Bluffing Mechanics: Your Friends ARE the game

Coup, The Resistance, Sheriff of Nottingham, Spyfall, Two Rooms and a Boom, and to some extent, Love Letter… bluffing games are where it’s at!

I’m so delighted to see a new crop of bluffing games released in the past year or so. They are the peak of collaborative play for game night.  The flavor of the game doesn’t even really matter because the people you are playing with ARE the game.

Bluffing games bring out the qualities in your friends that you rarely get to see.  Their reactions and responses are the heart of the enjoyment of these games.

We were playing the first round of Spyfall a week or so ago at our FLGS with folks we knew well.  When it got to the spy’s turn to be asked a question, flabbergasted and red as a beet he didn’t even let the other player finish the question, he covered his face with one hand and pushed his card to the center of the table with the other – begging us to relieve him of this heavy burden: “I can’t take this!  I’m the spy!” he cried.  The table erupted in laughter.  “I’m an accountant, I can’t lie!” he proclaimed.  Again, much laughter.  We played another location and three after that and he STILL enjoyed the game, and so did the rest of us.  Comedy gold! GOLD!

Spyfall

Sheriff of Nottingham has a bit more structure to the bullshitting, but is no less enjoyable and for the same reasons. The inanity of calling your friend out on his three chickens (THIS silk doesn’t look like a chicken to ME!) makes for a raucous table dynamic that is hard to beat.  SoN even prolongs the fun with three rounds of subterfuge; everyone gets three turns to be master of table (sheriff) and try their hand at sniffing out the dirty, dirty lies.

I play with a diverse group of people, some are good at lying and some are really, really not. That’s ok, because they all use that to their advantage to “double deceive” so that they get called on lying when they are actually being truthful. This is a powerful tool, one that just about all games can relate to (Netrunner anyone?).

I’ve seen some pretty harsh criticisms of the games I call out above.  Granted, no one’s opinion can be inherently wrong, but I do beseech those vehemently against bluffing games to try them again and with new folks. Maybe these games aren’t for everyone, or maybe they just aren’t for the people they’ve had the (dis)pleasure of playing them with.

So there you have it. I like bluffing games because my friends are AWESOME.

~Adrienne “Penny” Ezell

Writers Note: Adrienne, nor Dreadful Games, receive any compensation for any blog content. (I just actually like these games, fancy that!)

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