Materials: Blank paper (1 sheet each), pencils, whatever is nearby Roles: Chief (1 player), Detectives (everyone else) Rules: The Chief describes a crime scene that the Detectives have been called to. Each Detective then takes an item on their person or nearby, places it on their sheet of paper and traces around it. The Detectives must describe how these are potential clues which help solve the crime. The Chief then takes one item from a Detective's sheet, places it on their sheet and describes a setback which the Detectives must overcome. The Detectives must find a new item each, place it on their sheet and describe how they use it to overcome the setback. Play repeats with new related scenes and setbacks until the Chief fills their sheet with items or they are satisfied. The Detectives must now describe how all the items on the Chief's sheet fit together to solve the crime and name the culprit. Item Placement Rules: - Items must fit on the sheet of paper. - Items cannot overlap each other nor any traced outlines of removed items. - The same kind of item cannot be place twice on the same sheet of paper. Chief's decision is final.
This design has three main principles behind it.
The first is that it could be played almost anywhere without the need for “special” equipment like dice. All that is needed is paper and a pen/pencil.
The second, that the rules are easily memorable and once learnt don’t require referencing. This fits in with the “can be played anywhere” principle.
Lastly that the physical item aspect of the game inspires creativity in the role playing aspect.
Chalk Outlines leans heavily on the “MacGuyver” trope and is probably best played tongue in cheek or “campy” rather than seriously as players are unable to fail, much like heroes in many serial shows.