The rules of True Frenemies are deceptively simple. Within 10 minutes you can easily begin playing. Your goal is to get both yourself as well as another player (your Secret Friend) to the Tree of Life. The catch is that you will know your own Secret Friend but you will not know who has you as a Secret Friend. So during the entire game the player you are trying to help may actively sabotage you. Moreover, the penalty is severe for revealing the identity of your Secret Friend to other players (or even to your own Secret Friend). To disguise your intentions, you may at times help players who are not your Secret Friend and undercut your own Secret Friend.
What happens when it is your turn? First, you roll the dice. Then you will have three choices: move yourself forward the amount of your roll, any other player forward the amount of your roll, or any other player back the amount of your roll. If you do not like where you would land on the board as a result of your roll, you can move any other player instead.
The strategy flows through the timing and deception with covertly navigating your Secret Friend to the Tree of Life as well as preventing others from manipulating your game gem for their benefit rather than your own. You must not only monitor the progress of your own Secret Friend, but also attempt to discover who has you as a Secret Friend, who is your Secret Friend's Secret Friend, as well as all other combinations of players at the table. The premise and the decisions within the game may appear straightforward, but deducing everyone's Secret Friend as well as choosing the best course of action is the Gordian knot which elevates True Frenemies to a much higher level.
True Frenemies will be played simultaneously at multiple levels and in multiple ways. A very few may resort to mental math to crack the identity of everyone's Secret Friend. Others will be more adept at identifying nonverbal cues such as eye movements or body language. Still others will simply make educated guesses based on nothing more than gut instinct.
Because the actions of the game are straightforward, True Frenemies is never quiet. True Frenemies is designed to encourage interaction. Enjoyment and laughter flows through the cards that are drawn as well as actions that are taken during the course of the game. While playing, you will assume an identity through your SinTakes cards and all players will get to know you much better through the Face the Music cards. You may learn a bit through the Bible Says cards and the Say a Little Prayer cards may not always work out as you intend.
One byproduct with our game design is we rarely, if ever, find a situation where one player has locked up a victory well in advance or another player has no chance. Nearly all games end in a photo finish.