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Spotlight: Social Deduction Games

Over the years there have been a number of deduction style games, old favourites like Cluedo where players attempt to be the first to solve a murder, and Sleuth, a game in which players try to deduce a hidden gem.

More recently a subgenre of deduction games has become extremely popular, these game have become known as social deduction games. These games usually involve each player having some hidden information that the other players must try and determine, often simply by asking questions and observation.

Here are some of the best:

Coup requires players to bluff their way to victory. The game consists of 15 cards (3 copies of 5 different characters) Each player begins the game with two cards, which represent your influence in the game. The winner is the last remaining player with influence. Each character can perform a specific action and these actions are used either on a player’s turn or as a defence against another player. What makes the game interesting is that no one is aware what characters are in play and you can lie about which character you have. The challenge is not to get caught in a lie, which will result in a loss of influence. Bluffing and double bluffing is the order of the day in Coup.

Love Letter has some definite similarities to Coup. In this case there are 16 cards and 8 distinct characters, each with their own action. To begin the game one card is removed from play and each player is dealt one card. On a turn a player may draw a card and play a card, carrying out it’s action. The aim is to try and remove the other players from the game. The last player standing gets to deliver their love letter to the princess

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is redeveloped version of the classic social deduction game Werewolf. Normally Werewolf requires one person to be outside of the game to run it, but this version uses an app to run the game. Each players is given a secret role in the game, some will be werewolves and others will be villagers all with special ability. During the first part of the game these roles may change due to some of the special abilities. Then players have a few minutes to ask questions of one another to try and deduce who the werewolves are. Once the time is up all players must vote on who they would like to lynch, whoever receives the most votes dies, and either the werewolves or villagers will win.

The Resistance: Avalon is a variation of the very popular The Resistance. In this version the players are characters from Arthurian Legend.  Within the group of players are hidden a number of Mordred’s minions that are trying bring down the kingdom. Each round the players must decide on a team to complete a mission. The mission will either fail or succeed depending on the traitors. The object of the game is for the heroes to identify the traitors and keep them away from the missions.

That’s a Question really probably falls into the category of party game, but there is an element of social deduction here so we thought we would include it. The simple concept is based around asking players questions that have two possible answers and then trying to guess correctly what their answer might be. Choosing the right question is crucial in being able to deduct what the answer might be. This one is from the designer that brought us Codenames one of the most popular games we have sold in the last two years.