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Bye Bye Alibi

Project Owner & Manager:

- Systems Design

- Content Design

- Writing Rules

- Testing Management

- Expansion Design

Project Description:

“Bye Bye Alibi” is a twist on Murder Mystery Party games. In this game, nobody is given the role of the murderer. Rather, everyone needs to come up with a story to explain away all the evidence that makes them seem suspicious. The goal isn’t to find the real killer, only to keep yourself out of jail.


I have always been a fan of murder mysteries and slasher films. I love the intrigue, the suspense, the fear, but those are all points many games have tackled before. However, one aspect I realized such media often take for granted is the humor of those involved when an innocuous clue appears that makes them suspicious and they fumble to try and explain themselves. That is how Bye Bye Alibi came to be, asking “What if we took the fumbling to the max!?”.


Originally, I developed this game for a college project and didn’t expect to ever be able to take it off the shelf. It’s a fun game, but I lacked the resources and know-how to get it published myself. 


Thankfully, that is where Aquarius came in and saved the project. After I was hired and presented them with some more “family-friendly” games; they mentioned they wanted to diversify their catalog. Seeing my chance I dusted the game off and showed it off. After a single session, they loved it and development was underway.

The Gameplay:

The gameplay of Bye Bye Alibi has honestly not changed much since its initial conception.

"Players make up a character and are given a hand of evidence cards. Players, in character, must explain then away their evidence. Whomever players think did the worst job has declared the killer and confesses to the crime."

Since day one that was the premise. However, while the gameplay loop didn't change, the component did.

The Invitation Cards:

At the start of the game, players are given an Invitation with a random job. Using that job, the player comes up with a character and backstory.

These cards required a lot of refinement, in both their visual design and layout, as well as what jobs were actually included in the final game. This required a lot of rules-lawyering to determine if a job was too convenient for explaining away most weird items.


The Evidence Cards:

The evidence cards have changed the least out of all the components. Visually they barely changed at all, capitalizing on the fact that most party games are just text on cards.

Most of the work for these components went into curating the catalog of weird and suspicious items. I had to make sure that no item was too mundane, too easy/difficult to explainable, or too "offensive" for our target market.

Dark Secret Cards:

Originally, the game included Dark Secrets. Elements like "Is secretly a drug dealer" or "Is having an affair" were bonus cards players could give to other players to make them seem more guilty.

However, as the game developed, it was decided to remove these. They simply slowed down the game too much, and were too complicated for a "Party Game"

While I miss them, it was for the best.

No Guilty.png

Voting Tokens:

This is the component that had the most changes to both its design and gameplay. Originally, each player was given tokens worth 0, 1 & 2 points. Whichever player got the most points was the voted Killer. 

However, when we tested with "less game savvy" players, it was realized it needed to be simplified. After discussing options, we settled on having "Guilty" and "Not Guilty" Tokens. This made things clearer and had the added benefit of reducing our component count.

Beyond the components, a lot of my time went into the rules. I managed to organize the rules so players could play each stage of the game as they read through the rules. No need to read 5+ pages in a row before you feel like you can conduct the first turn. Additionally, to capitalize on the murder mystery theme, I included a small mini-story, describing each phase of the game. That player can feel more engaged, without the excess set-up and narration of a full-blown murder mystery.

Fun Fact: "What's My Alibi?" was almost the game's name. However, when the game was presented to the investors in California, the presenter couldn't recall the name and said "Bye Bye Alibi". The investors liked the name and it was decided to stick with it.

The Release:

We launched Bye Bye Alibi in 2022,

and you can now buy it in various retail stores and online!


On Reflection:

I am ecstatic that Bye Bye Alibi got as far as it did in development! It was a joy to develop it and work with the team to bring this game to life. With that said, there are some key points I was happily able to learn through this project.

- Adding flair to one's rules can drastically boost a group's engagement.

- Testing with people who aren't really gamers is important to make sure the rules are pick-up ready.

- Wonderful ideas can come from stupid questions

The Team:

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Me: Jared Ciano
Game Designer
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Mike Fromstein
Art & Component Design
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Aquarius & NMR
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