Updated: Aug 11, 2021
By Guest Contributor: Jake Tegtman
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Recently, my family got together to play some games. It’s not often we play tabletop games together, so it was fun to see that my mom had picked a murder mystery. It had come highly recommended to her by the lady who owns our city’s local gaming store. As a family, we unwrapped the gift, and inside was “Deception: Murder in Hong Kong.” Let me start off by saying it is a 10/10.
The game is played with anywhere from 4-12 players. Each player is given a role before play begins. There’s a “forensic scientist.” A “murderer.” And unless there are many players, the rest are “investigators.” If the gaming group is large, there are also options for an “accomplice,” and a “witness.”
If the forensic scientist can creatively explain the key evidence and means of murder selected by the murderer, and one of the investigators can guess it all correctly, the game is won.
Everyone knows which player is the forensic scientist. But only the forensic scientist knows which player is the murderer. The murderer selects both “key evidence” and the “means of murder” while everyone else has their eyes closed. The forensic scientist then spends the rest of the game trying to show the other players – the investigators – who the murderer is, through scenes of play. The scenes act as clues that help players narrow down key evidence and means of murder that might lead them in the wrong direction.
Ultimately, if the forensic scientist can creatively explain the key evidence and means of murder selected by the murderer, and one of the investigators can guess it all correctly, the game is won. However, if the murderer can somehow mislead the investigators, they win.
It’s a game filled with cunning, reasoning, and poker faces. And lots and lots of laughter.
From the Box Deception: Murder in Hong Kong 4–12 Players, ages 14+ Playing Time: 30 minutes
Designer: Tobey Ho
Artists: Marcin Adamski, Ben Carre, Tommy Ng and Ari Wong
Published by: Jolly Thinkers
Buy your copy of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong at Board Game Bliss
TIf any of the explanation in the section above seemed a little complex, that’s because it is – at least initially. The first playthrough of Deception can be a little confusing. We actually misused a couple of the rules in small ways. It didn’t have any effect on the game, but it did take us until the second playthrough to fully understand how the rules were supposed to work.
Deception is more based on reading social cues and finding deeper meaning in the forensic scientist’s interpretation of events than anything else.
The good news is that each playthrough of Deception only takes about 20 minutes, at most. And the game isn’t really competitive, even though it’s based on competitive elements. What we found is that each game was filled with laughter more than anything else. A group of very serious people could easily enjoy the nuances of finding the right details and clues from every scene. But the reality is that the scene cards provided in the game leave a lot of room for ambiguity. Deception is more based on reading social cues and finding deeper meaning in the forensic scientist’s interpretation of events than anything else. There aren’t any hard-and-fast ways to ensure a win, unless you know the people you’re playing with like the back of your hand.
For the first several playthroughs, my recommendation is to just try the game out. Don’t worry about getting every detail right. The game will make a lot more sense after going through it a few times. Players also begin reading each other’s cues much better in later games, which makes the game more interesting in later playthroughs.
I give Deception: Murder in Hong Kong a 10/10. I might be a little over-generous in that rating, but I play tabletop games for fun, not perfection.
Since part of the game involves convincing other “investigators” on the value of your reasoning, it means that some passionate discussions are likely to arise.
The box, cards, artwork, and overall presentation of the game are highly professional. Great quality materials. The rulebook – even if a tad confusing at first – is well-written and clear. The game nails the murder mystery vibe, and successfully creates fun and engaging drama between the group.
The biggest reason I like the game so much is that it had my whole family laughing. Since part of the game involves convincing other “investigators” on the value of your reasoning, it means that some passionate discussions are likely to arise. No matter how much you may be convinced that your logic is right, someone else may have a completely different interpretation of events. They may also have a completely illogical interpretation that is based on pure passion, the likes of which no reasoning can overrule. Then, that illogical person can persuade other “investigators” to go along with their interpretation, soundly lowering your odds of winning. All while making everyone else smile and shake their heads.
It’s probably the fact that the game can so quickly spiral out of control that I love. Yet, even amidst that, if you stick to the way you think the murder went down, even if everyone else goes off track, you can still win it for everyone. Deception perfectly nails a game that fuses group think with individual power.
Should You Play?
If you enjoy murder mystery games, or games with a fundamental competitive nature, you should probably pick up Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. It’s great for a game night as many rounds of the game can be played without taking up too much time. Plus, it will have people on the edge of their seats with intensity and laughter.
If you enjoy murder mystery games, or games with a fundamental competitive nature, you should probably pick up Deception: Murder in Hong Kong.
Also, if you enjoy tabletop games, please consider checking out Eternity TTRPG for a great tabletop roleplay game.
About Our Guest Contributor Jake Tegtman
Jake is an avid gamer and game designer. He most enjoys the fantasy and sf genres, and telling stories. Eternity TTRPG is his company's first published game.
Check it out at: eternityttrpg.com