Updated: Jun 14
The two storey walk-up had shuttered windows that barely blocked out the pink neon glow from the bustling Hong Kong streets. I could smell the stench of urine mixed with blood, it was as unmistakable as the grime stained wallpaper in that low rent brothel, a wallpaper I had seen once too often in my line of work. The body was gone now, there was just a chalk outline on the threadbare carpet and a series of small yellow number markers referring to the forensic report adrift on the burgundy blood stain. Whatever had happened, it had not been clean. Below, through the window, underneath the guttural moans that permeated the walls, I could hear the traffic, horns blaring in the distance, I pushed back my fedora and sighed… it was going to be a long night.
A Quick Overview
Deception Murder in Hong Kong is a really simple but potentially really fun storytelling, deduction game.
Each player is dealt a secret identity card, showing either Murderer, Investigator or Forensic Scientist. The scientist reveals their ID then everyone except the scientist is then dealt a series of four blue means cards and four red clue cards. The Scientist then leads the game asking everyone to close their eyes before asking the murderer to point to one blue card and one red card in front of them. Then he asks all players to open their eyes and the game can begin.
The Scientist begins with two scene tiles in front of them, the cause of death and location of crime and then adds four others from a facedown stack. One at a time the Scientist will then add a bullet marker to each tile to indicate various details about the murder, like location, time of day etc.
As he does this the players can begin to talk about a variety of possibilities. Once the last bullet has been placed it time for each investigator to make a presentation. They choose one red and one blue card in front of another player and tell the story of how the murder went down.
An investigator may also choose to spend his badge at any time and make an accusation. If the investigator is correct the Investigators wins the game, otherwise the game continues. After three rounds any investigator who hasn't made an accusation should do so if the murderer along with the means and clue cards have been correctly identified then the investigators win otherwise the murderer wins.
Silent but Deadly
Murder Deception in Hong Kong relies on the players not being able to hear the murderer moving during the initial phase otherwise you’ll narrow it down pretty quickly. Even if you are trying not to listen, the very fact that you have your eyes closed will heighten your other senses.
To combat this problem we simply had everyone hold out their hands over the cards before closing their eyes then all the murderer had to do was point without really needing to move.
At it’s best Murder Deception in Hong Kong is a storytelling game, either serious or funny, your choice, however there is no requirement from the game for this. You can play Deception completely straight, name a player and simply choose two cards in front of them, but it is much more enjoyable to weave a personal narrative about how they used those cards to commit the crime.
And while the game is a storytelling game there is one player who doesn’t really get to join in. The Forensic Scientist is more like the referee, the facilitator. They cannot talk or really give any indication that the players are on the right track at all. However, because Deception is a pretty short game, 20 minutes, maybe, for a long game, you really should play multiple times in a sitting so everyone gets a chance to be an investigator.
Did They Like It?
This one has gone over fairly well, it’s simplistic nature helps but those with more artistic flair are probably having more fun with it.
Dave - "Don't forget to point blame at other people, especially if you're the murderer! Cunning social interaction, generally tense up until the end."
As a performer and a storyteller Murder Deception in Hong Kong is right up my street. I will spin a yarn connecting unlikely objects together in a discordant narrative that will delight and entertain or at least elicit a laugh.
My personal favourite role is the murderer as I naturally thrive when I need to lie, deceive and deflect. The Scientist is a less exciting role overall, although listening to the discussions of the other players can be thrilling, especially if you have a good murderer who knows how to pass off suspicion.
The components for the game are fine, I like the mix of means and clue cards even if the art is a little generic. The game’s £35 price tag belies the fact that it is really a quick and simple party game and may lead you to believe there is more meat on its bones than there really is.
How much fun you will find in the box is entirely dependant on the group you play with, the more creative the better. Deception at its heart is a simple guessing and light deduction game, but when imbued with life by the players it can be so much more. The rules are simple enough that you can take this round to a dinner party at Donna and Gordon’s without any troubles, although I recommend having the most experienced player taking on the role of the Forensic Scientist for at least the first play-through.