Secret Histories is a location-based collaborative storytelling game. In the game, players go on a historical walking tour around a neighborhood in their city, but instead of being led by a guide, they take turns leading the group, and instead of learning real historical facts, they make up the history as they go.
The game provides an opportunity for people to look at their everyday surroundings with fresh eyes, and to create memorable stories that tie friends and places together.
Secret Histories requires 3-6 players, approximately 1 hour, an interesting area to explore, and decent walking weather. The only equipment required is pencil and paper.
Over the course of gameplay, players explore the neighborhood, discover interesting landmarks and features of the environment, and invent stories about historical events that might have happened at those spots. The mechanics of the game enable even inexperienced or reluctant storytellers to come up with interesting and evocative anecdotes that fit together into a cohesive historical portrait.
As they walk, observe, imagine, and narrate, players become more aware of their surroundings, and notice things in the neighborhood that they might otherwise miss – a house with funky window treatments, a gate with a dedication plaque, an ornately designed manhole cover. And as they share and discuss stories, players get to know each other as well as they know their environment.
At the end of the game, players have a timeline of fictional events that give them a unique view of the neighborhood they've been exploring, private knowledge shared only among the group. This secret knowledge connects players to each other as well as to the location – augmenting reality with story rather than technology.