Social deduction games require you to think on your feet and use clever questioning to discover the traitor in your midst. Also known as Hidden Role games, they've become hugely popular over the last decade or so, and are great for those who like to think on their feet
If you want to try a social deduction game, but aren't sure where to start, this guide is for you! We’ll help you choose deception and deduction-based board games, like Ultimate Werewolf and Saboteur, before sharing our ranking of the 10 best in the UK!
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A lot of hidden role games require a minimum of four or more players to be enjoyable. Without enough people, it’s too easy to work out who’s the traitor trying to undo the group, or the secret monster that’s going to eat everyone.
Before you buy, think about how many people you’re planning to play it with. A small game might only be suitable for 4 - 6 players, whereas some of the bigger games can accommodate up to 60 players at once!
Some people like to have a range of games to choose from. So you could always pick up a few small-group games for family evenings, and maybe one or two larger games for when you have a full house to entertain.
Prefer to work as a team? Check out the best cooperative games in the UK!
While most board games take at least an hour to play, SDGs can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. Shorter games usually last around 5-10 minutes per round, this lets you have fun without committing a whole evening to the game and are suitable for everyone, including young children.
Longer games usually take 30 minutes to play, with some of the longer ones going up to an hour and a half. These games can be very exciting, as they allow tensions to build as the game progresses. However, they tend to be better for adults and older children who can stay focused for lengthier periods of time.
Top Tip: party games make great ice-breakers at social gatherings!
When choosing an SDG, consider the age of the players. Not all games will be suitable for all ages, with many containing mature themes, or requiring players to be able to falsely accuse others in order to win.
If you're going to play with young children, aim for family-friendly games. You cant always rely on the title or box art alone, so a good way to tell whether a game will be suitable for youngsters is by following the recommended play age and reading up on the game before you buy.
Looking for something to play together? Here are the 10 best family board games in the UK!
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Find the Insider Before It's Too Late
Indie Boards & Cards
The Resistance: Avalon
Quest for Camelot or Bring About King Arthur's Doom
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Social Deduction Game for People Who Like Murder Mysteries
A Fake Artist Goes to New York
Show Off Your Deception and Drawing Skills
Plaid Hat Games
Dead of Winter
Slowly Build Tension in This Zombie Apocalypse SDG
A Classic Card-Based Social Deduction Game for the Whole Family
Enjoy a Mixture of Deduction and Bluffing in Rapid-Fire Rounds
Popular and Enduring SDG That’s Easy to Learn
Pirate-Themed SDG for Fans of Role Play and Player Interactions
Sink Your Teeth Into This Lighthearted Horror SDG for 4 - 8 Players
Insider is a fantastic twist on the game of twenty questions. One player takes the role of Master and draws a card with a secret word. The other players then have 5 minutes to ask “Yes or No” questions to guess the word.
However, the Insider also knows the secret word and must guide the rest of the group to the answer. The Insider wins if the group gets the word, without their identity being revealed. This game is our number one as it’s easy to learn, with a single round taking only 4 minutes. It's suitable for players of of ages and, most importantly, is tremendous fun!
Resistance: Avalon takes inspiration from the legend of King Arthur. Players take the role of knights of the round table, questing for glory. But of those knights, a secret group of baddies try to sabotage and destroy the round table!
This is a superb game that requires strategy, good questioning and careful attention. The special roles and abilities players get are what makes it particularly fun. Whether you’re fighting the good fight or scheming diabolically, this is a great game for everyone.
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is for people who like murder mysteries. The game is a combination of word association and whodunnit. Among the players is a hidden killer, and one player who knows the killer's identity. It's their job to point to clues to help the detectives deduce who the killer is, without revealing their role, as the killer tries to lead everyone to the wrong conclusions.
This game involves some fiendish puzzle solving, as players must use their best deduction skills to work out who the real killer is. If you enjoy detective stories and gaming, this is a must buy!
In this game, players take turns drawing lines on a shared piece of paper to create a picture that represents a secret word. The twist is that one "fake artist" doesn't know what the word is, and must play along without being detected. The fake artist must guess the word to win, but if the other artists spot the fake, then they win.
This is a creative variation of the traditional deduction game formula, with little fibbing and questioning. A game that can be replayed infinitely, it's very easy to pick up and a ton of of fun. Plus, each round lasts less than ten minutes!
Dead of Winter is one of the longest SDGs on our list. The game revolves around a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse, players work to survive and help their community prosper, but a minority have darker, more destructive motives.
Players must complete missions and root out saboteurs, before the undead devour everyone.To add tension, the players have secret missions which they must keep secret from the others, heightening suspicious. It's an unforgettable gaming experience for those who love zombie horror themes.
Saboteur is a long-selling classic hidden role game. A brilliant combination of exploration, card-playing and deduction, in this game, you play as a group of dwarves excavating a gold mine for riches. However, some of your group are greedy and start cave-ins and other trouble to get their hands on all the loot!
This is a game that can be enjoyed by young and old alike, with simple rules that make it fun for everyone. The saboteur must play very subtly, laying traps to frustrate the other players, resulting in a truly delightful game that can be played over and over.
Spyfall 2 is a game that's easy to pick up, but hard to master. All the players, except for the spy, get the same secret location. This can be anything from a coal mine to a wedding ceremony. You then have 4 minutes to ask questions and catch the spy. If the spy guesses the location, they win the game.
It's a mixture of deduction and bluffing as the spy has to pretend they know the location, whilst the normals must convince others they're not the spy, without giving away too much. This game gets better and better the more you play and only takes a few minutes to set up!
Modern SDGs have their origins in Werewolf and its predecessor Mafia, and Ultimate Werewolf is one of the best updates of this classic. In this game, werwolves have infiltrated a village to devour the hapless peasants. The villagers must work together to uncover the werewolves before it's too late.
There’s a reason Werewolf has remained so popular, it’s a thrilling race against time to discover the monsters in your midst. Ultimate werewolf adds extra jobs, such as Doctor, to vary the gameplay with additional scenarios to up the ante!
In Tortuga, players make up a divided group of pirates raiding a galleon full of treasure. To win, you must get the most gold for your pirate faction and undermine your rivals. What makes this game great, is that you never know for sure who is on your team until the very end.
You'll need to use your wits to deduce who’s on your side in order to aid them. Resulting in plenty of interaction and bluffing in this swashbuckling game. We recommend it to those seeking a longer game, and for people who are happy to role play and convince others.
Dracula‘s Feast is ideal if you want to enjoy the social and deduction elements, without any of the lying. In this game, a group of classic movie monsters have come to Dracula‘s mansion for a masked ball. The monsters take it in turns to ask each other to dance, during which players must deduce who is which monster.
Despite the spooky theme, this game remains lighthearted, making it a great choice for younger players and those who just want a bit of fun. And with each game lasting only 10 minutes, it's a good introduction for newbies!
There are a few common themes that make social deduction games (SDGs) different from others. Each player gets a secret role, and to win the game you are given a goal to complete, like getting lots of treasure. However, some players are 'traitors', and for them to win, they must try to sabotage the group without getting caught.
Players use social skills to ask questions and read body language. The deduction comes from using your logical skills and looking at evidence to unmask the traitor. These make for a thrilling mix of quick-thinking and fun interaction, especially when you realise the traitor was sweet Aunty Doris all along!
Bear in mind that in some SDGs require you to conceal the truth, or be sneaky to play the game. It's part of what makes these games so fun, and why we enjoy things like detective novels where the villain is unmasked at the end. Just make sure everyone is okay with this play style before you begin.
Written and researched by: Nick Harling
No. 1: Oink Games｜Insider
No. 2: Indie Boards & Cards｜The Resistance: Avalon
No. 3: Jolly Thinkers｜Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
No. 4: Oink Games｜A Fake Artist Goes to New York
No. 5: Plaid Hat Games｜Dead of Winter
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