CSR’s Among US In Real Life: So Much Fun!

Among Us IRL: so much fun

So Among Us is a huge part of our lives now that the virus-that-shan’t-be-named has taken over. A different trend is to make a game to (safely) play with friends. As a game developer, I thought I’d take a shot at it. So here goes!

Research: Step 1 on Among Us

Small confession: before this project, I have never played Among Us. I had only watched the great Let’s Players of YouTube take out crewmates using their big brains. So I downloaded the app to learn the tasks and watched a couple of other Among Us IRL’s to get an idea of what others did. The two I saw were Smosh’s and Sidemen’s.

In Smosh’s version, there were a lot of things I liked about it–like the individual tasks–but it felt like it was too easy for imposters to lose. Damien won in their first video but I think it’s a tribute to Damien’s charisma. The players I had were a mix of experienced and never-heard-of-the-game-before new players. In the second episode of Smosh’s Among Us, Tommy mentions how hard it was to separate people. So going into my version I kept this in mind.

In Sidemen’s version, they fixed the spread-out problem by having a vast play-space, and everyone has all the same tasks. For me, the weird part lied in the dead bodies. In “Among Us”, if the body is found, it doesn’t stay after the meeting. The player becomes a ghost and is able to continue completing tasks. My issue with this version was how it didn’t have much in terms of the original’s mechanics.

Brainstorm: Step 2

The following are all of my original brainstorm for ways to turn a video game into something realistic you can (safely) play with friends.

Tasks

  • Short
    • Pressing buttons
    • “Solving” a Rubix cube
    • Matching
    • Put numbers in order
    • Reset the kitchen timer/alarm to stop position (imposters can sabotage)
    • Check the windows (imposters can sabotage for O2 replacement)
    • Place in the correct spot as taped on the floor 
    • Checking the thermostat (imposters can turn it off)
    • Check the time, if microwave/phone/oven doesn’t match, fix
    • Check cams
    • Make your id card and have it verified 
    • Solve a maze
    • Trace a line
    • Make baskets to simulate destroying asteroids
    • Flip a switch
    • Bop it for 3 turns
  • Long 
    • Math table
    • “Health assessment” = 2 min workout
    • “Science” = “test tubes” with essential oils and you have to log what you think each one is by smelling it. Could work with spices too
    • .Clean up garbage
    • Go on the computer and get certain folders then upload to a different computer

Imposter capabilities:

  • Set the timer so it counts down
  • candle
  • Open windows/doors
    • Open to be chaotic 
    • Lock by some visual cue so players can’t access certain areas
  • Turn off the thermostat
  • Change the time or turn off the clock

General:

  • You get 118s to discuss/vote.
  • Giant whiteboard with all the tasks, check off as you do them so imposters know how close they are to losing.

Most of this didn’t make it into the final version as I thought about how most homeowners wouldn’t appreciate guests touching things like their clocks or thermostat.

What actually made it into my Among Us game:

Materials for the Among Us game:

  • flashlights: we played in the dark
  • the Among US IRL Packet I made
  • glow sticks: to signify the dead so they could go around doing tasks
  • markers and loose-leaf paper: for id creation/verification
  • folders: to hold the roles
  • a USB: for the file location task
  • a personal safety alarm: our emergency meeting button
  • candle & lighter: for sabotage tasks
  • a fan with remote: for sabotage tasks
  • a music-playing device/speaker: for sabotage tasks
  • a phone/timer: for timing the discussion time (I recommend 30 seconds, it was plenty of time)
  • a whiteboard & markers: to show task progress for all players. The markers are for also drawing on the paper protectors
  • paper protectors
  • Jenga tiles: for the structural integrity task
  • fidget spinners: for the balance task
  • 1 cornhole board with bean bags: for the asteroid target practice task
  • washi tape: to hang up tasks, draw shapes on the floor for the clean sweep task, and for the imposters to signify locked doors
  • spices, essential oils, and cups: for the science id task
  • objects for the clean sweep task
  • 2d4, 2d6, 2d20: for the sabotage tasks

Tasks for all:

  • id creation & verification
  • memory check: essentially play a Bop-It on solo mode until you die and write down your score
  • structural integrity: make a structure out of Jenga tiles
  • balance challenge: I have ~8 fidget spinners and the goal was to stack as many as you could.

Tasks for individuals:

  • trace the line (similar to the path task in the game)
  • health check: essentially a short workout and my version of the health scan
  • sequencing: it’s the task where you click on the numbers in order but in a different format
  • navigation check: solve a maze
  • consistency check: my version of wires where you match items
  • cataloging: my version of the task where you put the specimens in their spot in the box
  • clean sweep
  • file location: my version of file upload
  • asteroid target practice: my version of asteroids, you throw bean bags into one cornhole board
  • science id: I put spices into numbered cups and I have a pack of essential oils. I put washi tape over the labels to hide the name, numbered it, and had crewmates guess what spice/essential oil it was.
  • environment check
  • memorabilia

How we played the Among Us game

So I asked my parents’ house if I could use their house for the game and they said yes. My first task after creating the above tasks was to draw a rough drawing of my parent’s floorplan and try to evenly spread out the tasks. I divided up the tasks evenly among the players and put them into folders. Before the player arrived I asked for all of them to show up in a solid color (if duplicates, wear an accessory) and to download the app on their phones. After I set up, the players arrived, and they were ready to play, I had everyone play three rounds of the original games. I did this on purpose so that everyone would have a reference point. Then it was time.

I handed out the folders and had everyone hold out their hands and close their eyes. Then I gave the imposter–my dad–the dice and the washi tape. The dice is so I can stage sabotages–the d4 = turn on the fan, the d6 to turn on the candle, and the d20 to turn on music–the tape so they could lock doors. I set them loose and within minutes crewmates won. After reshuffling and adding some addendums, like putting the dice/tape in a public place, we played again. We were able to play 5-6 solid rounds of the game. Something bugged me about this version because the imposters didn’t win a single round.

So in the end I asked for ideas on player experience.

Positives:

  • The best part is being the killer
  • Tasks were well made
  • This was a great job for a first play through

Feedback:

  • Do id creation/verification mandatory first
  • It was too easy to see other’s folder
    • Try flip oven folders with no zippers, and make them smaller and more discrete
  • Finding the tasks was hard
    • folders need a map of the area
  • Players were holding a lot of items
    • Try wearing something with pockets like an apron, to indicate color and hold all the things
  • It was annoying to come back to notify completion of tasks
    • Try signaling with texts for completion of tasks and sabotage to be more discrete
  • I need help keeping track of who had what when assigning roles. Assigning roles was an addendum made after someone got imposter twice.
  • Everyone had 4 tasks everyone had to do and 1-2 tasks they alone had to do. These were too many tasks, as no one was ever able to actually finish all of their tasks in one round. My participants suggested doing 1 group task, then all individual tasks using a randomizer. The next morning, I researched for a randomizer app and found this one, which would allow you to create a list and distribute the list into groups. I’m not sponsored or affiliated with them but you would be able to easily text your players their tasks.
  • It is imperative your players don’t talk during the game. They figure out the killer way too quickly and it makes it hard to quiet them to start the timer for the discussion/voting.

Final Thoughts:

The biggest feedback I received was how much fun this game was. Even with the drawbacks, my participants loved playing and probably could have kept playing and genuinely want to play again to help refine the game.

Thank you for reading ChickenStarRocket’s Among US In Real Life: So Much Fun!, I appreciate it. Comment below what color you play as in Among Us. If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want another video game post, click here. Want the packet? Click here. If you are going to play, ChickenStarRocket is not responsible for the health and safety of you and your players, so please take caution.

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