Chairman of the Board: Who done it

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

‘Deception: Murder in Hong Kong’ board game review

By Ed Appleby, Contributor




Hong Kong: Home of good food, awesome action movies, and MURDER!

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (2014) is a murder mystery party game for 4 to 12 people designed by Tobey Ho and published by Grey Fox Games. In the game, all players are dealt four “clue” cards and four “means” cards, face up. One player is secretly chosen to be the murderer and they choose two of the cards in front of them. The other players then try to figure out what the cards are by only using the clues from the forensic investigator.

This game plays a lot like Werewolf or Mafia, but with some interesting twists that increase everyone’s enjoyment. The judge—”forensic investigator” in this game—who usually has a passive role in other games is firmly on the side of the investigators, and actively tries to assist them by only using clue cards and saying “yes” and “no.” In larger games there are two more roles added to the milieu: An “accomplice” and “witness” who also know who the murder is. The accomplice knows which cards are picked and actively tries to deceive the other players. The witness has an advantage by knowing who the murderer and accomplice are, but must be careful.

Each player gets only one guess as to which clue and means are active, and if they guess right the game isn’t over yet. The murderer and accomplice choose one player, and if that player is the witness then the evildoers get away with the crime. This makes everyone engaged for the whole game trying to either hide their role or reveal others.

The single guess and tight three rounds makes the game a lot faster and more engaging than other traitor games. The game also has a very thematic quirk in that—like the Hong Kong of old—all of the cards are bilingual, written in both English and Traditional Chinese.

The game is a fun and engaging whodunit, and is a party game that adds more of a focused and concise gameplay with just the right blend of complexity. I would recommend this game, but it does require focus, so play it early in before all your friends are too tired, drunk, or both.