Hidden Menace: Basic Plays, Part 2

Last time I covered buy ins, enticing, and countering in my upcoming hidden menace game. This time I’d like to look at the other options the player gets.


Empowering a game element lets you improve the target by granting it knacks. To empower an element, you must play a card and state what kind of knack you’re going for. Common examples include specific skills or attributes, such as swimming or strength. Overly broad knacks such as “magic” or “mad scientist” may cost an additional card.

If the card’s theme is related to knack you want to add, you may play it face up. As long as the card is in play, the target can use the knack.

If the card’s theme is not related to the knack, you must play the card face down. At the end of the scene, if the face down card is still in play, you must discard that card and draw a new card to your hand.

Knacks can be invoked whenever their owner it trying to do something that matches the knack. When invoked, they add an extra die against any attempts to counter that associated action. Only one knack may be invoked per action.

The knack’s owner can also sacrifice the knack at any time to add it’s card to either side of a counter attempt they’re involved in.


Players may protect a game element to make it harder to remove from play. To protect an element, simply play one card for each layer of protection you want.

If you play the card face up, you must state what form the protection takes. The target form must be related to the card’s theme. Such protection is powerful, but can be removed if an agent takes an appropriate action to remove it.

Alternately, you can play the card face down to represent more abstract qualities like luck or plot protection. This is less potent than face up protection, but can not be readily removed.

Each protection card on an element may be added to any counter attempts to keep the target in play. If the owner remains in play at the end of the counter attempt, those cards are returned to the owner instead of being discarded or redistributed.

As with knacks, protection may be sacrificed to add cards to any counter attempt the character is involved in. Sacrificed protection cards do not return to the owner at the end of the counter attempt.


At any time, a player can either introduce an agent to the game or claim an existing element as their agent. Claiming an agent works much like protecting an element with a few key differences.

  • A face up claim represents a character motive, rather than a means of protection.
  • Claim can only be used to counter either attempts to control the agents actions.
  • If the target is removed from play the owner can surrender the claim to discard the claim card and draw a new one to their hand. If they choose to hold on to it, they can try to bring the agent back into play after the next scene finishes.
  • When a player’s first agent is claimed, they must choose an allegiance for the remainder of the game.

I’ll go into allegiances in a later post. The idea here is that players start neutral and gain extra abilities once they get an agent and pick a side.

Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 9:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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