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My 15 Favorite Social Deduction Games
Chris Wray
United States
Harrisonville
Missouri
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I love social deduction games. I actively look for new ones, love reviewing them, and even collect them. And I'm firmly in the camp that thinks social deduction games should be their own BGG category.

How do I define social deduction games? I'm going to steal Ted Alspach's definition: "A game where the goal is dependent on figuring out information that isn't readily apparent and that involves discussion among players as one of the mechanics."

The games are in alphabetical order. I acknowledge that a couple of these are arguable as to whether they should/shouldn't be in the social deduction category.
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1. Board Game: A Fake Artist Goes to New York [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:970]
Chris Wray
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Missouri
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Social deduction mixed with drawing? I was suspicious, but it works very well. This is one of the games that made me fall in love with Oink Games.
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2. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:54]
Chris Wray
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I love the theme, and the mechanics cleverly stay true to the TV show.

I think social deduction games tend to work better if their shorter, since the traitor often messes up. We've had plays of BSG get tedious because we figured out who the traitor was early in the game.

But overall, I've had some amazing plays of this, and it has led to some of my favorite gaming stories.
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3. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:323]
Chris Wray
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I questioned whether this was a social deduction game, but in my group, it often veers into one since everybody seems to claim the Duke. (Does that happen in other groups?)

I adore Coup, and it is one of my most-played games of all time.
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4. Board Game: Mascarade [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:810]
Chris Wray
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This adds a clever twist to the genre, in that your role can change without you knowing it.

Every time I play Mascarade I vow to get it to the table more often.
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5. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:205] [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked]
Chris Wray
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I still prefer Ultimate Werewolf to the One Night version, but this is one of the best games I own that can be played in just a few minutes.

To me, Bezier Games is the king of the social deduction space, and they've got four games on this list.
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6. Board Game: Salem [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:2368]
Chris Wray
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I love the theme, and Salem has a couple of cool mechanics that I hadn’t seen in other social deduction games. First, players can avoid being killed at night by sacrificing one of their trial cards, given them some say about how long they last. Second, the card play during the day provides interesting information about who might have each role, preventing some of the quibbling that can veer social deduction into tedium. Third, as opposed to Werewolf, where players can go silent for discussion, players are forced to play out cards, increasing participation and inhibiting the ability to hide in silence.

I wrote a full review here on BGG:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1776457/salem-crucible-soci...
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7. Board Game: Secret Hitler [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:256]
Chris Wray
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This reminds me a bit of the Resistance. I'm not a huge fan of the theme --- I'm not offended by it, but I have met people who are --- but I think there's actually some interesting gameplay (and some historical truth) here.
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8. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:297]
Chris Wray
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I love everything about this game, especially the fact that there might not even be a traitor, which really messes with people's minds.

And the theme is fun, and the artwork is beautiful.
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9. Board Game: Spyfall 2 [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:2024] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Chris Wray
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I'm going with Spyfall 2 over Spyfall just because you can increase the player count and add a second spy.

I wrote a full review here on BGG:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1776434/spyfall-2-game-revie...
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10. Board Game: Tempel des Schreckens [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:3466]
Chris Wray
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This is probably the newest game on the list. Though it is only available in Germany now, I'm hoping for a US release.

It plays quick, is easy to explain, and even works well with low player counts (3 or 4 players), which is noteworthy for the genre.
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11. Board Game: The Resistance: Avalon [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:68]
Chris Wray
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I like Avalon better than the original because of some of the additional roles.
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12. Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf: Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1338]
Chris Wray
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Werewolf is arguably the most famous game in the genre, and I think Ultimate Werewolf is the best version of the Werewolf/Mafia games.

It is also my all time favorite social deduction game, and the only one of the genre to make my top 10 games.
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13. Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2088]
Chris Wray
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This has the feel of Ultimate Werewolf, but it works well at lower player counts. I was impressed by how clever the game is: this is a really interesting game design.
 
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14. Board Game: Werewords [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:7971]
Chris Wray
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I'm really, really excited for my copy to arrive. I got to play a pre-production copy in April, and I fell in love with it.

The comparison to Insider is inevitable, but I think this is substantially different and substantially better. It is simply more fun and effective to have one player working for the Villager team (the Seer) and one working against it (the Werewolf) than just one person taking on both roles (as in Insider).

I wrote a full review on BGG:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1773972/werewords-game-revie...
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15. Board Game: Witch Hunt [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:7285]
Chris Wray
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Harrisonville
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I think this game is slowly starting to catch on at the convention scene.

It is a lot like Werewolf, although with a large variety of roles (everybody has one), and you still have a duty after you die. (The angels and demons still impact the game.)

It's really clever. The downside is that it is a bit challenging to learn, but most people pick it up after 2-3 plays.

I hope this starts hitting the social deduction scene more often, because I want to play more Witch Hunt!
 
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