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Jubensha--what I've learned so far.

I'm a huge fan of emergent storytelling and modified RPGs and game systems, so when I saw the People Make Games video on Jubensha (剧本杀), I had to learn more. I'm still early in my investigation, but darn it, I'm planning on digging deeper if possible.

The basics of Jubensha:

  • Get a fixed party size together to play

  • Each player received a detailed backstory (15mins - 1 hour of reading)

  • Players role play a mafia-style metagame where one or more players are secretly guilty of something

  • A lightly involved GM guides the party and unveils clues

  • At the end of the game, the culprit is revealed.

How Jubensha differs from other RPGs:

  • Players are encouraged heavily to embody their characters (dressing up and everything)

  • A GM guides the game, but doesn't participate quite as heavily.

  • Think a heavily scripted version of a DND one-shot with the pre-defined plot points revealing backstory as well as current events.

Edits / Updates from Continued Research:

  • [1/30/2024] Updates

    • Because many Jubensha stories are one-time-use narratives, finding PDF or digital versions is much more difficult than I anticipated. Writers and publishers of Jubensha have been pretty cautious about story leaks / spoilers, so digital versions (even in Chinese) are hard to come by.

  • [1/31/2024] Updates

    • So... one of the pdf sites seemed to be a pirate site. Again, it seems like the vast majority of these publishers lean toward print materials due to piracy and spoiler risk.

  • [2/8/2024] Updates

    • Found a great site called StoryBoxed and their blog has fantastic information on Jubensha and the updates for English Jubensha.

  • [2/19/24] Updates

    • Played a Storyboxed discord Jubensha and had a blast

      • Didn't realize how heavily unreliable narrators seemed to function

      • Reading and learning a character from scratch is a tough part of the player experience. If designing one of these games, I'd focus on bullet lists, simplifications, and more to make this as seamless as possible.

So I looked around online, and there's honestly not too many places that offer Jubensha content around the US. But given how interesting new takes on RPGs are (I'm a big fan of Mini Rogue and The Quite Year), if you're a fan of emergent storytelling and game design, I'd definitely recommend researching these things.

No matter what type of writer you are or what type of gamer and creative, understanding new angles to generate experiences among individuals and groups is a huge tool in any creative's toolkit. So yeah, please let me know if I missed something here, or if you know of any resources to find these games, and I'll be happy to update the article.

Places to find English Jubensha games:

Jubensha game in english "the Dark Council"

In any event, I hope this helps you on your writing and design journeys. Now, let's go out there and make some unforgettable experiences for people!

Also, if you want more games and stories right now, check out my game and writing projects. If you want free versions of my work or if you have more Jubensha insights I should add to this doc, feel free to email me at!

[2/19/24] Some folks have found Jubensha spots in their cities by searching for the Chinese term on google maps: "google search the Chinese name 剧本杀"

[2/13/2024] A few folks have found Jubensha places in the USA - here are the cities and the locations:


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