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Subject: What are the best social deduction/hidden role games for our situation? rss

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L B
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My youngest (13 y.o.) LOVES social deduction, induction, negotiation, bluffing, hidden role, role selection types of games. Humor, ability to roleplay/do voices, and team play is also a big plus. However, several of his favorite games really need higher player counts. He frequently requests:

Resistance Avalon
Broom Service
Sheriff of Nottingham
Dead of Winter
Coup
Zendo
Catan

He also really loves Sentinels of the Multiverse, Suburbia, Castle Panic, and Lords of Waterdeep. Fresco also went over well.

I'm looking for games in this vein that are strong at 2 players but also good if we happen to have 2, 3, 5, or 7. Being good at low counts is far more important than the higher player counts.

I don't mind buying several games, but I don't have a ton of room in my home and don't want to have games too similar or that won't see much play due to player count.


Which ones should I get?

Citadels (2016)
Libertalia
Mission Red Planet
Bang! The Dice Game
Mysterium
Deception Murder in Hong Kong
Skull

None of the above?
Other suggestions?

Note: I am specifically looking at games available through Miniature Market because I have a stupidly large credit from selling some MtG cards last week.
 
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Adam Gordon
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I personally am excited about Deception: Murder in Hong Kong I think that is allows for some good interactions in a social group, will be harder to play at lower counts.

Saboteur plays great at 3+ players. Lots of room to table talk about those dirty Saboteurs!

I wish I could recommend Discworld: Ankh-Morpork hidden roles, area influence, plenty of humor especially if you read any terry pratchett. Unfortunately due to authors death family has indicated that they will not allow further use of IP and so game is OOP and pretty much OOS everywhere I have looked.

Scotland Yard feels like the granddaddy if hidden movement and 1 vs others.

Does he play co-ops? I find the emergent story telling in Burgle Bros. fantastic!

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Keith
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I don't know if any of those are good at two players. But, I do like Libertalia with three.

There's also a 2 player variant for Dead of Winter that was created by the designer. Here's a link:

Prisoner's Delima

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L B
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tyrone_jones wrote:
I personally am excited about Deception: Murder in Hong Kong I think that is allows for some good interactions in a social group, will be harder to play at lower counts.

Saboteur plays great at 3+ players. Lots of room to table talk about those dirty Saboteurs!

I wish I could recommend Discworld: Ankh-Morpork hidden roles, area influence, plenty of humor especially if you read any terry pratchett. Unfortunately due to authors death family has indicated that they will not allow further use of IP and so game is OOP and pretty much OOS everywhere I have looked.

Scotland Yard feels like the granddaddy if hidden movement and 1 vs others.

Does he play co-ops? I find the emergent story telling in Burgle Bros. fantastic!



He does like co-ops and Burgle Bros is on my wishlist (I am a fan of Fowers games), but unfortunately not available at Miniature Market where I have credit.


Specter Ops was also one I was considering and it has hidden movement like Scotland Yard. I do also have Fantome d L'Opera for another deduction option but haven't cracked that one out yet since I recently got it.
 
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maf man
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you might want to check out BraveRats. A quick amusing 2 player game that scratches that itch, at least for me.
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Greying Boardgamer
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You may want to look into San Juan (second edition).
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L B
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Greying Boardgamer wrote:
You may want to look into San Juan (second edition).


Thanks for the rec. Isn't San Juan similar to Race for the Galaxy? We have RftG and some expansions. It's a favorite with my husband, myself, and oldest teen, but the 13 y.o. has no interest in playing Race.
 
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Greying Boardgamer
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At a higher player count consider Mafia de Cuba.
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Carel Teijgeler
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You may take a look at Tragedy Looper.

Plays 2-4.

Is a real brain burner, though. Perhaps too heavy for your son.
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Alison Mandible
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Bluffing and hidden roles that works at 2? Difficult! I think the only one I know is Vampire Empire (which I've only played once, but the mechanics do an incredibly good job of capturing traitor dynamics, so there's that).

I was about to mention BattleCON (which doesn't have hidden loyalties, but has bluffing via simultaneous turns, and roleplay if you get into the characters) but I see you have a Level99 badge, so I bet you already know! I'm curious whether he enjoys that type of bluffing, though; if so there are other games in that genre. Maybe not better ones than BattleCON, though!
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James
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Elankat wrote:
...role selection types of games... Humor, ability to roleplay/do voices, and team play is also a big plus...

Fortune & Glory

Other suggestions?
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Julian Wasson
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Elankat wrote:
Greying Boardgamer wrote:
You may want to look into San Juan (second edition).


Thanks for the rec. Isn't San Juan similar to Race for the Galaxy? We have RftG and some expansions. It's a favorite with my husband, myself, and oldest teen, but the 13 y.o. has no interest in playing Race.


San Juan is basically a simpler version of RftG. If you're already familiar with RftG it will feel like a huge step back. I'd only ever recommend it to people who are interested in RftG but think that game looks way too complicated.

I recently got a copy of Not Alone. It's a 1-vs-many game that's rated for 2-7 and scales super well. It's got a lot of bluffing and second-guessing. "I know that you want to go here, but you know that I know that you that you want to go here, BUT I know that..." and so on. There are moments where it reminds me of Coup where you're trying to get in your opponents' heads, but without the lying and it plays well at 2 (which Coup emphatically does not). I could definitely see a kid having a blast hamming it up as the Creature.

For your list, I'm not sure any of those games would play well at 2. Note that Deception is rated 4-12 players. Mysterium miiiiight work, but I haven't tried to 2 player mode to say for sure. If you want a 2-player clue-giving game you might be better off going for Codenames Duet and also picking up a copy of the regular game for 4+ (the cost for the two adds up to about Mysterium's price).

For negotiation/role selection/worker placement maybe Carson City? It's oldish to maybe an offbeat pick, but I feel like it fits really well for your requirements. It's a wild west themed worker placement game. Its two big twists are that you stake out parcels of land on a shared board, which both evokes the land grab theme and makes for some great direct conflict, and you can send your dudes to attack other players' holdings to steal some of their income or attack their dudes and boot them from the space they picked. Lots of roleplay potential and emergent story when your guy just needs to not roll a 1 to rob that bank and you roll a 1 and are sent packing. It also has some similarities to Suburbia, as you get bonuses or penalties depending on what's next to what on the shared board and it's got that great "whoa look at this place we built" thing. It's a bit heavier than the other games on your list, but I don't think it's too much of a jump up from Suburbia.
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L B
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grasa_total wrote:
Bluffing and hidden roles that works at 2? Difficult! I think the only one I know is Vampire Empire (which I've only played once, but the mechanics do an incredibly good job of capturing traitor dynamics, so there's that).

I was about to mention BattleCON (which doesn't have hidden loyalties, but has bluffing via simultaneous turns, and roleplay if you get into the characters) but I see you have a Level99 badge, so I bet you already know! I'm curious whether he enjoys that type of bluffing, though; if so there are other games in that genre. Maybe not better ones than BattleCON, though!


Lol! Yes, we own pretty much all the BattleCON (in some cases, multiple copies). It's my oldest's favorite game, and I love it too. The youngest has played it, but isn't really a fan. I think it's too directly combative and aggressive for his tastes.
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L B
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Elankat wrote:
Greying Boardgamer wrote:
You may want to look into San Juan (second edition).


Thanks for the rec. Isn't San Juan similar to Race for the Galaxy? We have RftG and some expansions. It's a favorite with my husband, myself, and oldest teen, but the 13 y.o. has no interest in playing Race.


San Juan is basically a simpler version of RftG. If you're already familiar with RftG it will feel like a huge step back. I'd only ever recommend it to people who are interested in RftG but think that game looks way too complicated.

I recently got a copy of Not Alone. It's a 1-vs-many game that's rated for 2-7 and scales super well. It's got a lot of bluffing and second-guessing. "I know that you want to go here, but you know that I know that you that you want to go here, BUT I know that..." and so on. There are moments where it reminds me of Coup where you're trying to get in your opponents' heads, but without the lying and it plays well at 2 (which Coup emphatically does not). I could definitely see a kid having a blast hamming it up as the Creature.

For your list, I'm not sure any of those games would play well at 2. Note that Deception is rated 4-12 players. Mysterium miiiiight work, but I haven't tried to 2 player mode to say for sure. If you want a 2-player clue-giving game you might be better off going for Codenames Duet and also picking up a copy of the regular game for 4+ (the cost for the two adds up to about Mysterium's price).

For negotiation/role selection/worker placement maybe Carson City? It's oldish to maybe an offbeat pick, but I feel like it fits really well for your requirements. It's a wild west themed worker placement game. Its two big twists are that you stake out parcels of land on a shared board, which both evokes the land grab theme and makes for some great direct conflict, and you can send your dudes to attack other players' holdings to steal some of their income or attack their dudes and boot them from the space they picked. Lots of roleplay potential and emergent story when your guy just needs to not roll a 1 to rob that bank and you roll a 1 and are sent packing. It also has some similarities to Suburbia, as you get bonuses or penalties depending on what's next to what on the shared board and it's got that great "whoa look at this place we built" thing. It's a bit heavier than the other games on your list, but I don't think it's too much of a jump up from Suburbia.


Thanks for the info!

Codenames and Codenames Duet were on my "to buy" list because my husband is a fan of Codenames.

San Juan might be good even with us being RftG fans. I think the iconography intimidates the 13 y.o., but he did seem to enjoy Imperial Settlers and the engine building in it and he enjoys other med-light games in that vein.

He enjoys worker placement, so I will definitely look into Carson City.
 
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Michael H
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Citadels is nice with 2
also letters from whitechapel is great with 2, bit long though.
Mr.Jack might be something to look into also
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Matt Brown
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Elankat wrote:


Deception really needs more players. Citadels is good with a lower count although I'm not sure how I would like it with 2-3 players. Bang is okay. I think think with lower numbers Samurai Sword is the best in the family. Mysterium leads to obvious win or fail endings or at least in my plays and according to the guy who owns it. Haven't played Skull or the other two, but I do own the other two. I just need to get some plays in.

Lesser known recommendation, Meuterer. German release only so you'll have to grab an import. I know GameSurplus had it. Not sure on 3 player, and it only plays 4 as well, but 4 is great. You do need to grab a player aid since the rules are in German. Genuinely worth tracking down.
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L B
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nordschleife wrote:
Citadels is nice with 2
also letters from whitechapel is great with 2, bit long though.
Mr.Jack might be something to look into also


Thanks. Glad to hear that Citadels is nice with 2.

I did pick up Le Fantôme de l'Opéralast week, which uses the Jack system but is a more appealing theme to me.

I also have NOIR: Deductive Mystery Game and Fugitive for short 2 player inspector/fugitive type deduction games.
 
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ld paulson

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Of your list, I know Skull and I think it may be a tad dry and plays ideally at the higher player counts. I think of it more as a party game, FWIW. (Two decks! That's fun!)

Trust this is helpful in light of the other suggestions,

ldp
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Sophie Mueller
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Heimlich & Co. is the mother of all social deduction games, and it is still good to me.
 
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Andy D
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Hidden role and team play - what about Shadows over Camelot? I know it's a 3-7 player game though...would Battlestar Galactica fit the bill?
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Adam L
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Citadels is excellent at 2 and 3 players (it's very good at 4-5 too)

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Ludvig Stigsson
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invervegas wrote:
I know it's a 3-7 player game though...would Battlestar Galactica fit the bill?


Agreed

Battlestar galactica is THE best social deduction game, with 4+ players. (2p rules are available on Fantasy flight webpage, however they turn the game into a pure coop game).
 
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L B
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madad07 wrote:
Citadels is excellent at 2 and 3 players (it's very good at 4-5 too)



Thank you. That's very helpful and exactly the sort of info I am seeking!
 
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Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
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invervegas wrote:
Hidden role and team play - what about Shadows over Camelot? I know it's a 3-7 player game though...would Battlestar Galactica fit the bill?


I think Battlestar Galactica is too long and involved to see any play in our home. Due to schedules, we don't tend to have time to play games that last more than 90 min.

Although Shadows over Camelot has been on our wishlist, I think that, at this point, Resistance Avalon would be their choice if wanting the Arthurian theme with hidden role and Dead of Winter would be their preference for a co-op with traitor. I do appreciate the suggestions.
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