, here’s another one:

image by BGG user seanmccoy
image by BGG user seanmccoy

Two Rooms and a Boom was designed by Alan Gerding and Sean McCoy of Tuesday Knight Games.  It’s a social deduction game for 6-30 players that takes 15 minutes to play.  The concept is very simple – there are two teams, Blue and Red.  The Blue team has the President.  The Red team has a Bomber.  The Red Team is trying to blow up the President, and the Blue Team is trying to prevent this.  The game is currently print-and-play, but I think there’s a Kickstarter campaign coming soon.  It’s already very popular – the thirtieth play-by-forum game is currently being run at BGG, and I know my group plays it a lot.  So I thought I’d give it some attention now.

The PNP files come with a President, a Bomber, 84 character cards, and ten leader cards.  You’ll also need a stopwatch or some means of keeping time.  Setup is simple – figure out who exactly is playing, and choose the roles you’re going to use (I’ll go over those later).  Each player gets a card, and everyone is separated into two different rooms.  These can just be opposite side of the room – the important thing is that you can’t hear each other.

The game takes place over five rounds.  Round 1 is 5 minutes, round 2 is 4 minutes, round 3 is 3 minutes, round 4 is 2 minutes, and round 5 is 1 minute.  In each round, you’ll mill around the room trying to figure out who is on your team, and who is working against you.  This is done by asking for information, and offering to share information.  This can be in the form of revealing only your color, revealing your whole card, doing a public reveal to everyone, or doing a private reveal to only one person.

One player in the room will be the leader (nominated and voted on), and you can try to usurp their authority.  This is done by vote, and you need a majority to usurp.  At the end of the round, the leader will send a number of hostages to the other room.  This number will change from round to round, and depends on the number of players.  After the fifth round, you’ll be sending one hostage, and everyone will reveal who they are.  If the President and Bomber are in the same room, the Red team wins.  If not, the Blue team wins.

I have played this game once, and we just played with the basic roles – President, Bomber, two Ambassadors, and everyone else just on a team.  However, there are a ton of special roles with various special abilities, and I’m going to run through them here (color-coded…the greys are neutral parties with different win conditions):

  • Agent/Agent: Once per round, you may force someone to co-reveal with you.
  • Agoraphobe: You win if you are never sent to a different room.
  • Ahab/Moby: You win if the other is dead and you are not.  Note that anyone in the room with the Bomber at the end is dead.  Because he blows up.  And kills you.
  • Ambassador/Ambassador: Before the game begins, but after everyone has their cards, you must announce that you are an Ambassador (you don’t have to reveal your color).  Ambassadors can walk freely between rooms, can never vote, and can never be used as a hostage.  They aren’t considered to be a part of the room’s population.
  • Amnesiac: With an odd number of players, you bury a card.  This means that you have a card that is not drawn by anyone.  The Amnesiac must announce, during the last round, whether they are on the Red team, Blue team, or no team.  If you choose the team that has the majority of players, you lose.  If you choose the team with the minority, but that team loses, you lose (if they win, you win).  If you say you’re on nobody’s team and there are equal numbers on each team, you win.
  • Anarchist/Anarchist: If the leader is not selected by unanimous vote, you win and the game ends immediately.  However, you must vote for at least one leader in order to win this.  If you don’t win here, you’re just on your color’s team.
  • Angel/Angel: You must always tell the truth, unless affected by another ability.
  • Blind/Blind: Don’t open your eyes during the game.
  • Blue Bomber: The blue team wins at the end if you are in the same room as the Red Fist.
  • Blue Firecracker: Backup character for the Blue Bomber.  Backups come into play if the primary is out for some reason.
  • Body Snatcher/Body Snatcher: Keep the character card of any character that co-reveals with you.  You don’t get their power – they keep that, but can no longer share their card with anyone.
  • Born Leader: You win if you are a room’s leader at the end of the game.
  • Bouncer/Bouncer: If you are in a room that has more players than the other room, you can privately reveal your card to another player and tell them to get out.  You can’t do this during the final round, and you can’t do it to the leader.
  • Capitalist/Socialist: Any player that co-reveals with you must exchange their character card for one from your team at the beginning of the next round.  This doesn’t affect the President, President’s Daughter, Bomber, Martyr, or any card not aligned with Red or Blue.
  • Centipede/Centipede: Any player that co-reveals with you is now attached to you.  If they ever end up in a different room, they must permanently publicly reveal their card.
  • Changer: A “Fun Deck” is created from 10 cards that aren’t being used in the current game.  At any point before the end of the game, you must change your current card for a random one from the Fun Deck.
  • Conspirator/Conspirator: Any player that co-reveals with you and is on the other team becomes a traitor.  They are now playing for your side.
  • Criminal/Criminal: Any player that co-reveals with you becomes shy, and cannot show their card to anyone unless it is cancelled by another effect.
  • Cupid: You can privately reveal your card to two players and tell them they’re in love.  They must be in the same room at the end of the game, or they lose no matter what team they were on.  You can’t use this on yourself, and you can only do it once per game.
  • Dealer/Dealer: Any player that co-reveals with you becomes “foolish”.  They can never turn down an offer to co-reveal.  Note that “foolish” and “shy” cancel each other out.
  • Decoy: You win if the Sniper shoots you at the end of the last round.
  • Devil/Devil: You must always lie, unless affected by another ability.  The opposite of Angel.
  • Doctor: If the Doctor has not co-revealed with the President by the end of the game, the Red Team wins.
  • Enforcer/Enforcer: Once per round, you may privately reveal to two players, and tell them they must reveal to each other (but not to you).  This doesn’t work on shy characters.
  • Engineer: If you the Engineer has not co-revealed with the Bomber by the end of the game, the Blue Team wins.  This is the opposite of the Doctor, and means that it’s possible that both teams will win.
  • Eris: You can privately reveal your card to two players and tell them they hate each.  They must be not in the same room at the end of the game, or they lose no matter what team they were on.  You can’t use this on yourself, and you can only do it once per game.  This is the opposite of Cupid, and the “hate” and “love” conditions can potentially cancel each other out.
  • Exhibitionist/Exhibitionist: You must flash your card to the entire room once every round.
  • Follower: You win if the leader is never usurped in the room you are in.
  • Fool/Fool: You begin the game foolish.  Remember, this means you can never turn down a co-reveal.
  • Frotteur: If you don’t touch every player by the end of the game, you lose.  You also lose if the Prude grabs your wrist.
  • Fugitive/Fugitive: You are only permitted to color reveal, even if another character would force a co-reveal.
  • Gambler: Sometime before the last round, you must declare which team you think will win.  If you’re right, you win.  If not, you lose.
  • Gargoyle/Gargoyle: You may publicly reveal your card to prevent leaving the room.  Another player must be chosen.
  • Gorgon/Gorgon: Any player that co-reveals with you becomes stone.  They can no longer vote, and must keep their arms stiff when a vote is called.
  • Grey Team: At some point during the game before time expires, you must exchange your card for a Red or Blue team card, assuming that allegiance.
  • Hot Potato: Any player that co-reveals with you, or color reveals, immediately trades cards with you.  You both assume the other’s powers.  The Hot Potato loses at the end of the game.
  • Hunter/Hunter: Any player who co-reveals with you that has a power that activates on co-reveal loses their card to you and you are not affected.  They maintain their powers, they just can’t share their card with anyone.
  • Hypnotist/Hypnotist: Any player that co-reveals with you becomes hypnotized, and must act as the character you suggest.  They don’t gain the power, they just think they have it.
  • Identity Thief/Identity Thief: Any player that co-reveals with you trades cards and becomes shy.  This means they can’t show their card to anyone unless the effect is cancelled.  You get the new powers.
  • Immunologist/Immunologist: Immune to all powers and conditions without exception.
  • Informer/Informer: If any member of the opposite team privately reveals to you and says “Take my card,” you must.  You don’t do anything with it, just keep it as a tiebreaker at the end (the team whose Informer has collected the most cards loses).
  • Intern: You win if you’re in the same room as the President at the end of the game.
  • Judge: If a player privately reveals to you and says “Take my card”, you must.  The team that gave you the most cards wins a tiebreaker, and you win if that is a tie.
  • Loyalist/Loyalist: Any co-revealer that is on your team becomes loyal.  All this means is that if they become a traitor (or already were), they’re back to being normal.
  • Mad Scientist/Mad Scientist: Once per game, you can reveal yourself to two players and force them to trade cards with each other.  You can’t use this on yourself.
  • Martyr: The Bomber’s backup.
  • Mayor/Mayor: When you publicly reveal, your vote counts twice.
  • Medic/Medic: You cleanse any player that co-reveals with you.  This means they lose whatever effects they have acquired.
  • MI6: You win if you co-reveal with both the Bomber and President before the game ends.
  • Mime/Mime: You can’t make any noise.  I quote from the rules: “Seriously, shut up.  You’re bothering everyone.”
  • Mistress: You win if you are in the same room as the President at the end of the game and the Wife is not.
  • Mummy/Mummy: Any player that co-reveals with you is now cursed.  They can no longer make any noise.
  • Mystery Man/Seeker: At the end of the game, the Seeker must name the Mystery Man.  If he does, he wins.  If not, the Mystery Man wins.
  • Nazi/Nazi: During any round but the last, you can publicly reveal your card and automatically become the leader.  You can’t be usurped during that round, though if the other Nazi reveals after you, he’ll take over.
  • Negotiator/Negotiator: You may only co-reveal.  No public revealing or color revealing.
  • Ninja/Ninja: At any time before the last round, you may publicly reveal your card.  You then leave your room, go to the other room, and choose one player.  You and that player are out of the game (not dead, just out).  Backup characters come into effect, if necessary.
  • Nuclear Tyrant: You win if the President and Bomber don’t co-reveal with you at the end of the game.  If you win, ALL OTHER PLAYERS LOSE.  You begin foolish (meaning that you can’t refuse a co-reveal).
  • Nurse: Backup for the Doctor.
  • Paparazzi/Paparazzi: Be as intrusive as possible.  No private conversations.  Look over shoulders, butt in, etc.  I would have fun with this one.
  • Piper/Piper: Anyone that co-reveals with you is piped.  If they aren’t in the same room as you at the end, they lose no matter what their original objective.
  • President’s Daughter: Backup for the President.
  • Private Investigator: At the end of the last round, you must publicly announce the identity of the buried card.  If you are correct, you win.  If not, you lose.
  • Prude: You must grab one of the Frotteur’s wrists by the end of the game.  If you do, you win.  You may only grab ONE WRIST during the game.
  • Psychologist/Psychologist: If you privately reveal your card to a shy character, that shy character may immediately co-reveal with you.  They have overcome their shyness, and may now reveal to whomever they choose.
  • Red Fist: The Red team wins if you aren’t in the same room as the Blue Bomber.
  • Red Foot: Backup for the Red Fist.
  • Rival: You win if you are not in the same room as the President at the end of the game.
  • Security/Security: At the beginning of the last round, you must publicly reveal.  Pick a player and tell them “YOU’RE GOING NOWHERE!”  They are tackled, and can’t leave as a hostage.
  • Shy Guy/Shy Guy: You are shy at the beginning.  You can’t reveal to anyone.
  • Sniper/Target: At the end of the game, the Sniper picks a player to shoot.  If it is the Target, he wins.  The Target wins as long as he isn’t shot.
  • Spy/Spy: Your card is the color of the other team.  So the Red Spy has a blue card, and the Blue Spy has a red card.
  • Survivor: You win as long as you aren’t in the same room as the Bomber at the end.
  • Tinkerer: Backup for the Engineer.
  • Trader/Trader: Once per round, you may trade your card for the buried card.
  • Traveler: You win if you are sent to a different room in most rounds (3/5).
  • Vampire/Vampire: Anyone who co-reveals with you is seduced, and must agree with anything you say from then on.
  • Usurper: If you successfully help usurp the leader in a majority of rounds, you win.
  • Victim: If you are in the same room as the Bomber at the end of the game, you win.
  • Voyeur/Voyeur: At any time, you may look at the buried card.
  • Werewolf/Werewolf: Anyone who co-reveals with you is bitten.  Anyone who co-reveals with them is also bitten.  If you publicly reveal, all bitten characters must also do so.  And howl.
  • Wife: You win if you end the game in the same room as the President and the Mistress is not.
  • Zombie: Anyone who co-reveals with you is now a zombie.  They keep their powers, but now they are trying to get a win for the zombies.  The zombies win if all non-dead characters at the end are zombies.

 

That is a LOT of roles.  And that means that there are a ton of ways to play this game.  As I mentioned, we only played with the bare minimum when I played, and it was a good time.  However, I can see how these can make it more interesting.  It’s still largely random, though the strategy comes in maneuvering yourself into position for the win.  At the very least, it’s a large group game that keeps everyone engaged throughout.

If you’ve got a group of people that are willing to give this game a shot, I’d recommend it.  It’s one I definitely want to try again, especially with some of the roles thrown in.  Keep an eye out for the eventual Kickstarter – I have a feeling it’s going to be very popular.  Thanks for reading!

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3 comments

  1. for “to be filled later” i have two more characters for you.
    coy boy (description in the character guide)
    and conman (if color share can reveal his card to force card share)

    • Thanks for the information. I’m sure a lot more characters will appear over time. This article was published three years ago when the game was just a print-and-play, before they had even done their Kickstarter campaign.

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