So, first let me say, I’m not all that big a fan of most social deduction games. Games like Ultimate Vampire or Avalon, I feel like are pretty predictable in how they go, and while I do enjoy something like The Resistance, it’s a pretty straight forward game. However, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong was awesome.
The biggest reason it was awesome, in my opinion, is because of the forensic scientist. First off, we had a good one running our game, but the ability to give clues and having to give clues, that is very interesting. How it works is that someone is a murderer and you have an accomplice and a witness. Each person has some clues and murder weapons in front of them and whomever is the murderer, during the closed eyes phase like all these games have, picks on of their clues and weapons, and that is what the forensic scientist has to go off of. The accomplice knows who the murder is and what they’ve picked, and the witness knows who the murderer is, but not the accomplice. Then once all that information has been disclosed, the investigation starts. This is done through clue cards that the forensic scientist has. These cards have stuff like: Where the murder was committed at, what did the victim look like, what time of day did the murder take place? And then a number of options for the forensic scientist to pick, and then each player has done guess per game as to what the clue and weapon are.
What I really liked with the forensic scientist is that not all of the information cards are useful. If someone died in a operating room because the murder picked surgery, what time of day it is, is pretty irrelevant. But, the forensic scientist can’t just skip over a card, they have a certain number of cards that they have to give. So as the investigators on this case, you have to try and figure out which clues really matter the most as well as thinking about what murder weapon and/or clue could go with the information that we’ve just gotten from the forensic scientist. That seems like it would make it really difficult, but the forensic scientist (who isn’t allowed to speak except for in game stuff so no commentating) has more of these information cards than they can have out at one time, this is determined by some fun looking bullets, so they have to play, eventually, all information cards. That means that they can replace some of the cards. If there was the time of day question for surgery, maybe they swap it out for another tile so that we aren’t focusing in on the time of day.
The other interesting thing about the forensic scientist is that whomever is running that part of the game, they do have to listen to what everyone is saying. Maybe the murder is trying to get people to look at another player, so they want to try and keep someone from guessing what that other player has. Maybe a clue that they thought would be really helpful has led the players down the wrong path. They get to still play the game, even though they aren’t guessing, by trying to direct what the investigators are talking about and possibly having to adjust on the fly if, for example, the players are onto the right murder weapon, but not for the reason that the forensic scientist would have thought.
This game plays quickly, it’s very interactive, and while you are going to eventually accuse someone of murder with a certain murder weapon and clue, everyone is involved in the game to some level. I’ve gotten to play as both the investigator and the witness, and both were a ton of fun. As the murderer or accomplice you are trying to steer people away from the murder, but as the witness you’re trying to steer people towards the murderer, but not in such a way that it’s obvious. It’s a really fun balance as compared to other games, like Avalon, that have a similar mechanic such as Merlin, this one seems to work much much better as you are able to hide your witness-ness in the conversation much easier.
Overall, for a social deduction game, I’d really recommend this game. I plays fast, it plays a large number, and I hope to play it again soon. The theme, while it is solving a grisly murder isn’t dark, and the murder weapon and clue cards aren’t dark. I think this is a good game for a party as well because it has a very interactive aspect to it, but isn’t just silly, and because it is so interactive, even if you aren’t talking at a point in time, you are still involved in the game.
Overall Grade: A
Casual Grade: A
Gamer Grade: A
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