Hey folks, tonight we’re grabbing our microscope, badges, and notebooks. We’re solving a murder! It could be anyone that has committed the murder, even on of us! The forensic scientist will analyze the potential weapons and evidence to lead us to the murderer. Today, we’re looking at Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. Basically a boardless Clue.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a secret identity, social deduction game. It’s currently produced by Grey Fox Games and plays 4-12 players in about 20 minutes. Inside the box, you’ll get the rule book, 6 bullet markers, 11 badge tokens, 12 role cards, 32 scene tiles, 90 means cards, and 200 clue cards. This adds for a nice replay value of the game.
Role cards are investigators, forensic scientist, murderer, accomplish, and witness. The accomplish and witness are played in larger player counts. The forensic scientist is giving clues based on what the murderer picks. They can’t speak, but must use the scene cards and bullet markers to give clues. The murderer picks a clue card and a means, or weapon, card that is in front of them. This is how they committed the murder and what evidence was left behind. Investigators are trying to figure out the murderer’s identity and bring them to justice. The accomplish is helping the murderer and trying to throw the trail off during the game. The witness knows who the murder and accomplish are, but not how the crime was committed.
The scene tiles are how the forensic scientist communicates with the players. They can’t speak, but give clues using the scene tile. One tile that is always out is the “Cause of death” tile. This one will give the hint to the means or weapon card that was used. Then there will always be a location of crime tile. This helps paint the picture of the crime and tie the means and clue cards together. Location can range from woods to playground or bookstore to bathroom. The rest of the scene tiles will focus on one aspect of the crime. It can be weather, duration, how the victim was dressed, or their expression when found. Then, for a variant of the game, you can use event tiles. These will often change out existing scene tiles, or have everyone flip a clue card over and remove it from the game.
For set up, count the number of players and select the role cards equal to the player count. There is always a forensic scientist and murderer role. Shuffle these out, then deal them face down to all the players. Players look at their own cards. Forensic scientist will reveal their card and take over the rest of the set up. Give a badge token to each player. Next, deal four means and clue cards to each player. These will be face up for all the players to see. Grab the bullet tokens, “Cause of death” tile, choose a location tile, then draw 4 other tiles and lay them face up. Now, time to start the game.
To start the game, the forensic scientist will have everyone look down and close their eyes. Next, they will have the murderer open their eyes. They will choose one of their means card and one of their clue cards. Forensic scientist will take note of what they choose. Next, if the accomplish and witness are in the game, have the accomplish open their eyes. They can see the murderer and the means and clue cards chosen. Have the murderer and accomplish close their eyes. Now, have the witness open their eyes. The forensic scientist will then point to the murderer and accomplish. The witness doesn’t know which is which. Then, have the players all open their eyes together.
Now, the forensic scientist will start giving clues to the murder. Place one bullet token on each scene tile that best gives a clue to one or both the means and clue cards chosen by the murderer. After all bullet tokens are placed, the players get some time to discuss the clues. Then, each player will give their input on the case. They will either turn in their badge, risking their career on the case, and accuse one person of the means and clue card or pass. If make an accusation and both are correct, the forensic scientist will say correct and the games over. If one or both are incorrect, the forensic scientist will just say “No” and the game goes on. When you turn in a badge, you can’t make another guess the rest of the game. If everyone passes, the forensic scientist will draw a new scene tile and replace an existing one with it and a new round will start.
The game is played over three rounds. The murderer wins if no one can guess their means and clue card or if they can guess the witness if caught. The investigators win if they can deduce the murderer’s means and clue card. After the game, shuffle the role cards and repeat if so desired.
What are my thoughts on this game? It’s quickly becoming on of my favorite large player count games. It takes Clue and mixes in One Night Ultimate Werewolf. The components are nice quality. The scene tiles are nice and chunky. The means and clue cards are smaller. Which is nice because everyone gets a total of eight in front of them. I like the thematic element that the bullet counters add and the fact that turning in your badge means you can’t guess again. The art isn’t gruesome, as it’s just random items for the clue cards and just different items for the means. No bodies at all on the cards make it all speculative for the murderer and forensic scientist. Then there’s the discussion and player interaction. As the murderer, you’re trying to shift the blame to others. Choosing your means and clue is important. Look at all the means cards on the table and try to pick one that shares a cause of death with others. If you’re the only one with rope and the forensic scientist picks suffocation as the cause, it will be easy to pick you. Now, the theme isn’t all family friendly. I couldn’t play this game with my 5 or 3 year old. The game suggests 14+ for age, but I could even see 12 or 13 playing. I highly recommend this game as a party or large get together game. It’s fast, fun, and after the first game most new players will want to play it again.