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10 Best Social Deduction Games

10 Best Social Deduction Games

There are a TON of great social deduction games out there, each with a different approach to the theme, mechanics and/ or social interaction. At Dice and Mice, we define social deduction games as games that are both a) social and invite a lot of social interaction at higher player counts than most games; and b) require some level of deduction. 

The best social deduction games come in all shapes and forms! Some of our picks are micro games and ultra portable. Others feature bluffing and hidden roles. Still others take this further with a traitor aspect, where one or more players are working against everyone! 

These are often great games to bring to large social gatherings, whether it’s a holiday with extended family, a party or a get together with your friends.

With so many social deduction game options out there, you’ll find the best game for you in our mini-reviews of the best social deduction games!

Our Top Picks – Best Social Deduction Games

Best Social Deduction Games: Codenames

Best Social Deduction Game Overall: Codenames

There’s a reason Codenames is considered one of the best party games of all time. This game is easy to learn and teach and intuitive to play, making it a great game for a wide range of players.

Best Social Deduction Games: The Resistance Avalon

Best Strategic Social Deduction Game: The Resistance: Avalon 

Known as a “gamer’s party game,” The Resistance: Avalon features more strategic depth and layers than most party games. It’s a rowdy and entertaining game of hidden roles, subterfuge and accusations galore!

Best Social Deduction Games: Deception Murder in Hong Kong

Best Murder-Mystery Social Deduction Game: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Looking for a quick, casual but highly interactive murder-mystery game for your next party? Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is the perfect fit and is a great game to play with a wide range of players.

Best Social Deduction Games: The Chameleon

Best Social Deduction Game to Play with Just About Anyone: The Chameleon

The Chameleon is an ultra simple party game for players of all levels, and is a great way to teach new players about bluffing and hidden roles. A great next step game for more complex party games.

Best Social Deduction Games: Salem 1692

Most Underrated Social Deduction Game: Salem 1692

Salem 1692 is set in an era of conspiracy, witchcraft and the noose. Who will you accuse? Who can you trust? This game captures the theme and tension that was real during this troubled time in American history.

Our Top 10 Social Deduction Games

Mysterium Park

Best Social Deduction Games: Mysterium Park

Players: 2-6 // Game time: 30-45 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Libellud

Mysterium Park is the smaller, faster and refined younger sibling of the classic Mysterium, and plays with two to six players. This game features streamlined gameplay as well as setup and can play out in just 30 minutes, making it a delicious bite-sized game. 

One player will take on the role of a ghost who can only communicate through dreams (i.e. images). Everyone else at the table is a mystical medium, with limited ability to communicate with others. This murder/mystery board game is the ultimate sèance as you race to get to the bottom of this unsolved crime before the ghost dissipates.

In Mysterium Park, the fun is in determining other player’s interpretation of images (i.e. dreams). It’s a riot seeing how people think, and good fuel for post-game conversations. You’ll likely find yourself exclaiming “oh, why didn’t I see that?!”

Who This Game is For

Fans of Mysterium will especially enjoy Mysterium Park. The quicker setup, streamlined gameplay and faster game sessions means this is a great game to play with the kids and something you can pull out more frequently than the classic. Folks looking for a fun G-rated, spooky family-friendly game need to pick up this one!

Buy Mysterium Park on Amazon

The Chameleon

Best Social Deduction Games: The Chameleon

Players: 3-8 // Game time: 15 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Big Potato

The Chameleon is all about blending in – don’t get caught! This game is a fun and quick party word game that plays well with all sorts of players. Things move quickly, and you can complete a single game in just 15 minutes.

The Chameleon is an extremely accessible team-based party deception game. Everyone draws a card at the beginning of the game, which contains the Secret Word, along with 15 other words. Everyone takes turns saying a word that is related to the Secret Word. 

But one of you is an imposter! 

The Chameleon is the imposter. They don’t know what the Secret Word is, but need to give a response that doesn’t raise suspicion. That requires thinking on your feet (or paws, depending on your neopronoun)! 

The Chameleon is a LOT of fun! It’s fun to bluff and play a secret role as the Chameleon, often with hilarious results. 

Who This Game is For

The Chameleon is a great party game for players of all levels! While it may be a little too simple for serious board gamers, it’s a good way to teach new players about bluffing and hidden roles. This makes The Chameleon, one of several deception games we love, a great next step game for more complex party games. Before you know it, you’ll be playing Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, another bluffing game you can read about below! 

Buy The Chameleon on Amazon

A Fake Artist Goes to New York

Best Social Deduction Games: A Fake Artist Goes to New York

Players: 5-10 // Game time: 20 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Oink Games

In A Fake Artist Goes to New York, you are a group of artists working together to make a masterpiece. 

Only there’s a catch… one of you is a fake! 

Can you spot them? The fake artist knows the general topic that everyone is drawing, but not the specific thing. They need to try to get through the round without being found out!

The premise of A Fake Artist Goes to New York is simple – the drawing goes around the table twice. Everyone gets to draw one continuous line each time. At the end of the round, the artists try to guess who the fake artist is. If they guess correctly, the fake artist will attempt to guess what the word was.

A Fake Artist Goes to New York is a fun and quick party game that plays well with a variety of players. The game can be played with up to 10 players, and takes just 20 minutes to complete. It also comes in an adorable small box not much bigger than a deck of cards- you can bring it anywhere for a quick game, from camping to restaurants and more!

Who This Game is For

A Fake Artist Goes to New York is easy to learn, portable and plays well with 5-10 players. This makes this a great game for all sorts of groups, including for games with extended family members during the holidays, games with kids at after school programs, your friends and more.

Buy A Fake Artist Goes to New York on Amazon


Best Social Deduction Games: Coup

Players: 2-6 // Game time: 15 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards

In Coup, you will bluff, bribe and manipulate your way through the game until there is only one player left standing! A fun layer is that players have unique roles and powers – you will play as either the Duke, Assassin, Contessa, Captain or Ambassador.

Everyone starts with two influence cards and two coins. You can take only one action per turn. Will you take income (one coin), get foreign aid (two coins) or launch a coup against an opponent? The last player that still has influence remaining will win the game. 

We typically don’t like games with player elimination. However, we found that we don’t mind as much in Coup since it plays out so quickly. Player elimination plays an effective role in incentivizing players to take actions that make the game fun. Overall, Coup is a fun little competitive and cutthroat game full of bluffing, bribing and assassination as you jostle for the most power.

Who This Game is For

Coup is a game for players of all levels and abilities, from the shyest to the most outspoken. Its simplicity and reasonable depth, for a party microgame, means this game can appeal to kids, casual players and serious board game fans all at the same time.

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Coup is set in the Resistance Universe, which includes the original The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon, the latter of which we’ll cover more in depth below!

Coup: Reformation is an expansion to Coup that adds cards and rules. The expansion adds a few new features, including the ability to play with up to 10 players and new rules for adversarial factions and gameplay that increases the tension in the game.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Best Social Deduction Games: One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Players: 3-10 // Game time: 10 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Bezier Games

Your village has been overrun by dastardly werewolves!

You have to take action before it’s… too late!

In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, the goal is simple. At the end of the night, your village will choose one player role to lynch. If that player is indeed a werewolf, your village wins! If it’s not a werewolf… 

Well, that’s where it becomes tricky. Those werewolves are sneaky!

A game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf starts at night (naturally), where certain player roles “wake up” and take action. Once everyone wakes up, this is your time to discuss, accuse and divert attention from yourself. Though this phase only lasts a few minutes, it can get quite rowdy! 

The next and final phase of the game is the voting phase, where each player points to another player to determine who gets eliminated.

In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, there are a number of fun roles with different abilities and win conditions that make for a rollicking game session. Werewolves will discover the other werewolves’ identities. Robbers can switch their role with another player’s role. The troublemaker can switch the cards of two other players. The seer may look at, but not reveal, one other player’s role. These are just a few examples of the mayhem that can happen during a single game!

Who This Game is For

As one of the best hidden role games you can get, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is great for anyone who needs a fun, quick party game for large player groups of all types. It takes just a few minutes to teach, and a few quick rounds (5-10 minute affairs) to really get the game clicking. Just note that the quickness and simplicity of this game can make this feel more like a group activity than a game. 

Buy One Night Ultimate Werewolf on Amazon

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is an incredibly popular game that has inspired an entire collection of One Night games, as well as expansions and other goodies.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak is a standalone game that adds special roles. Although it only plays with 3-7 players, it can be combined with One Night Ultimate Werewolf for up to 10 players.

One Night Ultimate Bonus Roles brings you most of the content from the now-unavailable bonus packs one through four, six artifact tokens and two player number tokens that can be played with any of the One Night Ultimate series.

If you’d like a slower, more immersive werewolf experience, One Week Ultimate Werewolf adds rules and tension that makes for a longer, slightly more complex game. 

If you love One Night Ultimate Werewolf and have a stable group of 10-16 players that can meet up regularly, Werewolf Legacy may be up your alley. Check out our top picks for the best legacy game experiences to find out what makes legacy games such a fun experience.

Game publisher Bézier Games has also released several standalone games in the One Night collection inspired by the OG One Night Ultimate Werewolf. These games have new themes such as aliens, vampires, superheroes and more.

Salem 1692

Best Social Deduction Games: Salem 1692

You find yourself in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692- an era of conspiracy, witchcraft and the noose. 

Who will you accuse? Wait, accusing is easy. Who can you even trust?

Salem 1692 is a social deduction hidden role game in a similar vein to One Night Ultimate Werewolf. The game is all about accusing your fellow players and culminates in a player vote. Both games have a day and night phase, special roles for each player and also play out well at large player counts, with a maximum of 12 players.

What makes Salem 1692 unique is that the gameplay revolves around its cardplay. Instead of blindly making accusations, this occurs in a more structured way via card dealing. All of the gameplay and accusations occur through playing cards. Players are initially dealt five role cards, all of which are categorized “Not a Witch” except for two prominent roles: “Witch” and “Constable.” During each turn, you can draw two cards or play cards against other players. Certain cards can come up that create mayhem, including role changes. 

The fun in Salem 1692 lies in the theme. A real effort has been made to create a unique experience. The game comes in a box that looks like a vintage book that will look great on your bookshelf, and the rulebook includes a nice historical background of real people that some characters in Salem 1692 were based on. Overall, the game does a great job of emulating the witchcraft conspiracy theme and palpable tension that was real during this time!

Who This Game is For

Salem 1692 presents an interesting balance of deduction/ guesswork. There is more structure and deduction in this game compared to One Night Ultimate Werewolf, but less than in social deduction games like The Resistance: Avalon. This makes it a game that has wide appeal and can be played with just about everyone, but is also fun for those who don’t enjoy One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

Buy Salem 1692 on Amazon


Best Social Deduction Games: Decrypto

Players: 4-8 // Game time: 15-45 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: iello / le Scorpion Masque

Decrypto brings players into a colorful retro world of spies and codebreaking. It’s a fun team-based party game that is a little more complex and nuanced than the quintessential code-breaking classic Codenames

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to intercept and decipher the other team’s encrypted messages. You also transmit codes to your teammates without the other team intercepting them. 

Each team gets four keyword cards. Let’s set up an example game! The white team’s words are pickle, camping, mustard and cat. The white team’s transmitter writes down three of the following clues: “sour” for pickle, “yellow” for mustard and “whiskers” for cat. While the other team will not be able to see the white team’s words, they will see the transmitter’s clues. The fun in Decrypto is in walking that fine line between communicating clearly enough so that your team gets what you’re trying to say, but vaguely enough to keep the other team guessing. 

Check out Polygon’s playthrough for an idea of the kind of fun you’re in for with Decrypto

Who This Game is For

Board game players looking for a team-based word game (i.e. like Codenames) with a step up in complexity will love Decrypto. While the game can also be fun for new players, it can be a little hard to explain the rules. In our experience, it’s entirely possible for players of all levels to pick it up and have a blast within one to two rounds, with little effort. 

Buy Decrypto on Amazon

The Decrypto Expansion 1: Laser Drive adds an extra layer to the base game through the addition of a Laser Drive category card per round. With this expansion, there’s a new way of scoring – victory is yours if you can guess the other team’s keyword!

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Best Social Deduction Games: Deception Murder in Hong Kong

Players: 5-12 // Game time: 20 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Grey Fox Games

Wait! There’s a murder-mystery game that’s perfect for in-person and online parties? Sign us up!

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is an extremely interactive murder-mystery that takes (almost) no time to teach and learn before you’re on your merry way.

The premise of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is that you take on the role of investigators working together to solve a murder. But of course there’s something insidious at play here! One of you is actually the murderer working to deflect everyone’s attention. And there may even be an accomplice and a potential witness! 

The Forensic Scientist knows everything (“Murderer,” “Key Evidence” and “”Means of Murder”), but can only communicate through the placement of random scene tiles. Starting in the first round, they select one item on each tile as a clue. For instance, under “Location of Crime,” the Forensic Scientist picks “Bookstore.” The Forensic Scientist doles out additional clues over two more rounds during which final attempts to solve the murder are made and winners are announced. 

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is just an absolute barrel of laughs as the murderer pulls out all the stops to deflect attention onto other players. Can you solve the crime, or will the murderer get away?

If you’re thinking about buying this game, we highly recommend checking out this hilarious playthrough of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong from Polygon (hint: #sculpturebug!).

Who This Game is For

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a great game for basically anyone. It’s truly unique for a social deduction game to have such wide appeal, from new / casual gamers to quiet personalities to bluffing haters. The game doesn’t favor the extroverted, so it works well with quiet and rowdy folks alike. If you love bluffing, you can do it to your heart’s content; if you don’t, there are other strategies you can take to confound everyone.

Buy Deception: Murder in Hong Kong on Amazon

The Deception: Undercover Allies expansion adds enough role cards to increase the player count to 14, new scene tiles and new Clue and Means cards. If you are a fan of deception games, this expansion is well worth it. The new roles come with special powers for both teams, and all of the additional content adds more new variables to help keep the game fresh.

The Resistance: Avalon

Best Social Deduction Games: The Resistance Avalon

Players: 5-10 // Game time: 30 minutes // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards


The Resistance: Avalon is set in King Arthur’s kingdom in the age of the Round Table! It’s a game of bluffing and secret roles, where no one is who they appear to be. The fate of Britain lies in your hands. Are you an evil Minion of Mordred, or are you a Loyal Servant of Arthur?

At its core, The Resistance: Avalon is one of the best social deduction board games you can buy. It’s centered around missions, which occur in three stages. First, the King (this role rotates) picks players to go on a mission. Second, all players vote on whether the mission should proceed with the selected players. Third, if the mission is voted through, the players on the mission place a vote. If it fails, you know you likely have an insider!

One of the most fun aspects of The Resistance: Avalon is in the secret roles. Every game has a Merlin, who knows who the evil minions are but can’t reveal their identity. Every game also has an Assassin. If the Loyal Servants of Arthur successfully carry out three missions, there is a final fail-safe for the evil minions. If the Assassin guesses the identity of Merlin, all is lost! There are also additional special roles you can assign to mix it up – it’s all up to you. Before you know it, you will be in the thick of a rowdy and entertaining game of accusations and subterfuge!

Who This Game is For

The Resistance: Avalon is a fun and strategic party game for up to 10 players, and perfect for board gamers looking for some strategic depth in their party games. Even if you don’t typically like party games, you may just like this one. Just note that the strategic complexity means this is harder to introduce to casual gamers than most of the games on this list – we’ve had mixed results. This isn’t a nice and friendly game – keep in mind that the bluffing / traitor aspect of the game isn’t for everyone.

Buy The Resistance: Avalon on Amazon


Best Social Deduction Games: Codenames

Players: 4-8 // Game time: 15 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Czech Games

Codenames is a fun team-based word game that is great for large groups. The game is fun yet simple enough to play with kids, grandparents, casual gamers, and more!

Each team’s mission is to find the other team’s agents by contacting agents based on clues they receive from their spymaster. If you accidently contact your own agent, you reveal your agent to the other team and get them one step closer to a win. If you contact the assassin, your team instantly loses. The game ends once the assassin is revealed or all of the agents belonging to a team are revealed.

If you are the spymaster, it’s your job to say one word and a number. As spymaster, it’s fun to think of ways that your team will connect the dots. There’s nothing like the feeling of successfully conveying a clue! As team agents, the fun is in discussing and trying to deduct the clues. You may be surprised and impressed with what your teammates (even kids) come up with in Codenames!

Who This Game is For

Codenames was a smashing success when it was released because it is something you can play with almost anyone. It’s easy to learn and teach and is fairly intuitive, while still presenting a fun challenge (especially as the word master).

Buy Codenames on Amazon

Lucky for us, there is Codenames Duet, which is perfect for those days when there is a party of two!

If you’re looking for something more language independent for educational settings or mixed-language gaming sessions, Codenames: Pictures is a fantastic option.

That’s a Wrap!

As with books and movies, everyone will experience each social deduction game differently. It’s important to think about the type of people you will play these games with – take note of the difficulty level, theme and duration you need for your next large gathering. Also think about if you will have any shy or quiet players, and if folks will take accusations personally!

Whether you need a simple social deduction game you can introduce to just about everyone (that’s Chameleon or the classic Codenames!), want something thematic but still easy to introduce to players (Mysterium Park, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, or Salem 1692), are looking for a fun murder-mystery game to play with large groups (Deception: Murder in Hong Kong) or want something a little crunchier and strategic (The Resistance: Avalon). Bottom line: there’s something for everyone in our list of the top 10 social deduction games!

There are a few other social deduction games worth mentioning:

Shadows Over Camelot has been out of print for years, but if you can find it it is a great social deduction game for players looking for a much higher difficulty level than is found in most social deduction games.

While not technically a social deduction game, the theme, story, bluffing and traitor aspects of The King’s Dilemma make this Game of Thrones-esque legacy game a lot of fun for the right group.

Like our recommendation The Chameleon, Werewords is another great game for introducing casual gamers to hidden roles as players work to guess a secret word while the werewolf works behind the scenes to hinder your progress.

Concept is another family friendly social deduction word game you can play with just about anyone. The premise is to get your team to guess the word based on clues that are iconic… You guessed it! Icons!

Grab a game that’s great for your group and get started with your evening of deduction! 

Header Photo Credit: Thanks, Big Potato! cc

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