From the moment we heard host Alan Cumming’s mischievous voiceover, we were hooked The traitors. Perhaps it was the mystique of the Scottish castle setting, the charms of the seductive host or the intense atmosphere around the banishment table. Probably it’s that we like mess, and there’s no better mess than deliberately caused by a traitor determined to sabotage and subterfuge.
In the new Peacock reality TV competition, a team must work together for a prize of a quarter of a million dollars. But among the Faithful are secretive traitors, determined to sabotage their efforts to compromise the pot. If you loved The mole or Squid game, you may be enjoying another chance to watch dangerous deception unfold from the safety of your bank. But if you want to get in on the game, well, we’ve got just what you need… 10 of them, actually.
Here are the best video games and board games for when you want to play sabotage. Lie, sneak, poison, but no matter what – go for the win!
Looking for a fast paced game that still lets you lie to your friends? Checking out One Night ultimate werewolf, a game of hidden identities that moves at a fast pace. The conceit is simple: villagers try to find the werewolves that live in their town. Players only get one round – consisting of a night phase and a day phase – to catch them.
Each player is dealt a card that assigns them a secret role, such as a werewolf, a normal villager, or a specialized role like the seer. During the night phase, these roles wake up in a specific order and deal great damage, such as looking at other players’ cards or secretly switching roles. When the day phase rolls around, players voice their guesses and vote on who they think the werewolves are. You’ll have to rely on your wits – and, if you’re a werewolf, your lying skills – to stay alive. Belen Edwards, entertainment reporter
‘Werewolves Within’ is a brutal but healthy horror comedy
Warning: Pretend is not for the faint hearted, and can make you hate your friends for up to two weeks after playing. Here’s the gist. At the start of each round, each player is assigned a role: “the imposter” or simply an unsuspecting contestant. Then all players get an identical task sent to their respective mobile devices, such as “Raise your hand if you’ve ever eaten food from the trash” – except for for the fake. They will have to blend in as best they can without revealing their identities and hope they answer in line with the rest of the group. If not, the cheater will have to convincingly explain away his most recent dumpster meal or risk getting caught. It’s extremely stressful, but in a fun way. And as a bonus, you’ll learn which people in your friend group you should never tell your darkest secrets to again. —Dylan Haas, Chief Store Reporter
Naturally Among us(Opens in a new window) would be on this list. Released in 2018, this 2D sleeping hit took the world by storm in 2020. Its simple gameplay and reliance on communication made it an attractive option for socializing during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also excellent food for collaborations with live streamers(Opens in a new window).
In Among us, players take on the role of stubby little multi-colored astronauts running through an enclosed space to complete various tasks. However, some crew members are actually imposters tasked with sabotaging the group’s efforts and surreptitiously killing them one by one. The crew members must therefore work together to deduce who the impostors are and vote them out before everyone is killed – which inevitably leads to a lot of lying, convincing and general hijinks. —Amanda Yeo, reporter
‘Among Us’ gets a spicy Benoit Blanc zest from ‘Glass Onion’
Forget dying of dysentery in the 8-bit hellscape of The Oregon Route. This history-based board game offers a wild bite. Four to ten players place character tokens around the campfire of the board. Each round, they collect three “hunting cards” to contribute anonymously to the group meal: fish, squirrel, poison, medicine, or empty hands. If there isn’t enough food to go around, someone has to ‘die’ and that decision is made through group voting. The pioneers try to drive out the cannibals, but first they have to guess who these sabotaging sneaky man-eaters are. Meanwhile, the cannibals have the advantage of knowing who’s who and using lies, paranoia and suspicion to survive.
I can assure you that this game of sabotage and investigation is a lot of fun. While the content of this game means it’s aimed at adults, I can confirm that elementary school kids will love the excitement, debate, and free passage to lies. But how you explain what a cannibal is, that’s up to you. —Kristy Puchko, film editor
If you have already moved from Among us(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) and are looking for a similar experience with social deduction, Problems first class maybe the step for you. The setting is a luxury space cruise ship, which sounds pretty nice – until you add that this particular ship has fallen victim to an AI uprising of the “kill-all-humans” variety. You’ll have to team up with the other guests to survive the night and try to reset the onboard AI to a non-homicidal state, but there’s one problem: some of them are part of the robo-rebellion themselves, and you maybe not finding out who they are until it’s too late. —DH
ProjectWinter is a wonderfully fun mix between a resource-gathering survival game (see games like The long dark(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), Valheim(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab)even Crossing animals(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab)) and a social deduction game like some of the other picks on our list. Stranded in an icy wilderness with no rescue in sight, your group will have to repair, harvest and fight their way to rescue, all while trying to uncover who the traitors are in their ranks. Unique features like proximity-based voice chat and private channels only add to the paranoia of it all, making it even more challenging to figure out who you can really trust when you’re battling the elements. Beware, that one teammate who said they wanted to “brave the wilderness” together could actually lead you to a cave full of angry bears.DH
Want to test your social deduction skills and at the same time curb the rise of fascism? Then Secret Hitler is the treacherous game for you. The year? 1932. The Place? Germany. As members of Germany’s fragile liberal government, players are tasked with choosing chancellors and passing policies. Unfortunately, a group of secret fascists – including the titular Secret Hitler – are working to sabotage parliamentary proceedings right under the noses of the liberals!
Gameplay revolves around voting and secretly choosing between liberal and fascist policies. If the fascists make more policies or if they elect Hitler Chancellor, they win. This means that the real the battle is fought in the discussions between rounds. Deception and wild accusations reign here, culminating in tense, high-stakes governmental shenanigans. —ARE
game-wise, Avalon shares a few similarities with other social deduction games like Secret Hitler. This one has a nice Arthurian twist, though: you play as members of King Arthur’s court. Players vote on who gets to go on missions, but watch out! Minions of Mordred lurk beneath you, hoping to fail each quest without being caught.
To crank up the Arthurian legend vibes, you can play with a range of additional roles such as Merlin, Percival, and Morgana. These hidden identities alter the information you may know about others, such as who is on the side of good or evil. It adds an extra layer of secrecy to a game already full of underhand intrigue – perfect for betraying your friends in style. — ARE
Bluff your way to the top Coupa game of social deduction, hidden identities and murder. Each player takes on the role of a powerful government official striving for complete power over their rivals. To achieve this power, players are dealt two influence cards with specialized roles such as Duke or Ambassador. Their skills can help you earn money, steal from others and even commit coups or assassinations. Once both of your influence cards are eliminated, you are out of the game. The last one standing wins.
The catch? Only you know the truth about your influence cards, so you can lie about your roles at every moment. Of course, this means that other players can also call you at any time, so watch out. If you get caught, you lose one of your cards. But if you make a false accusation, you also lose one of your cards. It’s a double-edged sword, but for the chance to triumph over your enemies? It might be worth it. — ARE
What’s scarier than betraying your friends? What about betraying your friends… in a haunted house? If supernatural treachery is your thing, Betrayal at House on the Hill gives you plenty of opportunities. The game starts with all players teaming up to explore an old mansion. However, at some point in the game, one player turns on the others and a ghost begins.
One of the best things about Betrayal at House on the Hill is that every time you play it is different. You build the mansion from a set of tiles that you explore as the game progresses, so you never play on the same map twice. In addition, the game gives you different win conditions for each hit point. Really, a game with scope – and lots of fun scares. — ARE