Cups: A new game

The idea for cups just appeared in my head. I have been inventing games that are variants of Avalon and mafia/werewolf for a while. This one seems pretty good.

In my opinion, a good game should:

  • Have as few rules as possible, so it’s easy to learn and teach.
  • Should involve skill not luck, so you can get better.
  • Should have a psychological and social element, not pure logic, so computers can’t beat you.

Cups tries to satisfy all these requirements. We’ve only played it twice so the rules are a little in flux.


How to play

Cups is a game for 3+ players. I think probably 5/6 is best but we need to play it more.

You will need as many different coloured cups as players

The aim of the game is for your cup to be at the top of the pile of cups at the end of the game, and to not be discovered.

To set up, assign a different cup to each person, without letting the other players know which one is which. The way we have done this is to close our eyes and hand out the cups – then put the cup under your t-shirt and take a peek without looking at anyone else’s. A better way would be to have cards which correspond to each cup, and hand these out.

The game has two stages. Stage one: each player takes a turn. This can be any one of the following:

  • Stack one cup on top of another cup, or stack of cups
  • Move a stack on top of another stack, or another cup
  • Break a stack at any point and move the top of the stack to the table/floor
  • Break a stack at any point and move the top of the stack to another cup/stack

Going clockwise each player takes a turn. Once every player has had a turn, they each take another turn. Once every player has had two turns they all have an opportunity to take a third turn, if they wish to, in any order.

Stage two: The highest cup is the front runner. The players now have to determine who the highest cup belongs to. By discussing among themselves they try to reach a consensus about who the cup belongs to. Once they have discussed, and come to some agreement, (with the obvious exception of the accused), they hold a vote. If everyone votes for the same person (except that person), then owner of that cup is revealed. If the owner was not the person who was voted for then they win. If the owner of the cup was the person who was voted for then the cup is removed from the game. Stage two begins again with the next highest cup.


Some additional notes:

  • It may never be possible to reach consensus. In this case no player wins.
  • Once there are only two cups on the table the game is over and there is no winner.
  • It may be possible that there are two cups that are equally high. In this case the players should try to determine who either cup belongs to using the same process. If no cup is higher than all the other cups then there is no winner.
  • If a player is bored they can remove themselves and their cup from the game at any stage.

I hope you have a go at this game. Let me know how you get on, and what rules could do with tweaking.

One response to “Cups: A new game”

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