za3k > games > stupid russia

playtesting notes: I don't recommend this game.

A party game of making and breaking alliances for 8-20 players. One player is the Inspector (this could be done by a computer), and the other players are Stupid KGB Directors. The Directors all have a list of spies loyal to them. They try to report as many names as possible, but if too many Directors report a name, the agent is killed and all Directors who reported that agent lose some points. Everyone is encouraged to adopt a stupid persona and a bad Russian accent.

written 2017-10-29 by zachary "za3k" vance and an anonymous friend. revised and playtested 2021-01-15.


Each player gets instructions that looks like the following:

Zachary, you are Junior Director A (out of A-J). Keep your director letter secret.
The following 5 codenames work for you. You MAY tell other players this secret information.
     GOLUBSTY, birth name Anastasia Orlov
        KNISH, birth name Alexander Makarov
    NAMESTNIK, birth name Vlad Andreev
     OKROSHKA, birth name Maksim Popov
     PIROZHKI, birth name Anna Titov

The 30 codenames are:
The 10 possible first real names are:
    Alexander Anastasia Anna Dmitry Grigori Ivan Maksim Maria Sofia Vlad
The 10 possible last real names are:
    Andreev Ivanov Makarov Orlov Petrov Popov Sidorov Smirnov Titov Volkov

You may submit one report to the inspector by PM, for each codename.
- Submissions are one line each
- Your director letter MUST be the first thing on the line
- All reports are announced by your real name. Only the contents are secret
- ( 0 points) Report an incorrect real name
- (+2 points) Each honest (reported by 5 or less directors) codename submitted with a correct real name
- ( 0 points) Each traitor (reported by 6 or more directors) codename submitted with a correct real name
- (-1 points) Each honest codename you submitted, later found to be a traitor (reported by 6 directors)
- ( 0 points) You can submit the word 'FAKE' instead of a report

You don't know your point total. If you reach 45 points, your retirement will be announced. Retired players can only submit FAKE reports.
The game ends if: one hour passes, all players but one retire, or at the inspector's discretion if things get boring.
The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Players then talk with each other for an hour, reporting codenames to the Inspector, who tallies up points. Every 15 minutes, the inspector reveals how many operatives have turned traitor total. At the end of the game, the Inspector tallies up points and announces the winner.

Spoken introduction

Hello, comrade Directors. I am Inspector Z, from Central. Director X [not playing]? Director X has wisely chosen not to respond to public to his secret designation, and is an example to us all. Keep your Director letter secret.

I have called all intelligence directors here to a top-secret meeting to clarify some points of Party policy. Our glorious Party as a matter of policy forbids taking notes on classified material. Excuse me, are you taking notes? This is important, you must be taking notes.

As you may be aware, we have had some political in-fighting recently, and it has been dividing the allegience of our operatives. The Party has declared that as loyal Party members, we must present a unified front, and bring this in-fighting to an end. 

Central will carefully monitor your progress and determine which Directors are most loyal. Loyalty will be determined using a point ranking system. We will award two points for reporting the loyalty of a spy to you, in the form of verifying with us their birth name. Only one submission is permitted for each director, per operative codename. Also, we have determined that spies who are known to too many Directors may double-agents or incompetent. Any spy reported by four directors will be executed. Those directors lose a point, instead earning only one loyalty point instead of two, because traitors are less valuable than competent agents. So far, each of you has reported five names to me, and I am pleased that every operative has been reported. I am dispeased to see that many names have been reported by more than one director. Please, continue to report any additional operatives loyal to you that you recall. We will continue to award points for all reports. 

Although of course we need no additional incentives beyond the glory of the Party, Central has instituted a mandatory early promotion program for most loyal and accomplished Directors. As junior directors, on getting 50 points you will be promoted to Senior director. The party, with wine, caviar, and the use of Party mansions, is mandatory. Any senior directors submitting reports during the party are definitely traitors and will be killed.

The point system is need-to-know only, and you will have no need to know your current points.

At the end of the night, I will post the rankings of which Directors have proved most accomplished, and recommend commendations to Central accordingly.


The rules are too hard to understand, and there is not enough feedback for players. The Inspector is very busy and doesn't get to play. We played in Discord with about 5 "rooms" with various caps on the number of players in that voice channel. The "rooms" worked well, I suggest this system for any party game that should have a bit of eavesdropping and private conversation. We played for an hour with 10 people--this was about right, maybe even long. We should have used less codenames. Two people dropped out partway, which didn't cause major issues. Python program