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Play Folk #6: Ministry of Silence

Myles Nye

Bookstores, puzzles, and cake. It's all the makings of a good night. Our outing this month was to The Last Bookstore to play the secretive game Ministry of Silence clandestinely. It is a game about censorship and secrecy for 16 players and is a group favorite from of one of our guides, The Games Bible. It's the first game we played where we designed our own puzzles. Sure, we've made variants while playing before (Tombstone Billy anyone?) but fresh versions for a game that formerly only had one solution is new.

The first round was designed by Myles and highly utilized the hush hush attitude of conspiring with others. Each player was given a numbered clue and told they could only talk to the number right above or below them. Myles is a master puzzle hunter and made very interlocked puzzles for us. There were a few team efforts trying to decode the variety of puzzles.

As if gathering twelve clues weren't enough, you had to avoid being caught by the Ministry of Silence officers. Or you could get caught and go catch other people. Many a secret meeting happened in the beautiful back rooms and hidden shelf areas of the store.

I particularly enjoy the bloody kool aid someone spilled in the name of silence. Players had to figure out all the puzzles, acquire the correct key, and find the right person bearing a Play Folk button to win the game.

The winner of our first game was Charlie, backed by the force of an alliance of roommates. He continued his streak as the winningest player of public games Myles runs.

Our second game was designed by Play Folk member Chris. We're blessed with awesome and involved friends and members of our group. Thanks for making a puzzle Chris! The two rounds could not have been more different as the focus shifted from shifty eyed meetings to taking hard looks at the books and records in the store.

Clues were to be found found in every section of the store tucked into specific pages of particular copies of books. Chris did a wonderful job of utilizing the exact bookstore and did some sneaky rearranging when he was the confederate for the first game with the necessary books standing out in the crowd.

The final book was well hidden in the "buck a book" stacks upstairs. For the latter part of the game a third of the players wandered around searching the area. Chris smartly hovered nearby the end but claimed it was for the cool fresh air of the big fan. Myles was in the clear lead as he found the last book only to be done in by his assumption that there was only one clue in every book. He shared his information with Doug, who wisely tailed him to victory.

Congratulations to both of our winners! Thanks for coming out and enjoying a beautiful bookstore and delightful games with us. Somehow the red team did not win this month but we all did when we wandered over to Syrup for cake.