I’ve just finished viewing the “Blood on the Clocktower” SUSD video, and I couldn’t stop myself thinking “Come one, a lot of the cool stuff their talking about, I remember experiencing them when playing Sporz, why is nobody ever talking about this great improvement over werewolf?”
After a short research on the internet, I had my answer: Sporz is mostly unknown, as only ever published in France, barely known in France outside of few universities and grande écoles, and barely printed as most peoples who know the rules actually don’t buy it to play it.
In order to slightly decrease my frustration over this gem being unknown, I created an account here to talk about it. I hope some of you will enjoy the reading
Here is the official wiki, with the rules freely accessible, but in French: http://www.sporz.fr/wikini/sporz.php?wiki=PagePrincipale
Story in few words
In a space station, a virus is spreading. Peoples contaminated are mind-controled by the virus. Will the medical staff manage to protect the crew and themself? Maybe even heal some infected members giving them back their sanity? Those who cannot be healed will have to be executed… or else the entire ship will fall to the virus.
Recommended number of player is a story-teller plus 9-12 peoples. The game is playable with a story teller plus 7-15 peoples.
Main differences with Wereworlf
- No elimination during the first few turns (during the night, the virus rarely kill, during the day you can vote for “no one”, and if “no one” is in majority, nobody is eliminated). The first few eliminated are usually recruited by the story-teller as adjoints to help the end game to run smoothly.
- Side switching. One person is infected per turn and join the side of the virus. Up to two peoples are healed every turn, assuming the doctors know who to heal. (+) Reduce the number of player elimination (-) Require players mature enough to faithfully switch side when required.
- Small group talk. During the day phase, crew members talk by group of 2 or 3. Meaning you can transmit information to peoples you trust, while giving fake informations to peoples you don’t trust (or doing some more high level bluffing / investigation).
- Being a story-teller is slightly more complex, as a lot of book-keeping might be needed (especially if the players want a sum up of “what happened” at the end of the game).
The story-teller, aka the Board Computer (BC), organise the game as a succession of nights and days. *During the night, everybody close their eyes, and the BC call successively every role with a special power. Peoples called wake up, silently communicate their choice to the BC, which silently communicate the result of their action, and then they go back to sleep.
*During the day, everybody open their eyes. In case of death during the night, the full identity (role-genotype-side) of the deceased is revealed. Then, unless some players have public announcement to do, everybody split in small groups (max 3 players), players moving from groups to group as they want. At the end of the day an anonymous vote will occur to execute someone. Players have all the day to come to see the BC and give their vote / change their vote. They can vote for “no one”, and it is generally advised if you have not enough informations. At the end of the day, the result of the vote is made public. In someone is executed, its full identity is revealed.
During the night, the order to wake-up players is:
Full Identity of a Player
- At the beginning of a game, each player is randomly given a (secret) role by the BC. Standard roles are: Patient Zero (x1) Doctor (x2) Psychologist (x1) Geneticist (x1) Computer Scientist (x1) Crew Member (the remaining of the crew).
- Every player has a side: Humans or Virus. The Patient Zero start Virus, everyone else start Human. The objective of Virus is to kill and/or contaminate the remaining of the crew. The objective of the Humans is to kill and/or heal every contaminated person.
- The BC determine at the beginning of the game a genotype for each players. This information is unknown from everybody (you don’t know your genotype). There are 3 genotypes: Host (you can’t be healed), Resistant (you can’t be contaminated) and Normal (you can be healed and contaminated). The Patient Zero is always Host. The BC randomly select one player to be an additional Host, and one other player to be Resistant.
During the night, the BC start by calling for contaminated peoples. Everybody in the Virus side wake up. They have to silently agree on:
- One person to kill (pointing at the victim, thumb down) OR one person to contaminate (pointing at the victim, thumb up). Killing always succeed. Contaminating might fails if the victim has the Resistant genotype, but the failure of this contamination is secret.
- AND one person to paralyse (pointing at the victim, horizontal thumb). Paralysis always succeed, and prevent the victim from waking up later in the night (so prevent the use of their special power). Paralysis only last one night. The BC will still fake to be communicating with them during their turn, so that the crew doesn’t know they were paralysed.
Once they agree on a decision, they go back to sleep, and the BC touch the heads of the two victims once for paralysis, twice for contamination, three time for “failure to contaminate” (Resistant), and announce the name of the person killed, if any.
Always has genotype Host. Start in the Virus’s side (alone). Killing the Patient Zero is required for the humans to win, but not enough.
There are 2 of them. When called, they only wake up if they are not paralysed, and not contaminated.
They (or he/she, if only one of them wake up) have a choice between:
- Each of them heal one person (each pointing at a patient, thumb up). It might fail (Host genotype) or be useless (non contaminated), but it is kept secret by the BC.
- OR they agree to kill one person (all of them pointing at the same patient, thumb down). Killing always succeed.
Once they agree on a decision, they go back to sleep, and the BC touch the heads of the patient once for healing (even if it is useless, they know they have been healed), twice for “failure to be healed” (Host), and announce the name of the person killed, if any.
Once called, the psychologist wake up unless he/she is paralysed. Contaminated psychologist still wake up and act as normal (except they now are in the Virus side).
He/she point another player, and the BC indicate if this player is on the Virus side (thumb down) or the Human side (thumb up). Then, he/she goes back to sleep.
Once called, the geneticist wake up unless he/she is paralysed. Contaminated geneticist still wake up and act as normal (except they now are in the Virus side).
He/she point a player, possibly him/herself, and the BC indicate if this player is of genotype Host (thumb down), Normal (horizontal thumb), or Resistant (thumb up). Then, he/she goes back to sleep.
Once called, the computer scientist wake up unless he/she is paralysed. Contaminated computer scientist still wake up and act as normal (except they now are in the Virus side).
The BC communicate to the computer scientist the exact number of (alive) contaminated persons in the crew. Then, he/she goes back to sleep.
The game start with a night. During the first night, the BC start by waking up the two doctors, so that they see who is the other one, but they cannot act yet. Then the night continue as normal (Virus -> Doctors -> …)
A captain is elected trough public vote at the beginning of the first day, and at the beginning of every day where there is no captain alive. The captain publicly chose how to break ties in the (anonymous) vote at the end of each day. (The captain has no other purpose)
There are some additional roles for more complex games (Hacker, Spies, and Traitor).
Having a doctor Host and/or Resistant might screw up the balance. For the first few games, it is advised for the BC to ensure that the doctors have Normal genotype.
The restriction of size 3 for group discussion during the day can be relaxed. It is here to ensure that peoples can lie without being easily spotted (as informations goes trough a chain, nobody knows who is lying in the chain). This game is fun when rumour spreads without peoples being able to determine who started the rumour, as it allows from players to communicate the informations they have without being spotted by the Virus players.
I’m not sure what to add. This game is a lot of fun to play and to spectate while dead. I just hope it somehow get the popularity it deserves, but the fact there is no current plan for an international release make this unlikely.
Thank you for your reading!