za3k > games > faux pas

faux pas is a cooperative "hidden role" type game for 3-8 players with a twist: rolls are completely visible. in fact, everyone knows your role... EXCEPT for you.

each player is an important foreigner milling around in the reception room. everyone knows everyone else's title (role). but because you a foreigner and the titles are strange to you, you are a little unsure how you rank against the others. the goal of the game is for everyone to make small talk, and then enter the dining room in descending order of rank, avoiding a social faux pas.

there are a number of ways to commit a faux pas, not just entering the wrong order. if you commit a faux pas, the other players will let you know, and the game is over in a loss for everyone.

at the start of the game, draw a title card from a playing deck. hold it face-out against your forehead. you can look at everyone elses' cards, but don't look at your own.

on your turn, you may do one of the following.

  1. Make smalltalk with another player. Smalltalk can be anything, but shouldn't include useful factual information. The player you talk to may either smile politely without talking, or respond briefly.
  2. Bow to another player. If the other player is of the same or lower rank, you have commited a faux pas and the game is over.
  3. Make silent eye contact with another player, who can choose to meet your eyes or not.
  4. Ask another player a question. The player must use an action to answer, which they can do immediately or later.
  5. Answer a question asked by another player previously. In general, don't lie, but you are allowed to dodge the question.
  6. (One per game) Volunteer one piece of factual information. This is not addressed to anyone in particular.
  7. Stand up, signaling the heralds to announce your name and title as you enter the dining room. After you enter, look at your card. If you are of lower rank than anyone in the reception area, you committed a faux pas. once you enter the dining room, you are out of play and sit around.

there is no turn order. whoever wishes to can take a turn next, by doing so.

for a goofier game, everyone can adopt personas. however, try not to give away information by adding extra details in smalltalk or while asking questions.

for an easier game, allow one faux pas (but not two). for yet an easier game, allow two, or three.

for a harder game, you can't volunteer information. for an even harder game, each action may only be done once, per player, per game. I recommend keeping track with six cards per player. for the hardest game, actions are dealt randomly--you can only perform an action by playing it, and your hand is kept secret from other players.

written by zachary "za3k" vance on 2021-04-28.


Rank Name Rules
A Emperor Your rank is so high that no one is permitted to talk to you (even to answer questions), or make eye contact with you.
2 Pope You are infallable. Everyone must agree with whatever you say, even if they are not sure or know you are wrong.
3 Cardinal Everyone else must answer any questions immediately, and respond to your smalltalk.
4 Duke Everyone else must answer any questions immediately, and respond to your smalltalk.
5 Inquisitor If asked a question by the Inquisitor, you must answer, but avoid giving a factual yes or no answer. You do not need to answer immediately.
6 Korean You cannot make eye contact with the Korean ambassador, but anyone can bow to the Korean ambassador and they can bow to anyone.
7 Baronet
9 Duke In Exile Everyone must pretend as though you are a Duke, immediately answering any questions and responding to your smalltalk. They also answer all questions as though you are really a rank 4 Duke, unless you specifically ask about being in exile.
10 Untouchable Your rank is so low that no one is permitted to talk to you, or make eye contact with you.
J Viscount No one is really sure where you rank, you can enter in any order. But, if there are both a Viscount and a Vice-Count (two jacks), you must enter TOGETHER, not one after another. You must rush forward and join the other Viscount before they look at their card.
Q Queen Dowager Everyone may bow to you, and you may not bow to anyone. No one is really sure where you rank, so you can enter in any order.
K False Prophet No one is allowed to bow to you or make small talk with you. If you enter the room at all, it is a faux pas. You can lie to the False Prophet if they ask you a question. if the False Prophet commits a faux pas (other than entering the dining room), they are removed from the game but play continues, and this is the only way to complete the game.