Manufacturer: Grey Fox Games
In Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, players find themselves in a scenario of intrigue and murder, deduction and deception. One player is the Murderer, secretly choosing their weapon and the evidence they leave behind. Another is the Forensic Scientist who holds the key to convicting the criminal but is only able to express their knowledge through analysis of the scene. The rest are investigators, interpreting the clues to solve the crime - and the killer is among them. Investigators must collaborate and use their wits, their hunches, and their keen deductive insight to correctly identify the means of murder and the key evidence to convict the killer. The murderer must mislead and confuse the investigators to save themselves.
Do you have what it takes to see through the lies and catch the criminal in your ranks or will they muddy the waters long enough to get away with murder?
12 Role Cards
200 Clue Cards
90 Means Cards
6 Wooden Markers
11 Badge Tokens
32 Scene Tiles (Including 6 Event Tiles)
Game Length: 15-30 minutes
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- Seriously, How is THAT a Means of Murder??? - A Board So Never Bored Review of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Brief Game Synopsis
Deception is a social deduction along the lines of One Night, Avalon, and Mysterium without actually really being like any of those games. Secret roles are passed out to each player along with four Means of Murder cards and four Clue cards which are openly displayed in front of each player. One player assumes the role of the Murderer while another player is the Forensic Investigator – everyone else is an Investigator (with secret roles of Consulting Detective, Witness, and Accomplice thrown in for spice).
Following traditional Heads Up, Seven-Up rules every lowers their head and closes their eyes except the Forensic Investigator who “wakes up” the Murder who in turn points at one Means and one Clue card in front of them.
The Murder closes his eyes and everyone “awakens”. The Forensic Investigator lays out tiles with clues about the murder/location/day/etc while the Investigators guess at the Murderer and the correct Means and Clue. It is not enough just to accurately determine the Murderer but the correct Means and Clue have to be selected. This process goes over three rounds with the Forensic Investigator swapping out a tiles with fresh clues to better steer the team.
Game ends after the third round once everyone has made a guess and failed (in which case the Murder/Accomplice wins) or the Murder and Means and Clue are correctly identified (in which case winner, winner chicken-dinner for the Investigators).
Toys With Rules
The rulebook is fairly straightforward (if not a little awkward at points – possible translation issue?) and gets the job done efficiently. The game is easy to follow and the rules, although a little oddly phrased at parts, do a good job of explaining the rules without requiring the necessity to rereference them.
Boards ‘N Bits
The cards and tiles are nothing amazing but they are not bad either. The artwork is simple and gets the job done without sacrificing theme and flavor. When you set it up for the first time new players look a little skeptical but as soon as the Forensic Investigator pulls out the bullet tokens everyone is pretty much instantly engaged. By the time the first round is over not only is everyone hooked, but everyone wants a shot at playing the Forensic Investigator.
I will say there are a ton of Clue and Means cards with even more special rule tiles you can use that change the game up even further – although, I have only used them once and was not overly wowed with them but the rest of the group seemed to dig it.
This game has replaced One Night (with Daybreak) and Avalon for me for the time being. I truly enjoy how it engrosses everyone at the table and the variety of cards can usually present more than one possibility for the murderer. In most games I have been involved in the murder was identified but it is about a 50/50 split if the correct Clue and Means are selected.
My major complaint is that the game plays up to twelve. I have done this a few times and find that in those games people have an issue seeing everyone else’s cards and everything becomes a bit cluttered and chaotic. Personally, I feel that the sweet spot for this game is between five and eight players.
My son has not played this game so my Guest for this segment is a combination of feedback spliced together from two good buddies of mine who both are those smart guys who we have to give a timer to when playing most games because they want to assess every angle and possibility of every move and the consequences of it five turns down the road. Their comments were similar and complimentary so I stacked them together, so here goes:
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is the perfect party game for your next Mensa meet up. It requires just enough brain power to keep the game interesting while still encouraging communication and interaction. And as a plus you get to find out which of your friends would make the scariest serial killer.
It might just be among the best of the “secret role” Mafia type games I have played, although I would be hesitant to classify it as such. The biggest issue I have with the game is that when we break it out, we always end up playing it four or five times in a row because everyone wants to take a hand at being the Forensic Investigator. Of course, this is only a problem because it means other good games do not get played as much.
+ Easy setup and teachable
+ Can technically play with up to 12 players
+ Quick enough play time that you can squeeze in multiple back to back games
- Some of the tiles the Forensic Investigator draws can be nearly useless
- Some of the Clues and Means cards seem a little weak
- Small size of Clues and Means cards can make it difficult to see if spread out too far on table
Purchase, Play, or Pass
If you can get at least five people together this is an easy Purchase. This game is great with tons of replayability built in. It creates a lot of post-game discussion (and good natured ribbing) with the absurd choices the Forensic Investigator sometimes has to make when laying out the Clue tiles and how crafty the Murderer can be at shifting the blame.
Game Play Quality Price Value