Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Strategic Depth: Beginner
Setup Time: 10 min
Play Time: 30 min.
Players: 4-12 (Best with 6+)
Mechanics: Murder Mystery, Bluffing, Deduction
Production Info: 2014 | Grey Fox Games | Tobey Ho
In the game Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, players take on the roles of investigators attempting to solve a murder case – but there's a twist...the killer and possibly an accomplice are on the investigative team! While the Investigators attempt to deduce the truth, the folks involved in the murder must deceive and mislead, leading the investigators down a rabbit hole.
The team's Forensic Scientist provides the investigators with the compiled evidence and it's up to the investigators to put all the pieces together. In order to succeed, the investigators must not only deduce the truth from the clues of the Forensic Scientist, they must also see through the misdirection being injected into the equation by the Murderer and Accomplice!
Find out who among you can cut through deception to find the truth and who is capable of getting away with murder!
- The Good -
Easy To Teach/Learn
I've found that this game is very easy to teach others, even if they have never played a social deduction game before. I think a lot of this has to do with the simplicity of the theme. Everyone is familiar with the process of putting a case together to solve a murder and this allows Deception to instantly click with new players.
Everyone Gives Input
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong does a great job of "forcing" everyone to be involved in the game play. Some social deduction games allow for players to stay silent and not be as involved throughout the game. Deceptions does a great job preventing this by requiring everyone to state their current thinking on the case each round. This gives a chance for everyone to state their case and explain the logic to support their current thinking.
- The Bad -
Body Language Is Telling
In Deception, the Forensic Scientist has a very difficult job in order to make the game fair for the Murderer/Accomplice team. Along with not being able to participate in any of the discussions throughout the game, the Forensic Scientist must also be constantly self-aware of their body language. This can be very difficult while laying the bullet markets on the Scene Tiles.
The Forensic Scientist can give away unintended information by struggling with a particular scene tiles clue list. If the Forensic Scientist struggles too much, it can be apparent that the particular Scene Tiles did not store a meaningful piece of information for the murder case. This can be extremly frustrating on the murderer side as it can potentially make it easier for the investigators to solve the case.
Murderer's Decision Impact
The murderer's initial decision on which key evidence and which means of murder cards are selected are extremely important to how difficult the game will be. I've played in games where the murder was solved almost immediately because the murderer picked two cards there were almost directly related to each other.
I would make sure to remind everyone before playing that the murderer needs to really think about their selection and ensure they are picking cards that will be difficult to relate together.
- Overall -
What Social Deduction Is Supposed To Be!
This is currently my favorite social deduction game because it can be played with large groups of people with a wide range of skill levels. The fact that Deception doesn't have too many rules to explain and the strategy is somewhat co-operative in nature, lends itself to a winning combination when bringing this game out with players who are new to the game.
Deception also has a theme that is very relatable. When you have a large number of people with a variety of interests, sometimes bringing out a game with a fantasy theme can mentally detract folks who aren't really excited about those sorts of genres. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong has a very generic theme that can strike a tone with everyone at the table and is logically easily to grasp.
The fact Deception also requires every player's involvement during gameplay is a fantastic mechanic to ensure everyone gets a chance to impact the result of the game. Social deduction games can go south very quickly if one or two players are overpowering the discussion. Deception prevents this issue by granting everyone 30 seconds to give their thoughts on who they believe the murderer is.
All in all, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a must-have game in my book if you enjoy social deduction games or if you want to have at least one social deduction game included in your game library.
The following summaries are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend that you read your board game's included rule book which will go into much more depth. You can download a digital PDF copy of the official rules by clicking the button below. There are also a few video tutorials near the bottom of this section to help all you visual learners out as well.
- Setup Overview -
- Deal 4 Clue cards and 4 Means cards to each player
- Randomly deal out role cards to each player face down (you may include the Witness and Accomplice variant cards if you are playing with 6+ players)
- The Forensic Scientist should immediately reveal themselves to the group and remove his/her Clue and Means cards
- Distribute 1 badge token to each player except the Forensic Scientist
- Game Play/Player Turns -
- The Forensics Scientist asks all players to close their eyes
- The Forensics Scientist asks the Murder and Accomplice to open their eyes
- The Murder must then point to their desired "means of murder" and "key evidence" cards (the selection can only be one of the 8 cards in front of them)
- The Forensics Scientist asks the Murder and Accomplice to close their eyes
- The Forensics Scientist asks the Witness to open their eyes
- The Forensics Scientist points to the Murder and Accomplice players
- The Forensics Scientist asks the Witness to close their eyes
- The Forensics Scientist tells everyone to open their eyes
- The Forensic Scientist may not speak or make any gestures during the game.
- The Forensic Scientist must place a bullet on each scene tile that is entered into play.
- Some of the Scene Tiles may contain a list of clues that are totally irrelevant to the case. The Forensic Scientist must place a bullet next to one of these clues anyways.
- If an investigator presents their office findings for the case, the Forensic Scientist may reply with a simple "yes" or "no" response as to if the ENTIRE case is correct.
- Investigators must look at the clues the Forensic Scientist is providing and discuss among themselves who the likely murderer is
- During the round each investigator will get 30 seconds to present who they think the murderer is and which two cards of theirs is related to the crime
- If an investigator feels strongly about their findings, they may use their badge token to present their case to the Forensic Scientist
SOLVING THE CRIME
Once per game, each player (even the murderer) can officially present their theory of how the murder occurred to the Forensic Scientist. The accusation must get all three variables correct in order to solve the case:
- The murderer
- The Key Evidence card
- The Means of the Murder card
If any part of the theory is incorrect the Forensic Scientist will state the accusation was incorrect and the player who guessed may not longer make any more official guesses to the Forensic Scientist.
- End Of Game -
The game ends if one of the following conditions occurs:
- An Investigator uses their Badge Token and correctly accuses the Murderer with the correct piece of Key Evidence and Means of the Murder.
- All players have used their Badge Tokens with incorrect acussations
- The third round completes without a correct accusation
- Winning -
INVESTIGATORS/WITNESS WIN IF...
The Investigators and witness win if they are able to correctly guess the murderer, key evidence, and means of murder before the end of the game. They must also ensure the safety of their key witness in order to have a complete case put together.
MURDERER/ACCOMPLICE WIN IF...
The murderer and accomplice win if no one is able to guess who the murderer was along with the correct key piece of evidence and means of the murder. If there is a correct accusation made, the murderer and accomplice are allowed one attempt to kill the witness. If the kill the witness, the case is ruined and the murderer and accomplice win.
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here's a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
Can the Murderer select Key Evidence and Means of Murder cards in front of anyone?
No, the murderer may only select from the 8 cards that were dealt to them.
What happens if the Investigators get murderer correct but not the cards?
The Forensic Scientist may only say "Yes" or "No" to the full accusation. If only part of the accusation is correct, the Forensic Scientist must still reply "No".
Do you have to exchange a Scene Tile if you like what you originally drew?
Yes, in each progressive round you must draw a new Scene Tile and replace it with one that is currently in play.
If you draw a Scene Tile where none of the clues are helpful, do you have to place a bullet token on that particular tile?
Yes, you must place a single bullet on every Scene Tile that is in play.
Why do you deal out the Clue and Means cards before selecting the player roles? Isn't this inefficient?
The Clue/Means cards are dealt out initially so everyone can study their cards and prepare for being the murderer prior to that being known. This helps prevent investigators noticing the murderer studying his/her cards after roles have been chosen.
If an Investigator guesses wrong with their badge token, are they removed from the game?
If an Investigator provides an incorrect theory to the Forensic Scientist they can no longer make another official accusation, however, they may still participate in the discussion during the rest of the game and try to influence other player's theories.
BUY THIS GAME
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Highest Price: $38.75 (Aug 20, 2017)
Lowest Price: $22.97 (Dec 07, 2017)
Average Price: $31.16
*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (04/17/2018)
Expanding The Game
Deception: Undercover Allies Expansion - This expansion adds more cards, scene tiles, events, and roles to play. This Kickstarter-funded expansion was funded at over 1,000% of the target goal.
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