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Deception

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a tabletop game created by Tobey Ho and published by Grey Fox Games in 2015. It is designed for a group of 4 to 12 players and centers around a detective investigation theme, involving intrigue, murder, deduction, and deception. In the game, players assume the roles of investigators working to solve a murder case, but one of them is secretly the killer. Different roles are randomly assigned at the beginning of the game, and as investigators strive to uncover the truth, the murderer's team must engage in deception and misdirection.

The game's initial release was through a Kickstarter campaign, where it successfully raised over $65,000 in funding. "Deception: Murder in Hong Kong" garnered positive reviews and earned the Dice Tower Seal of Excellence.

Background[]

In the neon-bathed city of Hong Kong, a grisly murder has taken place. You and your fellow Investigators arrive at the scene of the crime to discover that the culprit has left important clues. From among the suspicious objects scattered around, you must deduce the "Means of Murder" and identify the "Key Evidence" in order to catch and convict the killer.

As if solving a murder wasn't tricky enough, this one is complicated by the fact that the killer is among the Investigators! While the Forensic Scientist gives Investigators clues on what to look for, the Murderer attempts to sow confusion and doubt in order to cover their dark deed.

Will the Investigators be perceptive enough to successfully solve the crime or will the culprits) accomplish the perfect crime and get away with murder?

Components[]

  • 12 black role cards
  • 200 red clue cards
  • 90 blue means cards
  • 32 scene tiles
  • 6 event tiles
  • 11 badge tokens
  • 6 wooden bullet markers

Gameplay[]

Regarding gameplay, each player is assigned a hidden role, such as Forensic Scientist, Witness, Investigator, Murderer, or Accomplice. The game begins with everyone closing their eyes except for the Forensic Scientist, who communicates with the murderer by having them open their eyes and choose a murder weapon and a piece of evidence. The Scientist possesses the solution but can only provide clues using special scene tiles, while the investigators (including the murderer) must interpret the evidence to deduce the truth. The Murderer and their Accomplice aim to mislead the real detectives by selecting the wrong weapon and clue.

Game Setup[]

1. Scene Setup

  • Place all Event tiles back in the game box (used as a variant, see "Variants," p.4).
  • Distribute 4 Clue cards and 4 Means cards to each player.
  • Players display their 8 cards face up in front of them, with text and graphics facing others.
  • Examine all Clue and Means cards for reference (graphics are for reference only).

2. Roles

  • Prepare Role cards based on the number of players:
    • - For 4 to 5 players: 1 Murderer, 1 Forensic Scientist, the rest as investigators.
    • - For 6 to 12 players: 1 Murderer, 1 Forensic Scientist, 1 Accomplice (optional), 1 Witness (optional), the rest as Investigators.
  • Shuffle the Role cards and give one face-down to each player.
  • Forensic Scientist reveals their identity and acts as the game master, discarding their Clue and Means cards.
  • Other players keep their roles secret.
  • It's recommended to assign the role of "Forensic Scientist" to the most expressive player.

3. Badge Tokens

  • Give each player (except the Forensic Scientist) a badge token.
  • Display the badge token to indicate a player hasn't tried to solve the crime.
  • Return extra tokens to the box.

Game play[]

1. The Crime

  • The Murderer selects the solution (Means of Murder and Key Evidence).
  • Forensic Scientist conducts this phase:
    • - Forensic Scientist announces, "Everyone, close your eyes."
    • - Forensic Scientist announces, "Murderer (and Accomplice), open your eyes."
    • - Forensic Scientist announces, "Murderer, indicate the 'Key Evidence' and 'Means of Murder." Murderer points to their chosen Clue and Means cards.
    • - Forensic Scientist acknowledges with a nod, saying, "Murderer (and Accomplice), close your eyes."
    • - (Only if there is a Witness) Forensic Scientist continues, "Witness, open your eyes," and points to the Murderer and Accomplice.
    • - Witness acknowledges with a nod, and Forensic Scientist says, "Witness, close your eyes."
    • - Forensic Scientist announces, "Everyone, open your eyes."

2. Investigation

  • Consists of 3 rounds with Evidence Collection and Presentation phases.
  • Ends when an Investigator correctly identifies "Key Evidence" and "Means of Murder" or after the third round.
  • Phases occur in this order:

2a. First Round of Evidence Collection

  • Forensic Scientist sets aside "Location of Crime" and "Cause of Death" tiles.
  • Shuffles remaining Scene tiles face down for a draw deck.
  • Forensic Scientist selects a "Location of Crime" tile, draws 4 random Scene tiles, and displays them.

2a-I. Evidence Collection

  • Forensic Scientist places 6 Bullet markers on tiles.
  • Markers must be placed on listed items (one per tile).
  • Discussion among players is allowed after the first marker is placed.
  • Forensic Scientist places subsequent markers based on discussion.
  • Marker order, decisiveness, and hesitancy may be clues.
  • Markers cannot be moved once placed, concluding at the sixth marker.

2a-II. Presentation

  • After the final marker, a brief discussion occurs.
  • Each player presents their opinions on "Key Evidence" and "Means of Murder."

2b. Second Round of Evidence Collection

  • Forensic Scientist draws a new tile to replace a used Scene tile (except "Location of Crime" and "Cause of Death").
  • Discussion and player opinions repeat.

2c. Final Round of Evidence Collection

  • Repeat the steps of the second round.

3. Solving the Crime

  • Players can make one attempt to "Solve the Crime," excluding the Forensic Scientist.
  • A player announces, "Let me Solve the Crime!" and points to Clue and Means cards of another player.
  • Correct identification ends the game with a win for the Forensic Scientist and Investigators.
  • Incorrect attempts result in a "No" response and loss of the chance to attempt again.

3. Closing the File

  • Game ends when:
    • 1. An Investigator correctly identifies "Key Evidence" and "Means of Murder" (Forensic Scientist and Investigators win).
    • 2. All players lose their chance to solve the crime (Murderer and Accomplice win).

Reversal[]

In games with the Witness, a reversal may occur if the crime is correctly solved. The Murderer and Accomplice choose a player to be quietly "killed" before the trial. If the chosen player is the Witness, the Murderer and Accomplice escape conviction and win. If it's any other player, they are convicted successfully, and the Forensic Scientist, Investigators, and Witness win.

Variants[]

  • Event Tiles: Shuffle them into the Scene tile deck after the First Round of Evidence Collection.
  • Adjusting Difficulty: Modify the number of Clue and Means cards dealt to players to change the game's difficulty level.

Golden rules[]

Communication restrictions:

  1. Forensic Scientist communicates through Bullet markers and "yes" or "no."
  2. During Presentation phases, players can't interrupt except to attempt to Solve the Crime.
  3. During Evidence Collection phases, players can freely speak and ask questions.

Expansions[]

The game's first expansion, "Undercover Allies," was launched in December 2017. It introduced three new roles (Lab Technician, Clever Accomplice, and Inside Man) to the game, along with additional clue cards and tokens, allowing gameplay for up to 14 players.

Useful pages[]

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