Social deduction board games have been around long before Among Us became a surprise hit. Among Us was just another indie Steam game doing its thing without making too much of a wave, until one day a popular streamer randomly started playing it, and now it’s one of the biggest games on the planet. If you love the style of gameplay that you get from Among Us but you want to unplug from the screen for a little bit, you’ll want to check out these board games like Among Us that use the social deduction mechanic.

Social deduction is nothing new, but it’s gained an incredible amount of popularity thanks to Among Us. These games are time-tested and proven to be the very best social deduction board games in the genre, in many cases they offer a lot more than Among Us does. There are all sorts of complexities here, from simpler games to some that will break your brain trying to outsmart your friends. If you don’t have a group to play with right now, check out these single player board games. If you’re looking for a different type of puzzle, you’ll love escape room board games, too.

Now, with that introduction out of the way, let’s get right into it…

Here Are The Best Social Deduction Board Games:

1. The Resistance: Avalon

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  • Players: 5-10
  • Time: 30 Minutes
  • Designer: Don Eskridge
  • Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards
  • Theme: Medieval

The critically acclaimed follow-up to Don Eskridge’s Resistance takes place in medieval times as the agents of evil attempt to infiltrate the ranks of King Arthur’s men. Only Merlin knows the true identity of the players but is bound to speak only in riddles to uncover their identity.

As a re-imagining of the original game, Resistance: Avalon can be played alone or combined with the original Resistance. What makes this social deduction game unique is that both teams must try and keep their leader secret or risk losing the game. So while Merlin knows the identity of the evil players, he must try and lead his team to that conclusion without revealing his own identity, or risk being killed by the Assassin.


2. Secret Hitler

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  • Players: 5-10
  • Time: 45 Minutes
  • Designer: Mike Boxleiter
  • Publisher: Goat Wolf and Cabbage
  • Theme: Pre WW2 Espionage

Secret Hitler is a game set in pre-ww2 Germany, divided between the liberals and fascists. One player is the secret Hitler and his fascists aim to instill distrust among the liberal team. As the rounds progress, the players elect presidents and counselors who will enact new laws hoping to push their teams agenda.

Unlike a lot of the best social deduction board games, there’s so much going on in Secret Hitler that it can be hard to deduce logically who is who. There’s always reasons for liberals to pass fascist laws, or vice versa, which keeps everyone guessing. You always feel as if you could be wrong, which makes it hard to pinpoint who exactly is the undercover fascist overlord.


3. Salem 1692

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  • Players: 4-12
  • Time: 25-35 Minutes
  • Designer: Travis Hancock
  • Publisher: Asmodee
  • Theme: Witch Hunting

After the success of the online game Town of Salem, the next logical step was to turn it into a card game. Salem 1692 takes players into the wild witch hunts of the mid 17th century. Players are split between the suspicious townsfolk or the witches that hide among their ranks.

Players gather cards in order to accuse or defend other players. The kicker is that players can never play their cards on themselves. So learning who to trust and who to accuse is vital. Salem 1962 also comes with a lot of fun game lore so the players can read up on the motives of their characters.


4. Shadows over Camelot

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Image credit DaysOfWonder.com
  • Players: 3-7/li>
  • Time: 60-80 Minutes
  • Designer: Cyrille Daujean
  • Publisher: Days of Wonder
  • Theme: Medieval

Shadows over Camelot is co-operative adventure where the the knights of the round table try to save the land of Camelot before it’s too late. Players race against the clock to complete quests such as defeating the Black Knight. However one major hurdle stands in their way, one of the players might just be a traitor who’s waiting for the perfect moment to turn on their team.

With the constant uncertainty of not knowing who’s a traitor, it makes it hard to rely on any particular player or work effectively as a team. Additionally players can’t say what’s in their hand, so it can be hard to tell who needs help or not. Planning out each move carefully while avoiding being back-stabbed is the key to defending Camelot.


5. Love Letter

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  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 20 Minutes
  • Designer: Seiji Kanai
  • Publisher: Asmodee
  • Theme: Impressing the Princess

Don’t be fooled by the small package, Love Letter is packed with strategy and replay value. Comprised of only 16 cards and a rulebook, Love Letter is a social deduction game where players fight to have their letter reach the Princess Annette.

Love Letter is a game that’s easy to play but hard to master. Each turn players choose between the two cards in their hand, making it a careful balance of luck and strategy. Overall a great filler game for short gaming sessions.


6. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

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  • Players: 4-12
  • Time: 20 Minutes
  • Designer: Tobey Ho
  • Publisher: Jolly Thinkers
  • Theme: Murder Investigation

In this mystery game, players take on the role of investigators tasked with solving a murder. But there’s a twist, the killer is one of the investigators! With the help of his accomplice, he tries to mislead the investigators and throw them off the scent.

As the game progresses, the Forensic Scientist lays out clues to try and guide the investigators in the right direction. Which is great because it means there’s less finger-pointing and more deductive reasoning. With all the unique character abilities, the game plays out differently every time depending on which roles are in play.


7. Mascarade

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Image credit Rprod.com
  • Players: 2-13
  • Time: 30
  • Designer: Jérémy Masson
  • Publisher: Repos Production
  • Theme: Masquerade Bluffing
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Mascarade is a bluffing game of quick character swapping, where players claim roles they may or may not have in an attempt to get more coins then their opponents. As character cards switch hands, it’s easy to lose track of who’s who.

At the start of the game everyone is dealt one character card and 6 gold coins. Take a good look at everyone’s character, because once they’re flipped over you’ll have to rely on your memory to recall who’s who. During play bluffs are made, cards are swapped, coins are earned, and hopefully you can take advantage of the confusion.


8. Spyfall 2

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  • Players: 2-12
  • Time: 15 Minutes
  • Designer: Sergey Dulin
  • Publisher: Hobby World
  • Theme: Uncover the Spy

As one of the lightest games on this list, Spyfall 2 is a great choice for kids and the whole family. If you liked the simple nuance of Among Us then Spyfall 2 is a great alternative. It’s a deduction game where players try to figure out which among them is the spy by asking coy questions about the current location.

Each round, only the non-spy players are aware of the current location. So the spy must act like he belongs. Players then take turns asking each other questions related to the location like “Why are you dressed like that?” or “What’s the weather like?” and see if anyone says anything suspicious. The spy’s job is to listen to the other players answer and try to get an idea of where they are before they give a wrong answer.


9. Coup

Coup
  • Players: 2-6
  • Time: 15 Minutes
  • Designer: Rikki Tahta
  • Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards
  • Theme: Dystopian Corruption

From the same universe as Resistance: Avalon comes Rikki Tahta’s Coup. In this dystopian mystery game, each player is attempting to gain influence and overthrow the current government. Players start with only a few coins and character cards and must use their character’s unique abilities to gain influence and stamp out the opposition.

Each turn players state which character card they have and then take the required action. They can do this even if they don’t actually possess that card, but if someone calls their bluff then they risk losing valuable influence. Coup is a great game that combines bluffing, strategy and a bit of luck.


10. One Night Ultimate Werewolf

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  • Players: 3-10
  • Time: 10 Minutes
  • Designer: Gus Batts
  • Publisher: Bézier Games
  • Theme: Find the Werewolf

Building on the popular theme of townsfolk vs murderers, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a hidden role game that plays much more quickly than most others. In this game players are split between villagers and werewolves. The villagers aim to deduce who the dastardly werewolves are and execute them during the daytime. The werewolves then kill off players who are getting a little too close to the truth during the night time.

What’s interesting about this game is that it comes with a slew of added roles with special abilities that you can choose to sub into the game such as a Drunk or a Doppelgänger. Adding a lot of variance and replay value so you’re never playing the same game twice.

Why Play Anything Other Than the Best Social Deduction Board Games?

If you’re going to go through the effort to buy a social deduction board game, to get some friends together to play it, and to put in the time… make sure you’re playing one of the best ones! There are many others to explore beyond this list, too, but every single game on this list is an excellent starting point and a must-own for anyone who is getting into the social deduction genre.