Instruction Set

Instruction Set DIY Game Files Description Video How to Play Video




This is a social game involving a group of collaborative players acting out rolls in an improvisational mystery drama. Players break off into five teams and are handed sets of instructions telling them who they are and how they should behave in order to set the stage. Players will be handed coded messages to decipher with the help of several cipher keys. These messages will be clues leading them to uncovering a terrorist sleeper cell in their midst.


  • 1 Six Sided Die
  • 5 Sets of Instruction Sets numbered 1-5 in a lettered envelope
  • 5 Sets of Message Cards in a numbered envelope
  • 1 Set of Accusation Cards in an envelope marked ACC
  • 5 sets of Cipher Keys (3 keys [A-C] each)


The Message Cards are placed in the center of the table {fig. 1} and each team is handed a set of Cipher Keys. Each team is also handed one of the lettered envelopes {fig. 2}.



For the game to be a success, players must abide by the following rules:

  • Stay in character at all times
  • Never reveal clues to another team
  • Be secretive in their communications with fellow team mates
  • Research unfamiliar vocabulary with the help of smart technology
  • Read and discuss all instructions with the group prior to beginning the game

Players represent one of the following groups:

A. The Terrorist Sleeper Cell
B. The Secret Service
C. Anarchist Bloggers
D. Members of the Press
E. Double Agents


Teams are handed the first set of instructions telling them what group they will represent along with what kind of actions they must perform. These instructions are often obscure, and might not feel relevant to the role a group imagines it will be taking on. Nevertheless, they must follow all the instructions closely.

Teams will also be given a coded message to decipher with one of their cipher keys {fig. 3}.

Once teams have finished decoding the first message they roll a die for highest roll in order to win the opportunity to accuse one of the opposing teams of being the sleeper cell. This accusation is made using the accusation deck {fig. 4}. If the accusation is correct, the team successfully identifying the sleeper cell is victorious and the game is over. If the Accusation is incorrect, the game advances to another round.


The Accusation Deck is made up of five cards. Four of the five cards simply ask the recipient to read the card, wait a moment, and hand the card back without any reaction whatsoever. The fifth card accuses the receiver of being the sleeper cell, and if they are in fact the Cell to reveal themselves and surrender to the team who handed the card to them. However, if the recipients are not the Sleeper Cell, the card asks that they hand the card back without any reaction whatsoever. In this way, a false accusation does not result in other teams being able to discern when teams are not the Sleeper Cell.

NOTE | If the Sleeper Cell wins the right to make an accusation, in order to remain unrecognized they would have to play the part of a suspicious team. No team handed a card will surrender to the guilty team, and so no one will be the wiser. In fact this part of the game can be used in a way that sends suspicious teams off the scent.


Each consecutive round will repeat the same four basic steps:

  1. Receive Instructions
  2. Receive a coded clue as well as a cipher key with which to decipher the clue
  3. Roll for the opportunity to make an accusation using the accusation cards.
  4. Make an Accusation and either win the game or continue to the next round.

After the third round, however, the Sleeper Cells will begin to infiltrate and take over the other groups.

If the identity of the Sleeper Cell is not revealed by the time all teams have been infiltrated, the Sleeper Cell team and its allies win the game.

(NOTE) If a team infiltrated by the Sleeper Cell wins the right to make an accusation, in order to remain unrecognized they must hold on to the actual acusation card and hand out only the four cars which do not accuse the recipients of being the Sleeper Cell.


fig. 1 /// Message Cards


fig. 2 /// Lettered Envelope


fig. 3 /// Coded Message and Cipher Key


fig. 4 /// Accusation Deck