Social Deduction Games: What Are They & Which Are Best?

Zack Downes
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Have you been looking for the best social deduction game but just aren’t sure which games are the best ones to choose from?

If you’ve been to a board game or card game store you’ll know there are a lot of social deduction games out there, or if you’ve just been trawling retailers like Amazon, you’ll know there are a lot to choose from.

Social deduction games are incredibly popular, and in 2018 they are growing in popularity.

There are many reasons why these games are so popular, not only are they great fun, but they are also great for building teamwork skills, and with these games you’ll find that you also build confidence and social interaction skills as well.

NameCategoryProduct
Bang 4th EditionBest OverallBang 4th Edition
The Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction GameBudget PickThe Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction Game
Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong Board GameUpgrade PickGrey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong Board Game

1. Bang 4th Edition

Our rating: 9 / 10

Bang 4th Edition

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Pros:

  • Good looking set
  • Crisp graphics
  • A nice amount of roles and objectives
  • Double-sided board
  • 192 cards
  • High replay value

Cons:

  • Not as accessible for newer gamers who will struggle at times when doing investigations and looking for hidden roles
  • Some of the objectives maybe unbalanced

The original, the Bang! that started the series of board games from AEG. Each game is based in the Old West. The core concept is that you try to be the last mob standing. You must take out the other player’s family members before they shoot you in the back.

You start by choosing a role. The roles give you special abilities during the course of the game. There’s the Sheriff, a deputy, a fence, an arsonist, a bushwhacker, an out-law, and many other roles. However, the sheriff, the deputy, and the undertaker are more common roles than the rest.

The game is simple. The Sheriff and his deputy are the most powerful as they are the closest to you. A sheriff can shoot three bullets in a line, while the Deputy has two diagonal lines. A Sheriff can kill a Deputy and a Deputy can kill an Outlaw in one hit. As for the Outlaw, they have the ability to kill a deputy.

2. Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong Board Game

Our rating: 9 / 10

Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong Board Game

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Pros:

  • Easy to pick up in order to learn how to play it
  • A little different every time that you play it
  • Has a balance of being strategic and fun
  • Unique game play that will keep you engaged
  • My wife and I really like it
  • You really have to think it through to win
  • Fun for the whole family
  • Cheaper than some of the others
  • The game is constantly changing, one mistake and you may be caught
  • Exciting as you never know who will win

If You're Looking For Fun And Games That Sacrifice No Quality, This is the Deception Game You've Been Waiting For!

3. Hail Hydra

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hail Hydra

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In modern societies, it is becoming more and more rare for people to interact with others. Many people even feel as though they cannot trust the people in their life.

Gaming can be a great way to bring out our true selves, as we overcome challenges and communicate in new ways with other players.

There are many different types of gaming available. One of the most popular types of games is social deduction games. These types of games make it fun to connect with one another and see how well we can do when it comes to reading other people’s minds and reading their body language.

4. Bezier Games One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Our rating: 9 / 10

Bezier Games One Night Ultimate Werewolf

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Pros:

  • Easy to play. You can teach this to a whole group of beginners in 10 minutes. Even if you have a party full of people who like board, card, and social games, you can play this with a variety of ages.
  • It is also fun for an experienced player, for the same reason. There are lots of possible roles and actions, and you will always have a different game experience.
  • It has a unique theme. A werewolf game with a twist (and another, and another, and you can choose the number of players who you want to play).
  • Its universal nature means that those players who are into fantasy and story-driven games will like this one, but it is not too much of a story for the gamers who play mostly classics or euros.
  • It is also good for kids who are old enough to read. They will start to get the social deduction aspect but not have trouble with the mechanics or theme.
  • It has lots of strategic and tactical decisions.
  • It is not complicated, but it is not a filler game, either. You will find yourself playing it over and over, as it has enough to offer for the deep gamer but also has the automatic play of a game.

5. Coup

Our rating: 9 / 10

Coup

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Pros:

  • Fun to play
  • Awesome play duration of 30 minutes
  • Turns into a hilarious role-playing game when played with friends

Coup is a game made for 2-6 players. As the title states, it is a game about deception, bluffing, and backstabbing. A lot of backstabbing actually. The ultimate goal is to win the last coup, and in order to do that you have to eliminate all of the other players and steal their fortunes.

Role-playing is on point, and the game is very hilariously fun, especially when everyone joins in on the fun. Once you get to know all of the cards and the backstabbing is set in stone, the game play turns into pure role-playing.

You could say that Coup is a kind of game that is difficult to win, but if you are playing with your friends, you can make the game last as long as you want, which is awesome. The game is over when someone becomes the eighth Circle of Infamy. Playtime is around 30 minutes, which is insane in itself.

6. The Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction Game

Our rating: 9 / 10

The Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction Game

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Pros:

  • A lot of replay value
  • Addictive gameplay
  • Really simple set-up and play

Cons:

  • It takes a while to play a certain number of rounds
  • Political party allegiances can be quickly spoiled

Our Thoughts:

Almost every game with more than four players has a leader, but it’s up for debate which is best. Some games advocate this, but The Resistance: Avalon takes it one step further and has players working together, but secretly.

Players take on either the secret role of a Resistance member or an evil role of a member of the loyalist movement. As you can imagine, the goal of the Resistance players is to undermine the schemes of the foe by either silently destroying the Evil plot or assisting the other members of the Resistance.

7. Alderac Entertainment Group Love Letter

Our rating: 9 / 10

Alderac Entertainment Group Love Letter

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Pros:

  • Strategic and fast game-play
  • Highly portable
  • Interesting theme
  • Easy to learn

8. Mascarade

Our rating: 9 / 10

Mascarade

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Pros:

  • Compact
  • Great for a small party with a limited number of players
  • Quick-paced gameplay
  • The game can be customized to fit the experience you are looking for
  • Larger kits are available as well
  • Highly interactive social experience
  • Covers a wide range of ages and number of players

Cons:

  • Some may find the narrative frivolous
  • Gets older with each play-through

Mascarade is a popular party game that requires a small group and a lot of creative energy. It is an illustrated card game where players are given an identity that may or may not be true. After the identity of other players is discovered, players compete to win over the trust of the other players. This game is best suited for smaller groups, as the lore and theme require some attention to detail. The game is simple enough to teach new players to the genre and complex enough to keep even the most experienced player on their toes. It¹s also a game that you¹ll never grow tired of.

9. Spyfall

Our rating: 8 / 10

Spyfall

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Pros:

  • Works with any number of players
  • Highly interactive
  • Can be scored in many different ways

Cons:

  • Players who don’t know the answers may be picked on
  • New players will need a lot of guidance from more experienced players

10. When I Dream

Our rating: 8 / 10

When I Dream

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Pros:

  • Teaches basic social skills
  • Very easy to play
  • You can play with six people or more
  • Inexpensive to purchase

Cons:

  • Might be too simple for some adults
  • Not a lot of replay value

This social deduction game is a lot like "Truth or Dare" if you have ever played that. It is perfect for at least six people, although it could potentially be played with more.

As the title implies, the purpose is for people to share their dreams, wishes and desires. It is a meditative, introspective game that promotes trust and honest communication.

Each player writes their dreams on a piece of paper and passes it to the person on their right. Each player gets a turn thinking about the other people's dreams. They slowly work toward guessing what the dream was. That is the basis for a lot of the game, but there are also a lot of surprises.

11. Oink Games Insider Game

Our rating: 8 / 10

Oink Games Insider Game

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Pros:

  • Can be played in teams of 2-5
  • 2 to 7 players recommended
  • Very quick setup
  • Games teach social skills
  • Colorful design
  • Bright illustrations
  • Develops social skills
  • Machine-washable game pouch

Cons:

  • Game pieces could be a choking hazard for toddlers
  • Creativity is limited
  • Poorly written instructions
  • Only 7 games in 1 set

If you are looking for a game that encourages interaction then you’re going to want to take a look at Oink Games’ Insider Game. This a great game for families that want to play a social deduction game as it only requires 2 to seven players.

It’s a great game for a wide range of children all the way from kindergarten through the midteens. A few small details will appeal to older children in that there are bottles of booze in the game. There are also some naughty sayings on some of the game pieces.

The game is very simple to learn and play. While you may not need the instructions with the game, they can be helpful for introducing younger children to the game. If you already know the rules, they will slow down the game and are not necessary.

12. WizKids Burke's Gambit

Our rating: 8 / 10

WizKids Burke's Gambit

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Pros:

  • Interesting game play
  • Includes five characters and art game boards
  • Comprehensive game board
  • Supports two to five players
  • Many different components
  • Contains no scary or violence

Cons:

  • The theme may not appeal to all players
  • Objective of the game may be unclear without reading the rules

Who killed Mr. Burke? That’s the question you’re trying to answer in Burke’s Gambit, but who are you? Are you a PI or the District Attorney trying to get to the bottom of the crime? You could be one of five different characters trying to prove your innocence.

The overall goal of the game is to collect more clues than your opponents to learn who the killer was so you can accuse them of the crime. To do this, that person has to prove their innocence. The player that wins is the first person to correctly accuse the killer.

This game comes with the board, player tokens and cards, a murder envelope, a case folder, a keychain, character movers, and stacks of evidence cards. That may sound like a lot and it is, so make sure you have a spacious table to play this game on.

13. Oink Games OIN09032 A Fake Artist Goes to New York Board Game

Our rating: 6 / 10

Oink Games OIN09032 A Fake Artist Goes to New York Board Game

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Conclusion

Social deduction games are a great activity for players who want to try something new that is strategic and perfect for intense group interaction. This style of game is ideal for creating an environment for healthy competition and fun times with your friends and family. The type of game that you play can help you determine the right game for your personal playing style. Games are coming out all of the time that try to recreate this style of play via new and unique mechanics, but there are some staples that will always be played at game night. Usually, the more you play, the more you can train yourself to be observant and become a master of it.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Bang 4th EditionBest OverallBang 4th Edition
The Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction GameBudget PickThe Resistance: Avalon Social Deduction Game
Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong Board GameUpgrade PickGrey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong Board Game