Critical Play of a Competitor: Eleusis

The Game: Eleusis

Eleusis is a social deduction game with light Grecian theming.

 There are 3 main roles: 

“God” – the creator of the rule that the players must follow

“Prophet” – a single player that thinks they know what the rule is

“Players”- everyone else


The objective of the game is to be the first player to shed all of their cards. Mechanics that counter this objective include:

“God” creating a rule that determines what a valid move is

Penalization for failing to follow the rule 

Penalization for incorrectly asserting that you have no cards to play

Penalization for failing to enforce the rule when you claim yourself as the “Prophet”

*All penalties are adding cards to the player’s hand 


Eleusis promises challenge and discovery to the players and expression to the God as players have to overcome the obstacles placed by the God and the penalization mechanics while the God is able to express creativity through rule creation. 


This type of fun springs from the contradictions between the objectives and the mechanics: the objective is to have no cards and every mechanic either promotes discovery of information (by letting a player lose a card if they don’t break the rule) or acts as an obstacle by increasing the player’s card count. For the God, their main action is generating the rule at the start, which leads to the fun of expression instead.


Since Eleusis uses regular playing cards, the theming only comes through in the name of the roles and the game itself. Unlike similar games, Eleusis’s only has one rule for how to place cards and that rule is made by the God. This means that the difficulty scale varies wildly depending on who is playing God that round. 


Abuse is not handled since God can create any rule they want with no limitations. This could be a concern as the God could attempt to enforce a rule that is harmful to the players.


I think the theming gives Eleusis a great opportunity that it’s currently not fully capitalizing on. One graphic design opportunity is a themed deck of cards that includes new mechanics, for example a card that gives the player “divine inspiration” and they can ask the God a question about the rule. 


Playing the Game

Card penalties were high and frequent in the early game, like how the penalty for getting the rule wrong is double the cards you used that turn. This led to the draw pool being extremely limited when people’s hands grew too large.

To help learn the rule, the last few plays are mapped out like above with the top line being successful and the columns representing bad plays on the card at the top of the column. However, when multiple bad plays are made on the same card it leads to the column getting long and we had to adjust our seating to make room.

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