A Game Of Cops And Robots
October 13, 2021 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever wanted to give your friend or lover a Voight-Kampff test? Then you should probably consider trying Inhuman Conditions (BGG), a free (cards, rules, thematic form) two-player RPG/Quiz in which an interrogator has five minutes to try to determine if an interviewee is a human or a replicant robot.
posted by Going To Maine (15 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Literally every time we have played the Battlestar Galactica board game my spouse has been a cylon and I'm starting to think the game is trying to tell me something so perhaps this will be instructive.
posted by an octopus IRL at 1:31 PM on October 13 [8 favorites]

Also: everyone talks about the Voight-Kampff but no one ever talks about the Boneli Reflex-Arc test
posted by an octopus IRL at 1:33 PM on October 13 [15 favorites]

I pledged to the Kickstarter boxed version of this game, which managed to arrive in the mail exactly one week before COVID quarantine started last year (I live alone, and the game is difficult to play online if both players don't already own a copy). I finally got to play it face-to-face at a get-together with friends a couple of months ago and I was really impressed with how well it works as both an intense one-on-one game and in front of a non-participating audience.

The theming helps the interviewer get into character as some combination of social detective and befuddled bureaucrat, and the identity prompts and robot quirks really hug the line between plausible improv choices and actual indicators of robot malfunction. I'm hoping it catches on as something played for crowds at gaming conventions with celebrity guest players and such.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:40 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]

(Also, the boxed version of the game comes in a magnetically-latched box that unfolds into something that resembles the briefcase Voight-Kampff apparatus.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:47 PM on October 13 [6 favorites]

Shut Up and Sit Down have video of them playing it as well as a review for anyone interested.
posted by juv3nal at 2:19 PM on October 13 [7 favorites]

A blood black nothingness began to spin.

Began to spin.

Let's move on to system. System.

Feel that in your body. The system.

What does it feel like to be part of the system. System.

Is there anything in your body that wants to resist the system? System.

Do you get pleasure out of being a part of the system? System.

Have they created you to be a part of the system? System.

Is there security in being a part of the system? System.

Is there a sound that comes with the system? System.

We're going to go on. Cells.

They were all put together at a time. Cells.

Millions and billions of them. Cells.

Were you ever arrested? Cells.

Did you spend much time in the cell? Cells.

Have you ever been in an institution? Cells.

Do they keep you in a cell? Cells.

When you're not performing your duties do they keep you in a little box? Cells.

posted by grimjeer at 2:44 PM on October 13 [5 favorites]

wow, this seems like a really cool idea for a tabletop game, and I’m particularly impressed that it’s free for P&P
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:31 PM on October 13

Is anyone else having trouble? I click to download the game but I can't get past the CAPTCHA.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:51 PM on October 13 [26 favorites]

I approve of this game!

From the FAQ:

No, the main thing about Cops is how Bastards they All Are.
posted by prismatic7 at 5:59 PM on October 13 [11 favorites]

Friends at the Table adapted this game into a border crossing sequence in an episode of their most recent season. It was very tense and very good.
posted by crossswords at 6:23 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]

Is anyone else having trouble? I click to download the game but I can't get past the CAPTCHA.

You see a grid of pictures, some which show street signs and some which don’t. You’ve been asked to click all the pictures that show street signs, and you click some of them but not all of them. Why is that?
posted by wemayfreeze at 6:59 PM on October 13 [29 favorites]

We just got this for our workplace boardgame club. Great fun, and really entertaining for spectators, too. Our only concern so far is that games with a human suspect might become a bit low-energy, since as humans they don't have any of the rules-mandated quirks and pressures of robot players. We'll have to play this a bit more, but we might end up house ruling some kind of "tendencies" for human players to make them seem a bit more suspicious on average to the interrogator.
posted by jklaiho at 5:58 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]

I think a house-rule that you have to role-play your assigned background (e.g. "TV star", "Veteran of the Robot Wars", "Confused older person") would work. They provide a pretty good jumping-off point for role-playing that helps to muddy the waters between a broken robot or an eccentric human, so we leaned into that in my group. I once drew "Conspiracy theorist" as a human, which combined with my improv made things very interesting for the interviewer. Granted, being noticeably "extra" as a human interviewee is not really a winning strategy, but I feel like the true object of the game is to have fun and have hilarious exchanges with your friends, so it worked for us.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:38 AM on October 14

The online play rules attempt to address the incentives for role-playing by adding an optional "perma-penalty" of "Answer three consecutive questions without referencing your Background" in addition to whatever penalty has been chosen for the round, which serves to incentivize humans to role-play, and makes it easier for robots to deceive the investigator in groups that don't role-play their backgrounds.
posted by firechicago at 7:40 AM on October 14

Is this to be an empathy test?
posted by vibrotronica at 1:33 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]

« Older Don't you fill me up with your rules   |   "The quiet of the aftermath pressed down on us" Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.