Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Goal of the game and gameplay overview
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (a.k.a. CS Files) is a game of deduction and hidden roles. Players take on the roles of investigators attempting to solve a murder case in which the real murderer is one of the investigators themselves!
One of the investigators has the role of the Forensic Scientist, the only player with their card revealed, who knows how the murder happened and tries to guide the investigators to the truth! Each other player has a set of 8 cards in front of them, four “Means of Murder” cards and four “Key Evidence” cards. At the start of the game the Murderer shows one combination of his “Means of Murder” and “Key Evidence” cards to the Forensic Scientist in order to depict how the murder was done. Meaning, that in each game the Murderer will pick one of the 16 possible combinations formed by his cards!
Throughout the game the Forensic Scientist, without talking, will give clues to the other players through some clue tiles. Each tile has a title, like “Evidence left behind”, and some possible outcomes associated with its title. The Scientists job is to pick the best fitted option in order to help the other players get a hint about the weapon, evidence and overall case.
The game ends when either the Investigators find the exact combination of cards in front of the Murderer, thus solve the case, or if the game ends and they couldn`t solve the case as each player can only make one accusation throughout the game!
The game comes with two variants, one introducing two new roles and the other one introducing some events that may occur in the game. Also the game contains 200 Clue cards and 90 Means cards for endless replayability!
The only think I can say about this game is “mind-blowing”! There are so many positive things that I can and will talk about, making this game one of my all-time favorites. First of all, the theme of this game is so intense that will trigger your twisted mind and bring to the surface all your knowledge acquired by CSI series. The Forensic Scientist has to actually create a murder case that makes sense in his mind in order to be easier for the Investigators to find out how it happened and right there is the magic of this game.
The second thing that made me think “what a great idea” was a mechanic in the game that lets each Investigator to share his thoughts in around 30 seconds without NOONE interrupting him! The chaos that some social deduction games bring was limited through a simple and thematic mechanic.
Lastly I want to mention that every person that I played this game with has to say that all roles are equally cool and fun to play! I bring that up because in many games of that genre many people struggle when they get a common role to play. Also, the Murderer (traitor etc.) doesn`t have to be so nervous because the Investigators doesn`t have to just find who the Murderer is but also find the right combination out of the 16 possible!
The right mood to play the game
Make sure that it is night out there and you have a glass of wine in your hand (if you are an adult!).
The theme of the game is really intense so you have to play in a goofy mood or in your Sherlock mastermind mode! Also, some noir music may help enhance the atmosphere of the game session. This game is extremely fun and addictive to play but it not as easy as it may sound. It has some deep strategies waiting to be found as you have to be careful of every action, card and clue around the table!
I would also like to point out that it is best to be careful if you have children around because it has some graphic content and will probably create some messed up stories.