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Rules of Gadianton

The Scenario: Gadianton is a game that pits the forces of light against the forces of darkness. The players in a game of Gadianton are residents of the Nephite city Zarahemla. The city is being terrorized by the robbers of Gadianton. During the night, the Gadiantons roam about the city, selecting a law-abiding Nephite as their victim. During the day, the Nephites gather together, seeking justice, and vote to convict one of their number of secretly being a member of the Gadianton robbers.

The Number of Players: 12+ ideal, may accept 8-12 with slight modifications. No maximum number, although becomes unwieldy with 24+.

The Goal of the Game: The goal is different depending on what sort of player you are. If you are a Gadianton, your goal is to kill off all the Nephites in the game. If you are a Nephite, your goal is to kill off the Gadiantons before they kill you off. If you are the Prophet, you are on the side of the Nephites and share their goal.

The Set Up: Players are seated in a circle with the moderator in the middle. One player is selected each round to be the moderator. The moderator does not participate in the game as a player, but manages the game and remains absolutely neutral. The moderator shall randomly deal the cards facedown to each player.

For 12 or more players include: 3 Gadianton, 1 or 2 Prophet(s) and the rest Nephites.
For 10 or less include: 2 Gadianton, 1 Prophet and the rest Nephites.

Each player will look at his or her card to see whether he or she is Gadianton, Prophet, or a Nephite. No one shall reveal his identity before the first day. No one shall ever show his card to anyone else while they are still alive. In a variant, the moderator may deal the cards out non-randomly, choosing secretly who is to play each role. This will raise speculation as to whom the moderator would have liked to be a Gadianton.

The Play. Each turn consists of two phases. The first phase is night, the second phase is day. The moderator shall announce when each phase is occurring.

Night. At the beginning of the game, and at the beginning of each subsequent turn, the moderator shall announce nightfall. All players (but not the moderator) shall close their eyes (and no peeking is allowed). The moderator should take pains not to speak in any particular direction lest he give out information as to the identity of the Gadiantons or Prophet. The night phase is divided into two parts:

(i) The moderator shall announce "Gadiantons awake!" The Gadiantons, and only the Gadiantons, shall open their eyes. The Gadiantons may kill one person per night. They may also elect not to kill anyone. In certain variants, they must kill someone. They shall decide amongst themselves by means of hand gestures whom should be killed. They shall communicate to the moderator by means of pointing. The moderator, once he understands who is to be killed, shall announce "Gadiantons asleep." and the Gadiantons shall close their eyes.

(ii) The moderator shall announce "Prophet(s) awake." The moderator shall ask "Who do you want to know about?" The Prophet should point to one person, and the moderator shall indicate by nodding or shaking of head and not by speaking whether the person indicated is a Gadianton (nod) or not (shake head). The moderator shall then say, “Prophet asleep.” In certain variants, the moderator shall speak aloud whether the person is or is not a Gadianton, carefully avoiding using gendered pronouns-- this allows the Gadiantons to know whether the Prophet has discovered one of their number.

Day. After this is done, the moderator shall ask everyone to wake up. Before anyone speaks, the moderator identifies who (if anyone) was killed in the night. The person assassinated by the Gadianton shall turn over his card (face up).

If someone is killed, he may not speak at all for the duration of the game, or in any other way communicate with the living. He may keep his eyes open at all times.

At this point, the remaining survivors may vote to convict someone of being Gadianton. The survivors may freely discuss the situation. The Prophet, members of the Gadiantons, or any characters, may reveal themselves publicly if they feel that it is in their best interest to do so (which it mostly is not), provided that they never reveal their actual cards. Lying is permissible, and, for instance, a Gadianton may claim to be a Prophet for the sake of having someone (non-Gadianton) convicted of being a Gadianton. No player, though, under any circumstances, may display their card to another player, unless the player turning his card over is dead.

The moderator, after allowing for a period of discussion shall ask for accusations. Any player may accuse any other player of being a Gadianton. If an accusation is lodged, the accuser shall be allowed to explain the reason for his accusation. Then, the moderator shall ask for a second. If the motion is seconded, then the accused shall be allowed to state a defense. Other players may comment briefly on one side or the other. Then, the moderator shall take a vote. If a majority of the surviving members vote to convict, then the convicted player turns their card face up-- they have been put to death and may no longer participate in the game. If there is no majority in favor of conviction, the accused is acquitted and may not be accused again in the same turn.

The day ends when:
(a) Someone has been convicted and killed, or
(b) The moderator determines that no more accusations are going to be (or can be) made.

In case (b), none is killed during the daytime. The moderator shall allow sufficient time for accusations to be made, but shall not allow the game to drag on unnecessarily.

At the end of the day, the moderator shall terminate discussion immediately. Then, night falls and the moderator shall ask everyone to close his eyes.

Winning: The Gadiantons win when the number of Nephites (including the Prophet) are less than or equal to the number of Gadiantons remaining. The Nephties win if all of the Gadiantons are convicted and killed

Click the links below for the cards in JPG form or the Rules in a Word doc.

Cards Page 1
Cards Page 2


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