GDC Notes – Donner Party Adventures

I found a notebook from when I attended the Game Design Workshop at GDC in 2008 and came across the write-up of a group game we had to design. I can’t remember what the prompt was at all, but it must have been something great for us to come up with this. I recall only being given about thirty minutes to develop this and that everyone in our groups (of 6-8 people) had to be able to play, so all things considered the playtest of it turned out really well.


Donner Party Adventure

Players: 6+

All players start with ten life points. When a player has zero life points they are dead and eliminated.

Each round two players must go on a “hunting party”. Each player votes one of the players (possibly him/herself) to go on the hunting party.

If two players (and only two) have multiple votes those two go on the hunting party. In any case where there aren’t exactly two members receiving multiple votes, all players starve and lose 1 life point.

On the hunting party, the two participants play a game of “paper-rock-scissors”. The loser loses three life points. The winner gains three points, but must give at least two of those points to players not in
the hunting party. The loser, if he is still has life points, gains a “recover” card and cannot be voted on in the next round. This card remains with that player until another player gains it.

Materials: 36 Player Cards (for voting, 6 cards with each of the six players names on them), 60 Life Tokens


Unfortunately, I didn’t write down what happens when you get to three players as that is obviously going to either end the game or require some rules change. There was something that happened, but I cannot remember. During our playtests, it reminded me of Mafia when folks would gang up on each other to send people out on the hunting parties and then they could earn others trust by bringing them back the food. It was a pretty good (and cutthroat) game.

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