5 Social Deduction Board Games for your next dinner party
When the food is finished and the conversation is running dry impress your guests with these 5 low cost games at your next dinner party.
The Resistance Avalon
The Resistance Designer: Don Eskridge
Game Time: 30 min
The Resistance: Avalon is a camelot themed version of the resistance that pits the forces of Good and Evil in a battle to control the future of civilization. Arthur represents the future of Britain, a promise of prosperity and honor, yet hidden among his brave warriors are Mordred’s unscrupulous minions. These forces of evil are few in number but have knowledge of each other and remain hidden from all but one of Arthur’s servants. Merlin alone knows the agents of evil, but he must speak of this only in riddles. If his true identity is discovered, all will be lost.
The Resistance: Avalon is a standalone game, and while The Resistance is not required to play, the games are compatible and can be combined.
Coup Designer: Rikki Tahta
Game Time: 15 min
You are head of a family in an Italian city-state, a city run by a weak and corrupt court. You need to manipulate, bluff and bribe your way to power. Your object is to destroy the influence of all the other families, forcing them into exile. Only one family will survive…
In Coup, you want to be the last player with influence in the game, with influence being represented by face-down character cards in your playing area.
Each player starts the game with two coins and two influence – i.e., two face-down character cards; the fifteen card deck consists of three copies of five different characters, each with a unique set of powers.
The last player to still have influence – that is, a face-down character – wins the game!
Codenames Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
Game Time: 15 min
One of the best party games of recent years, this offering from prolific Czech designer Vlaada Chvátil sets two teams against each other to retrieve all their secret agents in the field, with each team nominating a “Spymaster” to provide the clues to their whereabouts. Each agent is represented by a single word, with each Spymaster only allowed to give a one-word clue — one which should avoid any chance of their team accidentally uncovering the other team’s agents — or the game-ending assassin. Genuinely a game for everyone. Even your Uncle Terry will enjoy it.
Cost: Free (PNP) or $60AUD
Secret Hitler Designer: Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, Max Temkin
Game Time: 45 min
Secret Hitler is a dramatic game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930s Germany. Each player is randomly and secretly assigned to be a liberal or a fascist, and one player is Secret Hitler. The fascists coordinate to sow distrust and install their cold-blooded leader; the liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler before it’s too late. The liberal team always has a majority.
At the beginning of the game, players close their eyes, and the fascists reveal themselves to one another. Secret Hitler keeps his eyes closed, but puts his thumb up so the fascists can see who he is. The fascists learn who Hitler is, but Hitler doesn’t know who his fellow fascists are, and the liberals don’t know who anyone is.
Each round, players elect a President and a Chancellor who will work together to enact a law from a random deck. If the government passes a fascist law, players must try to figure out if they were betrayed or simply unlucky. Secret Hitler also features government powers that come into play as fascism advances. The fascists will use those powers to create chaos unless liberals can pull the nation back from the brink of war.
The objective of the liberal team is to pass five liberal policies or assassinate Secret Hitler. The objective of the fascist team is to pass six fascist policies or elect Secret Hitler chancellor after three fascist policies have passed.
Spyfall Designer: Alexandr Ushan
Game Time: 15 min
Spyfall is a party game unlike any other, one in which you get to be a spy and try to understand what’s going on around you. It’s really simple!
Spyfall is played over several rounds, and at the start of each round all players receive cards showing the same location — a casino, a traveling circus, a pirate ship, or even a space station — except that one player receives a card that says “Spy” instead of the location. Players then start asking each other questions — “Why are you dressed so strangely?” or “When was the last time we got a payday?” or anything else you can come up with — trying to guess who among them is the spy. The spy doesn’t know where he is, so he has to listen carefully. When it’s his time to answer, he’d better create a good story!
At any time during a round, one player may accuse another of being a spy. If all other players agree with the accusation, the round ends and the accused player has to reveal his identity. If the spy is uncovered, all other players score points. However, the spy can himself end a round by announcing that he understands what the secret location is; if his guess is correct, only the spy scores points.
After a few rounds of guessing, suspicion and bluffing, the game ends and whoever has scored the most points is victorious!