Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Who Can You Trust: Games With Deception

Who can you trust?  No, I'm not referring to the theme of the Fablehaven.  I'm referring to a set of games where some of the players are secretly working against the other players (as opposed to openly trying to work against each other).  There are a number of fun card/board games that fit into this category.  I'd like to share a few of the ones that I've enjoyed.


Perhaps the simplest of games.  All you need is some way to designate which players are the 'mafia' and which are not.  The mafia's goal is to kill off all the players except for themselves.  Each turn of the game represents a night and a day.  During the night, the mafia selects a person to kill.  During the day, all of the players (including the mafia) try to decide on how is a mafia member.  Once they've made a decision, that person is also killed.  The non mafia people win if they can successfully kill off all the members of the mafia.  The mafia members identity is maintained a secret by having all the other players close their eyes while the mafia members are choosing their victims.

There are some possible variants and additional rules.  Some players can be designated as police or detectives to 'investigate' a player each night.  A player can also be designated as an 'angel' who is able to protect one player a round.


Werewolves plays very similarly to mafia.  One major difference is that there are actually cards to designate what each player does.  One thing that werewolves brings to the table is more variety in the different roles that players can be.  Here are a few of the 'extra' roles that werewolves brings:

  • The witch - once per game, the witch can poison a person.  Also once per game, the witch has the option of saving a character
  • The little girl - the little girl is allowed to peak when the werewolves are choosing their victim.  If the little girl is caught, then the little girl is usually killed
  • Cupid - At the beginning of the game, cupid chooses two players to be lovers.  If one lover dies, the other also dies of a broken heart

The Resistance

A very interesting spin to the game of mafia.  The first major difference is that players are not 'killed off' each round.  In the resistance, each player is either the member of a resistance or a spy trying to stop the resistance.  Every round, a designated leader tries to put together a team to complete a mission.  The size of the team is less than the number of players.  Then everyone votes on whether they want the team to go through or not.  If the vote is approved, then each of the people selected for the mission get to either help it succeed or sabotage it.  If the vote is rejected, then another player becomes the leader.  The voting is public, yet the choice to help or sabotage the mission is kept secret.  The game because an enjoyable witch hunt to try to discover who is a member of the resistance and who is a spy.

The last time I played, I was totally deluded into thinking that the spies were members of the resistance and vice versa.  I got manipulated very well by one of the spies.  It was a very enjoyable game.


I have never played Bang before, but the basic premise of the game is that all of the players are involved in a Texas shoot out.  Each player is designated as being a sheriff or one of other possible roles (which are kept secret).  Each role has a goal.  The deputies are not allowed to attack the sheriff, and are trying to kill off people who are shooting at the sheriff.  The outlaws are trying to kill off the sheriff.

Battlestar Galactica

This game is one of my favorites.  I've never seen either of the Battlestar Galactica series, but I still highly enjoy the game.  In the game, the players are trying to safely get to their new home.  Along the way, the board puts a series of obstacles in their path, such as crises that sap their food supplies or kill off some of the people.  Also, some of the players (who are really Cylons in disguise) may be working secretly to help the board defeat the players.  At certain periods of time, a Cylon can reveal themselves to devastating effect and start openly opposing the players.  There is a chance that none of the players are Cylons.  The element of uncertainty adds even more fun to the game.

Shadows Over Camelot

In this game, each of the players assumes the role of a knight of the round table.  Their goal is to save Camelot from a series of threats by winning tournaments, retrieving powerful artifacts (the holy grail, Excalibur, etc), and by fending of the Picks and the Saxons.  As an added level of intrigue, one of the players  may be working against the other players to destroy.  Like with Battlestar Galactica, not knowing if there actually is a traitor makes the game even more fun and enjoyable.

If there is a fun game that fits into this category that I haven't shared, feel free to comment about it!

As a small aside, here is a list of some video game release days that I am feeling excited for:

  • Minecraft version 1.3 has a tentative release date of August 1st.  They will be adding some new features including trading with villagers
  • Guild Wars 2 is scheduled to release on August 28th.  I don't think I have words to describe how excited I am for the game, or how much fun I had playing as an elementalist.


  1. I LOVE Battlestar and Shadows! I own Werewolf but I've never played it-how sad is that?

  2. Bang is a lot of fun! I remember playing it with my friends in my YSA ward in Arizona.

  3. I am a master of BANG. I think this must happen, my friend.

  4. I SO want to play werewolves! :(