First and foremost, a big thank you goes out to Dragonlordmax and his Stuffy Dinner Party Guests. Without his hard work and contributions (and permission), this sub would not be possible. An additional thanks goes out to:

This puzzle will take all of the characters listed in the Stuffy Dinner Party Guests submission and provide rules for seating, scoring, and guest satisfaction. Rules will also be provided for adding and removing guests.

Rules in a nutshell

  1. Create a list of guests with brief descriptions of each. The descriptions should include preferred and/or undesirable seating conditions for each guest. This list of guests and descriptions will be shared with the players.
  2. Each guest has a limited tolerance of being seating next to any other guest. This tolerance can be classified as: indifferent, annoying, insulting, or unnacceptable. Each stage of enjoyment/annoyance can be scored as: preferrable(+1), indifferent(0), annoying(-1), insulting(-2), and unnacceptable(-3).
  3. Guests may also have special requests such as being seating near the exit or seating someone else away from the wine fountain.
  4. After the seating has been determined by the players, a score is applied to each guest for both guests they are seated next to. This gives each guest an overall satisfaction rating between +2 and -6. Failure to meet a guest's special requests further reduces the satisfaction rating by 1.
  5. The scores of all guests are added together to determine the overall enjoyment of the dinner party.
  6. If any guest has an unnacceptable (-3) reaction with any other guest, this guest will cause a scene that will ruin the entire dinner party for everyone resulting in complete failure.
  7. If you score an overall positive result, you are likely to be rewarded for your hard work. If you score negatively, or if a guest causes a scene, you are likely to be denied a reward and possibly even punished.

Table Layout

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
1 24
3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23

  • Seat 1 is the head of the table
  • Seats 2-9 are considered prestigious
  • Seats 10-15 are within reach of the fancy wine fountain
  • Seats 16-24 are considered less respectable
  • Seats 22-24 have an easy access to leave the table without interrupting dinner
  • (Optional) As the table decorations are as numerous as they are gaudy, guests must struggle to see (let alone communicate with) guests seated across the table from them.

As you add or remove guests, you will need to add additional sections to the table. Each section provides seating for two guests. The smallest acceptable table size is two sections that seat 6 guests in total. The size of the king's hall is the only restriction to the max size.

Additional twists include: removing the gaudy table decorations so that guests may benefit or suffer from an additional adjacent guest, breaking the table into multiple smaller tables (this leaves only the king's table as a position of respect), adding scenery or theatrical performance to the hall which usually causes seating to be placed on only one side of the table (making more central seating more respectable), or any combination of these.

Building the Score Card

Do not try to plan for each seating arrangement! With 24 guests, there are 12926008369442488320000 possible seating arrangements (not counting the same arrangement rotated into different seats or mirror arrangements). Just don't bother. Instead, build rules for your guests and score the seating later.

You must first decide how each guest will react when seated next to each of the other guests. Additional rules may apply to each guest that can influence their evening for better or worse. Using additional rules (ie. "The king will be upset if he is within earshot of Prince Briar", "Lady Adara would like to sit across from Lady Adalia", etc.), a guest may have better that +2 or worse than -6 for their evening. The easiest way to build a score card is to use a spread sheet with the names of all guests for both the row headers and column headers. Next, fill in each cell with a score (+1 to -3) that shows how well the guest in that row would react to sitting next to the guest in that column. When you are finished, it should look something like this:

Guest 1 Guest 2 Guest 3 Guest 4 Guest 5 Guest 6
Guest 1 + -1 -2 = +
Guest 2 = = = + -3
Guest 3 -1 -1 = = -1
Guest 4 = -2 = + =
Guest 5 + = = + =
Guest 6 -3 + -2 -1 =

As you can see, this quickly shows how well any guest will react when seated next to any other guests. However, this still isn't even very easy to read yet because it looks like guest1 should sit next to guest2 and guest6 to fulfill his seating requests, however guest6 would cause a scene if seated next to guest1. After some looking, we'll see that guest1 might be better off sitting next to guest2 and guest5. While guest1 is indifferent to sitting next to guest5, guest5 would enjoy it.

To help make this even more readable, I color code my spreadsheet to quickly show me the summary result of two guests sitting together. red=-3 or lower, amber=-2, light yellow=-1, light green=0, green=+1, purple=+2. Note that while guest6 sitting next to guest3 would be red because -2 and -1 = -3, this is still acceptable because it would not cause a scene by itself.

Score Card for Stuffy Dinner Party Guests Scenario

Using the guest list for Stuffy Dinner Party Guests by Dragonlordmax (24 guests), I have created a score card using the above rules (and my best judgement). This score card is for the Game Master's eyes only. http://kingdomania.com/stuffyPartyGuests.pdf

Play it Out

Once the players have decided the seating arrangement, the guests should arrive with fanfare and be announced. One of the more social players should then escort the guest to his or her assigned seat. Some guests might whisper their annoyance about certain seating arrangements, and some other guests are likely to slip the players a bribe to place them in a more prestigious seat. The players can roll with these changes if they dare. If any guests cause a scene, it should be played out with a disagreement that escalates into yelling or accusations of incompetence. Some guests will decide to leave the dinner, but the dinner will still go on until it is concluded. However, the players will be considered failures if such a scene occurs.

After the dinner, any of the guests who had an enjoyable time are likely to thank the players for giving them the extra attention. These well treated guests are likely to offer friendship and additional opportunities to show their gratitude. For example, if you manage to please Count Hobran, the Reaver, he will likely invite you to his domain for some hunting games and possibly even an adventure. When you design the guests, you should also decide how each guest is likely to show their gratitude for a favorable evening. This turns the logic puzzle into an invaluable opportunity to network and become known among the high class citizens, nobility, and even royalty.

Try it Yourself

Using the guest list from Stuffy Dinner Party Guests (24 guests), I came up with a seating arrangement that resulted in an overall satisfaction rating of +10 with not even a single guest annoyed at another. If you think you can do better, post a scroll with your seating arrangement and I'll score it for you (unless you'd like to do it for yourself). I'll post my own seating arrangement soon.

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? Community Contributions (1)-1

1. King Alfric the 3rd (+1)

3. Lady Pemberton (+1)

5. Lord Pemberton (0)

7. Ambassador Sara Pemberton (0)

9. Comtessa Beatrix Beaufort (+2)

11. Widow McIntrye (+1)

13. Honest John (0)

15. Lady Catherine of Wesshire (0)

17. Valefor Wordenweyn (0)

19. Lady Adalia (+1)

21. Count Hobran, the Reaver (0)

23. Prince Briar (0)

24. The Fool (0)

22. Knight-Commander Gren (0)

20. Senias, the Mystic (0)

18. Lady Adara (+2)

16. Erasmus Clay (0)

14. Priest Lenard (0)

12. Old Man Henderson (0)

10. Duke Frothington (+1)

8. Ambassador Finkvskyl (0)

6. Silk (0)

4. Matriarch Follovya (+1)

2. Queen Yura (0)

Total dinner satisfaction: +10.

Guests enraged with my seating: 0 (these guests would have been likely to seek retribution against me)

Guests Insulted by my seating: 0 (these guests would have been likely to seek punishment for me)

Guests annoyed with my seating: 0 (these guests would have been likely to treat me with disdain)

Guests indifferent with my seating: 16

Guests pleased with my seating: 6 (these guests are likely to reward me personally)

Guests ecstatic with my seating: 2 (including Lady Adara and Comtessa. These guests are likely to give me a substantial reward)