In this game, players or investigators are attempting to solve a murder. Much like Dexter, the murderer is one of the individuals attempting to solve the crime. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a social deduction/bluffing game for 4 – 12 players.
In this game, one player acts as a narrator of sorts. This player is known as the forensic scientist and they know the truth of who the murderer actually is. Before gameplay begins, each player looks at their card and closes their eyes. The forensic scientist asks the murderer to point to 1 of 4 red cards and 1 of 4 blue cards. These represent murder weapons and evidence left behind at the scene of the crime.
Everyone “wakes up” and the game begins as the forensic scientist places bullet tokens on a series of player boards that help narrow down how this individual was killed. For example, if the murderer pointed to a machete, the forensic scientist may put the bullet token on ‘lots of blood’. Players would then look around and accuse people based on the cards in front of them.
The game plays over a series of 3 rounds. At the end of each round, the forensic scientist has the chance to draw a new tile and remove one that may not be so useful allowing them to better convey who the murderer is.
In a last ditch attempt to win the game, the murderer has the ability to kill the witness who has slowly been swaying the game against the murderer. Since the witness knows the murderer – without drawing attention to themselves – help the other players come to the realisation of who the murderer is.
The art style of the game is very fitting for the theme. The dark colours of the role cards contrast nicely with the blue or red of your affiliation. The inclusion of Chinese text of the cards is a nice addition, increasing the flavour of the game. Although I have heard a few complaints calling this inclusion a little distracting.
Social deduction games are all the same, right? What does this game do differently? Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is similar to the hugely popular Resistance and Avalon. What this game does differently is it makes the game less dependent on the hidden voting and accusations of others. Those games are highly susceptible to mob mentality. People can sway the opinion of others if they are convincing enough. Though this is possible in Deception, it is more difficult. Since all the cards are laid out in front of all players, based on what the forensic scientist signals, there are some cards that can immediately be ignored because they don’t fit the criteria. By focusing on what cards are in front of people rather than the arguments as to why this person is evil, it can make for a different type of social and party game.
In addition to that, since you are accusing people based on what is in front of them and not their actions, people feel less targeted and less attacked. This is an important point to consider when purchasing social deduction games. If your friend group does not like the chaos of Resistance or Avalon but still wants a social deduction game, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong may be the right game for your group.
Does your play group enjoy the chaos of social deduction games? What games stir the pot the most? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!