Deduction games ask players to solve a mystery, like who the killer is in a murder case or who the other players at the table are, with the help of logic and clues they get during the game. Top 10 deduction games: This is my personal list of the 10 best deduction games I’ve ever played. They range from straight-up mysteries to games with a lot of bluffing that make smarter party games.
The Sherlock Files
In The Sherlock Files, a deck-based, cooperative mystery game, players work together by playing clue cards. At the end of each case, they get points for what they did right and for discarding clue cards that didn’t work out. This game is similar to Chronicles of Crime in a smaller package.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Deception is a social deduction game that can be played by four to 12 people. The Murderer can play along with the Investigators and try to stop them from solving the case. In order to tell the Murderer what the Forensic Scientist knows, the Forensic Scientist has to use special tiles that point to something about the cards the Murderer has in front of them. To add a little more depth to the game, you can name a player as either an Accomplice or Witness when there are a lot of people. In this game, there’s more meat than in Werewolf-style games, but not so much that it’s no longer fun to play with your friends.
Because it’s only 16 cards and a few red jewels, Love Letter is the most small game I own. During your turn, you get to draw the top card from the deck. You then have to choose which one you want to keep. Cards have different effects. Some are good, and some are bad. There are some people who want to get someone else out of the game. They even let you guess the player’s card, where they’re out of the game if you guess correctly. It only takes a few minutes for a match to be over, and it ends when only one player has a card or when the deck runs out. The player with the highest-value card wins. After everyone has played, one player has won enough tokens to reach the “victory point.” For example, there were versions with Cthulu and Archer and Star Wars. The most recent one was with the Avengers’ Infinity Gauntlet, which is what it looks like now.
The Exit games
These single-play games, which cost about $12 each, won the Kennerspiel des Jahres (experts’ game of the year) in 2017. There are now 17 different games in the series, which all work the same way by emulating an escape room. There are several riddles, and each one will give the players a three-digit code that will give them more clues. Players work together to solve them. If you want to solve these puzzles, you’ll have to cut up or destroy game parts in order to find hidden messages or line up different images. There is a built-in hint system that lets you keep going if you get stuck on a certain puzzle. Other than The Catacombs of Horror, all of the games should be solved in less than an hour.
I still love this game even though it’s been out of print for years. It turns a classic grid puzzle into a board game set on a famous train route. Player detectives move around the train, interviewing witnesses and crew members, searching areas of the train, and sending telegrams to cities along the way. Each of them gives a clue that could help them cross out one or more squares on their worksheet, and each of them gives a clue that could help them cross out one or more squares. You have to guess the killer and their motive to win. The clues can also help you figure out the weapon used or other things that might help you narrow down the list of suspects a little. Before the game was out of print, the designers put out 40 different cases for people to buy.
The Search for Planet X
See my review from this month. A real astronomy theory says there is a ninth planet beyond Neptune. In the game, players compete to figure out which sector of the sky holds the missing planet, and which celestial object is in each of the other sectors as well, so that they can win.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
The original Werewolf game, which is also called Mafia, isn’t really a board game. Players write the game’s roles (Werewolf, Villager, Seer) on pieces of paper and then randomly assign them to each other. They play over a series of night and day phases where Werewolves kill one Villager each night and Villagers have to guess who’s a werewolf during the day. Ultimate Werewolf is now a 10-minute game with more roles and an app that acts as the human moderator. It has since been expanded with five boxes that add more roles, and a spinoff game with the same mechanics but in a different setting called Coup.
When I play Decrypto, I find it very interesting to see how things work.
Players are given a coded message that is made up of certain phrase words. They then have to figure out the correct order of the words.
One-word descriptions must be used by each player to help their teams get in the right order. With these kinds of games, my brain goes blank and I forget the English language.
Decrypto uses an interesting piece to show the game, like the Jumanji board game from the 1990s. You can see 4 boxes that have a red plastic film all over them. When a player puts a card into the box, the red film on the cards makes it easier to read the text on the other side.
It’s something I haven’t seen done well in a long time.
Codenames is a fun word game that you can play with your friends or at a party. Each team is made up of two people. They are told to look for people on a grid of cards. Each team has a spymaster who knows where their spies are, and they need to help their team get to the right card by giving 1-word clues.
With only one word, the spymaster is able to say a lot. Players must work together to figure out what the spymaster wants to say. It’s a great game to play with your friends. Recently, Codenames: Duet was made for two people only.