Ten great bluffing games
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
32 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
Bluffing is the marmite of boardgaming. Gamers either love it, or hate it. As should be obvious from my authorship of this list, I love it. I love the player interaction – the best bluffing games have a simple exchange of some discrete piece of information, then the bluffing begins, and the experience lifts off the table and becomes an electric experience between the players. I love the laughter – the ‘reveal’, one way or another, is invariably accompanied by peals of laughter, cries of mock anguish and a general sense of fun.
I have a bluffing prediction – I think we are on the cusp of a golden age of the bluff. We’ve had the golden age of Euro and Ameritrash games, with thousands of titles available in each category. In the past couple of years we’ve seen the rise of the bluffing game, Coup/Avalon/ONWW/Love Letter/Mascarade/Skull etc. But there are still only a handful of titles (I struggled to make a top ten). Coup and its expansions might prove to be a spark that grows an under-represented genre. My prediction might be wrong, in which case, I was bluffing.
Here are my favourites.

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Wherewolf [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:4906] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is a lesser known variant of the famous Mafia family, but is, in my opinion, the best. I can see why it doesn’t get much love – games can go on for two hours or more. But the experience is simply unmatched in the world of gaming, in my opinion, so much so that I run a gaming group in Bristol, UK where we play nothing else.
Wherewolf is probably the most sophisticated development of the Mafia theme, due to its tactical intricacies. I’ve been playing for two years now, and still it throws up new situations I’ve never encountered. They layering of the various elements of the characters (i.e. faction/corruption/shadow status/mysticism/winning conditions) creates a rich, deep gaming experience. But there’s no board – like all great bluffing games, you engage the other players at eye level, which is an electric experience.
I don’t think this version is available commercially any more, so I’ve cobbled together a home made set. But since you don’t use the cards for anything but to learn your character, this works fine.
If you draw a Wolf card, and you managed to convince the village you are not a wolf, and you survive till the end, two hours later, to kill the last villager, the feeling is near-euphoric.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Liar Poker Dice [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hardly anybody has ever heard of this, but it’s an absolute peach. It uses only five poker dice (unlike Perudo, where players have five dice each). Like Perudo, it’s a game of escalating bluff, where players opt to either accept a bid from a player, or challenge it, either player losing a life depending on the outcome. It sounds dry, but it fizzes and sparkles as the game goes on, and is rich with strategy, odds calculation, deduction and bluff. I’ve played this game for hours at a time, and it’s been a great gaming experience. I find it astonishing that such life can come from only five dice. It’s the most materially efficient game I’ve ever played!
No commercial variant is available, but all you really need are five poker dice. I’ve been working with a local carpenter on a box that you can play it with – watch this space for an upcoming kickstarter!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:376]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Played with the new expansions, this is a superb little game. This is probably the best example of why some people love bluffing, and some people hate it. The very first time I played, I wanted to lie and pretend I had a different character, even if I had no real idea of what the consequences would be. Someone who is not in to bluffing would just claim the special abilities they started with, which would be a flat gaming experience.
It can be a little fiddly and clunky, especially when using the Ambassador card, but this is a minor gripe. Bluff, deduction, good-natured attacking, ephemeral alliances, betrayal and a lot of laughter. In such a small box!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Skull [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:440]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Man, I love this game. What’s so great about it is that once you know the rules (a delightful bluffer related to Perudo but using what look like beer mats), you can play it anywhere, with almost anything. I highly recommend buying the beautiful Asmodee version, which has the most delightful artwork, but I could play this with whatever is to had. Beer mats, a standard deck of cards, Uno… basically any deck of cards will do, as long as each player has a skull card that is obvious.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1213]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here’s another love-it-or-hate-it bluffer. If you are one of those gamers that thinks bluffing is pointless, especially when there is almost nothing else going on, you’ll probably hate this. I, unsurprisingly, like it. I hand you a card, face down - I tell you what is on the card - Am I lying or not? It really is that simple. There are some fun tactics towards the end of the game that are interesting, based on card counting and attacking players with three cards of any given critter. But mostly, it’s pure, unfettered bluff, with all the associated fun and laughter that goes with lying through your teeth to a close friend!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:563]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Also known as Perudo, this gem of a game is not as tactically complex as Liar Poker Dice, but is also more accessible. This is the entry-level bluffing game. There are no complex tactical interactions to master, but it’s not pure bluff with nothing else going on – there is a purpose to the bluffing that takes place. Because of this, it’s a great gateway game, since it’s simple and easy to teach (many bluffing games are difficult to teach). If you want to introduce someone to the concept of bluffing, and want to find out if they would enjoy it or not, this is the game to try. Lovers of bluffing games should accept that some people hate it, so test the water with someone new to bluffing before forcing Wherewolf on them!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Mascarade [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:880]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mascarade – the ultimate games night ender. It’s coming up to closing time, the games group has to leave but wants one more, fun game. There are loads of you, so you have to be able to accommodate numbers. But it has to be quick. Mascarade is the game to play! Players are immediately thrown in to a world of deceit and deviousness. It has a great rhythm to it, and I love the moment when a player handing out a card shuffles his two cards under the table while staring in to the eyes of his victim. This one ranks very high indeed on the laughter scale.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Samurai Sword [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1277]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is a tricky one, since it’s not immediately obvious to the new player (who has not played Bang! either) that it is a bluffing game at all. But it is, albeit one shrouded in tactical interactions. You are trying to determine who is on your team by reading how and when people attach the Shogun. It plays a good crowd, at seven players, and is full of fun, most people inevitably making Bruce-Lee type noises when attacking. It takes a few games to get in to, since it’s difficult to figure out a way of deducing your team mates at first, but well rewards perseverance.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:215]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Who doesn’t love Love Letter? The game that has taken micro-games by storm. I’ve had games nights where we started playing LL when we arrived, with the intention that it would just be a filler until more people arrived, and have ended up playing it for most of the night. LL is a brilliant, tight little game, with some delightful elements of bluff to it (for example, playing a guard on someone and declaring that they have the Princess when you have it, or discarding the Countess when you don’t have to).
My only gripe is that the new variants didn’t introduce 5-6 players – a missed opportunity.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Turn the Tide [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:922]
Errant Deeds
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nobody has ever heard of this, but it’s an under-rated gem of a game. You are trying to bid to have the lowest score, but the catch is that you are all revealing your ‘purchase’ cards at the same time. There are two ‘tide’ cards revealed each turn, and if you end up with the higher one, or if you have the highest tide card in play at the end of the turn, you lose a life. It also has the interesting feature that the hand you are dealt at the start is passed to other players, so nobody can use the excuse that they had a bad hand! The bluff comes in the bidding war for the lowest tide cards. The winner gets the lower value, but the second place bidder gets the higher, undesirable card. You need to safely off-load your medium cards, but bluff the other players in to thinking you are fighting for the low tide. The simultaneous reveal gives the game a great rhythm, and, as with all the games on this list, it is full of laughter.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.